Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

We made it New Mexico safe and sound. The kids did great on the 15-hour trip, although our plan to leave at 4am so the kids would sleep in the car kind of backfired. Caleb didn't go back to sleep and he only slept about an hour and a half all day. Thankfully we arrived early enough to have some playtime before bed. We're still trying to get the kids to sleep and nap well after that day!

There is actually snow on the ground here, which is a first for us. Usually when we come, we bring the warm weather with us and there's no snow. But, as I type, Caleb and Daddy are sledding!

We just wanted to wish you a very Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Check-ups and Santa and all that stuff

I've been slacking on posting lately, mostly because I don't have a lot of time and when I do, I sit down to write and my brain gets so foggy I can't form complete thoughts. ;-)

Levi is HUGE. At his two-month check-up, he weighed 14 lbs. 4 oz. That's almost 2 pounds more than Caleb weighed at the same age. He's in the 95th percentile. He's also 23 3/4" long. He's outgrown pretty much every 0-3 month outfit and wears 3-6 month clothes comfortably. If he keeps this up, Caleb's clothes aren't going to fit at the right seasons! I like to call him my "chunky monkey." :-)

Levi is such a good baby and he's sweet as can be. He's starting to giggle now, which is precious. And, big news...he's finally sleeping longer at night and going longer in between feeds. Thank goodness! He'll now go 4 hours once or twice a night and usually 3 hours during the day between feedings. It's helped my sanity a lot!

Caleb is doing great. I'm amazed at how smart he is. Last night he actually carried on a conversation with his Daddy on the phone. He used to just tell you about everything he was looking at, but now he actually answers questions. He loves his little brother so much. He'll lay down beside Levi and say, "Hi baby brother" and give him kisses.

Last week Kimberly and I took the kids to have their pictures made with Santa. You can see that Ava wasn't having anything to do with Santa, but my boys' picture actually turned out well. It's the best you could expect from a two-year-old and a two-month-old:


And this picture I think is priceless. :-)


Ava is completely upset. Caleb's doing his own thing. And Levi looks freaked out. :-) Ahhh...memories.

By the way, I love, love, love having my sister live close. It's so fun to have someone to hang out with during the day and do things like this. Ava and Caleb love playing together, too.

We are gearing up for the drive to New Mexico for Christmas. We are really excited to be there and spend time with Justin's family. The drive we're not so excited about. If you have any great ways to keep a two-year-old occupied on a 16-hour car trip, please tell me about them in the comments!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Silence and Stillness

Ann, who always inspires me when I read her writing, had this quote at her place yesterday.

"Silence is imperative...
We are going to be quiet with One who has everything to tell us...
His voice is so still, His deepest contacts so imperceptable,
that only in quiet can we perceive them.

The Holy Spirit educates us in inner stillness,
and it for lack of this that most spiritual lives are
so crude & shallow & vague."

~Evelyn Underhill

There is little or no silence and stillness in our house these days. There is much noise. Whether it's crying from the baby, screaming/talking/fussing/laughing from Caleb, the CD player or TV providing background noise (as if we need it), or my own head full of thoughts, quiet is hard to find. I'm craving that right now. My relationship with God is feeling crude and shallow and vague these days. I have a million excuses for not spending time with Him, and, of course, at the top of that list is that I'm so very tired.

But I need to spend time with Him. I'd be less tired. I'd be able to handle Caleb's tantrums better and with more patience. I'd be a better friend/neighbor/sister/daughter/wife/mother.

Since Levi decided our day was starting at 6am this morning after being up every two hours, I was reading in my Daily Light book while I ate breakfast. Today's Scriptures were all about being satisfied in Him.

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled." ~Matthew 5:6

"He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness." ~Psalm 107:9

"How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings. They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, and You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures. For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light." ~Psalm 36:7-9

Today I seek quiet moments with Him.


Monday, November 19, 2007

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday, Justin! You're a wonderful husband and father.

What would we do without you?

We love you!!


Friday, November 16, 2007

Thoughts

I can't count the number of times I've said over the last 8 weeks, "I CAN'T do this." Usually it's when, simultaneously, Caleb is in full two-year-old mode and Levi won't sleep. (Don't be surprised if you come to our house and Caleb says, "I sittin' in the naughty chair." He's been there A LOT lately!)

But things are getting better day by day. I finally feel like I'm starting to get the hang of this "parent of two children" business. It's hard. And it's much more than double the amount of work! But it's good, and I'm loving being the mom of two boys. "My two sweet boys" I call them all the time.


Levi is finally feeling up and breathing much better. Thank you all for your prayers for us over the last four weeks. It's been a long month of sickness, but I think we've finally turned the corner!

Monday, November 12, 2007

A Visit to the Emergency Room

We spent ALL Saturday night, or I should say Sunday morning at Texas Children's ER with Levi. (I cannot remember the last time I stayed up all night long without sleeping a wink.) We took him to the doctor on Saturday morning because he is still very congested and having horrible coughing fits. (The poor guy has little red dots all over his face from all the coughing.) He has never run a fever, so it's just been "wait it out" because there was nothing they could do.

Saturday night about 10:30, I took his temperature and it was 101.2, so we called the doctor and had to take him to the ER. Then we watched for hours as they poked and prodded our little guy trying to figure out the source of the infection. They took his blood and urine for tests, did chest and abdomen x-rays, and did a lumbar puncture to test his spinal fluid for meningitis. His white blood cell counts were high, so they knew there was an infection somewhere, but they were unable to find it. At one point the doctor was concerned that it was either bacterial pneumonia or meningitis. Both of those options are scary. They put in an IV and gave him antibiotics before we left. So far, his fever has stayed down. When a 7-week-old runs a fever, they get pretty concerned. There were several other kids at the ER getting chest x-rays; it seems everyone is sick these days.

We're hoping they've knocked out the infection, but we're still not out of woods because he has so much mucus still in his chest that could become infected. He's been sick for about 3 weeks now and over a week with the bronchiolitis, so he has no idea what it's like to feel good. I've relapsed with the upper respiratory stuff (with two sick kids and little sleep it's not a wonder), so we really need some healing in our house.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Levi's Birth Announcement

My real-life friend, Holly, designed Levi's birth announcement, and we love how they turned out! You can see it here at Holly's design blog.

