Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Pinterest (Mom) Failure

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This is another "Keeping it real post"...I guess being a new mom does this to me!

So we've all seen those hilarious pictures of people trying to re-create some awesome dessert they found on Pinterest and it looking...ummm NOTHING like it. There is a whole website devoted to "Pinterest Fails!" But besides desserts and food, people (including myself) pin clothes, home decor, photography ideas, mom tips, and much more. Don't get me wrong, I love pinterest and use it from time to time, but if I spend too much time on there I tend to look at my life and say wow I AM a Pinterest Fail!

So many of my friends on Facebook are constantly posting their adorable pregnancy pictures with chalkboards that looked like they spent 5 hours writing on (who has time for that!?), showing off their perfectly healthy "clean" meals (I can barely get a pb&j in these days), and posting their perfectly decorated houses... (I don't even have my one-month old son's room decorated yet!) Now, granted most of these people who post these Pinterest worthy pictures are stay at home moms...But, it still makes us working moms and wives look & feel second-class.

Moms are always judging each other on social media. Whether it's about if you had a natural birth or c-section, co-sleep or not, or if you breastfeed or formula feed. Now, in the perfect world, yes, natural births and breastfeeding are the best. But, some of us, can't do it all! I had a perfect, amazing natural birth, but the aftermath....Oh man..FAR from perfect! My main battle has been with breastfeeding. You would think someone who had an unmedicated birth could breastfeed like a champ...well not the case with me! I am exclusively pumping and only get 2 oz every 2 hours...My son eats 4 oz. every 3-4 hours, so I had to do the unpardonable sin and supplement with formula. I really felt like a Pinterest Mom Failure.  Until I reminded myself, I am not a Pinterest Perfect Mom, I am Luke's Mom, and I am doing what's best for him and me! After I realized that, I felt such a relief from the "pressures" of being a "perfect" Mom.

This goes for all things in life. If we try to compare ourselves to Pinterest or others, we will fail miserably. But, if we try to be the best version of ourselves, we will be happy and content! I hope this was an encouragement to someone! Love you all! ♥

"For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise."
2 Corinthians 10:12

Happy One Month Luke Daniel!
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Monday, July 21, 2014

Dressing My New Body & Kameleonz

Luke is officially one month old today! Yay! I love him more and more each day! I love being his Mommy! I have done nothing but play Mommy at home all day for the whole month, so my husband decided we needed a date night out. I was so excited to get out of the house! I am so not a person who likes to sit at home all day, every day! So, thankfully, my Mom watched Luke for a couple of hours while we enjoyed a nice dinner and shopping trip for my birthday! Yes, I'm officially a quarter of a century!

Well this shopping trip that was supposed to be "fun" turned into a very depressing trip real quick when I tried on about 10 outfits and NONE of them looked good on. The problem was, I was trying to dress my PRE-pregnancy body, which was not the case anymore. This new postpartum body...well is 15 lbs. over my normal weight and still not fitting in any of my pre-pregnancy clothes. I don't know why I thought I would have Luke and in a couple of weeks be back to normal, but that is definitely not the case. (FYI: all new mommies to be) Prepare yourself for that truth. Your body will not be the same...I know it took 9 months to gain, it's not going to be all gone in 4 weeks...but I really miss fitting into my old clothes!! So, I had to try on a bunch of different styles I "normally" wouldn't wear to flatter this new body shape of mine.

I finally found out that the most flattering styles for my postpartum body are maxi skirts, shirts with details down the front to hide my belly, and a-line dresses. So I got a few pieces that I will be able to mix and match for the next couple of weeks/months until I can start exercising and getting back to my pre-pregnancy size. This is one of my dresses my husband picked out for me, and I loved it! I wore it to Luke's first Sunday at church. This dress is going to be great for the rest of this summer, super comfy and lightweight! Also, I am sporting my new sunnies from Kameleonz, love them!

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Sunglasses: Kameleonz (North Shore)
Dress: TJMaxx
Shoes: Belk
Necklace: Forever 21

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I love sunglasses! With my blue eyes and living in sunny Florida, sunglasses are a daily must-have. Kameleonz are seriously great sunglasses and perfect for the sunniest of day because the lenses polarized and UV400. And the coolest part about them are that they have interchangeable arms. YEP, interchangeable! Mine came with black, turquoise, and brown interchangeable arms. How awesome is that? You can literally change them out with each outfit to coordinate! So if you are looking for a new pair of glasses head over to Kameleonz and use the code “SUMMER” for 20% off! They are already a great price, so with the sale, they will be a super great deal! Let me know which ones are your favorites!!

