We’ve got a mover and a shaker!

After a bout of the blues, I think I’m ready to start writing again.  So much is going on that I don’t even know where to begin.  First things first, there is a human being in my belly and even though she’s 109 days from her due date, she’s already kicking and punching and somersaulting to get into this world.  And that is a seriously weird feeling that brings me pure joy.  My belly button is no longer round but is pulled into a line.  Almost all of my former tops are now midriffs, which, believe me, is not sexy.  And currently I’m battling a week long cold but I’m scared to take any medication that “not enough information exists” to know whether it is safe or not for the fragile fetus inside of me.  And such begins a lifelong priority switch where I will sacrifice any of my own comfort to protect this little being God has given me.

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We are rearranging furniture and painting rooms and doing way too much research frantically trying to prepare for something that’s impossible to fully prepare for.  We have been graciously given lots of hand-me-downs that keep my head from exploding when I start to think about what we will need.  In fact, this little chick already has 5 pairs of shoes!  Total diva in the womb, folks.

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So I will try to start catching this blog up on the whirlwind that has taken place over the last months, but for now I’m happy just to be breathing it all in as it comes.

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It’s been a while…

I thought because I wasn’t crying anymore that I had moved on….of course it wasn’t that simple.  Tears are only one symptom of grief.  Lately, I have been unfocused, unmotivated, and generally a sloth.  I found out yesterday that I have a vitamin D deficiency so hopefully when that is straightened out, the fatigue part will get better.  But the ache in my soul is still there.  The disappointment lingers.  That’s why I haven’t been writing.  It’s not that things haven’t been happening.

We spent Memorial Day at the lake with friends.  Here is a video of Lynne coaxing me to jump off the dock.

My super sweet neighbor Trudy brought me flowers from her lovely yard.

We painted our bedroom walls and trim.  It’s not ready to share, but here’s a sneak peek (mid-process shot):

We went to Dillon to celebrate my beautiful niece’s 8th birthday and made snow cones.

We went to see Lion King at the Peace Center.  I couldn’t take pictures but this video captures how completely spectacular it was better than my camera ever could.  The music, costumes, scenery, and atmosphere made it an unforgettable experience.  The first few minutes alone were worth every penny (and it was a BUNCH of pennies) we spent on the tickets.

Despite all of the great things that have been happening lately, there is a numbness in my heart that makes it hard to live in the moment and truly be present for the memories being created.  I hope that changes soon.  I have a beautiful life and I want to suck out every bit of its marrow.

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My Inner Artist

A few weeks ago, I joined a few friends for a class called Design with Wine.  It’s in downtown Greenville and the basic concept is that we bring the wine and they supply everything else you need to create your own little masterpiece.  Living Social had a great deal so we scooped it up and took our amateur painting skills out for a night on the town.

Here are some in process shots with the girls.  You can see our “teacher” in the background.  Her day job is preschool photographer so my biggest complaint of the night would definitely have to be being talked to like a 4 year old.  Other than that I think a good time was had by all.

Don’t ask me what Lynne is doing in that shot, because I don’t know.  Maybe trying to avoid a super-up-close picture.

About midway through my creative process:

And here’s my final product:

I was pretty pleased.  I mean, it’s not the Van Gogh that my sweet adorable husband made it out to be, but it’s something I would hang up in (a less frequented part of) my house.   And if you have classes like this in your area, I encourage you to try it out, particularly if you can find a discount.  I can assure you it takes no real skill and everyone’s paintings (there were probably 40-50 of us) looked roughly the same (i.e. no one screwed it up).  Not a bad deal to spend $15 and get a 2 hour class including all supplies and come out with something you can hang in your home.  Plus time with friends and wine is an added bonus.  That’s what I call money well spent, folks.

