Category Archives: 7 Quick Takes

Seven Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 19)

1.

Yesterday, I had the lucky occurrence to join the thousands of people who have dropped their mobile phones into the toilet. It was in my back pocket and flipped out. Mad Skillz.

2.

If you ever have the misfortune of dropping your phone into water, throw it into a bag of white rice ASAP. The rice will act as a desiccant and help to draw the water out of the device. Then start your Internet search on what to do next. Most will say, leave your device in the rice for 2-3 DAYS. Like I said, mad skillz.

3.

I usually don’t make New Year’s Resolutions, but I am going to take a stab at them this year. I resolve to read The Lord of the Rings and Anna Karenina, all the way through. With both of those books, I make a valiant effort and get started… and then… just… peter… out.

4.

DH and I are debating “camping” out for the Rose Parade. We are not allowed to occupy Colorado Blvd until 11a the day before (so Jan. 1 since the parade is being held on the 2nd due to city regulations,) however. Plus, I don’t know if an all night party with a 4yo and a 2 yo is really the best idea.

5.

DH was very generous this year and if you are on my Twitter feed, you know that I was the lucky recipient of a Dyson Vacuum. Little did I know that this marvelous piece of engineering would bring out some inner OCD tendencies and make my house cleaner than it has EVER been.

6.

At Christmas Eve Mass, the cantor was this amazing 13 year old (my guesstimate.) Her final communion song choice was “O Holy Night” and she nailed it. Then… everybody clapped. In fact, the people in front of us pretty much jumped out of the pew. OK, what’s the big deal? Clapping at Mass, for me, is a pet peeve of mine and I find myself praying about it a lot. Why? For me… when we applaud at Mass, it seems as if we are celebrating the person (the cantor or the priest) for something THEY have done, rather than saving our glory for God or that the Mass would be somehow less meaningful or holy if we didn’t have “performers.” Opinions on the matter really varied on my FB page, and then someone sent me the Holy Father’s view on applause during Mass.

7.

“Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment. Such attraction fades quickly – it cannot compete in the market of leisure pursuits, incorporating as it increasingly does various forms of religious titillation.” (Pope Benedict XVI)

Word.

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Be sure to head over to Conversion Diary to read more Seven Quick Takes!


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Seven Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 18)

1.

A few weeks ago, I contemplated wearing a head covering everyday when I went out, rather than just at Mass. The thought being, if we are called to pray without ceasing, and since woman is called to cover her head when praying, then it follows that (a modest) woman should consider covering her head at all time. Right now it’s still hit or miss with me and it makes a great option when one is having a not so good hair day. (No worries, I do realize that the state of one’s hair should not be a factor.)

2.

Grandma sent this gift to the girls. They will absolutely love it, but I don’t think that the phrase “Pop N’ Lock” was meant to be used in this manner.

3.

One of the first friends I met here in Pasadena happens to be a hair stylist. I took DD1 in for a haircut and DD2 decided that she wanted her hair done too. So here she is, getting her first blowout:

4.

Pardon the blurriness… one of my handmade Christmas gifts to give. It was inspired by something I saw on Pinterest.

5.

Wednesday I talked about my favorite secular Christmas song. My favorite religious Christmas songs are: “Mary, did you know?” “Adeste Fideles” “O Holy Night” and “Hark! The Herald Angels sing.”

6.

Yesterday, my hubs surprised us by coming home at 2:30p. He had us all get ready to go out because he had a surprise for us. This is where we headed and we had a blast!

Seeing the girls on ice skates for the first time was pretty funny. They have these walker-thingies for the little non-skaters to use. I can tell you, I was really glad I took that ice skating class in Grad School!

7.

This is the photo that was chosen for our Christmas Card this year. I wish you all have a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanzaa and Happy Winter’s Solstice!

Be sure to head over to Conversion Diary to read more Seven Quick Takes!


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Seven Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 17)

1.

My quick weekend trip back to Missouri was lots of fun. It didn’t allow nearly enough time to me to see a lot of people but I’ve already decided to make another return trip, sometime in the Spring and maybe I’ll take the kiddos with me.

