A Little Free Library Ribbon Cutting

The Little Free Library- An adorable free program for neighborhoods...take a book....leave a bookI LOVE our neighborhood.  Not only do we have fantastic neighbors, sidewalks that go for miles and a resort-relaxing pool, but our community events are to die for.  In a couple of weeks, we’ll host the Southern Flame BBQ festival….blue grass music, picnics, and BBQ contests.  Last weekend we had a ribbon cutting ceremony for our newest neighborhood amenity.This neighborhood installed a little free library by their playground for kids to borrow books!This neighborhood had a ribbon-cutting ceremony and party for their Little Free Library unveiling!This neighborhood installed a little free library by their playground for kids to borrow books!Down by the treehouse, next to a bench nestled in some flowers, is a Little Free Library.  It holds about 25 books for children that are rotated out occasionally.  The kids can ride their bikes through the neighborhood and to the farmhouse {our community center} to borrow or return a book whenever they’d like.  Or they can sit on the bench and read while siblings play in the massive treehouse that is also there.This neighborhood had an adorable ribbon-cutting ceremony {complete with oversized scissors!} for their Little Free Library unveiling!Checking out the bench by the Little Free Library in the neighborhoodOn Sunday, our neighborhood had the official grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony for the Little Free Library.  We arrived early, so the girls got chosen to use the ginormous scissors to cut the ribbon.  They were thrilled!  And because our Little Free Library has been registered, we are now apart of a huge community of neighborhood and local Little Free Libraries...very cool program, that anyone can participate in.  Check out all the different types of structures on their Pinterest Page.This neighborhood installed a little free library by their playground for kids to borrow books!Since we have several parks and green spaces in our neighborhood, I wouldn’t be surprised if more Little Free Libraries started popping up all over!  I’m hoping for one with adult fiction next.Neighbors and local businesses donated books to be borrowed at this adorable neighborhood's Little Free Library. So cute and such a great idea!Natalie Daise from Gullah Gullah Island told stories and sang songs at this precious neighborhood party celebrating their new Little Free Library!Our Community Association did a fantastic job with the reception following the ribbon cutting ceremony.  Chick-fila was sweet enough to provide some yummy snacks for everyone, and Natalie Daise from Gullah Gullah Island on Nick Jr. came and told some fantastic stories. It was a lovely was to spend a beautiful Sunday afternoon!Chick-fil-a donated goodies and lemonade for this adorable Little Free Library unveiling party!Oh my goodness, I wish I lived in this neighborhood with sidewalks, green grass and farmhouses!!!

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CeraVe Five Minute Face Routine

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CeraVeSkincare  #CollectiveBias

So, it’s not any secret that I have never been one to really fuss about my appearance or go to any great lengths to take care of my skin.  I’m more about function and comfort over style.  But now that I’m getting ready to hit the big 3-5, I’ve got to start buckling down on my skincare.  Buuuuuuut…..I also have three kids under 8 to get ready for school in the mornings, so I literally have maybe 5 minutes to get myself ready before someone is crying about sock seams or spilling cereal all over the kitchen.  So today I wanted to share with you my secret to a five minute face.This busy mom's five minute face routine to start the day off right! #CeraVeSkincare #ad #CollectiveBias #cbias #skincareNot only do I have some fine lines and wrinkles, but I also am prone to eczema and skin cancer runs in my family.  So, needless to say, I am big on lotion and sunscreen!

I did a little research and found out that your skin contains ceramides, which help your skin retain moisture {like a moisture barrier}.  As you get older, your ceramides start to break down and not retain as much moisture, causing dry or irritated skin. CeraVe helps replenish the vital ceramides healthy skin needs.  Rather than just moisturizing the surface of the skin, CeraVe products release their ingredients slowly.  So over the next 24 hours, your skin is getting hydrated, nourished, repaired and restored.

But best of all, my sensitive skin is loving that CeraVe is non-irritating, fragrance-free and most are non-comedogenic {doesn’t block your pores!}.This busy mom's five minute face routine to start the day off right! #CeraVeSkincare #ad #CollectiveBias #cbias #skincareAnd just for you, I’m gonna share my five minute face routine using a combination of CeraVe products and my own make-up.

