Monday, January 31, 2011

Heard Around the House Today...

"Mama, I was 100 olives good today!"
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"Hey, my sister from Africa, come play with me."
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"Mama, you my baby."
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"I am one lucky mama."
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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Attached & Boogers...

The kids after church this morning...

Julianne's face cracks me up. That's my JuJu! Two year olds are so much fun :o)

As a follow-up to my concern about Julianne's recent hugging spree (which could be considered "shopping for a new mommy" in the adoption books)...a lady JuJu doesn't know asked to hold her today and she agreed and then the lady said, "You are just so cute, can I take you home?" And Julianne shook her head, stuck out her lip and reached for mama. Whew!

Also, a greeter at church saw our family today and said, "Wow, what a colorful family." Question...was he talking about our clothes or the colors of our skin? Just curious. The comment just kinda took me off guard and has stuck with me all day.

This afternoon, I spent hours (literally hours) looking for Hillary Ashton's reading book and money game from school. I looked EVERYWHERE. I cannot imagine where in the world it could be, but I suspect that a certain little sister put it in the place it is resting now. Ugg! There is nothing I hate more that looking for something...and then not finding it!

Jonah has several single words he says daily...mama, daddy, ashton, ju ju, le le, bye, hi, nana, lola (the cat)...and he will usually put hi and bye in front of the mama or dada...he also says...love you, which melts my heart everytime. Today he added a pretty good phrase to his vocabulary...

"Don't do that."

I could not stop laughing and neither could he :o) It was so funny. I guess he was pretty serious about getting his desires across to mommy. What could spur such good talking? He was telling mama not to pick a booger out of his nose! Haha!


I found out today that a mom {she is a friend of a friend} that brought home a little Ethiopian girl last summer just found out this week that her daughter has a fatal illness. My heart hurts so much for this mom (a single mom). The little girl is two years old. The family lives in the Central Arkansas area...PLEASE keep them in your prayers. It is just tragic.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Our Day in Pictures...

This morning we met some friends at "our" {super fun} park for a playdate. Sophie Le has been looking forward to this playdate for months...ever since her "best friend" moved to Houston.
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Sophie Le has not fully accepted the fact that her friend moved eight hours away. She still asks if AB can come over to play, go the park with us, sleep over and "why doesn't AB's mommy bring her to church anymore." Ha!
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The above picture is cute, huh? Everyone is happy...everyone enjoying their morning at the park. I have a confession...that photo was cropped and cropped pictures can be deceiving...ha!
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A certain little sister was not happy. Poor JuJu.

Hillary Ashton and B spent most of their time digging in the dirt and sharing lots of stories, which she "wasn't really suppose to tell me" Ha!
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Here they are back in 2009 at their preschool graduation...
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How cute are those two? B lives in the same town as Sophie Le's future husband :o) It would be really convenient if both Hillary Ashton and Sophie Le's future spouses lived in the same town..haha! Just sayin'

After a quick lunch, the babies took a {short} nap. They were SO EXCITED to wake up and find Daddy home. Sophie Le said, "Daddy, what are you doing home? It isn't dark outside." Ha! We headed outside to enjoy more of the beautiful day.

There was four wheeler driving...
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And some {very crazy} jeep driving...I pray that Hillary Ashton doesn't still think it's cool to drive crazy when she is 16! I am a little nervous.
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And lots of jumping {and giggling}
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Check out that static!
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We checked on our Christmas tree...looks as good as the day we cut it down! At this rate, this may be this year's Christmas tree! Ha!
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We checked on the creek...the girls were disappointed that there weren't any tadpoles yet. They decided to go fishing instead :o)
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We also noticed that a LARGE portion of our yard had standing water which is unusual because our land drains really well. After a little investigation we found the source...a water hose was on full power. Who knows how long that baby has been on! Weeks or months. Luckily, the hose had a sprayer on the end that kept it from pouring out water for a long time...until the pressure forced the sprayer off. I noticed standing water on Monday of this week, but I thought it was from all of the snow...whoops! Not looking forward to this month's water bill...at all!

For supper, we grabbed a hot n' ready (BEST deal ever!) and headed to park #2 for a picnic...
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We finished off our day at Yogurt Mountain, a new spot in town. The girls (and boy) LOVED it. You choose what type of yogurt you want (LOTS of choices) and then pile on the toppings. I cannot imagine how much we would have been in debt if we allowed the girls to have free rein at that place...ha!
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My little girls both chose bananas, blueberries and strawberries to top off their yogurt...
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My big girl went the candy route...the apple didn't fall far from the tree :o)
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Sweet Jonah shared with mama...judging by the grunting and clapping between each bite, I think he kinda liked Yogurt Mountain too :o)
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But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:31

Friday, January 28, 2011

At a Cross Roads...