2.

The reason I headed back was to attend the baptism of my Godson, and here I am with one of the newest members of the Catholic Church.

He just looks priestly, right? :)

3.

It’s a little over a week until Christmas. Guess who still has not found a gift for her husband. Yup. Me.

4.

The Bear has been pretty clear about wanting a Play-Dough Ice Cream maker and a Barbie “Beetle” for Christmas. She has become enthralled by Beetle cars… whenever we run errands, she keeps a running tally of Beetles. I wonder if I can find a toy Beetle that has not been branded by Mattel?

5.

Yesterday, using some Pinterest-piration, the kiddos and I made Salt Dough Ornaments. I used my KitchenAid mixer to knead the dough together but forgot to prick the ornaments before baking, so some kind of puffed up, but they look pretty neat. We are going to paint them today. You can find the original post, with directions, here.

6.

Yesterday, I started detoxing from sugar. You might think it’s extreme to call it a detox, but that it totally what it is. And yesterday was horrid! I let the girls have a TV day as I just felt ill all day: Headache, shaking, nausea, tired. Today is Day 2 and I am feeling much better. I am not as trembly and my head is not as achy, but not 100%. I am following the cleanse guidelines from here. I know that it’s crazy to start this right in the middle of the gluttonous season known as the holidays, but I like a challenge. Plus, I am really tired of people asking when the baby is due. I. am. not. pregnant. I just look 6 months along because I am perm-bloated and stoppered up. TMI, I know.

7.

Tomorrow, we bake Christmas cookies and make Christmas candies!! I wouldn’t go as far as to call myself a masochist, but I’m starting to wonder…

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Thank you so much for all of your prayers, positive thoughts, cards and gifts! It really did brighten my life in this dark moment. It’s so hard being away from friends and not having a support system (yet!) and it’s great knowing that you are all there!

Be sure to head over to Conversion Diary to read more Seven Quick Takes!


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Seven Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 16)

1.

This is my first post since we’ve returned from my mother’s funeral service. As much as we tried to put the FUN in funeral, it was still a bittersweet event. Not only did people tell me how much I reminded them of her, but I’ve realized that my mom was a people collector just like me. She had made so many contacts and so many impressions that the fact that she was gone was very apparent.

2.

Case in point, after the military service at their cabin in the woods (and you could totally spot us city folk from the Nordwoods folk, by the fact that our feet were freezing as it had snowed,) the hubs, my BF and I headed into a bar for a beer. (It’s Wisconsin.) The other bar patrons asked if we were visiting and I told them that I was there for my mother’s funeral. A bit of time passed and one of them said… “Not Stephanie?! You look just like her!” Everyone in that little town knew her.

3.

One thing about funerals are the old pics that get pulled up. Here is a pic of my parents and my grandparents in the 70s.

IDK what gets me more… my dad’s hair and Tom Selleck ‘stashe or his 3-piece suit.

4.

One good thing about the trip is that we were able to introduce the girls to an Old Milwaukee legend… Real Chili!

They had hot dogs.

5.

For me, one of the most touching moments of our trip back was the fact that my husband’s family (Mom, Dad, Brothers, SIL, our niece and nephew,) as well as my dad and stepmother,  all drove over for the funeral. Why? In the words of my MIL: “Family is family.”

6.

Yesterday was the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. To celebrate, we made blue frosted cupcakes.

Can’t really tell in the picture, but the cream cheese frosting kind of took on an “odd” texture. But they were still yummy.

7.

Today, I tried to become an official California Resident. However, since the fact that I needed additional proof that I am an American Citizen was missed (needed to bring in a passport or birth certificate and marriage license) I spent 40 minutes at the DMV for nothing. The other gem of the day? Because we’ve owned the Swagger Wagon for less than a year, we have to pay the SALES TAX difference between MO and CA (even though the van was bought in MO.) That grand total was $1300! To register my car!  The DMV worker *suggested* we wait until after we’ve owned the van for a year to avoid the extra cash out of pocket. Hot. mess.