Ok, if you are like me, you probably forgot to wash your face last night.  So you definitely  need to start off with the CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser or the CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser, which will clean off all of yesterday’s dirt, oil and make-up.  I keep a soft washcloth that’s saturated in warm water at the ready, in order to speed up the rinsing process {and avoid the water drips all over the counter and sink!}This busy mom's five minute face routine to start the day off right! #CeraVeSkincare #ad #CollectiveBias #cbias #skincareNext, I use the CeraVe Sunscreen Face Lotion SPF 50 to moisturize and protect my face for the day. I let it soak in for a few minutes while I brush my teeth, use the  CeraVe Moisturizing Cream on the rest of my body, and get dressed.This busy mom's five minute face routine to start the day off right! #CeraVeSkincare #ad #CollectiveBias #cbias #skincareThen, for my {secret} last step, I mix a dollop of my liquid foundation/concealer with CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion.  So as I’m applying another lightweight sun protection, I’m also covering my face with foundation.  This also helps cut down on the amount of foundation that I use.  I like to go over my face quickly with my foundation brush as well, to make sure there are no streaks and everything is applied evenly.This busy mom's five minute face routine to start the day off right! #CeraVeSkincare #ad #CollectiveBias #cbias #skincareThen, mascara, lip gloss and go!  The whole “routine” takes me about 5 minutes, which includes dressing myself!  And I know that not only am I presentable for the day, but I’m also helping out my skin in the long term.

You can find CeraVe products at Walmart, who has these three items on Rollback until 5/9/2016…they are each only $9.97 until then!

  • CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser
  • CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser
  • CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

The Hydrating Cleanser, Foaming Facial Cleanser, and AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion are on the face care aisle, and the Moisturizing Cream is located down the skin care aisle. The CeraVe sunscreen can be found on the sun care aisle.This busy mom's five minute face routine to start the day off right! #CeraVeSkincare #ad #CollectiveBias #cbias #skincare

Get a get a $2 off coupon for any CeraVe product!

Find out more about CeraVe on their social networks:
Facebook/Twitter/YouTube

What’s your secret to a 5 minute face in the morning?

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A Garden Story: Part One

I’m not sure how well you know me, or how long you’ve been following my blog, but you may remember that we are wanna-be farmers.  Our dream is to someday own some land, renovate a little farmhouse, grow our own veggies and have a few farm animals.  But for now, we just need to master our little yard garden!  Our tiny garden at our old house was FANTASTIC.  Then we moved and took a year to settle in and build a fence.  But the first year we had our  garden at our new house, it did great.  More tomatoes than I knew what to do with.  But every season since then, our garden has produced….but been kinda pathetic.A Garden Story: How #RitasRoots brought our #garden back to life, and the mistakes we made! #greenthumb #veggiegardenWe couldn’t figure out what we were doing wrong.  We bought all of our veggies from Lowe’s and planted them in March each year….nothing.  So when a friend told us about a local company who specialized in edible garden planning, we pounced on the idea.  Rita herself, from Rita’s Roots, came out to the house to assess our garden.  She had tons of handy tools to test our soil and check our sunlight situation.  Then we filled out a little questionnaire about our fruit and veggie preferences.A Garden Story: How #RitasRoots brought our #garden back to life, and the mistakes we made! #greenthumb #veggiegardenShe even helped us come up with a “Phase 2” and “Phase 3”  for our master garden plan, including a second garden on the other side of our yard {where there’s full sun}, fruit trees and edible landscaping for the front of the house as well.  The whole process was really easy, and she taught us to much!A Garden Story: How #RitasRoots brought our #garden back to life, and the mistakes we made! #greenthumb #veggiegardenThen, Rita came back about two weeks later, with literally a truckload of dirt, tools and seedlings.  While I played photographer, Dave and Rita planted our garden!

Apparently, our mistakes in previous years were buying less-than-ideal and not-region-specific plants from Lowe’s, not fortifying our soil {ever}, and planting everything in one weekend {rather than during the appropriate months!}.  Whoops.A Garden Story: How #RitasRoots brought our #garden back to life, and the mistakes we made! #greenthumb #veggiegardenSo now our little garden is on the mend!…Stay tuned!

