Building furniture, children, christmas, DIY, home life, painting, Winter, Yule

I made a Stocking Hanger/Coat Rack!

I bought a 4x4x8 from Home Depot.. had Them cut it down to 6 feet in length. I Bought 4 expensive wood corbels for the feet and another sort of expensive furniture bun-foot-thing for the top. 
Screwed and glued it all together. Let it dry overnight. Filled in all the cracks with caulking. Let that dry about an hour and got to painting!

Painted that baby two times with Killz water based primer, once with paint (letting dry between each coats and overnight between the primer and paint). I just used some chalk paint I had on hand that I had bought a while back to test the color and see if it held up in quality to Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint. (I like the color of Annie Slaons old White Chalk Paint better, but it is really expensive!) And finished it off with a coat of Annie Sloan Clear Wax.

I measured down 6 inches from the top to screw in the upper hooks.  Measured 22 inches from the top of the corbels/base to screw in the bottom most hooks.  For the middle hooks I measured between the two sets of hooks already hung and placed them right in the middle.  


Lastly, I hung the stockings, with just a touch of care.. not too much care. Don’t want them getting used to special treatment in a house full of ragamuffins who won’t treat them with so much care 🙂 


I may end up changing the paint at a later date but for now it works perfectly! I’m actually super happy with how my overly expensive coat rack turned out!


The little kids were pretty excited too! They wanted to get dressed up and have me take their photo with the coat rack 😆 now they are having a tea party in the parlor with American Girl dolls and the tea set Miss Persephone got for her 4th birthday from Nana ❤️


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children, dresses, Embroidery, fabric stores, girls clothes, sewing, sewing for kids, single parenting, summer

A gaggle of Geranium Dresses

So the past few days I have been busy sewing up some Geranium dresses. I have made three for Persephone and two for Fiammetta. As well as a whole lot of bloomers/bubble shorts (tree climber pantaloons) for little P, baby V, and the shop. On the two dresses with short sleeves I used the Geranium Expansion Pack.

First off, was this white linen, sleeveless dress for Little Miss Percy Pie.

I used Kam Snaps on the back because I don’t know how to sew button holes! 😂 and I really like the way these open metal ring ones look. 

Persephone’s dress was sewn using Kaufman Essex Linen in white. It is a Linen cotton blend.

It turned out really nice. I keep thinking how lovely some embroidery would be on there!
The Second dress I made was for Fiammetta. She wanted sleeves and picked the gathered sleeve from the expansion pack. I am not too fond with how this one turned out but Fifi likes it so that’s what is important! I ended up shortening the sleeves a bit from what is pictured because the length of them really bothered me. The ended up looking really long. I like the way the whole dress looks better with shortened sleeves. But I don’t have a photo of that!  This dress also differs from the way it was made. Instead of a gathered waist she wanted a pleated skirt. And I sewed her a straight size 8. But because of her very thin little body I probably should have sewn a size 7 bodice with a size 8 length skirt. She’s long and thin just like I used to be!Back of 2nd Geranium with Gathered Sleeves

I didn’t get the best photos here.. Fiammetta was helping to grate some cheese for supper. Excuse the messy house! 🙂 and we had the tent set up in the parlor as the kids were having a campout for a couple days!side of second geranium

The pink fabric is Michael Miller Cotton Couture in Blossom Pink.  The bottom fabric is Brambleberry Ridge Rosemilk Metallic Mint also by Michael miller.  I bought these fabrics quite a while ago to make some dresses for the girls but never actually got around to it!2nd geranium

Fiammetta's Geranium

Third dress and I think my favorite of the bunch is this pretty little gold dress for Persephone. I used the fitted, short sleeves from the expansion pack and I LOVE the way this dress turned out! I will be making many more of this style for the girls in different fabrics. It looks classic and sweet. I’m thinking of possibly adding pintucks on some future dress skirts.

Persephone Gold Geranium Fitted Short Sleeves
I used Michael Miller Cotton Couture in Gold. Again, it was purchased quite a while ago but never used. I have plans of making bloomers for the shop out of this fabric as well.