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Thank you so much for all of your prayers, positive thoughts, cards and gifts! It really did brighten my life in this dark moment. It’s so hard being away from friends and not having a support system (yet!) and it’s great knowing that you are all there!

Be sure to head over to Conversion Diary to read more Seven Quick Takes!

Tomorrow I have a 7a flight out of LAX but I will try to get my “homemade” gifts post out before then.


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Seven Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 15)

1.

Fall Ball was last Saturday and needless to say the girls had an absolute blast hanging out with Cinderella, Prince Charming, Tiana, Tinkerbell and Rapunzel. The Dragonfly is already talking about next year!

2.

It seems as if the Milwaukee Co-Sleeping/ Infant Mortality billboards have really hit a nerve in the blogosphere and has even received some national attention. So, now we’ve got lots and lots of people talking about it, but will anything good come of it? I can tell you, most of the ire is coming because of the vilification of co-sleeping/ bedsharing. If would be different if that was the only factor leading to the deaths. Why aren’t we talking about how important it is not to parent while under the influence or why co-sleeping needs to occur on a firm mattress, without fluffy pillows and blankets and not on the couch. I know that “keep your baby in a crib” is the easiest message to get across, but there are also inherent safety dangers to crib sleep: fabric crib bumpers, ill-fitting slats, too small mattresses. Considering it’s been about 2 years since the first controversial anti-cosleeping ads hit the city and we are still “talking” about it shows there is still much to be done.

3.

Thanksgiving is less than a week away and the only plan that we have in place is that we are going to be brining and smoking a turkey. Have I mentioned that we haven’t purchased a turkey yet?

4.

I am a week into the 14-day Heart of Gratitude challenge put forth by Betty Beguiles and I have to share that after a bit of a rocky start (ahem, Sunday disagreement) things really are becoming lots of fun. I find myself looking forward to the challenges and excited to see DH’s reaction. So far, so good! Plus, he’s planning at-home date night tonight!

5.

This week, The Feminist Breeder featured a guest post about the Fertility Awareness Method. Two fantastic things came out of this post:

a. thousands of women found out that NFP is a form of the FAM (just with abstinence rather than condoms)

b. thousands of women found out that the Catholic Church endorses NFP and NOT the rhythm method for spacing children.

Yay for information sharing!

6.

I have to admit something. Despite reading tweets and information pages about the Occupy Wall Street movements, I honestly can’t figure out what the goal is. I mean, like them or not, the Tea Partiers had a pretty clearly stated goal, right? So, if you can help me out, I’d appreciate it.

7.

Read this awesome prayer in the December issue of Good Housekeeping:

“Lord, Grant me the Power to get out of the Shower.”

How many of us have been there, done that?

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Be sure to head over to Conversion Diary to read more Seven Quick Takes!

Tune in tomorrow for my gift guide for the “hard-to-shop-for” in your life!


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Seven Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 14)

1.

This week I did something that I have been meaning to do for the last 7 years… I joined the Junior League! Now, before you get an image in your head of women with tea sandwiches and pearls, it’s nothing like that. The women of my class are made up of professional women, SAHMs, WAHMs, and recent college grads all linked with the desire to serve their community. Needless to say, I am excited. Plus kids (and dogs) are welcome at any and all meetings! The dogs thing kind of threw me, but as our Provisional Chair said… It’s California!

2.

The funny thing about my recent weeks of getting involved with organizations is, according to this (humorous!) website, I hold certain characteristics associated with snobby moms. Thoughts?

3.

This week at story time at LBS, there was an elementary school class listening to the story. The looked to be about kindergarten age and so I asked the teacher what school they where from. (Little back story: I found out earlier in the week that I *need* to be looking at schools NOW for The Bear, if we are planning on sending her. EEK!) Turns out they were from what would be our neighborhood school and it’s a school that specializes in the arts. They bring in amateur and professional artists and musicians for all of the classes, and beginning in 2nd grade vocal or instrumental lessons begin.

4.