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Friday, July 4, 2014

Red, White, & Postpartum Blues

Happy 4th of July y'all! ♥

Well, I've survived my first 13 days of being a new mom (barely)! Let me just say...being a mom is NOT easy! This is real talk, no fake talk here. I've definitely had a couple of days of the "postpartum blues." People did NOT prepare me for how hard breastfeeding was going to be. I was super prepared for my labor and birth, but I was totally not prepared for breastfeeding or having a baby with reflux. I seriously thought breastfeeding was going to be a walk in the park. I mean how hard can something so simple be? VERY hard. Oh my word, I never cried during my 100% medicine-free birth, but the second day of breastfeeding, I was sobbing like a baby. It feels like needles and knives slicing my nipples to shreds (sorry for the visual, told you, real talk!) And yes, I've had 4 different lactation consultants help me, and they all said he was latching on correctly...it just hurts me. I still have to grit my teeth when he latches on and its been almost 2 weeks. Sore, bleeding, cracked nipples are NO joke. Let's just say, if I didn't know how great breast milk was for my baby, I would definitely quit. A couple of nights ago, I just sat there in the dark with my baby boy eating away, me sobbing, thinking, "I HATE BREASTFEEDING!" But, it is slowly, but surely getting better! There is hope! But, I totally understand why very few people actually breastfeed for the recommended year. Hopefully, I can make it!

Another postpartum hurdle is my after baby body. I can't wait until I can start walking and exercising again, because this 5-month pregnant looking belly is NOT cute. I still have 20 lbs. to lose, which is a tad depressing, I really thought I would lose a lot more right after birth, but I guess losing 20 lbs in 2 weeks is pretty good. I have found a temporary solution I thought I would share with you ladies who are about to be new mommies or those who are struggling to dress their postpartum body. Two words = belly binder! My sister in law swears by belly binders. She says they help you get your flat belly back faster. I finally just got one the other day, and it definitely makes me look less pregnant in clothes! :) Here's some pictures with my belly binder on.

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Maxi Dress: NY & Co.
Necklace: Rue 21
Flip flops: JCrew

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13 days postpartum

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Friday, June 27, 2014

Luke's Birth Story

Well folks, we had our baby! Luke Daniel was born Saturday, June 21, at 7:11 p.m. weighing in at 8 lbs. 6 oz. 21 3/4 in. long. So many people have asked me how my birth went, so I figured I would kill hundreds of birds with one stone..aka a long blog post!

Well it all started Saturday morning around 12:30 a.m. when I woke up and the bed was soaked, I knew right then, Oh no, my water had broken!! I didn't want my labor to start by my water breaking because I was Group B Strep Positive which meant I had to go to the Birth Center every 4 hours during my labor to get an IV of antibiotics and that also meant I was on a time clock to get him out or I would have to be transferred to the hospital. So, I called my midwife and let her know my water had broken and we met her at the Birth Center about 3 am. I wasn't having contractions at that point and was only 1 cm. dilated, so I was told to go get a milkshake and mix 4 oz. of Castor Oil in it and take two Benadryl and get some rest. Oh, and by the way, Castor Oil is supposed to be "odorless and tasteless"...yeah, fail. That was SO gross! My midwife told me I had 12 hours to get into active labor (6-7 cm.) So the game was on!

After 4 hours (7 am), my contractions started and we went back to the birth center to get checked again. I was now at 3 cm. The birth center doesn't admit you until you're at 6 cm. so back home we went again. This time my instructions were to walk, use my breast pump, and rest. The contractions were still bearable, I was listening to my hypnobirthing cd trying to relax as much as possible. One thing I always wanted to know when I was pregnant was how were the contractions going to feel. The best way I can explain it is a tightening cramp that lasts for about a minute and goes away. I was also told by a friend to try to sleep between every contraction. That was the very best advice, and I definitely fell asleep in between almost every one! Fast forward to 4 hours later (11 am), we went back to the birth center to get my 3rd round of antibiotics and get re-checked..I was really praying to hear the magic number 6 cm. so we didn't have to drive 30 minutes back home again...but to my horror I was still only 3 cm. :( I was starting to get really discouraged and remember thinking I guess I can't do this...

