Coming into November

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It hasn’t gotten very cold here yet.  Only recently has the temperature dropped near the acceptable level for the wood stove, but we haven’t gotten to light it yet. After a 3week cough jag in September, it took most of the energy to get back to normal, so I finally decorated for Fall in October (a month late).

 

It’s been so dry that wildfires have burned 69 acres of the mountain across the valley from our ridge.  And coming along with the barren dryness of our season here, we have the election tomorrow.  What a malaise has settled on the country’s atmosphere.  I wish with all my heart that the decision rendered tomorrow would be the best for our country.  I cannot see how the current choices offer that promise.  But I never pretended to be one of the Wise who can see all ends.

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General response to election news and robo-calls.

I’m just tending my little corner of the hearth and guiding nine little souls on their path in this crazy world.  The flame we light in our children’s hearts is what will make America great again.  It is the small, quietly kindling flame of love, joy, respect for each other, honesty, fairness, and the rest of those small virtues that need to begin at home. And Faith. Always Faith.  I cling to this, no matter what political season or what party wins.

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An unexpected rainbow in the sky this weekend. Princess called it “the smile of God.”

Now, on to more family news, shall we?

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Our three big girls started attending American Heritage Girls in September.  The picture was taken that day, when the dogwood was still green.  Keeping it real: Sunshine still finds it overwhelming, and we got permission to move her into Miss M’s Pathfinder group.  It was just a better fit.  However, I adore this picture, and Sunshine’s sweet smile.

For Fall Break, Haus Meister took Rascal, Princess, and Dino up to Northern Michigan to visit his grandfather (their great-grandfather).  Granddad turned 99 last month!  It had been about five years since any of us had last seen the cottage on the lake, and the kids made many memories.  Granddad enjoyed conversing with Haus Meister after the kids had gone to bed, and while they were awake, the kids told Granddad all about their lake exploring and even prayed the Rosary with him.  It was truly an “epoch” in their lives.

Cousins came to visit!  Jipped out of a nice cosy family gathering after Rosebud arrived owing to her being in the NICU that time, my mom and my sister brought our nieces and nephew down for some cousin fun over their Fall Break.  The kids had such fun together, despite autumn cleaning.  More memories were made.

On Hallowe’en we had a quick trip to the grocery store where Publix had staff stationed throughout the store offering treats and pumpkins to any costumed trick-or-treaters.  So my sister and I packed up a few of ours and headed out.  Most of these costumes are self-explanatory, although I’ll mention that our niece at the head of the lineup there was Molly McIntyre of Pleasant Company/American Girl fame, complete with doll.  Dino was “Vacation Stormtrooper,” hence the swim trunks.  It is a perfectly legitimate costume; “Vacation Stormtrooper” is a fan-fiction creation of Dino’s own.  Sunshine went out for the candy hunt in the neighborhood, dressed in the dinosaur costume that has seen a few Halloweens now.  We had a merry gathering for dinner, including dear friends and all three of our parish priests.  It was definitely a party to remember.

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November 8 for us means 17 years as a couple.  He was 19, I was 18, we were college freshmen, and our first date was him making me tea on a camp stove at a picnic table in the woods, because neither of us had a car.

So was the charity event Haus Meister and I attended last weekend.  Our church had a fundraiser for our sister parish in Haiti.  There was a silent auction, swing music, wine and appetizers, and the fun of having conversations with other adults from our parish without having to turn around and chase a toddler.  Not that we mind doing that.  They are darling little toddlers, after all. 😉

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Can it stay cold soon?

 

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Every Recipe has a Story

 

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Obligatory autumnal picture for a Thanksgiving recipe. I’m not Pioneer Woman, and sadly do not have a picture of my casserole.

Last week, my sister-in-law texted me for this recipe. It’s been part of most of my Thanksgivings, and when menu planning comes up, someone usually asks me to make it…including a mistake.