For me, the instrument lessons are a definite plus, especially since we are still thinking about getting The Bear started in Violin lessons. Now, before you start thinking that I am going to go all Tiger Mother on my girls, I value getting them started in lessons as soon as they can, just to get the foundation laid. I started my Violin lessons when I was in elementary school (I think it was 1st Grade) which lead to developing an ear for music and fostering the creative side that tends to get squashed.

5.

Joy of Joys! We picked the SwaggerWagon up from the body shop this week. It’s so great having it back and I am starting to lose my nervousness when driving… not by much, but it is easing. I am not sure that it will ever go away, nor do I think that I want to lose it. I mean, there has to be something going for being a defensive driver. But there is a difference between defensive and fearful.

6.

This random thought popped into my head tonight: Isn’t it beautiful that the word “Thank You” in Romance languages tend to root in the words “grace” and “mercy?” (Gracias, Grazie,Merci) Germanic languages… not so much.

7.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin (my hometown) has unveiled another ad campaign to help reduce the level of infant mortality in the city. Instead of addressing all of the factors involved, or even the biggest factor (ONLY consider co-sleeping if all safety requirements are met including EXCLUSIVE BREASTFEEDING,) they are taking the sensational approach… just short of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. And no, your eyes are not deceiving you… that’s a butchers’ knife with the baby. At least the United Way of Milwaukee is trying to *gasp* EDUCATE?!?! (and, sadly, most of the deaths were in poor, minority families and ALL of the deaths involved the infant being formula fed. This is not an anti-formula statement, but if you are going to formula-feed you shouldn’t co-sleep (see page 12 of the PDF.) Plus you shouldn’t be under the influence either. That counts for breastfeeding moms as well.) But I can see the flip side of what Milwaukee is doing… they have an public health epidemic going on and they are trying to keep infants alive. Read my previous thoughts on this topic here.

ETA: I would like to clarify that Milwaukee County is using the term “co-sleeping” when “bed-sharing” is more accurate.

ETA: More links to current breastfeeding/ formula-feeding/ safe sleep research.

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Be sure to head over to Conversion Diary to read more Seven Quick Takes!

Tune in tomorrow for my gift guide for the gentleman in your life!


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Seven Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 13)

1.

The most recent update on Chase is as follows:

“We are still hanging in there. Chase has had a few moments of distress here and there, but he is resting comfortably now. Waiting for the inevitable is next to impossible for me, but we are trying to fill this time with love, hugs, cuddles and kisses. Thanks for the continued prayers and support during this time. It means so much to us.”

If you could, please keep praying for this little boy and strength for his family.

2.

My grand plan of starting The Bear in homeschooling this past week pretty much failed. I am such a schedule person and since I hadn’t lesson planned, nothing happened. I won’t lie, I am feeling a bit overwhelmed, but I think that it only because I had not come up with a schedule. So, I sat down and sketched out a rough schedule for the days that we are going to have school (MWF.) Now that that is done, I can move onto lesson planning within the schedule. Easy-Peasy, right?

3.

So far, I have joined up with two groups out here in Pasadena: MOPS and I will soon join Mocha Moms. It’s funny, when I was in college, I used to make fun of sorority girls (sorry!) for “buying” their friends (you know, because they had to pay dues and such.) Now I can totally see the value in it.

4.

One thing I will need to do (and soon) is make plans to see some of these moms and kiddos outside of the regular meeting times. We’ve headed to the park a few times, but there really haven’t been any kids there, so my girls end up playing with each other and I get zero adult conversation. It’s getting to the point that I have been randomly chatting up people on the streets as we are all out walking. I am sure the Starbucks baristas expect a certain level of interaction, but the desperation of a stay-home-mom-with-no-friends-and-a-husband-who-works-late is probably rolling off of me in waves! :)

5.

Bon Jovi Radio on Pandora has been my BFF this week. The only downside is that some of the songs remind me of a past relationship… not in a negative or longing way, more like how a perfume can remind you of someone or some even. Kind of weird.

6.

We have a new go-to staple in our house, thanks to Suzanne. Have you heard of Kefir?? Lovely, fantastic brew of milk and probiotics! Some brands are lactose-free, but I’ve been buying the Trader Joe’s version and I think that might have lactose. Since none of us are sensitive, I am not sure though. The plain reminds we of buttermilk, something as a child I used to guzzle down, but healthier.