Gold Geranium Octopus Tree Climber Shorts

For the bloomers and lining of the dress bodice I used Salt Water Octopus Garden by Tula Pink.  I would link to that but it is sold out. I bought this fabric back in 2014 but didn’t know what I wanted to make out of it so I’ve held on to it for a while! I have since decided to make a bunch of bloomers with it and list them in the shop. Now that the baby is getting older it’s a little easier for me to be at the sewing machine and get some stuff done!

Kam Snaps again on the back. In fact I used Kam Snaps on all the dresses! It makes for easy dressing for the girls as well. Plus they are sturdy and durable.


Fourth and fifth dresses are a matching set for the two girls. We did the gathered skirt with the cap sleeve option from the original Geranium Dress pattern. I used Michael Miller Brambleberry Ridge Flight in Metallic Mint. This too has sold out. I really love Michael Miller fabrics. They are very soft and lovely to sew with. Fabric.com also has very reasonable pricing. It’s nice to shop from local shops but it’s a lot more affordable in a lower income household to buy online.


Persephones dress is a size 4. I did deepen the hem to 2 1/2 inches instead of what the pattern called for. It makes the dress a bit shorter and a bit more retro 1960’s look.



Again, I sewed a straight size 8 for Fiammetta but I probably should have gone with the smaller size 7 bodice with a size 8 length skirt. She’s such a skinny Minnie.

I did deepen Fiammettas hem as well. Since she is older and her dress is a lot longer than Persephones, I was able to make her hem 3 inches.



The expansion pack has so many options! I plan on making the girls some long fitted sleeve dresses for the winter. Next up is a long fitted sleeve dress out of the white linen. I am going to lengthen the skirts to floor length for both girls and sew up a red sash from the expansion pack. Perfect for celebrating Santa Lucia Day and the Winter Solstice this year. I just have to figure out how to make a crown of greenery and candles!
After I tire of dresses and the girls have a few new things to wear for the hot weather I will get back to sewing for the shop!

And since little baby girl woke up from a nap I was able to snap a few photos of the girls together.. so I’ll leave you with these ❤️

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home life, Instagram, journal, Social Media, Supernatural, The Hygge Journals

Hygge Journaling Course for my “It’s Always Sunny” family

The Hygge Wife has just put together a journaling course and I was gifted the opportunity to take part in it.  I’m planning on journaling here, on this very blog, for the duration of the month long course, in my attempt to keep myself accountable and on task!

“The Hygge Journals was created to help you live the intentional, hygge-centered lifestyle that you’ve always wanted to. It is the lifestyle that I have built over the last couple of years (ever since finding hygge) and that has changed my life for the better. It is a month-long journaling course in seeking hygge. Throughout this course, you will be given a series of journaling prompts and activities that will inspire you to seek hygge and live intentionally.”

“What is The Hygge Journals?

  • A 30 day, intensive journaling course to help you immerse yourself in journaling and finding hygge

  • Lessons on starting a journaling practice and using it to become more intentional

  • Activities to help you create a more hyggelig lifestyle and household

  • A course that will help you create tangible life changes towards a more meaningful life…”

 

I am excited to get started and to see what it is all about.. I hope to utilize this time to help keep myself and my home calm and centered, to create a real cozy atmosphere that my children will remember and want to come home to as they age and move out of the nest.  To help lead me to be more of the woman I want to be and the home I wish to have, you know,  instead of the crazed lunatic asylum we currently live in 😉  My home is like an episode of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” without all the drugs and alcohol.. Lots and lots of screaming and yelling over one another..  I suppose that can be cozy in it’s own way?  Maybe?

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I definitely need to recreate this photo with my family..

 

I found The Hygge Wife while perusing through her instagram page one day.  She takes very lovely calming photos.  I would not mind recreating some of that atmosphere in my own home!

 

Stay tuned to see if I will be joining Misha Collins with Gishwhes as I will definitely post about that as well!  Not sure if my little application was accepted or not..

 

p.s. I totally figured out how to add those hyperlink into the body of the text!!  woo hoo!  I’m probably going to over use this function all the time!

