Friday, June 26, 2015

Hey, you want to hear me ramble on about hospitals and medications?

1.  My oldest and I just got back from spending a night in jail...ooops,did I say that out loud? I meant the hospital.  She had to spend a night in the hospital.  It just felt like jail...except after being in the hospital you can get a huge bill.  Thankfully, her visit should be all paid for, but I really, really feel for people who have high deductibles and co-insurance.  Not that I've ever been in jail, but being in a hospital is sorta what I imagined jail to be can't leave until someone says you can and they just poke you and prod you and give you medicine  Although they probably don't do all the poking and prodding in jail.  Anyway, she is fine.  She got sick with a severe headache/fever/sore neck and we worried about meningitis so the poor thing had to have 3 unsuccessful spinal taps, but it turns out to be just a virus (with maybe a migraine on top) and she is much better now.

2. IF (NOT an announcement) we have another baby, I still probably won't do another homebirth.  But my latest experience in the hospital made me remember why I chose homebirth in the first place.  I hate hospitals.  I just hate the "out of control, we will do whatever we want to you, once you walk in here, we own you and you can't leave until we say you can" feeling. 

3.  I'm in the camp of "don't give kids anything for a fever, let the body fight infection naturally" so I had some issues with the hospital giving her about a million different medications.  When I mentioned to the nurse that they were giving her A LOT of medications and "are you sure those are all compatible". she was all "We give a lot of medications here."  Yes, I noticed.   It was frustrating  because I felt like I didn't take her to the hospital to be given a million medications.  I took her to be diagnosed and make sure she wasn't seriously sick and then to get medicine IF she had a diagnosis that needed medical treatment . Not that I'm against all medication, but I'm against being given a ton of them before they even know what is wrong. 

4. I also had a funny conversation with the nurse about narcotics.  Thankfully, they didn't try to give her any, but the nurse was all 'We aren't going to give her narcotics unless she is severe, severe pain because those tend to make people nauseous and vomit."  I was all  " sounds worse than pain to me.".

5. When I told my mom that I was staying at the hospital with the oldest and that Ben was staying home with everyone else, she was all  "Hey, maybe this separation will make Elsa wean"  It didn't.  I was only gone for a little over 24 hours, and she certainly did not forget how to nurse in those 24 hours.   

6.  I started a new job/independent contractor gig that I can do at home.  It's a lot of work and I'm going to have to figure out how to balance that with homeschooling and the house and the kids, etc, etc, etc.  I can't do it all, but I guess I can try.  Or, I'll try to figure out some sort of balance/schedule of some sorts.  I guess that would be the sane thing to do. 

7.Since buying a house just over a month ago, we've had to deal with a slightly flooding basement and a big aluminum siding falling off the front of the house.  Oh...the joys of home ownership.

So, enough of my rambling rants, and go see Kelly for more quick takes.  

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Hey.....I'm on a podcast.

Ben says I sound like a chain smoker.  I promise I'm not.  I've never smoked at all.  I just have a gravely voice or something. Or maybe I had a cold when we recorded that, I really don't remember.   

(Then Ben backtracked and tried to say my voice is sultry and sexy. Ha. It's not). 

So, if you want to hear me and my thoughts on homeschooling, head on over to Catholic Homeschool Moms and listen to my voice.

Listen here!

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Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day Answers

1. What's the best thing about your dad?

He's super smart, he doesn't care what anything thinks about him and he's super, super, super generous and giving.  He always has been.  He's also been very generous with his time and money when it comes to helping others....especially his wife and children, but other people as well.

He puts up with my mom (who is a wonderful person, but very much a BOSS).  That probably qualifies him for sainthood.

He slaves super hard in the garden so his family can eat all sorts of organic vegetables all summer long.

Even at age (almost) 70 he was helping us move....lifting lots of heavy furniture, carrying boxes.

He may be retired, but he never stops working. 

He's also pretty quirky and does his own thing and doesn't care what anyone thinks,   In the 60's when everyone else was rebelling by listening to rock n' roll.....he rebelled by listening to Mozart and Bach and Beethoven and all those guys.

2. If you've got kids, what's the best thing about THEIR dad? (If you don't, feel free to substitute your grandfather or another father figure.)