She does such great work and was wonderful to work with! I'm completely jealous of her graphic design talent. I haven't even had time to sit down and figure out how to use my Photoshop program I got for Christmas last year. :-)

Thanks, Holly--you're such a blessing to us! We love it!!

Monday, November 05, 2007

It's Been a LOOOOOONNNNNG Weekend

This will be quick. And hopefully one day soon I'll stop posting about us being sick.

Both boys have been sick for over two weeks (and all of us in between). They also shared their germs with their Grandad, Aunt Kiki, Ava, mommy and daddy, Uncle Scott, and probably a few others. (Grandad, daddy, and Aunt Kiki all got the eye infection from the boys.)

Caleb has had a cough that would not go away. Finally Friday night it got really bad and he couldn't stop coughing. We called the pediatrician and she said it sounded like reactive airway disease, which we've dealt with before after he's had a virus. So, we started the asthma meds. Then, he spiked a fever of 103, so we called the doctor back and she said it sounded like he was trying to spring pneumonia, so we started antibiotics. He cried and coughed in his bed almost all night.

Saturday morning Levi woke up breathing very shallow and fast. I counted his respirations and they were 100 times a minute and didn't get any slower then 62, and I know from our experiences with Caleb that 60 is where they start to get concerned. So, we loaded up both kids and took them to the doctor.

We found out Caleb also has an ear infection, and the doctor does think he's had an underlying pneumonia, which is why it's been so hard for him to kick the sickness.

Levi got a breathing treatment, and the doctor almost sent us to the hospital with him because he was breathing too fast to eat, and she was concerned that he would get dehydrated quickly. After about 30 minutes, the breathing treatment helped and he was able to eat without stopping to cough and breathe, so she sent us home. She did tell us that if he got a fever above 100, it was serious and we needed to call right away.

Caleb is still coughing a lot, but the stuff in his chest is loosening up, so what we're doing is working. Now we're still watching them closely for fevers and breathing. I think they're both getting better, so hopefully soon we'll all be well.

Last night Caleb slept better than he has in a long time, so I was just up every two hours with Levi, which was a vast improvement over the last few days!

Sleep is a marvelous thing!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Caleb with his "puh-kin" that he got at school

"Grandma, I got my Halloween shirt!!"

our happy, smiling boy

not so happy, here :-)

daddy and Caleb carving the pumpkin

the finished product (a little blurry)

for comparison's sake...the top two pictures are of Caleb when he was one-month-old, the bottom two are Levi today. They look a lot alike.


Caleb is super excited about going trick-or-treating tonight. He's been telling me all day, "Mommy, I go neighbor's house, say trick-or-treat, and get the canny!" :-)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Levi Did Not Escape the Sickness

Poor Levi can't hardly breathe. The last two nights I've been up with him suctioning out his nose just so he can sleep a little. He can't lay flat and doesn't want to be anywhere but in someone's arms. And it's getting worse. I think he's also contracted the eye infection his brother had.

It's scary when your newborn baby can't breathe.

Justin is also not feeling well, so he hasn't escaped the germs in the house, either.

On the upside, Caleb and I are much better; now we're just dealing with the congestion. Thankfully my mom is here to help out. Now let's just hope she doesn't get sick.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

We're Miserable

Caleb has a bad cold that turned into double eye infections and has had a fever of 101+ for four days now.

I have an upper respiratory infection and my throat hurts so bad I can hardly talk, eat, and/or drink anything. (And I'm not convinced I don't have strep...they didn't test for that when I went on Saturday morning.)

Levi is spitting up or throwing up multiple times a day and not just after a feeding. He's running a low-grade temperature, and I think he may have some sinus drainage that is making him gag and throw up.

Thankfully, we had company this weekend who were a huge help with the kids and keeping us all sane.

They're gone now, and Justin has to work tomorrow.

I just want to lay in bed all day and rest. But I'm the mommy, and I have two kids to take care of.

Say a little prayer for us, please.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Quickly while they're both occupied...

Things are going better around here. Levi is sleeping better at night, which is a huge help. He still doesn't sleep longer than 3 hours (when he actually sleeps that long), but I keep him close to me so I don't stay awake for long when he does awake. He still is eating every 2-2 1/2 hours and usually throws everything up if I try and feed him too much. We're settling into a "routine" of sorts, though, and things are going well.

Caleb is definitely showing some jealousy, especially when it's just me and the two boys at home. Levi has started sleeping in the cradle some during the day (instead of only sleeping while being held), which lets me have some uninterrupted time with Caleb to make him feel special. We've been reading lots of books together, and yesterday I even ventured out and took the boys for a walk. It was good for all of us to get some fresh air!

My sister commented today that we don't know what I'd do if I hadn't discovered baby slings. It's sometimes the only way to get Levi settled and to sleep. He doesn't just fall asleep on his own easily; it takes quite a bit of work unless he's just eaten.

Thanks for all your advice and prayers. I think my hormones are starting to settle down as well because there have been far less tears the last few days (even yesterday when I was by myself for 14 hours with the two kids because Justin had to work late).

I "talk" to all of you a lot in my head, telling you of all the things that have been going on, how my Bible study is blessing me (when I have time and brain power to sit down and do it), and how much I miss catching up on your lives. Hopefully soon I'll have time to write some more. Time is precious!!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Can I get Starbucks piped into my veins?

I'm so tired.

Levi apparently has his days and nights mixed up. And he thinks he needs to eat every 1-2 hours around the clock. He's had some reflux issues, which prevents me from completely filling him up on milk to make him last longer. Unless I want that milk all over me.

And he wants to be held. All.The.Time. I definitely wanted a cuddly baby, and I got what I asked for! ;-) Thank goodness for baby slings!! Levi LOVES the sling.

Any ideas for straightening out his days and nights? Ideas that don't involve letting him cry for hours on end because I can't do that to a 2-week-old. And my nerves can't handle it.

Now you know why I haven't been posting. I'm either feeding a baby or trying to get Caleb to stop touching his brothers eyes, stop standing on the coffee table, or I'm trying to chase him down and wrestle him to the ground to change his diaper.

Justin's mom left today, so now I'm officially alone with both kids by myself. Thankfully Caleb still takes a good, long afternoon nap.