When I got home we went for a long walk and the contractions started getting stronger and more regular. I laid down and tried to focus on allowing my body to open and relax. Four or so hours later, (4 pm) we went back to the birth center, and all the way there I was praying I was at least 6 cm. When she checked me I was at 7 cm! My husband literally cried in relief! I really don't remember much after this point, besides that my contractions were getting hard and it was definitely getting harder to relax. Once I was checked in and knew I was staying and this was actually going to happen and soon, my endorphins kicked in and I went into "labor land." Soon, my sounds started changing and my midwife came in and filled the pool up. I was so shocked they were filling the pool up, because I knew my midwife didn't use it until I was in transition, so I got super happy that I knew I was getting closer!

My husband got in the tub with me and fed me popsicles, and rubbed my feet and legs. After a while laboring in the pool, I remember telling them I felt like I was going to go to the bathroom in the pool, and at that point they got me out and my midwife came in and checked me on the bed. I was at 10 cm!! I remember telling my husband, "Seriously? That was it? I can do this, if that was the worst part of it!" I was SO relieved that I was ready to push. I instantly got a second wind and started pushing! By this time it was around 6:30 pm. I pushed for 30 min, and he was born at 7:11 pm! When he came out, it was worst and best pain I had ever felt. But it was such a relief and I felt great right after it was over.

Honestly, it was hard, but I thought it was going to be so much worse than it really was. I prayed to God to relieve my pain and relax me throughout the whole entire 17 hours. I truly think that He did give me mercy and helped me deal with the pain. My mom said I was laughing and smiling when I was pushing...The human body is unreal! I was definitely high on my own body's natural hormones!

The reason I was able to have him so easily I think was because I had a phenomenal birth team. My husband was the best coach I could of ever asked for. He was there for every contraction, rubbing my back, holding my hand, putting a heating pad on my back, getting me cold rags for my head and neck, timing my contractions, telling me I was doing great and that I could do it. My mom was also a lifesaver, she drove us back and forth 4 times and put 125 miles on her truck that day. My mom held my legs for all 30 minutes of me pushing! She was front and center with the midwives. The midwives were amazing. I couldn't have done it without them for sure. Amy, stretched me with olive oil and made sure I didn't tear or rip. (I didn't, thank God!)

When Luke came out, they immediately put him on my chest and I have never felt so much love in my whole entire life. My husband and I looked at each other and instantly bursted in tears that we made such a beautiful baby. We began praising God for his safety and health. I just remember looking down at him and feeling such an overwhelming love. It is SO true that you quickly forget all of the pain once you see your baby's sweet face. I truly had my dream birth and I am so glad I didn't listen to all the nay-sayers and negative nancys! Birth is natural and beautiful! I wouldn't change a thing about my birth, I am so glad I chose to have him out of a hospital! If you are interested in why I chose this type of birth read my post on Why I Want a Natural Birth.

We went home 3 hours later and we slept through the whole night and woke up to Luke spitting up very dark brown spit up and working really hard to breathe. I called my midwife and she encouraged us to take him to the hospital since it was Sunday and no pediatricians were in. We took him to Shands in Gainesville, and on the way, he started turning blue in his car seat, so we stopped at the fire station and the EMTs gave him some oxygen and drove us the rest of the way to the ER. This was the scariest moment in my whole life. When we got to Shands, they took him and started doing every test under the sun. Standard procedure if an infant comes in with any breathing problems, they have to stay for 48 hours and test for all infections. So, we spent the next two days in the hospital and were discharged with the diagnosis that it was just acid reflux from him swallowing some of my blood coming out of the birth canal. I am thankful we went to Shands though, because while we were there we found out Luke was tongue-tied and that's why I was having such a hard and painful time breastfeeding. So we got his tongue clipped and he started feeding SO much better since then! It was quite a crazy couple of days, but we are finally home and Luke is doing great! Thank you for all your prayers!

Here are some pictures of the birth! Our photographer was amazing!