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Eight Years Down, Forever to Go

It’s our anniversary!  Eight whirlwind years ago, Dave and I tied the knot.  It’s hard to believe it’s only been eight years, but yet it’s flown by.It's Our Anniversary! Read a little more about all of the crazy things we've done in the past 8 years. #anniversary #marriage #honeymoonWe’ve brought 3 beautiful children into the world, mourned the passing of 3 grandparents, lived in 3 different homes, payed off 6 different cars, been to 8 weddings, visited 9 states and 1 other country together {Jamaica on our honeymoon!}, taught 6 Dave Ramsey Financial Peace Classes, belonged to 2 churches, kissed 14,673 times, been skiing twice, and have officially made the switch from fried to smoked turkey on Thanksgiving.It's Our Anniversary! Read a little more about all of the crazy things we've done in the past 8 years. #anniversary #marriage #honeymoonWe’ve accomplished a lot.  In only 8 years.  And we’ve had a blast doing it all.  We are perfect partners, best friends, and fantastic parents {if I do say so myself!}.It's Our Anniversary! Read a little more about all of the crazy things we've done in the past 8 years. #anniversary #marriage #honeymoonWe got engaged while skiing {for the first time together} at Beech Mountain with some friends in January of 2007.  Dave totally surprised me during an evening stroll after a day of skiing, with a gorgeous diamond and a gazillion promises while we stood on a cliff overlooking the valley.  Perfection!It's Our Anniversary! Read a little more about all of the crazy things we've done in the past 8 years. #anniversary #marriage #honeymoonWe got married on April 12, 2008 and had our reception at Magnolia Plantation on a rainy afternoon.  Our photography package was terrible and kind of before digital photos were mainstream, so you’ll have to come visit me in order to flip through our wedding album.  The weather sucked, but ask anyone…we had one heck of a party!It's Our Anniversary! Read a little more about all of the crazy things we've done in the past 8 years. #anniversary #marriage #honeymoonHappy Anniversary, Babe…..here’s to a million more! Love you!
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Sunday Scripture: Healed

Happy Easter!  Savor this weekend {and spring break} for the time with family, the spring air, and the general sense of renewal.  But always remember the real reason for the season….Sunday Scripture: Healed {A verse about the most important part of Easter}Source: Pinterest

I can remember as a kid, having mixed emotions about Easter.  I loved the candy and egg hunts, but couldn’t understand why more people weren’t sad in church.  I fixated on the gruesome details of the Easter story…the betrayal, the torture, the death, the depression and sorrow.  It was not until I was an adult did I figure out that although all of those parts were essential, they were just the beginning of the story.Sunday Scripture: Healed {A verse about the most important part of Easter}Source: Moritz Fine Blog Designs

I realized that the most important part of the story is that it all happened for us.  Jesus dying on the cross was the ultimate sacrifice…and allows all of our sins, mistakes, and transgressions to be forgiven.Sunday Scripture: Healed {A verse about the most important part of Easter}Source: Zulily 

{This is an affiliate link, which means if you click it and buy something, I get a percentage of your purchase. Thanks!}

While I was looking for an image for this Sunday Scripture verse, I found hundreds.  I literally could not decide which one to use.  And I loved that I found it on canvases, teeshirts, screensavers, iPhone cases, and coffee mugs.  The reason why I love that?  Because it should be a daily reminder for all of us.  It’s what our faith was built on…the most important thing ever.Sunday Scripture: Healed {A verse about the most important part of Easter}Source: Fresh Farmhouse on Tumblr

I hear people’s stories all the time…about how they think their past {or present} is so terrible….how could God love them enough to forgive them?

Easy peasy.  He already has.

So, again, Happy Easter!Sunday Scripture: Healed {A verse about the most important part of Easter}Source: @powertochange

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{From the Archives} Swim Lessons for Little Fish

Happy Thursday!  I thought I’d do a little throw-back today in honor of Spring Break and our pool opening!  I stumbled across this post from July of 2012, our first summer in this house, with a community pool…and the first swim lessons for Jayna!