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"If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives
generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you."
James 1:5

Thursday, January 27, 2011

And the Winner is...

I used a random number generator to choose the winner of a gift certificate to CSN...
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Which means, Jason and Erin are the winners!!! Yay! Happy Shopping guys!!
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Erin, email me (neilandamyarnold@yahoo.com) and I will send you your prize :o)

Giveaways are fun :o)

In other news, the foster care roller coaster hit a very low low today...I think I better let things settle before I say anything else.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

It's Bedtime (whoo hoo) and Questions...

I appreciate everyday with my kids.
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I know that I am blessed to have them in my life.
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However, there are days when bedtime is my favorite time of the day.
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Today is one of those days.
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A few questions for all of you wise parents out there...

1. How do you keep a child from being SO clumsy. One child of mine gets hurts many, many times a day....everyday. For example, tonight as we were walking to the car after church, she ran straight into a handicap sign...with her face. I feel so bad for her each time she gets hurt, but honestly, it is exhausting.

2. How do you get a child to accept disappointments in stride instead of acting like it is the end of the world?

3. For adoptive moms...a child of mine has started hugging a lot of people (within the last week or so)...some she knows well and others she doesn't know well. This child is REALLY sweet so it makes sense that she is a hugger, but it just seems weird that she has been doing it so much lately. You know those books they have you read before adopting...they are great, but it sure makes you over think situations sometimes :o) Should I be concerned or not?

Don't forget to enter my giveaway!!! I will announce the winner tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Busy Day...

My heart is back to blogging tonight...the Angry Birds have been completely taken care! I can now move on with my life :o) Haha!

We started the day with school and MDO. We were into a great morning groove before Christmas...in fact, Hillary Ashton was not tardy one time during the first semester. Now, only weeks into semester two, she has been late (just by a minute, but it still counts as a tardy) twice (yesterday and today). We actually get to the school about six to seven minutes early, but the carpool line is sooooooooooooo long at that time. Bummer. I watch the minutes tick by waiting our turn.

I told Hillary Ashton I was really sorry she was late again this morning and she said, "It's not big thing, Mama. I like being late because I get to go see the principal and he really likes me." My girl lives in her own little world and I hope that doesn't change anytime soon.

After school, we hurried home and loaded a load of dishes in the dishwasher (baby gotta have some bottles..haha!), did homework and then headed to Chic-Fil-A for fundraiser for Hillary Ashton's school. We didn't have time to do reading homework before we left home so we did that in the car..



It has been well documented that I don't like the fact that my babies are growing up SO fast. One thing that I do love about my baby growing up is being able to listen to her read. I can't get enough of it. It is a sweet, sweet sound to my ears.

We only had a few minutes to spare so we got our food to go and Hill high-fived the cow, hugged a couple friends and played a game. Mission accomplished :o)



Tonight, sweet boy and I started the task of obtaining our Continuing Education for foster care. We are required to get 15 hours each year, our deadline for this year is March. We attended a CALL meeting tonight at our church and got 2 credit hours...only 13 more to go. We only have about 4 1/2 weeks to get the rest of our hours. Nothing like waiting till the last minute AND during busy season. Yikes.

Sweet boy wanted to get there early so we could get a seat in the back of the class. Ha. When we walked in, the chairs were arranged in a circle. Nice...haha! The meeting was actually pretty interesting. It was lead by a child psychiatrist who is very insightful. Each couple told about their story. We heard about two little girls (three and five)that were recently taken from their home because of sexual abuse. The five year old thinks her dad is "superman." Tragic. Another foster mom told us about the restraining order that was filed against her this week by the mom of the foster child she had for 10 months. She (and a group from church) bought mom ALL of the baby equipment she needed and clothes for the baby for the next six months and this is her "reward." A restraining order. She has NOT even seen the baby (or mom) since the child was sent back to Mom right before Christmas. There are some crazy people out there.

Don't forget to enter the gift card giveaway! Click here for the details!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Back in the Groove & Giveaway...

We had a "normal" Monday today. It's been awhile. With the holidays, snow and MLK day, we haven't had a regular five day week in awhile. I hear a lot of people say things like, "I am glad the holidays are over so we can get back on schedule." I feel the opposite of those people..ha!