He's very patient and doesn't get angry easily.   He almost never loses his temper (unlike me) and is basically the calm to my storm.   He loves to spend time with his kids....playing chess, watching movies, playing Frisbee.   I'm the one who always talks about being gentle and patient with kids...but he's the one who actually IS all those things. 

Plus he's super smart...yet very humble.  Smart but arrogant people are annoying.  Smart, but humble people are great.

He loves God. He loves the Church.  He loves me.  He loves our kids. He loves my family.

At age 32, he went to law school, at age 35 he passed the VA bar exam.  At age 36, he passed the IN bar exam.  And at age 37 he started his own law firm.  He's a hard worker and is always wiling to help others.

Plus he puts up with me (no easy task, I tell you) and ALWAYS  supports me in all my CRAZY ideas. And, I've had some crazy ones.  

3. What's the best advice your dad ever gave you?

Umm....never trust anyone over 30?  Actually my dad never gave that as advice, but it's something he likes to say.

My dad doesn't give a lot of advice  Or maybe I just don't pay attention.   He mostly teaches by example.

I always remember him saying how when he was in graduate school, he had like $2.50 a day to eat with, so he figured out that sunflower seeds offered him the most nutrition (proteins, vitamins, fats) per dollar, so he ate lots of sunflower seeds.  Most starving grad students would just live off coffee and noodles and hot dogs...but not my dad.  He was all into healthy eating before it was cool.

He also taught us to go to Confession every month and to never be late for Mass (that one didn't stick..the never being late one that is). 

4. What's something you have in common with your dad? 

According to my mom, I have lots in common with my dad.  We are both messy (I'm getting neater, and he's just as messy as ever).  We both tend to rush and do things quickly.  We both have messy handwriting.  We are definitely NOT perfectionists.  And we're both good at science.  Well..he has a PhD in Organic Chemistry and I merely took Organic Chemistry (and got an A-), so he's better than me in that regard.

5. What's the manliest thing you know how to do?

I also like mowing the lawn and can check the oil and the coolant and all those things (and add more if necessary).

6. Who is your favorite fictional dad?

Carson Drew....Nancy Drew's father.  Because he's perfect.....just like Nancy.

P.S. In case you missed my other post.  The Nun is looking for Questions.
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Friday, June 19, 2015

Ask the Nun Returns.....

About 2 years ago, I did a series on my blog, Ask The Nun, where people asked a nun (technically she is a Sister, who happens to also be my sister) whatever they may want to know about being a nun (err..a Sister).

Let me introduce you to Sr. Veronica of the Child Jesus....a member of the Capuchin Sisters of Nazareth.

She's coming home on her home visit, and since this year we aren't moving, we need SOMETHING to keep her busy.  Last year, the poor sister spent all her time helping us move.   This year, we need to find something to keep her busy, so I'm sure she would love to blog. (I haven't actually asked her yet, it's not like I can just send her an email or text her) but I know she would LOVE to answer all your questions.

And if not, she'll do it anyway....because that is what Sisters do.  They answer questions.  Well, they do other stuff, but they also answer a lot of questions. 

So ask away.  Ask about anything you ever wanted to know about being a nun. Ask a theological question. Ask about life in the convent.  Ask about her favorite ice cream flavor (it's Party Cake).  Ask if she was saint-like as a child (spoiler alert, she was not).   

Ask her what the heck she is doing in this picture?

Ask her about their dogs. 

Ask, ask, ask away!

Questions from kids are welcome as well!!

You can ask in the comment box below, or email me at ameliabentrup at gmail dot com.   And we'll get her answers up sometime the week of June 28th or July 5th. 
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Sunday, June 14, 2015

What I Wore Sunday is BACK and some Answers!

1. Any big plans for the summer?

Not particularly. We will probably go to the annual family reunion at the end of June.  My sister the sister will be coming for her home visit.  My kids are doing some (free) lessons through the local parks and rec. Heidi and Greta are in a summer play.  I will hopefully be starting some independent contractor work at home.   And, I'm helping my husband start a law firm.  So...busy, but not big.

2. What is the strangest thing you believed as a child?

I believed that Santa Claus was a real angel (blame that on watching Highway to Heaven). 

I believed my mom when she said that each of her gray hairs was caused by a specific child and incident. 