 

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children, christmas, divorce, Holidays, home life, recipes, single parenting, Winter, Yule

On the First Day of Cookies

My true love made with me…
Italian Nut Balls …. or as some people may call them Thumbprint Cookies.
Before I had a million kids it was always so easy to whip out multiple batches of a dozen or so different cookie recipes during the holiday season. I have come to realize that the more children that are added to the family, the less time I have for anything that isn’t following after them cleaning up their paths of destruction. So, last year I decided that I would have each able child pick out a recipe that they would like to make with me and if I had time I would expand on that by myself. I’m sad to say last year we didn’t even make all the cookies that each child requested. In my defense I had just had baby 6 and was still trying to get used to adding another human to the family minus a husband.  I’m hoping that the 5 oldest kids will all get to make what they chose this year. 
Since the 4 oldest are still in school today and tomorrow before winter break starts, I thought Persephone and I could make her cookie choice. I am hoping to get the majority of cookie making done during the next two days because Wednesday is not only the first day of winter break, but it is also the Winter Solstice and I plan to have a little celebration with the kids!  We are going to do grinch night again with a grinchy themed feast and a showing of the Jim Carey live action movie.  We did it last year and they loved it. Well, Ophelia was indifferent but she’s also a high schooler. I also got the kids a little something warm and cozy they can open on the Solstice morning. Sally informed me he knows it’s clothes because he squished them! 🙂 haha

Then Santa will come by on xmas eve night and bring those fabulous children a gift. Later on xmas day the rest of the family will come by and we will have dinner and gifts with them. 
Persephone chose to the thumbprint cookies because she was excited about rolling the dough in to balls and smooshing her tiny thumb down 🙂 She is my go to gal when making and rolling meatballs as well.
Persephone helped me chop up all the nuts too! We’ve been practicing chopping with real knives. She’s so good about keeping her little fingers out of the way! I have actually noticed knife control improvement since the first time I let her help me chop a couple months ago. 



While the cookies were in the oven she took a break to wiggle on the floor.


After they came out I placed them on a cooling rack and she filled each cookie with jam. We did raspberry jam in half and blackberry jam in the other half.

Valentino watched, not so patiently. Thankfully he didn’t grab all over the cookies!


And since she didn’t have a xmas apron I let her have the last one that was in my shop. She loves the hungry caterpillar so it was perfect for her!

CHEESE!


Oh how she loves little baby ears! 🙂


Such a sweet big sister!


My little Krinkles (Valentino) with jam face! I let him lick the spoon when Percy Pie was done with it. 
I got this recipe from my mom years ago, and now to pass it on to you..

**I always use organic and/or local when possible.**
Italian Nut Balls / Thumbprint Cookies

Preheat oven to 350 F

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup butter

2 egg yolks (reserve whites)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

* in a large bowl or mixer combine ingredients, mix well

2 cups flour

* gradually add flour until well mixed
2 reserved egg whites, slightly beaten

1 – 1 1/2 cups finely chopped nuts (we use pecans)

Roll dough into 1 inch balls. Dip dough ball in to egg whites, then nuts

Place on greased or parchment paper lined cookie sheet about 2 inches apart, make a deep depression in center of cookies with finger/thumb tip.

1/2 cup jam or preserves

Bake at 350 F for 10 – 12 minutes until firm to the touch and lightly browned. Immediately remove from cookie sheet, while warm fill centers with a little jam or preserves, allow jam to set before storing.  Store covered or in the fridge for about a week. 

Yield 3 – 4 dozen

(Today we got exactly 31 cookies)
Buon appetito! 

What are some of your favorite holiday treats?

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Blasphemy, children, christmas, Embroidery, Holidays, home life, Homesteading, painting, sewing, single parenting, Winter, Yule

The road so far

Yesterday morning woke up to a chicken torn apart in our back yard. That kinda sucked 😦 goodbye sweet Chicka!  Had a quick little burial under the plum tree.

So it’s December! It’s actually 5 days in to December. I got my good old fake tree up before thanksgiving but I honestly have not had the time to get it decorated. (I like to use fake trees because I think murdering trees sucks. Even if they were specifically grown for it I still don’t like it.) I wanted to decorate our tree multiple times already but I can’t find those dang ornament hooks. The little kids have been begging me to go through the boxes of ornaments to find them but I am not looking forward to a sea of breakables across the floor while I search. Valentino isn’t the gentlest of baby’s. Actually, he is quite the turd!
Though, I do have other areas of holiday goodness.oh you beautiful, beautiful lamp you! It’s a Major Award!! This baby is in the front parlor window. The tree got demoted to the back family room this year so my beautiful lamp could take center stage. Ginger kitty wanted to be in the photo too. Don’t mind the laundry piles and the baby clothes I’m working on embroidering on the chairs there!our naked tree. I’m hoping to find those ornament hooks or I just may break down and go spend the $1.50 to buy a new bunch of them. I just hate to do it because I already have like 3 boxes of the things from previous years.