Gotta run. Maybe I can sneak in a nap on the couch before Levi thinks he's starving to death once again.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

We're Exhausted, But Things Are Good

The dark circles under my eyes are growing darker every day! :-) Things are going pretty well around here, as long as I remember I'm recovering from surgery and don't try to do too much. I always pay for it the next day. I keep telling myself that I must take it easy, but it's hard.

Caleb is spending the weekend with his Grandma and Poppa (my parents). They wanted to give us a chance to rest a little and actually sleep when Levi sleeps, and Caleb is in need of some good one-on-one time with the grandparents. They're going to fly model airplanes (he LOVES to watch the airplanes) and go fishing. I think it'll be a good weekend for all of us.

Caleb "holding" Levi for the first time. He was SO excited!

One Week Old:

Ava, Levi, and Caleb (see her looking suspiciously at my boys!) Doesn't Caleb look HUGE???

Playtime at our house. Caleb was sharing his flash cards and stickers with Levi when we had our backs turned. :-)

We're doing well. Justin's back at work as of Friday and my mom is going to be here to help on Monday and Tuesday, since I still can't drive and need to take Levi to the doctor. My sister's driving me to the doctor for my check-up on Thursday, and Justin's mom will be here at the end of the week to meet her newest grandson. We can't wait for Mimi to come visit!!

We're really tired from all the night wakings, but we are extremely blessed. My emotions are definitely on a roller coaster from all the hormones, but today's a pretty "up" day! ;-)

Monday, September 24, 2007

We're Home

Well, we're home now and trying to figure out what kind of schedule this little one is going to have. We got home from the hospital yesterday afternoon and last night was quite a night. Levi thought he needed to eat every 30 minutes to an hour until about 3:45 this morning, when he finally slept for almost 4 hours. He is a much better nurser than Caleb was (which is probably due to the fact that his mother has some clue what she's doing!), and he really likes to nurse! I wanted a cuddly baby this time because Caleb didn't care much about being held or rocked to sleep. Levi is quite the opposite and has pretty much only slept today when I'm holding him. Thankfully Justin is home this week! Caleb is adjusting pretty well so far. He loves Levi and is always trying to share his toys with him. He gets really excited when Levi opens his eyes. :-)

Here are some pictures of the last few days...

Aunt Kiki and Levi


Mommy and Levi, Day Two

Caleb was so excited for our arrival home

Levi in his coming home outfit

Caleb not understanding the point of a nursing COVER! ;-) He just wanted to say "hi" to Levi. Thankfully all of our visitors were on the other side of the room!

Thanks for all your prayers for us this last week. The second c-section has definitely been better. And thanks for saying I looked good for just having had a baby. I was SO nauseous after he was born, I guess from the anesthesia. When they brought him to me for the first time when I came out of the recovery room, I would hold him for a few minutes and have to quickly pass him to Justin and grab the little "tray" they give you. It wasn't fun or pretty, and it was quite the end to my pregnancy. Pretty par for the course for Levi and I! So, those pictures my sister posted were taken in my nausea medicine-induced state. :-)

Well, I'm off to get some rest before it's time to feed my precious baby again. We're doing well. It's so good to be home!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

He's Here!!!

This is Kimberly, Jennifer's sister...


Caleb is now a big brother! Levi James arrived this morning at 8:15am. He weighed 8 lbs. 3 oz. and was 19 1/2 in. long. He is such a cutie! Both mom and baby are doing well. Here are some pictures of the newest addition to the family.

Just Born

Mommy and Levi

The Whole Family

Caleb Kissing His New Baby Brother

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Happy Birthday, Sweet Boy!

I can't believe my baby is two years old today. Where did the time go? It's surreal being pregnant again because I remember when it was Caleb we were waiting to meet. And tomorrow he'll be a big brother.

Caleb, when you came into this world, I became a mommy. And I'll never be the same. I love you more than words can say, my sweet one. Your daddy and I pray that you will grow up to be a strong man of God, and that you'll teach your children to know and love him, too. Caleb means "bold" and "faithful," and we pray that you'll be both, to God's glory.

Happy 2nd Birthday!!






Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Get Your CD Today!

monk & neagle banner 3

Just wanted to remind you that Monk & Neagle's new CD comes out today. I received a free copy a few months back, and it's wonderful!!

You can order it here, and it's only $9.97...truly a bargain!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Less than 4 days!

Yes, we'll be having a baby in less than 4 days. It's hard to believe, really. I'm definitely looking forward to meeting Levi and not being pregnant anymore. This morning in church, I think everyone was cold except for me; I was fanning myself. And I didn't drink enough water before church, so I wasn't feeling very well by the time it was over. Usually I take a bottle of water with me but didn't today.

We're still trying to get things done before our little one arrives. I've got to order a cake for Caleb's birthday on Wednesday. I could bake it myself, but I'm not going to, so we'll go with what's easiest for me at this point. :-) Then my parents and grandmothers will be coming into town on Wednesday for the birthday celebration and "the big day" on Thursday. It'll be here before we know it.

When Levi does make his appearance (and at this point I hope it's when he's scheduled because we really don't need any drama), my sister will update all of you here.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

8 Days and Counting

Yes, I'm counting down the days until this child leaves my body and is welcomed into the world! Tomorrow I'll have my last prenatal appointment. YAY!!! At last week's appointment, my doctor said Levi was not going to be coming out anytime soon. Oh, and I had gained TWO POUNDS in one week. I've gained another two pounds this week according to our bathroom scale. After months and months of non-existent or minimal weight gain, it's a little disconcerting to have gained 4 pounds in the last two weeks. When my doctor assured me early on that I'd gain the weight at the end, she wasn't kidding! But I guess two pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight is nothing to complain about, right?

So, I'm trying to get stuff done in the next week that I won't be up for after next Thursday.

Do any of you c-section moms have any advice on what to bring to the hospital and/or what helped with your recovery? (i.e. what to wear at the hospital, nursing pillow, etc.)