It’s amazing to look at how empty the pool is in these pictures as well…we only had about 30 houses in the neighborhood back then….we have over 300 now {with only a fraction of the neighborhood built out so far!}  Needless to say, the days of having the pool to ourselves, is over.

So enjoy my little trip down memory lane….

As y’all know, Mom Mom has been with us for the past week.  We had a wonderful visit!  It’s always such a treat to watch the girls interact with her.  Even though she lives a gazillion miles away (Jayna’s measurement!), each time she picks up right where she left off!

This week was no exception.  Mom Mom was able to step into our routine right as Swim Lessons were about to start!  Actually, I believe this is the fourth week of lessons, but Jayna has really been hit or miss with them.  She loves the water and desperately wants to know how to swim….she just can’t relax and get out of her head enough to actually do it!  Until….this week!  Having Mom Mom around to “show off” for really made a difference in her confidence levels.A #TBT to the girls' first swim lessons....and the pool to ourselves!She is in a class with four other kids about her age, and they have Ms. Phoebe (the instructor) and Mr. Aaron (a high school helper) showing them how to correctly do the strokes.  And they do it in the deep end with noodles!A #TBT to the girls' first swim lessons....and the pool to ourselves!Since the start of swim lessons last month, Jayna can swim under water, with freestyle-stroke arms for about three strokes before popping up for air!A #TBT to the girls' first swim lessons....and the pool to ourselves!And Ms. Millie is right behind her…. I discovered this week that Amelia loves to swim in the pool too!  She kicks her legs and only drinks ‘some’ of the salty pool water….A #TBT to the girls' first swim lessons....and the pool to ourselves!And she loves “jumping” in from the side of the pool!  I count to three and she takes a deep breath….and dunk! She comes up smiling and says “Tada!” everytime!A #TBT to the girls' first swim lessons....and the pool to ourselves!She made the funniest faces when she took her big breath on the count of three!
A #TBT to the girls' first swim lessons....and the pool to ourselves!A #TBT to the girls' first swim lessons....and the pool to ourselves!And then she would ask for “more.”  Over. and over. and over…A #TBT to the girls' first swim lessons....and the pool to ourselves!We love that Mom Mom was able to capture all of these pictures (usually I’m by myself at the pool with them, so no time for pics!).A #TBT to the girls' first swim lessons....and the pool to ourselves!A #TBT to the girls' first swim lessons....and the pool to ourselves!We loooooooove the pool!A #TBT to the girls' first swim lessons....and the pool to ourselves!

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Easter Decor from Goodwill

*This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Goodwill Stores.  I was compensated for the items in the post.  As always, opinions are my own.*

Easter baskets are tricky these days.  I see these pre-made shrink-wrapped towers in the grocery stores….full of tons of candy and plastic toys that the kids don’t care about {or need}. But in our house, we keep the Easter Bunny hoopla to a minimum.  The Easter Bunny only brings one basket for our family, and it’s typically filled with needed items, or things that get the kids excited for upcoming spring/summer events.  But this year, we decided to be even more thrifty and creative and get our Easter decor from Goodwill.How to shop for Easter Decor from GoodwillWe are fortunate enough to have three Goodwill Stores in our town, but I hadn’t been inside of one in awhile.  But I had an open mind, looking for ideas for a themed Easter basket, or any other decor I could you to spring-ify my house.

First stop, the home decor section….they had shelves and shelves of baskets.  Some pretty, some not so pretty, but at all three stores had a huge selection available.  I was able to find a really big basket with a handle that would be perfect for filling up for my three kids.How to shop for Easter Decor from GoodwillAnd I loved that Goodwill made it really easy to fill the baskets.  At all three stores had complete Easter displays featuring a combination of thrifted decor and brand new Easter grass, eggs, candy, stickers, egg dying kits, etc.How to shop for Easter Decor from GoodwillHow to shop for Easter Decor from GoodwillHow to shop for Easter Decor from GoodwillSo now I just needed to find some themed items to complete my basket.  I loved how Goodwill had a separate rack for children’s Easter outfits.  It was super easy to put together a couple of matching outfits for the kids….looks like teal is in this year!How to shop for Easter Decor from GoodwillWith the girls starting softball and ballet this spring, I also thought about doing a sports themed basket.  The abundance of cleats and helmets was crazy! How to shop for Easter Decor from GoodwillMy other idea was a basket of family games.  The girls are finally old enough to understand and play by the rules, and I actually enjoy the few games we already play at the house.  I was amazed at Goodwill’s selection {and the quality} of games.  And yes, that is a karaoke machine on the bottom shelf!