7.

Remember how I used to really only read dark and twisty books or current event, non-fiction? Well, you’ll be happy to know that I have broadened my horizons and started reading… Chick Lit. More specifically, Knit Chick Lit. I try to stay away from the weepy, angsty novels (I’ve heard that Nicholas Sparks and Jodi Picoult can be weepy) and I have been sticking to the more saccharine-sweet world where there is always a happy ending.

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Be sure to head over to Conversion Diary to read more Seven Quick Takes!

Hallie Lord, from Betty Beguiles, has a new book that is due to be released in the Spring! And, you can pre-order now (or hint heavily to your loved ones that it would be a great gift!)

And… I’m on Pinterest now!


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Seven Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 12)

7.

I attended my first Pasadena MOPS meeting this past Tuesday. It’s weird going to a *new* group, but I think it going to be a great group of ladies. The group is HUGE… I’d say about 125 women over 2 days, plus there is a Teen MOPS and a MOMSNext group. Whew! The one thing that does bum me out is that… they don’t do crafts! I am sure that is from a cost analysis perspective, as trying to do crafts for that many women could get expensive, and would take a chunk of time from the meeting. But I love my crafts! Hmm… maybe that’s a niche for me?

6.

I will say one of the most amazing parts of the meeting flies in the face of my quasi-feminist sensibilities… Cinderella came to our meeting! One of the MOPS fundraisers is a Fall Ball and with us being so close to DisneyLand, some of the Disney Princesses will be there. Now, I know that some people are going to hate on Disney Princesses but this is not the space to do it, because I will admit that I- a grown, 31 year old wife and mother- actually got a little lump in my throat when Cinderella came into the room. So sue me.

5. Earlier this week, I surprised my girls by pulling out my flute. I haven’t played since The Bear was maybe 1 and I was pleasently surprised that I didn’t sound horrid. That then inspired me to look into taking some lessons again. I was able to find a teacher, a performance flautist with a DFA and her rates are pretty amazing ($30/ 30 min.) I mean, come on- you can’t get a chair massage for that price! We’ve been thinking about getting the Bear started on Violin lessons and surprisingly, the rates for those aren’t half bad either!

4.
I’ve been hanging out on Pinterest for about 2 weeks now and I can see why it’s so addicting. Before we left Missouri my BFF, Kim, had my girls for one of the mornings which allowed me to clean my house and run some errands. (Coincidentally, it was the same day we ended up receiving an offer on our house, so the cleaning was SO worth it.) Anyway, while the girls were there, they made “Foot Ghosts” by tracing their socked feet. So what does that have to do with Pinterest? Thanks to Kim and Pinterest, I was inspired to make this super cute Halloween decoration yesterday with help from the girls… and their feet!

(How do you like the Coffee Press in the background!)

3.
We’ve been in Pasadena for 2 weeks or so and I can easily say that this is where I would love to stay here in California.

2.
We’ve had the inspection done on our house in MO and we got dinged on not having a tip-over bracket on our stove. Now, DH is a Regional Underwriting Manager and so whenever we see stuff like that we jokingly curse the underwriters. (for example: we bought a new chimney starter for our grill. For those not in the know, it’s a cylinder of metal that you stack charcoal in and you can light the coal without lighter fluid. Now, it’s a cylinder of metal! And there was a sticker on it saying that the metal gets hot when on the grill.) But seriously, a tip over bracket on the stove? Do you have one? I mean, who lets their loved ones hang on the stove or stand on the open oven door?? I don’t know if our stove here has a tip over bracket and there are earthquakes here.

1.
Part of me thinks that I should be worried that when I ask the girls what they want to do today, my 2 year old responds with “Go to Starbucks?” Does that make her a Caffeinated Catholic Toddler? Kidding of course… the girls get Chocolate Milk or Vanilla Steamers (100 degree.) But they are already indoctrinated, mwahahahahaha!