Monday, September 10, 2007

My Heart Hurts

Do you ever hurt so badly for what someone else is going through that you can hardly stand it? Justin and I have two (separate) people who are very close to us that are really hurting right now. They are in the kinds of situations that you want so badly to make better but there's nothing you can really say or do to take away the pain. We pray. A lot. We pray that they would run to God during this time in their lives, instead of away from him. We pray for restored relationships. We pray for renewed trust. And we pray that God will strengthen them through this dark time, even when it seems nothing good could possibly come of it.

We offer our love and support, which seems so inadequate.

And we pray for miracles for the people we love.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Lord, Help Me

Conversations at our house today in the last 30 minutes:

Me: DID YOU EAT ANY OF THESE??? (holding the Singapore cents I had just pulled out of Caleb's mouth)
Caleb: okay. (his answer for everything)
Me: DID YOU EAT ANY OF THESE???
Caleb: okay.
Me: DO NOT PUT MONEY IN YOUR MOUTH!!! YES, MA'AM?
Caleb: (wisely) yes ma'am

*~*~*~*~
Me: DO NOT hit the dog.

*~*~*~*~
Me: If you don't stay in that bed...(fill in appropriate punishment here)

*~*~*~*~
Me: GET DOWN OFF THAT TABLE!!!

*~*~*~*~

I can already tell the two's are going to be a glorious age.

The Toddler Bed

Brace yourselves. This will not be a pregnancy-related post. :-)

Monday night we decided to move Caleb to the toddler bed (now that Justin is home and finally over the jet lag). Since his crib is convertible, that just meant we had to take off the front and add two little rails to the sides. We thought it would be easy to make the transition because it's the same bed, just with a modification. Apparently it was a world of change for Caleb.

The first night it took us a little over an hour to get him to stay in the bed and actually sleep. There was much crying on Caleb's part. I guess it's a security thing since we took one of his "walls" away.

The second night, he fell out of the bed 3 times. The "rails" that came with the bed aren't quite big/long enough, in my opinion. We put his bumper pad back on that side to give him a little support in that space. It seemed to work last night.

Each night it's gotten a little bit easier and has taken less time for him to actually stay in bed and fall asleep. Nap time, however, has proven to be the hardest. He doesn't cry; he just refuses to sleep and wants to get out and grab every stuffed animal and toy in sight and put it in his bed. I think it's time to clear his room of everything until he learns how to nap with so much "freedom." We're getting there, I guess.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Child Has a Mind of His Own

Apparently Levi cannot make up his mind whether or not he wants to come out yet. We went back to the hospital today. I was having contractions at home 8-10 minutes apart for a couple of hours. Of course, once we got to the hospital, they became almost non-existent and erratic and they weren't doing a thing toward dilation. So, we're home again. Since this child is determined not to be anything like his brother, this is all a new experience for me. I didn't even have very many Braxton-Hicks contractions with Caleb, so this one is giving me a run for my money! How many times can you go to the hospital before you get to take home a baby??? :-)

I won't be going back until my contractions are 5 minutes apart and I can barely breathe. Then I'll know it's for real!

My doctor said to come home and take it easy for the rest of the day. Yeah, right. My parents left after we got home, and then Caleb refused to take a nap. I tried fruitlessly for 1 hour and 45 minutes to get the child to lay down and sleep, to no avail. So, "take it easy" isn't really applicable for people who have toddlers at home.

Monday, September 03, 2007

I think I jinxed myself...

So, when I said that I'd probably not go into labor on my own, I apparently was wrong. I felt really bad all day Saturday and woke up Sunday with back and abdominal pain, so I went to the hospital. I was having contractions and am dilated to 2cm. They gave me some medicine to stop the contractions since I'm only 36 weeks. I stayed there ALL DAY on the very uncomfortable labor and delivery bed waiting to see if the medicine was going to stop the contractions. It did, and they sent me home about 9pm last night.

Justin and I were taken by surprise that I was already having contractions. Apparently the baby listened when I said, "anytime after your Daddy gets home, feel free to come out!" :-) Ideally the baby won't come until I'm at least 37 weeks (this Wednesday) so he'll have more time to mature, especially since boys have a little harder time being born early (lung maturity and all). We still haven't fully decided on a middle name, which we spent some time at the hospital talking about yesterday. And today we've been getting the infant car seat out of the attic and packing everyone's bags. This baby is making his own way!

I'm not feeling well again today. My back is hurting really bad, but I don't think I'm having contractions. Since I was induced with Caleb, I never experienced early labor pains, so it's hard for me to distinguish between normal "uncomfortableness" and true labor pains. Because I'm a c-section patient, they don't want me laboring for very long. If I do start having contractions again, they'll go ahead and do the c-section.

I think I'm going to call them later today if I'm not feeling better and at least let them check again. I thought I was ready for him to be born, but now I have to mentally prepare! ;-)

Pray for Levi to be mature enough physically to come out whenever he's ready.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

36 Week Check-Up

As for the reunion...I'm blogging because Justin is at work today. I know. Can we just have a moment of silence for the absurdity of the fact that he was gone for a month and has to work today? But, we are having a baby in a couple of weeks, and he needs to save his vacation days. He has to work a certain number of hours per week or he has to use his vacation time (plus he has a ton of stuff to do after being gone). Oh well. He'll be home tonight. That's a good thing!

I had my check-up a couple of days ago, and things are still going well. I had gained one pound over the two weeks, so now I'm at -2 overall. Not too bad. :-) At this point, I weigh 14 pounds less than I did when I gave birth to Caleb, and I started out this pregnancy heavier than I started his. (And it's not because I've been neglecting my ice cream cravings or Little Debbie snacks, either!) I told the doctor after I have this baby I'll probably end up losing weight for the pregnancy. She said I would and with a good-sized baby, too. I guess this is the benefit of all the months of losing my lunch (and breakfast and dinner). I'll take what I can get.

My c-section is scheduled for 3 weeks from today. Not that I'm counting down or anything. ;-) If I go into labor on my own before then, they will go ahead and take the baby right then, as long as I'm 37 weeks. Since I'll be 37 weeks next Wednesday, we don't have to worry too much. If I go into labor this week, they will try to stop labor, and I'm sure they'll give me the steroid to mature the baby's lungs. If my pregnancy with Caleb is any indication, we really don't need to worry about me going into labor before my scheduled date.