3. What is your favorite amusement park ride? (can be a specific one at a specific park or just a type of ride)

I don't really care for amusement park rides.  I get motion sickness and the idea of being hurled through space at breakneck speed is not my idea of a fun time.   I guess, I sorta like bumper cars but honestly, if I never go to an amusement park again I will be totally happy.

4. What's on your summer reading list?

Just business stuff.  Things with absolutely thrilling titles like How to Market Your Law Firm for Idiots Who Hate Marketing and Don't Like Pushing Themselves on People, Selling Things or Networking. (Unfortunately that's not a real title, but it should be).

5. Have you ever fallen asleep in public?

Yes, in a movie theatre while watching Lord of the Rings. <blush>  In my defense, I think I was pregnant, so extra tired.

6. What is your favorite smell?

I love food smells....vanilla, chocolate, coffee.  I also love essential oil smells...frankincense, lavender, oregano, basil. 

And since I'm linking up, guess I'll go all out and post What I Wore Sunday.  Haven't done this in awhile. 

So, here it is. Hosted at Fine Linen and Purple. 

And, I almost never wear my hair back, but I did today, because I'm don't like drying/straightening my hair, but if I don't, it looks I have an 80's perm actually necessary.  So, I read that for wavy hair, putting it in a bun and leaving it until completely dry can make it more straight without blow drying.   We'll see how it works, but I definitely needed a shower this morning, so I decided to just throw it back. I'm sure it will still have some wave, but hopefully won't be super curly.  I'm always on the look-out for easy ways to get good hair without lots of heat or chemicals.  Although I do use argan oil, anti-frizz serum, which helps. 

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Friday, June 12, 2015

Weight Loss, Toddler Nursing, Cleaning, Marketing, Dogs and other Stuff

1.    I feel like I shouldn't complain about this, but I will.  My 2.75 year old is still nursing, and I'm really ready to not nurse so much. Not that I necessarily want to wean her completely, but I'd love to cut her back to just scheduled times. She still wants to nurse a lot, whenever she is bored or hungry or thirsty or needs comfort.  I think the boredom and needing comfort are the biggest motivators. I feel like I shouldn't complain about it, because everyone would just be all wean the kid already..she's way too old. She's a walking, taking, potty-trained, no-napping, pigtail-wearing toddler.

Or they would be all..ha, that's what you get for being a attachment parenting, demand nursing, co-sleeping mother.  Now you have a kid who will still be nursing in Kindergarten.

The kindergarten part is most definitely NOT true. All my kids were still nursing at age 3, and none of them were nursing at age 4, never mind Kindergarten. 

In my circles, it seems as though most people nurse past one, but hardly anyone nurses past two.  And here we are, approaching three and still going strong. 

And you would think with four kids, I'd have this weaning thing down pat.  But I don't.  My other kids all nursed past their third birthday.  I don't mind nursing that long.  It's just that Elsa is so demanding (aren't all toddlers?) about the whole thing.  And she isn't put off easily. Actually...if she is hungry or thirst, she is easily distracted by offering food or drink.  

But comfort seems to be the biggest factor for her. 

And like all toddlers, telling her no upsets her, so then she needs comfort...which to her means nursing and she wants to nurse even more. It's kinda a cycle that I'm not sure how to break.  Since the moment she was born, she's been a super voracious nurser, so it shouldn't surprise me that she is still going strong. 

Of course, I feel like I should say that were are wonderful things about nursing toddlers.  She never has bad temper tantrums and is NEVER out of control.  It's always super easy to calm her down.  Plus, she's like freakily healthy.  Seriously.when all the other kids are laid up with a stomach bug, she throws up one time, and is back to running around and eating and totally normal. Even colds don't hit her as hard as the other kids.  So, I definitely DO NOT wish I had weaned her a year ago, when she was still one. I just like to complain...being melancholic and all. 