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ETA: If you could keep my friend’s little boy, Chase, in your prayers it would be much appreciated. Chase became sick with an e.coli infection at the end of summer which developed into Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome. Very, very bad. The doctors have done all they can and this week, Chase’s family moved him to a “hospice-like” setting. He has to remain sedated to be without pain. The family may have days or weeks left with their little 4 year old warrior.

Be sure to head over to Conversion Diary to read more Seven Quick Takes!

And… I’m on Pinterest now!


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Seven Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 11)

7.
Gina @ The Feminist Breeder wrote a great little piece on the Diva Cup. I’ve been a Diva Cup owner for about three years but I have been less than successful with it. One of her commenters gave a great little tip, to turn the cup inside out- thus shortening the cup a little bit more since my pelvic floor is… less than ideal. That little tip I was able to employ and now I am in love with my Diva Cup again!!

6.
We’ve been here for a little over a week and my mom just left Thursday morning, so tomorrow (Friday) will be my first day alone with the girls again… with no friends. Now, it’s not as if I have had the time to go out and find any friends, but still, it’s kind of daunting! But I have been in touch with a local MOPS group and there is a meeting next week so I am excited about that, and there is LLL. I should really check out the Pasadena Public Library to see if there are any programs for moms and small kiddos. Besides, the library is GORGEOUS!

5.
I have some *bad* news about my friend’s son, Chase. He’s the little boy who contracted an e.coli infection this summer. The doctors have done all that they can do and Chase is very tired, in the words of his mom. It’s now, more so than ever, in God’s Hands. If you pray, please pray.

4.
Not to continue on a sad news trend, but there is a positive in this next story. Thursday morning, The Today Show ran a story about a mom who was diagnosed with Cancer while she was pregnant. Basically it came down to her having to choose: Her Life, or her Baby’s. She chose to save her baby and died three days after holding her baby girl for the first (and only) time. Not only does this story speak to the extreme sacrifices that a mother will go through for her child, but it is a modern re-telling of the story of St. Gianna Beretta Molla. From St. Gianna’s biography:

In September 1961 towards the end of the second month of pregnancy, she was touched by suffering and the mystery of pain; she had developed a fibroma in her uterus. Before the required surgical operation, and conscious of the risk that her continued pregnancy brought, she pleaded with the surgeon to save the life of the child she was carrying, and entrusted herself to prayer and Providence. The life was saved, for which she thanked the Lord…

A few days before the child was due, although trusting as always in Providence, she was ready to give her life in order to save that of her child: “If you must decided between me and the child, do not hesitate: choose the child – I insist on it. Save him”. On the morning of April 21, 1962, Gianna Emanuela was born. Despite all efforts and treatments to save both of them, on the morning of April 28, amid unspeakable pain and after repeated exclamations of “Jesus, I love you. Jesus, I love you», the mother died. She was 39 years old.

3.
My girls are so excited about Halloween. The Bear is dressing as a Witch and the Dragonfly will be her kitty. Now, it IS kind of funny that for every halloween, The Dragonfly has been the animal companion to The Bear (Little Bo Peep/ Lamb; Farmer/ Cow; Witch/Kitty) but it’s still cute. And I’m the mama, so I can choose.

2.
My beloved Brewers came so close, but missed the World Series by “that much.” (You have to kind of imagine the Don Adams Voice in that one.) So, I am cheering for the Cards.

1.
I managed to go a whole week without an accident. My driving confidence is slowly returning, but I am seriously missing my van.
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Be sure to head over to Conversion Diary to read more Seven Quick Takes!

And… I’m on Pinterest now!


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Seven Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 10)


Good Morning!! It’s been one week since we’ve left St. Louis and I thought that I’d use some of my favorite pics taken along the way for my Seven Quick Takes!! Enjoy!

7.
Colorado

The Colorado Rockies

6.
Colorado

In the Mountains

5.

The Girls loved the tunnels

4.

At least they’re honest.

3.

Welcome to Utah!

2.

Vegas, Baby!

1.

How’s that for a sunrise? The view from the girls’ room.
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Be sure to head over to Conversion Diary to read more Seven Quick Takes!

And… I’m on Pinterest now!


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