My doctor hasn't tried to "guess" how big this baby will be yet, but I think he's at least as big as his brother was (7lbs 10oz). He's been under my ribs much more than Caleb ever was, and he's definitely an active little guy.

Justin, being the good daddy that he is, bought both Caleb and Levi little stuffed white tigers from the Singapore Night Safari. Caleb ran into Levi's room and put Levi's tiger in his bed for him. Justin was smart to buy two of exactly the same toy so they'll be no squabbling about whose is better. Not that I know any siblings who ever squabbled about such silly matters. :-)

Well, my sister is officially moving tomorrow. I'm sure we'll be busy all weekend helping them unpack and get settled. Not that I'll be much help, but I can sit down and unpack a box with the best of 'em!

Have a great Labor Day weekend!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Life is Good

He's home. Aaaaahhhhhh. It's good.

I was a little worried that Caleb might not respond well at the airport and be in shock that he was actually seeing his daddy in person, but his response was precious. He yelled, "Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!" and ran to him. I couldn't have asked for anything better. It's been so good to see them playing all evening.

Now it's 9:15 and both my boys are in bed. Only the older one is actually sleeping, though. ;-) He's completely exhausted and probably won't remember half the stuff I told him today, but it's so good to have him home again.

And, don't you just love this new design? Thanks, Jules. It's perfect.

Just a Few More Hours

Justin's plane arrives about 1:30 this afternoon (Central time), so we're getting ourselves ready. Caleb woke up on the wrong side of the crib this morning, so I'm hoping he is in a better mood this afternoon, which is not likely since daddy gets back right at nap time!

Thanks for all your prayers for us this past month; they have definitely been answered. The time has passed much more quickly than I imagined it could, and it's hard to believe that reunion day is finally here!

Well, I'm off to shower and actually put on some makeup. I figure Justin will appreciate that since he's been gone for so long, even though he'll have been on a plane for 24 hours and need a shower himself! ;-)

We're just counting down the hours until we leave for the airport now!!!

Monday, August 27, 2007

I'm so giddy I can hardly stand myself...

Justin will be home in less than two days. This time tomorrow he'll be on a plane for the LONG ride home (almost a 24-hour flight). And our family will be reunited after a much-too-long separation.

I'm so happy I'll have my husband back I don't know what to do with myself. :-)

We can be "normal" again.

And then we'll have another baby and "normal" will be redefined once again.

Oh, and I think some of you have prayed about Caleb's behavior and/or my patience level because the last two days have been much better. Thank you for praying, and thank you, Lord, that things have improved!! I told Joy in an email the other day that I didn't think I could take 5 more minutes of being the mommy and the daddy.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Why, indeed?

Last night our neighbors stopped by with their twin girls (5 years old) to deliver the cinnamon rolls and cookie dough Justin had ordered from their fundraiser (the man loves some pastries!).

One of the girls said,

"Why doesn't Mr. Justin live here with you anymore?"

::big, huge sigh::

Thursday, August 23, 2007

An Attempt At An Update

I'm so tired I can hardly form coherent thoughts lately, but I'll try to write something so when my mom clicks over here, she sees something new (and all of you as well). Literally, my brain is so mushy I can't have a conversation without saying, "what's that word...?" :-) I don't know why pregnant women can't sleep well; it just seems mean because I'm not going to be sleeping at all in a month, so I need all I can get now.

So, here's what's going on over here in bullet form. As I mentioned above, narrative form would just be too hard right now.
  • I'm not sleeping. ::sigh::
  • I'm READY for my husband to come home NOW. Thankfully, we have less than a week left.
  • I'm having Braxton-Hicks contractions like crazy. Every time I stand up, my belly gets rock hard. It's not painful, but pretty uncomfortable.
  • I told Levi that as soon as his daddy gets home, he's free to make his appearance at any time. Scheduled c-section or not. I'm READY.
  • My sister and I have had several conversations about how she never reached this stage of pregnancy where she was uncomfortable all the time and was ready to NOT be pregnant. It's because she had a FOUR-POUND BABY. In JANUARY.
  • I'm not one of those women who really enjoys being pregnant. I just don't feel good when I'm pregnant, especially at this stage. My mom and my sister both say they missed being pregnant after they had their babies. I do not feel that way.
  • Caleb is watching way too much TV lately since it's stinking hot outside, and, well, all the reasons above.
  • He can officially count to ten now. It freaked out the nursery worker at church a couple of weeks ago. She was like, "who's counting?" since all the kids in there are between 1 and 2 years old.
  • Since his daddy has been gone, Caleb has cut two teeth and become quite the little sassy-pants. He's gotten in trouble lately for telling me "NO" when asked to do something. And one of his favorite words is "mine," said in a sassy little way. I've tried hard not to even say that around him; I don't know where he picked it up. I wish it would go away.
When I summon more brain power, I'll try to write something more interesting and maybe even more uplifting. Let's all hope!

Friday, August 17, 2007

I love that man



My favorite flowers delivered on our anniversary.

Start Praying Now

...that Hurricane Dean does not make its way into the Gulf of Mexico and head our way. All I need next week is to be 35 weeks pregnant with an almost-2-year-old and my 85-year-old grandmother and two dogs, with a husband out of the country trying to evacuate this place. During the madness of Hurricane Rita two years ago, we were trying to get home from the hospital after having Caleb when millions of people were stuck on the highways. It was madness, and I'd like to not repeat that this time around.

Thanks!

Relief in the Form of a 12-Year-Old

My cousin's daughter came last Sunday night and spent 4 nights with us, entertaining Caleb and helping me out. It's been a while since I entered the world of a 12-year-old girl; it's been, well, since I was about 12. It was enlightening, to say the least.

Monday I promised her that we would watch Titanic after Caleb went to sleep. Because what's better to a 12-year-old girl than Leonardo DiCaprio circa 1997. (And, yes, we skipped right past a couple of questionable scenes that I was not going to be responsible for her seeing on my watch.) I cannot convey her great disappointment when she found out the movie was made in 1997. It was so long ago. Yeah, like the year I was graduating from high school. (There's nothing like a 12-year-old to make you feel OLD at 28.) She was crushed. So she was 2 when the movie came out, what's the big deal? Oh, my friends, it was a big deal. Leo's, like, well over 30 now, and we all know that is ANCIENT.