Let me explain. Way back in ’99 when I graduated from high school, I bought a recipe book and began jotting down favorite recipes from Mom’s collection. Somehow or other, when I copied this one, I was negligent to separate topping ingredients from the casserole ingredients! I suppose I assumed I would remember, but I didn’t, and one year I added an extra cup of sugar to the casserole. I was a huge favorite with my sisters-in-law that year.

So here, for posterity, is my mother’s Sweet Potato Casserole recipe.

(Also because I’m certain sure I’ll someday wish I had a digital copy….)

Casserole:
3c cooked & mashed sweet potatoes
1c sugar (+ 1c brown sugar if you want to replicate my now-legendary mistake)
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter
2 eggs
1tsp vanilla

Topping:
1c brown sugar (do not omit even if you’ve added 2c sugars to the casserole)
1/3c melted butter
1c flour
1c chopped pecans or walnuts

Method:
Preheat oven to 375. In a mixing bowl, combine sweet potatoes, sugar, milk, butter, eggs, & vanilla. Mix well and spoon into a lightly greased 2qt casserole.

In a smaller bowl, combine brown sugar, flour, pecans, & melted butter, mixing well. Sprinkle over sweet potato mixture in the casserole dish.

Bake at 375 for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

No one will blame you if you eat this for breakfast the next morning. At least, I won’t. 😉

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} Another October post!

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I love October!  Things just seem to click into place in October.  We more or less have our school schedule down pat now, we’re happily ticking off our list of projects, and the kids know what they’re going as on Hallowe’en. 😉  The weather is so much less oppressively humid and even cooled enough this week for the heat to be on at night!

We’re still plugging away at our home improvement projects.  Sometimes it’s just moving a picture to another room, and sometimes it’s laying the extra wood from the hardwood floor projects down in the stairwell.

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We also acquired a new bed for our room.

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It doesn’t exactly keep the toddlers out, but we’re a tad less crowded when they arrive.

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Happy

New furniture in the mail = CARDBOARD BOX HOUSES!

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Funny

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Star Wars Overhype, anyone?

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The children wanted to carve pumpkins the first week of October.  Of course I talked them out of it.  No one wants half-rotten pumpkin faces festering on their porches, after all. Unfortunately, though, I guess I could have let them carve a couple of them….

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They rotted without our help.  Next year, all pumpkins need to look like the one at the top of the stairs!

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} Mid-October

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We closed on the Old Haus on Sept. 29.  That chapter of our lives is now closed as well, and I’m pleased as punch that if we had to wait four years for this, at least the buyer is precisely who we hoped for–someone who was actually looking for a house of our “vintage” and who fell in love with the arched entryways and all the other little 1940s quirks. We hope she and her daughter have many happy years there.

In the meantime, we’ve been busy now doing a million projects around here that were on the backburner until the house sold! Not to mention the daily stuff, like work, chores, childrearing, and homeschooling. 🙂

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Okay, we think our baby gets prettier every day.  Littlest is still littlest (there seemed to be time when she’d pass up Posey Pie, but Posey had a growth spurt and still inches her out…by an inch or two).  We also call her the “feisty little one” (influence of Star Wars), and if we weren’t already set with princess dresses, I’d send her Trick-or-Treating as R2D2 just for kicks.

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Since October crept up on me, I hadn’t gotten many Fall decorations out until last weekend!  And still, someone had to bring in something a little early. This is a well loved animated Christmas thingamabob from Hallmark in 2006.  It sings and plays music and blinks lights.  There’s supposed to be some penguins but those migrated a long time ago.

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And she LOVES it.  She hugs it and drags it around the house.

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Morning, noon, and night.

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Last Wednesday, one of my best friends and I headed out to the used bookstore because that’s what we do on our Mom’s Night Out.  We’ve “closed” the store twice now.  It’s becoming a bit of a tradition to be lingering in the aisles looking for one last treasure while the voice on the com is saying “Please make your way to the front, the store is closing in ten.” In the last five I finally found where they moved the old Pleasant Company/American Girl books and nabbed the entire original Felicity set, five Kirstens, two Mollys and a Samantha.