P.S. See the numbers on the boxes?  Goodwill has sales throughout the week and reduces the prices on certain number by 50% off!  And, you can get double points on your Goodwill card on Wednesdays!How to shop for Easter Decor from Goodwill The other thing I was pleasantly surprised by was the amount of items on the racks that were brand new.  Including bathing suits!  I was able to find appropriate sizes {plus a sun hat for Linc} for the kiddos, and decided to make that my final choice for my themed basket.  So after my purchase…including the basket, grass and Easter eggs, I am pretty much ready for Easter!How to shop for Easter Decor from Goodwill

But, on my way out, a few things in the home decor area caught my eye.  I loaded up on a faux boxwood bush, a LOVE sign, and a cute little praying rabbit to complete my mantle.  I just love the way the whites and creams are accented with my DIY burlap bunting and the simple little cross that Jayna and I made years ago.How to shop for Easter Decor from GoodwillAnd see the cute little nest of eggs?  I used a couple of the Easter eggs that I bought to create that little beauty….come back on Thursday to see the tutorial!  Didn’t my Easter decor from Goodwill turn out wonderfully?  You should go see what treasures you can find at your local Goodwill StoresPalmettos and Pigtails Signature

A Long Road

There is a road here in the LowCountry that I travel on at least once a week.  It’s by far my favorite road in the area.  The speed limit is decent, you can pass, and it’s a straight shot to Costco and Five-Eighths Seams.  It’s a good half an hour drive at least, and every time I have to make it, I get lost in the scenery and inevitably in my thoughts.  The road is lined with beautiful oak trees that hang over the road, creating a tunnel for miles and miles.

Ashley River Road 1.8 mi N of Bees Ferry Rd

Route 61 {aka Ashley River Road} is home to three beautiful plantations, one being my personal favorite, Magnolia Plantation.  I have a special spot in my heart for Magnolia because Dave and I had our wedding reception there back in 2008, and it was also the location of my very first client wedding back when I was a wedding planner.  Many, many hours were spent wandering the gardens and swamps.

House at Magnolia Plantation

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Magnolia Plantation and Gardens - Charleston, South Carolina (8556594404)

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Magnolia Plantation and Gardens - Charleston, South Carolina (8556576156)

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And so it never fails.  Every time I drive down this road, I just get surrounded by all of these memories.  All thanks to the beautiful drive to Costco.  And so this is my little silver lining in my humdrum errand running.

What’s your daily silver lining?

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Sunday Scripture: Greater

It’s one of the most quoted scriptures in the Bible….you see it on Christian coffee mugs and teeshirts, constant motivation that God is with us as we strive toward our hopes and dreams.  I’m certainly not a Biblical scholar, but even I know {after reading the whole verse}, that John was actually referring to false prophets….people who claim that Jesus and the Bible are not enough.  But even though consumerism kinda picks and chooses catchy verses to print, I still see some similarities between the two interpretations.  Because when you are following your dreams, there are bound to be obstacles.  And I know for me, most of those obstacles are in my head.  I’ll tell myself I’m not good enough, I’m not cut out for this, it’s not “my time.”  But after reading this verse, maybe John is warning against the critics in my brain.

Sunday Scripture: Greater.....when you listen to the critics

Thanks to It’s All About Christ’s Tumblr Page for today’s image!

Because, as they say, “I can do all things in Christ.”  So why do I doubt myself?  Or, why do I doubt my worth?  Or, why do I doubt God…who ultimately loves me and wants me to succeed.  So, I keep my eye on the prize, knowing that He is cheering for me the whole way.