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My Love

The love of my life is 30 years old today so in honor of his 30 years of life, I made this list:

30 Reasons My Husband Is My Favorite Person on Earth.

  1.  He keeps my feet warm at night.
  2. He gives out free massages on a regular basis.
  3. He likes me best in sweatpants.
  4. He doesn’t mind painting a room every time I get a whim.  And again when I change my mind.
  5. He encourages me to pursue my dreams.
  6. He enjoys cooking together.
  7. He takes out the trash.
  8. He kills spiders and roaches.
  9. He is AMAZING with kids!
  10. He can cheer me up on my worst day.
  11. He knows how to let me grieve.
  12. Sometimes he says he is sorry even though we both know it was my fault.
  13. He makes me feel beautiful, smart, and talented.
  14. He proofreads my blog posts.
  15. He doesn’t have any enemies.
  16. He cooks me breakfast.
  17. He comes back to bed to cuddle with me on Saturday mornings.
  18. He plays with my hair to get me to stay up late and watch NBA basketball.
  19. He is a good partner for games and sports because he doesn’t get angry if I’m causing us to lose.
  20. He enjoys going to visit my nieces as much as I do.
  21. He is a loving brother and son.
  22. He and my mom are best buddies.
  23. He helps keep me mentally stable.
  24. He makes everyone feel loved and special.
  25. He tolerates my driving tips.
  26. He enjoys intense political discussion.
  27. He is always asking questions because he loves to learn.
  28. His sense of humor is unmatched.
  29. He can handle me when I’m needy and whiny.
  30. He can bust a move on the dance floor.

Happy birthday, Love!  Thank you for making the last 6 of years of my life utterly amazing!  I look forward to growing old and ornery with you.

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Things that are bringing me down lately… Part Two

Read Part One here or else this is going to get off to a very weird start.  Warning:  This post is going to get a little gross and graphic (and depressing), so if there happen to be any guys out there reading this and it makes you uncomfortable, to that I say: TRY BEING A GIRL AND DEAL WITH IT IN REAL LIFE, you freakin wuss.  Also, as I mentioned in the previous  post, humor is my coping mechanism so if that appalls you, you may want to exit now.

Last Monday I noticed a light brown color when I went to the bathroom.  I called the nurse on Monday and she told me not to worry, that brown means old blood and it’s a common sign of “implantation.”  That means the egg is burrowing its way into my uterus lining.  Weird, right?  She told me brown was fine but to call if I started seeing bright red.  Well the light brown gradually turned to a very dark brown/black and then I started seeing clots.  Some of the clots had spots of bright red.  I cried on the toilet.  For some reason, crying on the toilet always makes a situation seem so much more hopeless.  Unfortunately I know this from experience.  If I have a bad day at work, like the time I found out one of my clients died, I go in the bathroom stall and cry because I don’t have a door in my office.  I also cried on the toilet  this time when I had a negative pregnancy test.  So now you know about my propensity for crying on toilets.

That night, I read an online pregnancy forum, and a woman mentioned that her clots weren’t big enough to be a baby.  At that moment, I thought, “Oh God, am I supposed to be looking for a baby??”  I knew from tracking my pregnancy that it was supposed to be only about the size of a blueberry, but surprisingly already looked a miniature baby, only without fingers and toes yet.  Is that what would I would see?  And what would I do if I found it?  Now that’s an awkward conversation to have with your husband, because if a baby does come out, it’s his baby too, so does he want me to wash it off and stick it in my pocket and come show it to him so we can have a proper burial?  This stuff was getting very science fiction very fast and I was in way over my head in finding the emotions to deal with this .

I called the nurse back on Friday morning to tell her about the new developments.  She still acted hopeful that everything was fine, but I could tell there was doubt in her voice this time around.  I had read the websites and knew that most likely this was the beginning of the end of my very short pregnancy.  She told me to call the emergency line if things got worse over the weekend.