The boys told me next time to bring something home for them.

And guess who waited up for me?

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He did let me pass.

The Gandalf wig/beard arrived in the mail two days later.  He’s wearing the Santa beard from last year. 😉

Funny

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Picture of the Month.  TK-42Dino and TK-42Miss M do school on a Friday. Yes, we’ve already had to duct tape his helmet.

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After 12 years of marriage, we have bought our first new (not consigned, secondhand, previously-owned by family, or garage sale) couch.

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Thank you, IKEA, for this easy to assemble treasure.

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Now to clean the basement before the first fire of the season.  No, that’s not dust, it’s flour.  When Miss Sunshine decides she wants her trains to run into snow, she creates it at the expense of my pantry.  But do you see my glorious Wodehouse collection? Second bookshelf, the one on the right.  We have now reached three full shelves (top 3). Give or take a book.

Yarn Along–It’s coming along!

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Picture of a good evening: a cosy quilt, my project, and a steaming huge mug of Breathe Easy Tea.  Yes, it’s that time of year again.

I’m not afraid of Armas anymore.  Once I got the hang of the chart (somewhere around row 14) it clicked and now I can hardly wait to continue. Unfortunately for speed and efficiency, I only average about a row a day. Still, I should finish in well under eight months at that rate. 🙂 My husband loves watching the progress.

Alas, though, this is the best picture of the W.I.P. I have at present.  The rest of my camera roll looked something like this:

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(Our last warm hurrah.  Autumn is fading into winter fast.  I always aver we have three and a half seasons in our neck of the woods.  Autumn is the half season.  We go from 73 degrees one day to 52 the next and then it’s 46.  But I digress.)

Meanwhile here’s two of my knitting buddies.  Littlest had fallen asleep there and I had yet to move her back into her crib. I don’t know why Posey was still awake, but she was attacking the yarn bowl that’s on the low dresser at the foot of our bed.

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My reading was, like Ginny, the Soul Gardening Journal.  I do so love it! I also am three-quarters of the way through the book French Kids Eat Everything.  Both my cousin and my sister liked this book and I am very intrigued to say the least.  Well, amend that. I’m really liking it, too.

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} Two week catch-up edition

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The recent blogging hiatus has been irking me a little, but life has just been that crazily busy lately.  At first I feared that my recent capitulation and entrance into the world of Facebook had something to do with it, but I haven’t even posted a lot there this week.  Basically my homeschool group began to use Facebook as a launchpad for group discussions and calendar dates.  So despite years of saying I’d never never join FB, I’m there now, and I must confess it’s been so nice catching up with old friends.

As I prepared to write today’s post, I downloaded several pictures from my nice camera’s photo card, which card of course I promptly erased.  Unfortunately iPhoto then crashed and lost all my recently downloaded pictures. GRR! I’m glad there wasn’t many photos in that download of the children, but I will now have to redo my YarnAlong photos for the week, and you’re now stuck with my grainy iPhone pictures.  Ah, technology.

Pretty Happy

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A very lovely Princess had a birthday two weeks ago.  Unfortunately this seems to be the only picture on my camera, and those were the only cupcakes to survive until the icing.  Apparently someone found my not-so-hidden cupcake hiding place. 😉  The important thing is that Princess had a very happy 6th birthday.

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I love to read books; always have, always will.  I am so happy to see a love for reading emerge in our children too.

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Although sometimes they aid naps. 😉 I just realized that I took pictures of them reading the same book!  I promise we do have lots of books around here.

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Over the weekend we picked up a whole bushel of apples from the local orchard (no, I didn’t hand-pick them).  So far we’ve made two pies, apple cranberry crisp, and enjoyed as many apples as the girlies can eat.  They love apples.

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Trooper’s first attempt at Special Olympics.  He had a very fun time.  Unfortunately the team had a flat tire on the way to the event so it was a scramble getting the horses ready and there wasn’t any reins for Trooper to hold onto and show how he’s learning to guide the horse.  Basically he got to sit back and chill, and that never bothers him.  He still got 4th Place. 🙂  Way to go!!!!