She spent most of the rest of her free time this week looking up all things Leo and Kate and Titanic on the internet. (Did you know that Kate Winslet and Leo DiCaprio are 15 months apart in age? She did the math. Trust me on this one.) Obsessed, maybe? Oh, and don't think we only watched the movie once. No, sir. She asked me if she could watch it again the.very.next.day. That movie is SO long. But, she's 12. And Leo is SO CUTE. And it's SO ROMANTIC. (Gag me with a spoon was what I was thinking. I'm getting so cynical in my old age. It's probably the hormones and the fact that my husband is on the other side of the world on our 5th anniversary.)

I forgot what it was like to be 12. Now I remember.

Within the first 5 minutes of cousin R being at our house, she said, "Jennifer, did you know that Nonnie (her grandmother) knows Hillary and Haley Duff's mother?"

me: no, I didn't
R: she does. She even has her phone number and her email address.
me: really?
R: yes. Isn't that cool?
me: way cool, R.

Oh, and High School Musical 2 is premiering on the Disney Channel tonight, so R had to go home because she and her sister are having a big HM2 premiere shindig at their house tonight. I'm sure there will be lots of giggling and singing and dancing and regular junior-high-girl-craziness going on.

But, seriously, she was a doll and a huge help with Caleb. (She did inform me when she arrived that she doesn't "do" dirty diapers!) :-) He was missing her like crazy when she left.

My grandmother came on Tuesday to help out for a couple of days and take R home yesterday. Every room in my house is clean, all my laundry is done, and there are no dishes in my sink. I can't tell you the last time that happened.

Caleb and I are headed to a sweet friend's house after he wakes up from his nap. Justin spent our anniversary with people from work at a "team-building" activity, and I'm spending it at dinner with a friend letting her two kids entertain and tire out Caleb. Should be fun!

5 Years and Counting

Today we've been married 5 years. I can't believe it's been that long, and, yet, it seems like I've known Justin my whole life. We've been through a lot in the last 5 years...the death of my Pawpaw right after we married, living apart for a year for a project Justin was on, becoming parents for the first time, enduring more separation for this current project, expecting our second child in about a month, and lots and lots and lots of laughs.

I'm WAY too emotional right now to do a really sappy post, so I give you, "The Wedding Cake Incident of 2002" in pictures...

Our beautiful cake my aunt and grandmother made for us:
Wedding Cake Incident 2002 begins


Me, shocked that my husband of one hour just got cake all over my forehead and in my hair. Apparently he was aiming for my nose and I ducked my head. Notice the cake on the floor...


"Do you see what you did?" :-)
Close-up

My sweet husband wiping the cake off my face


If I didn't tell you that I started the Wedding Cake Incident, Justin would probably break his record of never commenting on this blog to tell you that I started it. People started booing us after we just fed each other the cake, and I caved to the peer pressure. It made a funny memory, though. :-)

Maybe sometime I'll post the pictures of my best friend, Lisa, snatching the tossed bouquet out of my sister's hand! That was pretty awesome to watch, too. I think Lisa figured since Kimberly was already engaged, she didn't need any more help!

And just for grins, us being pelted by silly string by some unnamed groomsmen



I love you, babe, and I always will. And all the sappy stuff I said last year when I wasn't pregnant and on the other side of the world from you is still true. You are my best friend and the most amazing man I know. Now, come home already!

I'm posting this early and post-dating it because it already is our anniversary in Singapore!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Belly Pics--33 Weeks

This baby is definitely growing! Justin saw me on the webcam the other day and said my belly looked bigger than it did when he left (of course, pregnancy is the only time he would say that!!). It has grown quite a bit in the last two weeks, and you can really tell by looking at the picture from four weeks ago.

33 weeks:

29 Weeks:

17 Weeks:

Friday, August 10, 2007

Advice Needed

All of you seasoned c-sections moms...

It occurred to me recently that I'm not going to be able to lift Caleb for a while after I have this baby (a month, maybe?). He weighs about 26 pounds, and that's definitely over the, "don't lift anything heavier than the baby" requirement.

So, I think we need to move Caleb to a toddler bed. I don't want to, since he's doing fine in his crib, now that we turned it around!, and he's not even 2 yet. He has a convertible crib, where the front comes off and two little pieces are added to each side. I'm not looking forward to the energy it will require those first few nights to make him get back in his bed 1,000 times. And he's not old enough for the "big boy bed" logic.

Any advice? Is there any way to keep him in the crib and not have to lift him? Please offer your suggestions!!

And, everyone else who's ever moved a child to a toddler bed, your advice is welcome as well. We're treading in new waters here.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Encouragement

JMom at Lots of Scotts has written a poignant post that encourages those of us "in the trenches" of mothering little ones.

Here's an excerpt:

"The truest stories of heroism and grace of God are found in the walking (sometimes trudging) through the day-to-day, unpredictable challenges of life.

We are called to live with an eternal perspective, with our eyes fixed on "things above," yet the reality is that Moms of little ones spend a lot of our day wiping poopy bottoms, cleaning toilets and dirty floors, trying to shape and mold character of people who still fall apart over spilled milk and the wrong kind of cookies.

What would it look like if we could pray for the ability to REALLY view this all as work for the glory of God? I am going to try. Care to join me?"

Lately I feel like every day there is an unpredictable challenge and the rest of the time I'm dealing with predictable challenges!

Read her whole post here.

Quick Update (lots of random thoughts)

We're back from my parent's house. It was good to go there and spend some time with the whole family (we had a family get-together on Saturday to meet my grandmother's "friend"--a whole other post).

Justin took our webcam with him to Singapore, and we borrowed my mom's, so we were able to talk to him over it this morning. It was good to actually see his face, and Caleb really enjoyed seeing Daddy and showing off for him. Technology can be a wonderful thing!

At my appointment last week, I had gained 2 pounds! :-) Everything still looks good, and we were able to schedule my c-section. Luckily, it won't be on Caleb's birthday, just the day after. Looks like we'll be having joint parties for a long time!! (Until Caleb gets tired of having Levi's friends at his birthday party.)

Here are some pictures of Caleb and Ava from this weekend...