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Sunday, June 15, 2014

39 Weeks & Aly's Boots

Hopefully today was my last Sunday pregnant...wishful thinking, I know! My due date is next Saturday, June 21, but I know what they say, most first babies are at least a week late! I'm just hoping Luke wants to get out of there sooner rather than later! ;) Here's my Sunday outfit at 39 weeks! You can't really tell the color of my cami & necklace, but they are mint! Love how slimming black is at 39 weeks pregnant! ;)

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A sweet girl I went to college with, Alyssa, has invented a women's rain boot that has a removable outer wrap. The wrap can be taken off and put on easily allowing you to match many different outfits while only having to buy one pair of rain boots. This makes having more than one design affordable and easy to store! The boot has a slight indention allowing the wrap to be flush with the boot. There are bands on the back of the boot that attach to buttons on the wraps. The wraps are waterproof and machine washable(which is a great feature!). The final touch will be the cute ribbon that allows the calf area to widen or be pulled in according to what is needed.

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Our Story

I began looking for a cute pair of rain boots and found so many options out there! You may think, “That’s great, right?” Well, yes, except that I really couldn’t afford to buy a dozen different pairs of rain boots. I liked them all, and I felt I needed each one for a different reason, whether it be that it matched a specific outfit or they were just cute. I wanted them all! But then reality would check back in. I started wishing that there was a way for me to not have to decide on just one pair of rain boots. If only there were a way for me to buy one pair, and then buy wraps to go on the boots so that I could have as many different designs as I wanted. That seemed like it would be way cheaper and much easier to store! I began brainstorming, drawing, sketching, and designing. After a lot of time, I had finally perfected it. I had created a specially designed rain boot with a removable outer wrap. The wraps allowed me to have several different designs without having to buy several pairs of boots...and at a fraction of the cost! I was so excited! Saving money and looking cute all in one! What more could a woman ask for?!

Our Product

Our unique patent-pending design features a specially made rain boot that has a slight indention which allows the wraps to sit flush on the boots. The wraps themselves are easy-to-clean, machine washable, and waterproof! How amazing is that? The wraps are also so easy to put on and take off. There are elastic bands on the boots that slip easily over the buttons on the wraps to keep the wraps secured to the boots. The wraps come in several different cute designs to help you complete any outfit. Now you can look cute and stylish on any gloomy day without spending a fortune!

Our Need

I began talking to friends and family members to find out if anyone else shared in my rain boot dilemma. Most of the women did and loved my solution! So after more sketching, drawing, idea making, and planning, we decided to try to make Aly’s Boots a reality. And that’s where you come in. We would love to help women everywhere save money and look cute, but we need your help to raise the money for our first production run. We’ve gone as far as we can in this process. We’ve started the patenting process, had the legal work done, paid for the engineer drawings, found a manufacturer, and tried to spread the word. But now we need your help to get to the next step. If we can raise $30,000, we will be able to make our first run of wraps and boots. This would make a young woman’s dream come true, and have women everywhere looking cute and fabulous! So are you ready to help us make our dream a reality? I sure hope so!

Our Goal

Our goal is to help women everywhere save money and still look awesome! Why can’t your rain boots match your outfit? Why should you have to buy rain boots in tons of different designs so that you can look cute on a gloomy day? And where are you going to store all of them? We can make all of that so much simpler. Affordable, fun, and cute…without all the extra money and storage. How great is that? We want women to love the way they look from head to toe! And remember, “When it rains on your parade, just put on a really cute pair of rain boots." <3 -Gilbert K. Chesterton


If you are interested in helping Aly get this awesome idea off the floor and manufactured, check out her Kickstarter page for more information!

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Preparing for Birth


Hello ladies!! I miss you all and I'm super excited to get back into blogging after I have my little man and get setttled into my new life as a mommy! Today I am 38 weeks and 4 days, which is crazy that I can have Luke any day now! I'm not going to lie, I'm getting pretty miserable!! I've tried not to complain, because I am truly thankful to be carrying this precious miracle from God...but man my left rib is killing me!!! I can't get comfortable laying, sitting, standing...I'm so ready for him to be on the outside!! :)

Speaking of ready... I told my husband yesterday I didn't know if I was mentally ready for this natural labor, and his response wasn't what I wanted to hear but what I needed to hear. He told me, "You'll be ready when you decide you are. You've been through two birthing classes, read tons of books, and you know God will help you through it." That really helped me remember I have spent the last 9 months preparing to have this baby boy. 

So, this morning when I woke up at 5 a.m. (this kid is always on my bladder) I was thinking about what my husband told me and started searching for every Bible verse that had to do with fear, anxiety, strength, and confidence. I think reading and compiling all these verses on one list at the same time really helped put me in the right mindset. I was created to birth this baby. 