During the "obstacle course"
During the “obstacle course”

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Fun Happy

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(Posey is trying to eat an apple in these pictures.)

Yarn Along & P, H, F, R for week without my phone’s camera

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So, I had a blogpost in my mind and I had pictures for it.  Then, the preschooler accidentally tossed my phone into the loo for reasons beyond my comprehension.  The benefit for me is that I am learning to use and definitely love our standard camera again. This is what I’ve come up with for today’s post.

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 Mulled cider candle: the answer to the question, “Can anything good come from Wal-Mart?” 

Hot Cinnamon Spice tea… liquid autumn?  I put that on my Amazon subscribe and save list.  Next month I might just have to get two tins.  Haus Meister and I will be done with this one well before October.

Yes, I was in total denial of summer that night.  Why do you ask?

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My Princess.  “Did you get my picture yet, Mom?”

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 I am still waiting for an excuse to open this.  The wrapper is too hilarious, the thought too funny.  I would hate to use this prematurely.

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My knitting for the past two weeks.  Now I’m back to where I was two weeks ago when I had to restart the project.  But the cold nights are coming and as you can see I’m getting ready for it.

Actually, after Littlest arrived I went on a parenting binge-read, brushing up on all my special needs mommy reading and reading up on babies who didn’t gain weight right away and would formula use damage her, etc etc etc and officially burned myself out of any serious reading for the nonce.

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The flowers that replaced the dead tomato plants on our porch.

I am still in utter denial that it is 84 degrees out there.

Coming back to Yarn Along

I’m back!

For the nonce I have shelved my frivolous project, deciding upon our first cold snap of the season to devote my knitting time to more utilitarian pursuits–like hats. Especially since Rascal specifically requested a bright red hat. I don’t know how many times in his life he will actually request me to make him something, unlike his sisters who always have demands ;), so I’m going to oblige him!

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One last photo before it spends a few months in storage….

Now it took a lot to get me to shelve the short stays. I dislike having works in progress lying in wait for me. However, I’ve also had the Graham pattern printed since January knowing I would do it sometime this year for Rascal and/or Dino, and now that it’s the eleventh hour (and month), it was high time!

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I took this picture the day after I began Rascal’s hat, so by now I have completed the 3″ brim and am now four rows into the broken rib pattern.  When I can squeeze in some time to knit it does go fast and I am as usual thoroughly enjoying the pattern. I may make one of these for Dino after all.

As for reading, I have unabashedly pre-read the Wodehouse novels I bought for Haus Meister’s Christmas stocking. I won’t mention them by name so he’ll be surprised that way (he would be surprised if I missed a holiday to gift him with another Wodehouse, so the fact that I have them and have read them wouldn’t faze him in the slightest. We’re horrible at keeping things secret from each other, a fault that has its good points). However, I’ll use this space to put a shout out for two or three of our favorite fall children’s books!

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Great nonsense poem about the trials of getting ready for winter (particularly if you’re Mary, who gets even on the last page in a scene that never fails to make Sunshine giggle).

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Haus Meister and I joke every year that this book shows our house on Thanksgiving 20-30 years from now. Bring it on! I am already looking forward to it! The pages showing the family rearranging the furniture to make room for a gargantuan makeshift banquet table, plus the lines “At Grandma’s house, the chairs don’t match, but we don’t care, there’s always room at the table” strikes home to me even now because our chairs have never matched–EVER. 🙂

I love books about Thanksgiving even as the stores are already getting us ready for Christmas–and more people near us already have Christmas decorations out than I remember seeing before the holiday.  And being me, if I’m checking Amazon reviews and see people huffing that the book has the gall to mention G-O-D, then I’m all the more likely to buy it. To whom are you giving thanks, anyway?

This is a favorite with the littlest two.