These two look just like their daddies:


Caleb loves his Ava! Here he is giving her a kiss:


And kissing her hands:


The other day, Caleb kissed my belly and said, "Dat sweet." Can you tell we say that to him a lot?

My dad and Kurt took Caleb fishing for the first time on Saturday morning. As soon as I get the pictures from my dad's camera, I'll get them on here. They are SO cute! My dad couldn't be more tickled that Caleb enjoyed it since he bought him his own fishing pole when he was born and has been waiting for the day Caleb was old enough to go with him. Male bonding at its finest!

My mom just left to go back home and Caleb's napping, so it's time for me to go and get some rest, too. It's stopped raining here (finally!), and now it's hotter than ever. I broke a sweat walking to my car in the driveway from the garage. The heat makes me SO tired...like I needed any help with that.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Joo Joo Jesus

We've been saying the same basic prayer with Caleb before he goes to sleep at night for some time now. He even knows the drill...after we change his diaper, brush his teeth, and turn on the fan, it's time for "pairs," as Caleb calls them. In the last few weeks, he's been able to repeat little phrases after us, which is really precious. It goes something like this:

Us: Dear God
Caleb: Dear God
Us: Thank you for mommy
Caleb: joo joo mommy
Us: Thank you for daddy
Caleb: joo joo daddy

joo joo Jesus

...and so on.

We're not sure why he doesn't say "thank you" correctly when he prays since he knows how, but it's pretty cute!

This week he's been able to say his nightly prayer without much prompting from us. Last night he even added a new one to our list all on his own:

"joo joo Levi."

Melt my heart. He's gonna be a great big brother.

In other news, we went to the airport this morning. That was hard. Caleb did fine since he doesn't know how long his Daddy will be gone; he just thinks he's going to work (which he is), but it was especially hard for Justin. He feels so guilty for leaving us, especially at this point in my pregnancy. I'm going to stay with my mom for a week, against the wishes of my doctor (who's really strict about travel during the 3rd trimester). We appreciate your prayers for us.

Friday, July 27, 2007

It's Just One of Those Days

...where I feel like everyone has it together but me. I know they don't ('cause I know that's what you're gonna say in the comments), but I have it so "not together" these days that it's pitiful.

The last two days Justin has worked approximately noon-midnight, so I've been asleep when he gets home. Today I saw him for about 30 minutes before he had to go to work, and I'm not sure when he's coming home. Oh, and I did mention that he's leaving in a few short days and will be gone for a month? I did? Well, it's worth repeating.

I'm stressed, I'm sad, I'm overwhelmed, and I'm so very tired. I pretty much stay teary-eyed at the thought of being by myself. I know God will get us through this; I'm just not looking forward to it. AT ALL. After enduring the year-long on and off separation with Justin's last project, this should seem like a piece of cake. But we didn't have a child then. And I wasn't pregnant. Oh, wait...yes I was. *sigh*

But, I am excited that my sister's moving here! And my parents are coming in tonight to watch Caleb while Justin and I attend a wedding tomorrow night and attempt some sort of three-weeks-early-5th-anniversary-celebration since he'll be gone on the actual date. (in 5 years, we've only been in the same STATE/COUNTRY on our anniversary 3 times. Isn't that just sad?) I remember hearing when Faith Hill and Tim McGraw got married that they promised to never spend more than 3 days apart (or something like that). I've decided that's only possible if you have a bajillion dollars and a nanny. Or your husband has a job where he doesn't have to travel. EVER.

I'm not sleeping well. I think it's about 50% due to stress and 50% due to this I CAN'T GET COMFORTABLE pregnancy loveliness.

And then there's Caleb, who one minute is sweet as can be with his big blue eyes looking at me saying, "I love you, mommy," and the next minute is bringing me a bowl full of water-soaked dog food that he's been playing with for who knows how long because I fell asleep on the couch during "Caillou." It's amazing I don't have slight heart attacks every other day with that boy around. :-)

Ok, I'm sorry y'all had to endure this depressing post and my little pity party, but I feel better after getting it out. Thanks for indulging me. Oh, and please, please keep praying for us.

Well, Caleb's napping and my hips hurt too bad to go lie down, so I'd better take a shower. (Those are my options during nap time...rest or shower. Priorities, people. Justin will be glad that today's a shower day.) ;-)

She's Moving!!!

My sister finally announced it on her blog, so I'm free to announce it here...she's moving closer to me!!! Kurt got a new job, and they will be living about 25 minutes from our house instead of 3 1/2 hours. I'm so giddy I can hardly stand it. :-) We're excited that our kids will be able to grow up together and our parents won't have to divide their time between two different parts of the state.

We haven't lived in the same place since we were in college (ok, not all that long ago...), and I can't wait to spend more time with her!

And...they'll be here in time for the baby to be born. What could be better?


(If you know where I live, please refrain from mentioning that in the comments section. Texas is a big state, and I try to be as vague as possible about our actual whereabouts to protect my family from the crazies. Thanks.)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Happy Birthday, Sis!

Since you were born, I've been a proud big sister.

(I mean, you really can't fake this kind of smile...) :-)



I'm still so proud of you, and I love you very much!


You're a great mom to Ava and it's so exciting to see you in that new role.

You are not only my sister, but a cherished friend.


Happy Birthday, Sis!

(And you know I had some awesome pictures of our awkward years--where we didn't know we had naturally curly hair so we permed and blow-dried it to a fuzzy mess--that I could have used here. You're welcome.)

Friday, July 20, 2007

I Won Something!

monk & neagle banner

I'm so excited to get this CD in the mail!! I won it because of the giveaway BooMama talked about on her blog. I'll be sure and let you know all about it when it arrives. :-)

5 Questions Meme

Laura wanted to know (sorry it took me so long!!)...

1. How often do you get your hair professionally done?

If by "professionally done" you mean cut, then 2-3 times a year. This is merely a shadow of my former self, where in high school I would get my hair permed and/or highlighted every few months. There was lots of gel and hair spray involved in daily maintenance. Now I opt for a simple cut, natural highlights (read: gray hairs everywhere!), and little or no product. However, we do live in a very humid place and my hair tends toward the curly side, so by the end of summer, I'm usually putting in some sort of product to tame it!