The worst thing about all of this was the timing.  The nurse had told me to “take it easy” over the weekend.  Well this weekend happened to be my best friend’s wedding.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to “take it easy” when no one knows I’m pregnant and I have no visible excuse for sitting on my butt while everyone else works their tail off to get things decorated and ready?  Maybe I should have worn an ankle brace or something?  And the few people there that do know I’m pregnant (because my best friend didn’t realize it was still a secret and told them–either because I forgot to tell her or because she was so busy trying to plan a wedding and forgot) don’t know anything is wrong because I don’t want my best friend to find out what is really going on and put a dark cloud over her happy day.  So I have to put on a very happy face while strangers congratulate me on a pregnancy that I’m pretty sure is ending and then run around like crazy putting flowers into vases and steady my husband as he climbs onto stools to hang stuff and also be the person she vents to while she is stressed to the max, all while my heart is slowly breaking in two with each bathroom trip because the symptoms just keep getting worse.  And as I watch her walk down the aisle, I am so conflicted with happiness and sadness at the same moment that I thought my heart might burst from confusion.  And at that point, I decide eff it,  I’m just going to have a good time and forget about my worry, frustration, and disappointment and stop thinking that somehow I can control the outcome.  So I dance, which is the first love of my life, by the way.  And I pick up the adorable little girl who wants me to hold her even though I’m not supposed to lift anything.  And I stay until midnight cleaning up like a matron of honor is supposed to do.  I have a good, exhausting time.

Sunday night I call the on-call doctor to discuss my symptoms.  He tells me they can switch my appointment from Tuesday to Monday.  I ask if it could possibly make any difference in what is happening.  He compassionately but honestly tells me no; it would just be for answers.  I already know what the answer is.  Since a change would mean that Day had to cancel more patients and try to reschedule his other ones, we just decided to keep it on Tuesday.  It was the right decision.

I leave work on Monday afternoon because I can’t focus.  I tell my boss that I might not be in the next day.  She is very supportive.  Monday night I started having lower back and stomach pain.  Tuesday morning Davison and I head to the doctor’s office.  As we sit and wait, I watch all the pregnant woman pass by and tell Day I might try to punch them in the stomach on the way out.  (Disclaimer:  I don’t condone violence against pregnant women.  They can’t help their perfect uteruses (uterii??).)  They take us back to the ultrasound room.  As instructed, I unbutton my jeans, pull up my shirt and she puts hot jelly on my belly. She tells me she is going to try to avoid sticking a wand up my vagina (not her exact words).  I appreciate her approach very much.   She hasn’t rubbed the wand on my stomach for 5 seconds before she says, “this isn’t going to work.” And I realize this day is going to be as difficult as it can possibly be.  She hands me some tissue to “clean up” and tells me to go empty my bladder.  I come back and go into a closet to undress from the waist down.  I wrap a paper gown around me and go climb back onto the bed and put my feet in the stirrups.  God bless this woman who doesn’t feel like she has to get up close and personal with my lady parts and instead tells me to put my hand under the gown and “guide” the wand in.  I grab my husband’s hand as she puts pressure on my insides.  Nothing.  She tells us she can’t see the sac. Now I have seen a good bit of ultrasounds in my day (friends’, relatives’, etc.) so when she shows us the screen and there is just one big blur, I know that that’s not good.  I don’t cry.  She says that there’s a lot of “stuff” in there and it’s possible that it’s too thick for her to see.  She says she is going to let us talk to the doctor.  I get dressed and they take me to another room while we wait.

The doctor comes in and tells us that it is a miscarriage.  I don’t cry.  She is very sweet, reminding me that it wasn’t anything I did and that they usually don’t recommend a fertility specialist until after 2 or 3 miscarriages.  She tells me to expect 2 weeks of bleeding, one week heavy, one week light, and six weeks of spotting.  And there will be cramping.  She still wants to examine me.  I get undressed a second time, climb up, feet in stirrups.  Feeling dejected and like a lab rat at this point.  She is not as timid as the first lady and gets very personal with my privates.  Forceps then hand.  I’m squeezing Day’s hand again.  She says that my body is responding appropriately and she expects that everything will resolve on its own. Come back in six weeks.  She also adds “it just sucks,” which I really appreciate.  She tells me I shouldn’t go back to work that day or the next.  I get dressed for the second time.