2. I've managed to lose 10 pounds over the last 2 months. (I know, I know...I said I wasn't going to try to lose weight.  That was the...this is now). Not super impressive, but hey slow and steady works, right? I've been doing it by basically doing what comes most natural to me.  That is eating massive amounts of low-calorie foods and limiting/watching portion sizes on everything else.  I love to eat.  I mean, I really love to eat.  Which means I love eating foods that takes a long time to eat.  Salads, fruits, vegetables.  I did some research and found out this sort of diet has  name,...the volumetrics diet.  The idea is that people are satisfied with a certain volume of to lose weight you choose foods that are less caloric dense but have increased volume. Of course you still eat some fat...but you really try to eat large quantities of foods which have low ratio of calories/grams. It really jives with the way my body works. A 100-calorie candy bar would go down in about 2 bites, while a 100-calorie apple would take much longer to the apple would be much more satisfying (not to mention way healthier). It's not so much that you cut out more caloric-dense foods..but that you crowd them out, with healthier foods. 

3. I've been doing really good on keeping my house fairly clean since me moved.  Which for me, is a BIG thing.  I'm NOT a neat person.  However, I've just been really on top of keeping things picked up, and that's helped tremendously. When things are picked up, it's so much easier to clean.  I've been really working at training myself to get into the habit of putting things away, and picking up as I move through the day. When things are picked up, I can actually clean, but I find cleaning super overwhelming if I have to pick up stuff to do it.  Same for my kids.  They are doing so much more cleaning now, because they aren't spending so much time picking up.

4. Life is hard. Starting a business is hard.  Finding clients is hard.  Please pray for Ben's fledgling law firm. Marketing is NOT our forte and we don't have the budget to really hire it out. Actually we both hate marketing. It's why I could never do any of those network marketing things. It's why this blog is still so small.  We're trying to get past that we both find marketing to be sorta distasteful. But, marketing is what we have to do, so somehow we'll find a way to learn and do what we have to do. 

5.  My dermatology appointment went fine. The doctor didn't see anything concerning.  So, that's a relief. 

6. I want a dog. I love dogs.  I find myself browsing for dogs.  Although we aren't in a position to get one yet. But, hopefully in a few months to a year.  I don't want a puppy..I want a house broken, obedience trained dog that doesn't shed. 

Poodles are supposed to be good like that, right?  This one looks so lonely. Of course, I think their coats are pretty high maintenance and I'm not into high maintenance stuff.  A dog is still pretty far off in the future anyway...

7. It's shaping up to be a very busy summer.  Which is good.  I love busy-ness. My kids are doing free swimming and golf lessons through the local parks and rec.  You can't beat free! And Heidi and Greta are in a play, so that will be fun for them. Looks like we'll be going light on the schoolwork this summer, but we'll still do some...because I'm mean that way. And, I prefer year-round schooling. 

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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Homeschooling, Socialization, Friendship, Peer Pressure and Bad Influences

But What about Socialization?

It's the big question everyone asks of homeschoolers. What about socialization?  How can homeschooled children be socialized.

And the homeschoolers have an answer.  They talk about how homeschoolers are in the REAL world.  How they can interact with people of all different ages.  How they take trips to the grocery store and post office and bank and can see how the real world works.

And, all that is very true.  Of course, homeschooled kids are socialized and learn how to deal with the real world.  Of course they can learn how to function and open a checking account and go to the post office and buy groceries and get a job and be polite and fit into society. 

That isn't really what people are talking about.

What people are REALLY talking about is FRIENDSHIP.

Friendship is completely different from socialization.

Most people are "socialized".  Most people can function and fit into society just fine. 

But not all people have friends. In fact, I would venture to guess that there are a lot of lonely people out there who don't have friends. 

So the real question is...can homeschooolers have friends and how do they get them?

Obviously they can.

Do all homeschooled kids have friends?


Do all kids that go to a brick and mortar school have friends?


Do all kids need friends?  


In contrast to this article, I really believe that friends are very, very important.  They aren't just a frivolous amusement that pulls us away from Christ.  Good friends enrich our lives and make us better people. 

I'm also uncomfortable with the writer's viewpoint that it's better to be friendless, than to put your children in the presence of other children who could be bad influences. I'm not that protective and I don't think it necessarily serves our children well, to only associate with other Catholic homeschoolers who think exactly like us.  I have no problem sending my oldest to youth group...even with kids who go to *gasp* public schoool. 

Do children need supervision? 


Do we need to be careful? 


Do, we need to be uber-protective and never let them around anyone who is not exactly like us? 


So how can we protect our children from "bad influences?"

I'm not an expert on this.  My oldest is only 13.  But, I am an adult who went to public school and public university and public graduate school and never really "strayed" from what I knew was right.  So despite being around what some might consider "bad influences" and even living in college dorms, I wasn't negatively influenced by them. 