More messy! Need to get rid of those pumpkins still! Haha! Threw some candles and some lights in the front window and call it good. It actually looks a little different now though, I cut out a bunch of stars from white computer paper and taped them up on the top half of the window.I bought a wreath and some garland from Costco so I can enjoy a little bit of that fresh tree smell.put up a string of lights in the dining room window.. ahh the ambiance. The kids keep knocking it down somehow. Plus it got stretched out a bit as time went on.
I love these star lanterns, but these are actually a year round lamp I keep up in the front parlor.

I was able to find some of our winter/xmas books in the boxes yet to be unpacked and get them arranged with some nutcrackers on our lonely shelf. I need like 5 more of those things to hold all of our books!

And although I am not a follower of the christian persuasion, I did put up my moms old chreche above the computer desk. I just think it’s pretty.. And peaceful.. And I love images of Mary with her baby. I’m a sucker for babies 😉 I also like it because it was my moms.

Some people may be aghast to learn of this, but I fondly recall childhood memories of my middle younger brother and I hanging baby Jesus every year from the rafter above with a noose I lovingly hand crafted from speaker wire. My mom would get so mad. I still hang the noose on my tree every year. I try to put it next to the ornament said brother gave me a few years ago of a stately Santa figure stuffing a small child into his red sack. That child must have been naughty! 

Hung up some of our old advent calendars, just for decoration. That big Santa face one is from 2002 when Ophelia was just 1 1/2 and we had our very first apartment together. Our collection grows every year! Especially now with 6 kids and sometimes each kid getting their own calendar. We don’t reuse the calendars though, I don’t want the cardboard getting weak and the little doors falling off. We never buy the chocolate ones, yuck. Eventually I want to get around to making a reusable advent calendar.. let me just add that to the list!


We just had to get a new fridge the other day, the old black one was on the fritz. So again, please don’t mind the mess! But here are our cupboards dressed up for winter. I put lace on the inside of the glass cupboard doors so I didn’t have to look into our messy cup cupboards all the time! Damn my realistic unmatching cups! Damn them to fake hell! Sweet little Persephone again!old black fridge. It went with the other appliances better. Oh well, I’d rather have unspoiled food!close up of the kitchen wreaths. I bought them at Michaels when they were having 50% off all fake goodness sale. It isn’t really called that. I liked the holly leaves and berries in these ones. Plus, sparkle! I had to use my own ribbon though. These ones came with a tiny red hanger.

So, some of the things I’m working on for my shoppy poo. I decided to move all my painted signs to their own shop, Painted Lady Signs at http://www.etsy.com/shop/PaintedLadySigns Some of the lighting isn’t great. Sorry!

I also make those mobiles in many colors in my original shopmade a silver and gold version of the reindeer names in honor of Yukon Cornelius! 

I just finished up these Joy signs this morning.
I am still in the process of moving all my signs from the original shop Mary, Mary Quite Contrary at http://www.etsy.com/shop/MaryEGuad but there is a lot more signs posted on both shop sites. These are just the holiday ones I’ve been working on lately..  as for other items I’ve been working on in the original shop..

I always have some classic Pooh or Peter Rabbit thing to work on! So $&@%* precious!!

Some Holly and Mistletoe baby gowns. I love gowns. They are so convenient when baby’s are first born!

Little stag/Reindeer head gownand I even converted a couple Reindeer heads into Rudolph with a little red nose 😊

Some cozy flannel baby blankets. They are about 42″ square. I love these blankets. I made them for all my kids and they get used for so many things!