My husband reminded me of the story of Abraham and Sarah, when she doubted God and God reminded her nothing is too hard for Him. 

So, this is my list of verses I will be reading, memorizing, and quoting during my last few weeks of preparation and during my labor. I hope this helps another one of my pregnant friends who has fear about birth as well. It is scary, but remember, is anything to hard for God?!!

Isaiah 41:10 KJV
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

Psalms 139:14 KJV
I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

1 Corinthians 2:3 KJV
And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.

Psalms 34:4 KJV
I sought the Lord , and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.

Luke 12:7 KJV
But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.

Philippians 4:6-9 KJV
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.  Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

Psalms 56:3 KJV
What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.

1 Peter 5:7 KJV
Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

2 Timothy 1:7 KJV
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Psalms 23:4 KJV
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Joshua 1:9 KJV
Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

Deuteronomy 31:6 KJV
Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 KJV
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Isaiah 26:3 KJV
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

Psalms 127:3 KJV
Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord : and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

Psalms 55:22 KJV
Cast thy burden upon the Lord , and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

Isaiah 40:29, 31 KJV
He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.  But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Philippians 4:13 KJV
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

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Monday, June 2, 2014

37 Weeks: Pregnancy Update

Well HELLO ladies!! I have been SOOOOOO busy this past month! In the past couple weeks, we finished our second year of teaching, packed our house, moved to Florida (my hometown), met our new midwife, my husband got a summer job, we found all of our furniture on Craigslist, and moved it in! Aka...That's where I've been off hiding at! :) I hope you all enjoyed the Spring Color Series, I love my friends and I was so blessed they took the time to do some great posts for me while I was going crazy moving!

I thought I would share my most recent outfits with you! This will probably be my last post until the baby comes and I promise I will share my birth story and lots of pictures! :)

Here was my Memorial Day Patriotic Outfit! (I was 36 weeks here.)

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Here was my church outfit from yesterday! (37 weeks)

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I did this pregnancy journal post back when I was 26 weeks, and I thought it would be fun to do it one more time before Mr. Luke comes!

Todays date: June 2, 2014

How many weeks pregnant are you?: 37 weeks 2 days

How many days until your due date?: 19 days left!

How big is baby?: As big as an watermelon (19-22 inches, 6.5 lbs)

What milestones has your developing baby reached this week?: Baby is fully developed, just packing on the pounds and his lungs continue to mature each day!

What are some of your pregnancy symptoms?: Rib pain, feet and hands feel bruised in the joints.

Any cravings?: Still salad with ranch and Sprite!

Food Aversions?: Not really!

What was your best moment this week?: My husband was talking and kissing Luke (through my belly of course) and he kicked super hard. My husband loves when he knows he can hear his voice!

What are you looking forward to next week?: Being one week closer to holding him!

What emotions have you been experiencing this week?: Excited and ready to get this boy earth side!

Are you wearing maternity clothes yet?:  Um, YES. Definitely all I can fit in! :)

Have any stretch marks?: Sadly, yes, but they are pretty low under my belly button and around my back, so I can't see them unless I look in the mirror.

How much weight have you gained?: Almost 40 lbs...I know..ALOT! :( I hope it falls off with breast feeding!

Has your belly button popped out?: Its half out, half in!

Have you felt any kicks?: Oh yes, kicks, punches, all of the above, all day and night. My son is definitely going to be a soccer player like his daddy!

Know the gender yet?: He is 100% a boy! :)

Have you decided on a name?: Luke Daniel ♥

What has dad been up to this week?: He has been getting our house ready to be painted, putting the carseat, stroller, and bassinet together.

How has your sleep been?: I wake up to go to the bathroom 3 times a night, this boy is definitely on my bladder!

Any guesses when you will go into labor?: June 23!

God has really blessed us with a super, adorable house to rent literally one mile from our church/school we will be working at. Here's a couple of before pictures, when it's all decorated and furniture is set up, I will post the finished product!

My favorite part of the house is this adorable mini pool on the back porch!

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I've never had this big of a kitchen, I don't even know what to do with all this space!!

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The living room!

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The bedrooms are purple, so we are repainting them at this very moment! Can't wait to share the finished product! PLEASE keep me in your prayers the next couple of weeks as I deliver my first!

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