I think there are several factors.

  • Knowing what is right.  I think we all try to teach our children right versus wrong, and that is important
  • Feeling unconditional love and acceptance from parents.  This is a biggie.  If children don't feel love and acceptance from their parents, they will look for it elsewhere. 
  • Being resistant to peer pressure. How do you raise kids that are peer-pressure resistant?  I think some of this may be personality.  Some people are just naturally more "do-my-own-thing" than others (I'm one of those do-my-own-thing people). But I think there are some things we can do to encourage our kids NOT to follow the crowd. We can encourage our kids to pursue their own interests or likes irregardless of what their friends or siblings like. I think we need to teach our kids to be confident in themselves and to stand-up for themselves (yes, that means that sometimes they stand up to their parents too). 
  • Don't subscribe to parenting philosophies that recommend things like "breaking the will."  I absolutely cringe when I hear people talk about things like "breaking a will" or "training a child." A will is not something to be broken. God doesn't break our free will, and trying to break a child's will is wrong.  I think it was the Popchaks that said something along the lines of The NO your daughter screams at you, will be the same one she tells her boyfriend when he is pressuring her.  A person with a broken will can't stand up for what they believe in.
  • We need to encourage their likes and preferences even if they aren't our style.  Let them be an individual.
  • Teach them to evaluate music and movies and shows and fashion styles with a critical eye towards whether THEY like it and think it has value. Not if it's popular or trendy, but if THEY personally like it.  Don't be super quick to just on the latest bandwagon...whether that's the newest technology or fashion trend or TV show.  Kids pick up on that. If they see that you don't always run out to get "the latest thing" or watch "the latest thing", then they won't either.   
  • Of course supervision and being careful and using common sense is important. We need to be careful about media and phones and things that our kids could be exposed to.  But that doesn't mean that we shelter them from everyone who doesn't think exactly like us. We just need to be careful and use some common sense and good judgement.
So how do our kids find friends?
  • First of all, I believe that the older kids get, the more important friendships outside the home become.  A 10-year old has very different needs than a 5-year old and a 15-year old has an even different needs. As kids get older, the need for meaningful friendships becomes greater.
  • It takes work. Whether your kids are homeschooled or go to school, it takes work.  I went to public school and I didn't have any meaningful friendships until at least high school, and even then, it was very few. 
  • That's because it takes work on the part of the parents...setting up playdates and providing opportunities for friendship to happen.  It takes time and work and effort. Driving places, inviting people over, doing things.  
  • Structured activities are great, but kids also need unstructured time for friendships to form.  Park days, play dates, parties, etc. 
  • You may have to go outside your comfort zone....especially if you are introverted. Email makes it super easy to contact someone and ask to get together.  So if you notice that your child seems to click with another child...send an email and try to arrange a get-together.  You can make it super low-risk and meet at a zoo or museum if you aren't comfortable meeting at a park or inviting someone to your house.  Just don't be afraid to stick your neck out a little.  Turns out, most other people and their kids are looking for friends just as much as you and your children are. 
  • Keep trying.  Keep joining stuff.  Keep making an effort. Keep going places.  Keep getting out of the house.  Keep inviting people over.  Keep taking your kids places.
  • It takes time to make friends. Once you join a group or start something new, it takes time.  Be patient. Don't give up. Keep reaching out to others and teach your children to reach out, and friendships will come. But you have to put the effort in, and be willing to reach out. 
  • Start a club that is centered around your child's interest. If your kid likes Legos or chess or horses or Minecraft or art or cooking or whatever...consider starting a club centered around that interest. Someone has to be the one to start something, might as well be you! 
  • Look for community activities...things like 4-H or American Heritage Girls, or sports or drama or church youth group or whatever your child is interested in. Those can be a great way to make friends and meet other kids. 
Ultimately, homeschooled children CAN have lives filled with enriching friendships. It does take a little bit of effort, however, it's totally worth the time and effort it takes. 
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Friday, June 5, 2015

Fortunately, Unfortunately (with Cuteness Overload)

Let's play a game...shall we?  I tell you all the fortunate and unfortunate things that have happened to me recently.  And then in the comments you can tell me all about the fortunate and unfortunate things that I have happened to YOU recently.  Because I really do want to hear about YOUR life. 