Have a blessed week!

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An Atlanta Birthday Surprise

My baby turned seven last week.  It’s just so hard for me to believe that it’s been seven years since our little family of two became three {and then four, and then five…}.  Her birth was the just the beginning of the chaos that we lovingly call our life now!  But unfortunately, Jayna was born in the beginning of February, which is usually the first month of “real” winter here in South Carolina {meaning, it may get below freezing!!!}.  And it kinda falls during the hole of a week somewhere between the Superbowl and Valentine’s Day.  And it sneaks up on me every year.Jayna's Birthday Weekend in AtlantaSure, she had parties back when she was an only child and the center of my universe, but lets be honest….I don’t have the time, energy or money to through a party for every kid, every year.  And so far, she’s been happy with getting pedicures and eating cupcakes with her best friend from next door {and I’ve been happy with her contentment!}.  But this year I decided to do something a little different and actually celebrate her.  The Atlanta skylineSo I made a last minute plan to surprise her on Friday by picking her up a little early from school and taking her to Atlanta for the weekend.  My sister lives there, so we had a free place to stay, and Jayna loved the one-on-one attention she got all weekend!Jayna's Birthday Weekend in AtlantaOn Saturday, we had a lazy morning and then hit the mall to get her ears pierced!!  She’s been dying to get it done, so I figured it needed to happen on a special occasion.  She did great, claiming that her American Girl Doll helped her stay brave!Jayna's Birthday Weekend in AtlantaThen, we headed to Zoo Atlanta, where we saw the animals that she wanted to see.  Usually when I take the kids to the zoo, we follow the path to see all the major animals.  But this weekend, we followed Jayna’s lead…even if it meant visiting the naked mole rats {ew, ew, ew} and spending half of the afternoon in the Reptile House!Jayna's Birthday Weekend in AtlantaJayna's Birthday Weekend in AtlantaI love going to different zoos, since they’ve all got different animals…my favorites were the pandas and the red pandas at Zoo Atlanta.  The other {secret} highlight for Loo and me was that it was mating season.  Ok, that sounded a little creepy, but all of the “romance” that was happening unbeknownst to Jayna was quite amusing to us!Jayna's Birthday Weekend in AtlantaLater that night, we hit Ikea {surprised?} and had a impromptu jam session while Jayna taught Chris the words to “Big Rock Candy Mountain.”Jayna's Birthday Weekend in Atlanta On Sunday, we surprised Jayna again with a trip to the American Girl Store and Cafe for lunch and shopping.vJayna's Birthday Weekend at the American Girl Store in AtlantaJayna's Birthday Weekend at the American Girl Store in AtlantaShe and her doll loved getting dressed up for lunch!  And let me tell you, I was really impressed by lunch.  The amount of food {and good!} was really good for the price, and included an appetizer and main course.  But my favorite thing is the attention to detail when it came to the doll’s dining experience…Jayna's Birthday Weekend at the American Girl Store in Atlanta

From her own high chair, to doll sized servings of lunch, to a flower for her hair….Jayna’s American Girl Doll got pampered in every way.  And she got to take everything home with her!Jayna's Birthday Weekend at the American Girl Store in AtlantaThe store was huge and overwhelming….Jayna loved it.  They were pushing the new doll that’s out {who is now on Jayna’s short list of}, down to a life-sized display of her living quarters.  And can I just say, that I don’t understand where people keep all of their props and accessories for these dolls.  Everything is either huge or teensy.  Cost aside {$$$}, where does one keep a 18″ doll sized treehouse with outdoor barbecue?  Seriously, they must have separate rooms to store their little {big} doll house collections!
Jayna's Birthday Weekend at the American Girl Store in AtlantaIt took us about two hours to explore {every single detail of} the store, and Jayna finally settled on a few small accessories for her doll….”she needs glasses in case she wants to be a teacher.”  And we also decided that since the doll had helped Jayna through her ear piercing, she deserved to get hers done too!!We had a blast over the weekend, and I just loved connecting with my firstborn again.  Happy birthday Jaynabug!

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