On the way out, I hand my paper from the doctor to the lady at the checkout desk.   She examines it, puzzled, and asks what my next appointment is for so she can put it in the computer.  I tell her it’s to make sure I’ve miscarried properly.  I still don’t cry. Her face fills with sympathy and she tells me how sorry she is.  She tells me she miscarried too and eventually our bodies get it right.  She now has two kids.

The minute we get to those double doors that lead to the parking lot, I turn on like a faucet.  We walk to the car and I realize that  people can see me but I can’t stop.  We go through a drive through for lunch and I keep crying.  I have to text friends and family to give them the news.  I stop crying before we get home.  Day doesn’t leave my side and I’m so grateful for that because I don’t want to be alone with my thoughts for very long.  I don’t cry again until we get into bed that night.  He holds me.  I have a heating pad for the pain.  The next morning I wake up and feel like I’m bleeding heavily.  I go to the bathroom and see a large pinkish clump.  I realize this is probably the baby.  Luckily it doesn’t look like a baby at all because it is surrounded by hard pink tissue.  Thank God I didn’t try to back to work too soon because I can’t imagine seeing that somewhere other than my own private bathroom.  I stay in bed until noon and Day stays there with me.  After that happened, the bleeding began to subside.  My pain became much more tolerable.  I’m guessing/hoping  the worst is over.

And that, my dear friends, is what my miscarriage experience was like.  Yes, it’s difficult to talk/write about, but if we are more open then maybe we won’t feel so alone when it happens.  We won’t be so scared and we won’t have to troll pregnancy forums to find others who have shared our experiences because we will know a friend we can call.  There’s a lot more of us out there than we realize.

Let me also say that in no way do I compare my experience to women who experience the loss of a child after it is born or even later in their pregnancy.  I did not know anything about my baby.  It did not have a name or a sex. I hadn’t begun to talk to it since it couldn’t hear just yet.  I never felt a kick.  It didn’t really have any characteristics that I would attribute to a personality, other than it didn’t particularly care for meat.  Therefore, I don’t feel like my grief is the result of a loss of a child, although there may be others who do feel that way.  My grief is more disappointment, hurt, lack of understanding.  I was ecstatic about having a baby.  I daydreamed about being a mother, making memories, teaching my child about life.  My grief is more like having a dream shattered.  I know that dream can be rebuilt, but at the time it doesn’t feel that way.  I imagine that this pain will grow deeper if I experience another miscarriage.  I know there is a one in four chance that this will happen.  That is terrifying.  But it’s also life.  If we never risked heartache, pain and disappointment, we would never know love or success or even friendship.

And after all is said and done, here is what I know about myself:

I am strong.  I am resilient.  I will make a damn good mother.

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Things that are bringing me down lately… Part One

So today my doctor confirmed what I already knew…I am experiencing a miscarriage.  I have decided to share my story, because even though I hadn’t made my pregnancy known to the general public yet and could hide this away without most people knowing it ever happened, I think it’s important for me to work through it and also because you never know who is reading your blog and getting encouragement from it.  (Case in point here at my old, old blog.)

As a warning, I use humor as a coping mechanism, so if this post doesn’t sound like it’s coming from someone who just lost a baby (I hate that term, like I was irresponsible and left it somewhere like my sunglasses), it’s because everyone grieves in their own way so sorry if I don’t live up to your expectations.

It will be a two part story:  First, the happy part where I find out a little sesame seed is growing in my belly giving me diarrhea and making me take naps like a 3 year old; then the not so happy part where the little blueberry is nowhere to be found but feels like its in there clawing away at my lower abdomen and kicking me in the lower back.  Let’s start with the happy, okay?  Okay.

In March, on the day I was supposed to start my period, I had a sneaking suspicion that maybe our baby-making efforts for the previous two months had been successful.   I had read on a couple of blogs (including this hilarious one)  that dollar stores sell pregnancy tests that are just as accurate so I decided I’d give it a whirl.  And yes, I had to ask for it behind the counter because it’s a popular target for cleptos.  I asked the clerk for two and she says, “What brand?”  I say I don’t care since they are all generic and I’ve never heard of any of them, and then she sweetly gives me two different kinds because apparently most people feel more confident in the results if they try two different brands.  She also tells me that’s what she did.