Sweet Persephone modeling for me ❤️ This one is my favorite! I kept one of these for Valentino. I am also planning on making all 4 of the little kids matching pajamas out of this flannel. It’s so cute and cozy! Hopefully I can get to that before the solstice as I want to gift each of my kiddos new jammies! I would make the 2 big kids the same pajamas but I need to find a pattern for their size too. I wish Oliver and S patterns made teen sizes!
So there we have it, for now. My list of things to accomplish or clean is never ending. 

And here is a mug I bought for myself so I can sip hot cocoa out of something cute for a change.

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christmas, Holidays, home life, single parenting, Winter, Yule

Visiting Santa at Skagit Valley Gardens

Since we missed the correct date to see Santa last year I made an appointment to guarantee we would make it this year! 
This last Saturday we made it down with time to spare. Valentino was not a happy boy!


 But I was able to get some cute photos with the other kiddos. Ophelia and Settimio didn’t want to be in all of them but the professional photographer got a few. I get to pick up the photo cd next weekend, with all the photos the professionals took. So for right now I just have the photos on my phone. 


My oldest brother and his son met us there and my nephew  Jacob got to be in some of the photos too.

Skagit Valley Gardens always looks so magical with the many trees dressed up for Christmas. It is one of my favorite places to ornament shop, though I have to admit this isn’t quite so fun with all the little ones!

He looks so sweet when he isn’t crying!

Afterward we went back home for lunch, then headed over to Nanas to decorate some shortbread cookies. I never seem to get photos of that! Always too busy either helping or trying to keep a baby distracted. 
A little less smooth running than in years passed but all in all it was a nice day. 
These might be the last photos you see of Settimio with his luscious hair 😔 he wants me to shave his head over winter break!!

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children, divorce, home life, Ikea, journal, painting, single parenting, Uncategorized, Visitation

I’m Wide Awake

It’s the middle of the night and I should be sleeping in my warm bed with my children.  The past couple of weeks I’ve had all 4 little ones in the bed with me.  Besides my king size bed I have a set of bunk beds in my room.  Fiammetta usually sleeps in her own bed on the top bunk but lately she has been coming up with different reasons why she should sleep with us.. Mostly it’s because she’s scared of one thing or another. I’m ok with it.. I love having them all squished in there with me.  I think it’s most uncomfortable for her and Sal.  I keep me and the baby separated from the rest with a pillow between us.  That way the kids won’t roll over and accidentaly squish him.  I’ve been having trouble sleeping this past month.  I seem to fall asleep great, and some nights I can even stay asleep for the whole night.. (as much as one can while breastfeeding a 4 month old) But then other nights I wake up around 3 or 4 am and my mind is racing, jumping from one thought process to the next.  Tonight seems to be one of those nights. I think it may be because I have been falling asleep with the kids around 7 or 8 pm so by 3 or 4 am I’ve already had about 8 hours of sleep!
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Messy heap of blankets and babies

This past weekend the husband came down to visit with the kids.  He rented a hotel with a pool so the little ones would get to swim.  All three of them ended up staying over both nights with him.  That was a bit weird and sad.  I’m not used to sleeping with out them.  That was the only time besides when Valentino was born that Persephone has not slept with me.  I missed her tiny little body next to mine.  Every night she falls asleep holding my hand or putting her tiny chubby hands on my arms.  She’s very snuggly.  Last night I had her little hands on my arm and Salvatore fell asleep, next to Persephone, with his arm draped across her to hold my hand.  When I do wake up in the middle of the night I love hearing all of their soft breathing. They all have been sleeping pretty calmly.  It seems that if there is less of them in the bed that is when the wilder sleeping happens, when I will wake up with Percy upside down or laying sideways, to a little whimper, a sudden crazy scream, and less frequently there have been kicks or punches to the face from a dreaming little one 🙂  The latter three I can definitely live without!