2. Where’s your favorite vacation spot (already taken, in the planning process or simply a dream)?

I loved Germany and Switzerland when I visited there and would love to return some day. The beaches of Phuket, Thailand are simply the most beautiful I've ever seen. Hubby wants to take me to Italy one day since he loved it so much when he visited. I'd also like to see Australia.

3. What’s your favorite family tradition?

This is a hard one. We're a pretty close family, so it's hard to pick one thing. Probably Christmas. My mom makes an awesome spice tea that we drink on Christmas morning, and we always have roughly the same foods to eat that day. We open our stockings first (my mom still does stockings for us!), then open presents. We rotate who we spend Christmas with now, my parents one year, hubby's the next, since the two families live nowhere near each other and we can't "share." Hubby's family is equally as excited about Christmas as mine, which makes me happy.

4. Your tickle bone was tickled. What/who did it and how?

Probably my husband by saying something no one else would think was funny. We crack ourselves up a lot. :-)

5. Do you dream in color or black & white? Color. And very vividly, especially when I'm pregnant. Last night I had a HORRIBLE dream which I will not recount because I'm trying desperately to forget it.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

30-Week Check-Up

I took Caleb with me to my doctor's appointment today, so I'm tired. :-) The nurse asked how old he was and then said, "Wow, you have your hands full." Yep, thanks for noticing!

Everything is still looking good. I didn't gain any weight, again, but the doctor isn't concerned because my belly is measuring well (32 cm) and the baby's heart rate is very good (140). She said I'll probably come out of this pregnancy feeling better than I went in--YAY for me! She does expect me to gain weight at the end, though, which I'm fine with since I'm still at -6 pounds for this pregnancy at 30 weeks pregnant.

Oh, and I passed my gestational diabetes testing with flying colors so I don't have to endure the 3-hour test!!!

I guess that's about it. Things are pretty routine now; I'm going every two weeks for the next 6 weeks and then every week. She said we might be able to schedule my surgery at my next visit, so I'm looking forward to getting some things nailed down and schedules synchronized.

*I hesitated to post this, but our little family is really going to need some prayers soon. Justin's going overseas for a month very soon. (I have really good neighbors, two dogs, and an alarm system, so crazy people stay back!) He was gone for most of my first pregnancy, but I didn't have a toddler to take care of back then! Would you say a prayer for us during the month of August? And please pray that this baby does not decide to come early because his daddy just wouldn't make it back in time!*

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

THE Name

We finally decided on the baby's name.

Levi

I was actually kind of surprised none of you suggested it when I asked for suggestions. It fits all the criteria (one that can't be shortened, means something significant, is not trendy, isn't the name of someone either of us has bad memories of, and it's a Biblical name).

And, no, we don't have a middle name yet. :-)

Am I On Candid Camera?

The same day the baby book incident happened, so did all of these things:

1) closed Caleb's hand in the van door, the crying of both of us ensued
2) dropped ice cream on the front seat of the new car while rescuing Caleb, more crying (I cried because I was tired and hormonal and Caleb cried because I was crying)
3) as I'm changing Caleb's diaper and talking to my sister on the phone, heard Caleb saying, "dirty diaper" as he was wiping his poop-covered hand on the wall behind the changing table
4) cleaned up an entire glass of lemonade Caleb dumped on the living room carpet

all in a day's work for a mommy, right?

I asked Justin to bring home dinner that night because I really couldn't take any more. :-)

...and what's the fascination with kids and the dog's food & water bowls? I can't keep Caleb out of them if the laundry room door is open. He wants to put things in the water (like dog food or himself) or throw dog food everywhere.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Trip to the Library (or What Was I Thinking!)

This morning, after laying on the couch for an unknown amount of time trying to recover from a poor night's sleep, I told Caleb it was time to go to the library. I needed to pick up a couple of books on preparing for a c-section that I had requested, and I wanted to get him a few books as well. "Let's go read some books at the library!!" We were both excited at the prospect of getting out of the house and staying in the air-conditioning.

I had visions of reading and sitting and quietness and reading and bonding and reading in my head as we drove the few miles to the library. It must be the pregnancy-induced mental craziness that made me think any of those things might happen. Anyone who's spent, oh, two seconds with my almost 22-month-old could have given me a big whack on the forehead for even envisioning such peace and tranquility.

So.

I underestimated the pandemonium that is the children's section of the library before noon in the middle of the summer. I'm so naive.

I spent the 30 or so minutes we were at the library chasing Caleb and trying to keep all the books on the shelves on the shelves. The three most exciting things to him were 1) the balloon behind the desk (oh.the.obsession.with.balloons!!), 2) the soccer ball sitting atop of the shelf of sports books, and 3) the turtle pillows in the back corner. When we found the turtle pillows, I was just glad to have a moment where I wasn't trying to pry him off a shelf or run faster than him to prevent any mishaps. You can see that the visions of reading and bonding and peace were dismissed as soon as we opened the library door.

I tried to walk him back over to the board books and attemp to find a few books that would interest him, but he would have no part of that. He wanted to touch all the babies and play with the toys other kids were playing with.

I decided that was enough, um, reading, and quickly grabbed a Thomas train book on our way to the reservation shelves. I found the two books I had requested and then attempted to wrangle Caleb into STANDING.IN.LINE for 5 or 50 minutes (what's the difference when you're almost two years old?).

I'll just hold to the fact that it's good for him to even be exposed to the library, right?

Reading? Maybe another day.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Fruit of the Spirit

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I'm humbled that someone nominated this blog to receive The Fruit of the Spirit graphic.

Trish at An Ordinary Life Artist says this about the graphic: "There are many blogger and non-bloggers alike who have agreed to partner with me in recognizing and honoring those whose writings, postings and lives exemplify how God works in and through His people. When we recognize Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit resides within us. It is the Holy Spirit who produces fruit in our lives ~ but He has also given us the honor and the duty of recognizing the fruit in other believers."

This girl (and this blog) are definitely a work in progress...God is refining me every single day. I'm honored that you choose to come here and see what He's doing in our lives.

I'm so blessed.

Belly Pic-29 Weeks

17 weeks:



29 weeks:



I had Justin take another picture of me yesterday. They don't do justice to how big my belly is getting. The shirt and skirt I'm wearing sort of hide things.


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