What the blogs didn’t tell me (and maybe this wasn’t their experience) is that the dollar store tests are like a science experiment.  You don’t pee on a stick and then you’re done.  There are medicine droppers and pH strips involved and some assembly is required.  I think I’ll pay the extra money in the future to avoid the superfluous urine handling that is involved by saving a few bucks.  Anyway, I took these tests and one was negative and the other was very vaguely positive.  I didn’t trust the contradictory results from my science experiment  tests and longed for the simple pee on a stick method.  So the following day, I went to good ol’ Publix and bought a few more.

Now I believe cashiers are supposed to be discreet about this kind of thing but apparently the guy at Publix doesn’t know universal pregnancy test protocol because he decided we should have a conversation about my purchase.  He says “So are you hoping???”  And what if I wasn’t?  What if I was in an abusive relationship and was praying to God that I hadn’t brought a child into that situation?  What if I was having an affair and wasn’t sure the child was my husband’s?  But I’m too polite (or actually aware of grocery store banter protocol) to bring up these possible scenarios to the cashier and simply answer “yes.”  But that wasn’t  enough for him.  He says, “Are you hoping for a boy or girl?”  I, still being way too polite to this complete stranger intruding into my very personal life, say, “well it’s way too early for that, but if I had to say right now, I think I’d say a girl because I’ve had more practice with them.”  Then, and I’m not making this ish up, the guy in the checkout line behind me chimes in and says, “Be careful what you wish for.  I have one of those.”  Great folks, why don’t we just announce it over the Publix loudspeaker and let all the customers and employees have a chance to weigh in on my fertility?

I go straight home and happily pee on my expensive, unmessy pee sticks and both show up clearly positive.  My mom is there but Davison is not.  God knows she can’t keep a secret or a straight face so I decide to lie to her and tell her I’m waiting to take them when Davison gets home.  When he gets home, I set up my camera to video his reaction in the guest bedroom (aka future nursery), press record,  and stuff a pillow under my shirt as a “too excited to think of something really creative” way to tell him.  Of course I’m chomping at the bit to get this huge secret off my chest, but my mama, God bless her soul, has no idea what’s going on and starts a conversation with him as soon as he walks in the door.  I’m trying to be patient and not obvious, but the camera only records for a few minutes before it stops, so I have to start yelling for him to come talk to me.  Here is the awkward video, which I’m not ready to watch again yet, but will share with you.  And here is a pregnancy pic, which is sort of a joke because you really can’t see a baby bump in the first 8 weeks, but I know every blog post needs pictures.

The next few weeks I spent mentally decorating both a boy and girl nursery, figuring out what my insurance is going to cover, avoiding deli meats, sleeping, reading pregnancy books/websites/blogs, sleeping, and just smiling a whole bunch.  We did tell my bffs, some close family members, and several coworkers so that they didn’t think I was just a lazy bum for going home to sleep all the time.

To be continued with the not so happy part….

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Things that make me happy lately…

My first nephew!  You can’t see it in this picture, but there’s a baby in that belly (the one on the left for clarification purposes).  In fact, Whitney didn’t even know she was pregnant when this picture was taken.  I’m sorry I don’t have a cute baby bump picture, but I haven’t seen her in a couple of months.  Give me two weeks and I’ll have an update because we are scheduled to see them really soon.  Also for clarification purposes, my husband is not the father, but this happens to be the most recent picture I have of Whitney.  We are super excited to meet the little guy in September and also excited because it means the Smiths will be moving to SC in the near future.

Spending time with friends.  We had a date with the Tissots a couple of weekends ago and it was good for my soul.  Kimberly is one of the most ambitious people I’ve ever met, so spending time with her is a good kick in the pants to remind me to take off the cruise control, quit letting fear and self-doubt get in the way, make a plan, and go after it.  Not to mention that I always enjoy the laughs and delicious cuisine from Mr. Tissot, and the sweet hugs from Carter.