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On a side note, Tomie dePaola in his picture of the family dinner painted both ways I prepare cranberries for the family feasts–whole berries and cylindrical just-out-of-the-can cranberries. 😉

There you have it! With luck I’ll have a better picture of Graham hat #1 next week. 🙂

Why he might not love November as much as I do….

There is supposed to be a driveway under here….

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And a walkway under here…
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And a front yard (to say nothing about the back, but the kids don’t allow much grass to grow there anyway).

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Most nights when Haus Meister comes home from work he’s bombarded with the question: “when are you going to bring out the leafblower again?”

Only that honey-do isn’t from me (I rather like the ambiance of fallen leaves) but from the kids, who want a deeper leaf pile to jump in.

(pretty, happy, funny, real)

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Oh it’s been a long time since I’ve linked in for one of these! It’s not for lack of things going on, that’s for sure.

Pretty Just Darn Amazing

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So the flooring saga and the plague event rather derailed my posting about my parents’ trip to Rome (now that they’ve been home for a month). Fortunately my dad sent me this picture which was the best I’d been able to see of the two of them. Most of my pictures looked like this:

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The arrows show my dad in the crowd after the Angelus. I was lucky to find him!

They had an amazing pilgrimage and came home with lots of stories and pictures that I have yet to see. 😉 One picture my mom sent me really made our day:

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She sneakily took it during the Mass at St. Peter’s for the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher. “Can you find your dad?” she asks, sending us the picture from their room later that day. Sure, Mom, I snarkily think, if you would be so kind as to add an arrow or three.

“He’s doing the reading!”

My jaw dropped. Suddenly it was like I was seven or eight years old again listening to my dad lector at the 8am Mass at our little small-town Indiana parish. I remember being SO PROUD that was MY DAD up there and surely everyone could see he was the best lector in the world and could pronounce the Old Testament names better than anyone else, of this I was convinced. I had something of the same feeling getting this picture and imagining what it must of been like to lector in St. Peter’s Basilica!!! Too bad it wasn’t a Papal Mass because then it would have been televised. 😉 But it was a highlight for them all the same. My dad happened to be in the right place in the right time when the MC was looking for an English-speaking man wearing a white shirt under the traditional Equestrian Order cape.  And in a split second he was being escorted from a seat way in the back to the front of the rows! Clearly a case of the last shall be first!

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I almost completely forgot to mention this. Several weeks ago I blogged about a birthday disappointment for Haus Meister. With his rowboat project nearing completion he wanted to line up another project to jump into as soon as it was done. While I can do that easily with my knitting by ticking off the next thing on my insanely long Ravelry queue, he has to actually do a bit more searching and finding. 😉 He did find a wooden two-seater runabout boat that a gentleman was giving away for free. It was half-built and just needed to be finished. When Haus Meister drove two hours to take a look at it, he found it had a good deal of problems and figured he’d have to rebuild it from scratch to make it lakeworthy. That was the disappointment. However, it was providential because the next week he came across an ad for a 1966 Thompson wooden boat in need of restoration, the specific name of which escapes me except that we found it was actually 18′ instead of 17′. It wasn’t free, but it was a steal of a bargain. Another four hour drive and he brought it home!

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Rascal noticed that the boat had the “Thompson” logo on either side of it so he immediately christened it “Thompson and Thomson,” after those erstwhile detectives of Herge’s Tintin fame.

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I didn’t blog about the boat at the time because my father-in-law was out of town and we wanted to surprise him. Haus Meister and his brother helped my father-in-law restore an old Chris-Craft when they were in highschool, so now my father-in-law gets to help his son and grandsons get Thompson & Thomson ready over the next few years.

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Of course, finding that the boat was a bit larger than advertised was interesting when it came to putting it into the garage. It fit all right, but now my decoration boxes are in a tight spot. After much procrastination I finally dug out my fall decor. Of course, I only have pictures of the exterior ones. Oh well.

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Funny & Real

Ok, just a few more.

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Lost 1 tooth.

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Gained 3 (!) teeth (in one week!)

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And that’s all for today. Rawr!