Let's start. 

Fortunately...After we moved a few weeks ago our old lawn mower worked and I was able to mow the side and front lawns without incident.

Unfortunately...Our back yard is completely fenced in so only accessible by carrying the lawnmower up 4 steps from the sidewalk that lead to the gate.  Or, you could carry it from the garage up two steps, across the deck and down two more steps.  That means, that mower has to go up/down steps to take it out of the garage and mow the back yard. 
Not a great picture...but you have to go up steps coming out of the garage and down more steps into the lawn.  Or if you go through the gate, it's about 4 steps up from the sidewalk. 
Bad design if you ask me..but no one asked me before they built it. Go figure??  So, when I tried to move it up the steps,I must have broke something, because it started blowing out blue smoke.

Fortunately...Being the crazy old-fashioned person that I am, I decided it would be fun to try an old-fashioned push reel mower. So, I put out a call on Facebook and a friend had one that she graciously sold to us for $15.  So, now I can mow the back yard without worrying about carrying a gas mower up/down the steps and over the deck and ruining another one.  Because I have a tendency to ruin things. And the push mower works reasonably well on the back yard.

Unfortunately..the push mower doesn't work well on the front or side yards.  Maybe they are too sloped or too bumpy, but it was way too hard.  So, the other day I was outside struggling to mow with the push mower, and alternating that with my blue smoke blowing gas mower.  It was a stuggle...and no one wants a blue-smoke blowing, polluting mower in the neighborhood.

Fortunately...our neighbor was outside mowing his lawn at the same time and he must have taken pity on poor struggling me, with my push mower and blue smoking mower, because he offered me a spare lawn mower he had in the basement.  So, I graciously accepted his generous offer and gave him a loaf of gluten-free, dairy-free banana bread I had just baked as a thank you.  So, now we have a blue-smoke blowing gas mower, a good working gas mower and a push mower.  And I'm definitely going to only use the push mower on the back yard because it's a lot lighter to lift up/down steps and it's basically unbreakable but the new gas mower will be great for the front and side yards.

(Now I'll talk about something un-related to the lawn)

Unfortunately..last week I developed two lumps on the side of my leg.  Thanks to google, I self-diagnosed them as superficial blood clots.   Thanks to 4 pregnancies, I have fairly bad varicose veins, and apparently people with bad varicose veins are prone to superficial blood clots.

Fortunately..I was able to get in to see my doctor (who I hadn't seen before, but we just changed insurance so I had to pick someone) and I was right.  And there are no deep clots (they sent me for an ultrasound).  Only deep clots are dangerous...superficial ones are apparently no big deal.

Unfortunately..I also have this other lump on the back of my leg and I spent several days convinced it was some awful cancer and I only had a few months left.  I am anxiety girl after all.

Fortunately...The doctor said it was just a cyst and not to worry about it. (and please, no one post stories about people who had "cysts" that really turned out to be cancer.  My nerves can't take I'm just going to trust the doctor and not worry about it.) Because I really do not need any more worry in my life. 

Unfortunately..I hate going to doctors, so while I was seeing the doctor, I decided to face my fears and bite the bullet and get a referral to make an appointment for a general skin check with a dermatologist to check some moles.  I'm sure they are fine, but better safe than sorry...and it might ease my anxiety.  At least until I find the next thing to be anxious about.  So, I'm doing that next week. 

Fortunately...we do have health insurance. 

(now onto a different topic)

Unfortunately...Elsa is driving me crazy because she's a toddler and toddlers drive me crazy.

Fortunately.. she's cute. And she sings...which is beyond cute. 

Here she is singing her favorite song..which she made up.

It's called "I changed my mind."  (Something she does a lot).

And here's another song she's singing about her Clifford umbrella.  It's called 
"Woof, woof, woof, red dog." 

All her songs are pretty much just one-liners.

Unfortunately..despite the fact that when we moved, she got her own bed in her own room, she has yet to sleep in it for an entire night. Someday.

And since I have 7 that are Fortunate and 7 that are Unfortunate, I'm going to call this my 7 Quick Takes and link up with Kelly. 

Now...your turn.  Anything fortunate or unfortunate happen to you lately?? 
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