So this Friday Alex came by to pick up the kids and take them out to dinner and they all decided they wanted to stay over night with him at the hotel.  So I packed them all up a bag and kissed and hugged my babes goodbye.  This is definitely not the way I wanted or imagined my family to be!  I knew it would be good for them, and for Alex, but it’s hard for me to let them go.  Saturday I was taking Settimio out for his early birthday date.  He wanted to go see Deadpool and I wasn’t sure it would still be out in the theatre at his real birthday a month later so we decided to go now when Alex would have the little kiddos.. Settimio and I went out to eat lunch at Anelia’s in La Conner, a Polish restaurant that two of my younger brothers work at; one as the Chef and the other as a waiter and prep cook. We had the brunch, Timio had the Joe breakfast hoagie made from french toast with bacon and home made sausage, I had a super delicious veggie omlete.  Ophelia stayed home and we took the baby with us, he had the breastmilk. After brunch before heading in to the movie we met up with Alex and the other kids at the mall.  He agreed to watch the baby for the 2 hours so I could watch the movie with Settimio.  At Salvatore’s birthday movie date in January we went to see the new star wars movie and I had to stand the whole time so the baby wouldn’t cry.  I really did not want a repeat of that so I asked Alex to watch Valentino for me so I could sit this time!  The 4 little ones and dad hung out at the mall playground for a couple hours.   The movie was pretty sweet.  Settimio covered his eyes a couple times during the less kid friendly parts 🙂 There was one sex scene, one strip club scene with boobs, a lot of crude humor and some pretty gruesome killing bits, way more than in the other superhero movies but Settimio is almost 12 so it wasn’t too terrible.  Definitely not a movie I would let the younger kids see. Overall we both enjoyed it!  After the movie I got Valentino, Salvatore and Settimio and we went home,  Alex was taking the girls to the daddy daughter dance that night!  This was his and Fiammetta’s 3rd and Persephone’s first time attending.  Little Percy has been so excited to go!  All year since the last one she’s been talking about going to the Daddy Daughter Dance.  They went out for dinner at Anthony’s, a seafood restaurant in town, one of Fiammetta’s favorite places.  After the dance they came by and got Sally so he could spend the night with them too.

I knew Sunday would be a long day!  My mom and I had plans to go to Ikea while Alex had the kids.  I suppose that is one good thing about the little ones being gone for the day, I can get a bit more stuff done!  Driving to Ikea from where I live takes about an hour and a half to two hours.  My mom drove down my brother’s empty van and I drove down my van with all seats but the the two front and the baby’s removed.  Ophelia and Settimio stayed home but we took Little V with us.  I was going down to get a couch, a rug, a bookcase and a bed frame.  We walked around and checked stuff out..It was crazy packed. I got all the crap I came for and we left.  That is the brief version because in reality that journey took all day!!  We got home just after dark and I had to unload all that heavy, heavy from the van.  Had the older two help while my mom held the baby.  It all ended up fitting in my brothers van so mine was empty.  No reason to have taken out my seats, but I’m glad I was prepared just in case!  Would have totally sucked if I didn’t take out the seats and ended up needing the room.  After we got every thing unloaded from the van and carried down the stairs into my house I realized that we grabbed the wrong size bed frame.. wah wah..  So this Saturday I will be making another lovely trip to Ikea to exchange the queen size bed for the proper king that I need.  I may buy a few candles that I passed up the first time.  When we got home Alex had already dropped the littles off and headed back up to the B’ham.  They were all watching t.v. when we arrived.  Good way to keep them preoccupied while unloading the loot.  I got the rug layed out  and the couch put together then headed to bed.. I was exhausted and my feet hurt from walking around all day on the concrete floor.

The past few days I have been getting stuff put together and painted.  I spray painted the shelf I bought a fancy gold.
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 I also did the same lovely gold treatment to some letter fridge magnets I have, classin’ up the place a bit.
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 The couch is in our upstairs living room.  I bought two white slipcovers for it.  That way when one is dirty, and I know it will be with my children, I can throw it in the wash and put the other one on.  I suppose we didn’t need a couch up here but I was tired of sitting on the chairs we have.
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My old “couch” wasn’t cuttin’ it.. though I did paint and reupholster those babies right after Persephone was born.

They weren’t too comfortable to sit in while trying to nurse The Newborn.  That’s what all the little kids call Valentino, I hope that remains his nickname until he’s an old man!!  We still call my little Joey brother Fetus, his nickname from babyhood.
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The new and improved version.. don’t mind all those canvases back there.. the gold shelf drying, the new rug nice and soft for fresh crawling baby knees, when that happens..

So now it is almost 5 in the morning.. hopefully I can fall back asleep and not feel too much like crap in the morning when I have to get up in one more hour to get the kids ready for school..

Goodnight world.  xoxo

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