Answered prayers.  We went to a baby shower on Saturday for a couple that has had many heartbreaks in their journey to have a child, and they are set to have a little boy in early July!  It was such a sweet and endearing gathering.

Beautiful weather.  While my sinuses absolutely hate me right now, my heart loves playing outside in the springtime.  Maybe I should just wear a gas mask?   That’s a look that will coming to a runway near you as soon as the trend catches on.  I’m also trying to bring pale skin back, so be on the lookout for that as well.

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Semi-homemade Pizza

This recipe is a regular around our household.  And while we know we need to switch to a wheat dough, I’ve heard that Publix’s wheat dough doesn’t hold a candle to the one we currently use.  So if you know of a good healthy easy pizza dough that I can sub in, feel free to chime in!

So here are my ingredients:

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Publix pizza dough (pictured below)

All purpose flour

Olive Oil

Minced Garlic

Basil Pesto

Mozzarella Cheese

Goat cheese

Sun-dried Tomatoes

Kalamata Olives

Wine to keep you company while you cook.

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Here’s a pic of the pizza dough….the instructions are printed right on the back so it’s easy as (pizza) pie:

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Roll out the dough like so and spread a couple of tbsps of olive oil around.  Please meet my lovely Sous Chef, the handsome hubby:

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Next, take 2-3 tbsps of pesto and a tbsp of minced garlic and repeat the spreading.

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Take some spinach leaves and cover the center of the pizza.

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Take some mozzarella and place on top of the spinach.  We always keep the string cheese version on hand for quick snacks, so we just peel it apart to put on our pizza.  Feel free to use the normal shredded kind to save yourself some trouble, although I think that might be a fun helping task if you have any kids.

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Next, have some fun with toppings.  We sprinkle crumbled goat cheese, sundried tomatoes, and kalamata olives (only on my portion) and it is delish.  The combos are endless though so get wild and crazy.

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Pop it in the oven according to the directions on the dough.  WARNING:  ours usually comes out before the full amount of time has passed.  I think 15 minutes is about the norm for us, although it could just be our oven.

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And YUM!  This one was left in for 18 minutes (my bad) and it was a tad overcooked.  Don’t mind the dirty stove–real people live here!  Use your leftover spinach to make a salad to go with it and you have a hearty meal for 3 adults.  That concludes today’s lesson of Cooking for Dummies..now go make some yummy food!

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Dining Overload

I know I’ve had several posts related to my dining room lately but Thrifty Decor Chick is having a dining room party over at her blog so I need to consolidate my dining room posts into one convenient location because I don’t want to miss it!  Plus, I’ve added a few accessories since the last time you stopped by!

The plant is new and so are the IKEA vases.  I wanted to put some fresh flowers in there, but unfortunately we are in between blooms at our house and I didn’t feel like getting out to buy some.  So there.

You may recall from this post that I put peacock paper in to brighten up the hutch.

And my two lovelies in the corner.

And in the final corner:

I added some lemons for a little color and a cute little pitcher from Ikea to the Baker’s rack.  To see what this room looked like before, click on over to this post.  And for your viewing pleasure, check out some amazing dining rooms over at this party:

Show Us Your House

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Ah, sibling love

More house projects coming really soon, but in the meantime….

Interaction between my nieces Brylee (2 and 1/2 years old) and Raylin (almost 8 years old), and their mom, Nichole:

Brylee is yelling in the car.

Nichole:  “Brylee, please be quiet; Mommy has a headache.”

Brylee continues despite the request.

Raylin:  “Mama SAID be quiet.  She has a headache.”

Brylee dives at her sister, clawing at her face.

Raylin screams and starts to cry loudly.

Brylee: “Be quiiiiiet, Ray-Ray!!  Mommy’s got a headache!!”

And yet she looks so sweet and innocent:

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