With a normal week, there are lunches to pack...
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{I just noticed that the frog on Jonah's lunchbox has eyelashes...whoops! Sorry baby, Mommy obviously has a hard time escaping the girly stuff. Haha!}

And LOTS of clothes to get ready...
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And LOTS of homework...who knew first graders had so much homework...
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And I miss hanging out with my babies during the day...
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{Btw, you can't see them very well in the picture, but Sophie Le is wearing her $1 leg warmers!}

Although, I am not sure if everyone feels the same way. My baby (the one of the right), CRIED when we saw one of her MDO teachers (a friend of mine) at Wal-Mart this afternoon...because she wanted to stay with her!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Seriously? I was sooooo surprised. I guess I should be happy that she loves her teacher and likes to be around her...but I wasn't. Ha!
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Don't forget to enter the giveaway! You can enter to win up to five times! If you are already a follower of my blog, leave a comment letting me know so you will have an extra entry :o)

Gotta run, there are some angry birds I must tend to...ha!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Yay for Giveaways!!

I NEVER win anything...spelling bees/contests/giveaways/the lottery (haha). Never. In fact, I stopped trying a few years ago.

But my luck is changing because I recently entered three giveaways and I WON two of them!!!! If you are also a "never winner", I am sure you can appreciate my excitement! First there was shock and then I was sure there had to be some mistake and then I was just giddy :o) Haha! Honestly, it didn't really matter what the prize was...I was just SO excited to actually WIN :o) It's the little things in life, ya know!

My prizes started arriving a few weeks ago. My first win was an awesome car seat cover from Posh Comforts...
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Although I don't have a "baby" in the house right now, I am sure I will be putting it to good use before long..haha! It is SUPER cool...I will write more about it later.

The second thing I won is a $100 Visa gift card from Welch's!!!! You know those ads you see on the side of the blogs? Well, I clicked on one and I won! And you know what, I have been buying Welch's juice ever since :o) With four thirsty kids, that will probably be drinking juice for the next 15 years, I think Welch's may be getting the good end of the deal...ha!
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I am thinking about using it toward a Cricket Expression :o) Does anyone have one? What do you think of it?

I was SO EXCITED about my wins that I decided to do a giveaway on this blog :o) If this one goes good, I will probably start doing more giveaways. Free things make me happy!

I have a gift certificate to an awesome online store to give away! Yay! Click here for the details and to enter to win!

Good luck!
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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Taxes, Messes & Outings...

I am a big fan of Saturdays :o) Sleeping in, leisurely breakfast, hanging out, watching movies, shopping, etc... What's not to like?

Well, if you (or your spouse) is a cpa...Saturdays look a lot more like any other day of the week from January through April :o( We miss our sweet boy on Saturdays...it just isn't the same without him! Three Saturdays down, only 11 more to go!

I feel almost guilty getting to hang out on Saturdays knowing my sweet hubby is working away "counting beans." Almost...until I look around and realize I have all four kids to myself for another day and then I feel like he's got the easy end of the stick...haha! Just kidding! I do NOT miss my "bean counting" days AT ALL!

I went out of the room for a few minutes this morning and came back to this...
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The picture is a bit deceiving. You really cannot tell how MUCH stuff is in their "fun pile." How in the world can they make such a big mess in the matter of a few minutes? Actually, I was thinking, "Who cares about the mess, at least they are happily playing together." Can I get an Amen? Does anyone elses kids aggravate each other on a minute to minute basis? Drives me c.r.a.z.y!

Since I really need to go to the grocery store and didn't have the energy to tackle that fun, fun task today, we headed to Chic-Fil-A for lunch :o)
Sweet Jonah LOVED playing in the play area. He spent most of the time cruising around the glass windows waving and smiling at people. He loves to meet new people :o)
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Hi Sophie Le!
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After lunch, we stopped by Target and I found some pink and red Christmas knee high socks in the girls' department for $1 a pair!!! Hello, Valentine legwarmers!!! Whoo hoo!

I had good intentions of taking some pictures of the kids today, but it didn't happen. I snapped a couple as we were heading out for pizza & a movie tonight...
Sweet sisters (is it just me or is Hillary Ashton looking older?)
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I finished up this outfit for Sophie Le this morning. It was my first time sewing with a knit fabric (for the top). It was tricky, but I love the how soft the fabric is...I also love the how she accessorized with her sister's pink scarf :o)
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Come back tomorrow for a giveaway!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Phone & Giveaway...

We switched phone companies twenty months ago. The first phone I got was GREAT...until it started turning off sporadically. It got to the point where it would not stay on for more than one minute at a time. I tried buying a new battery and updating the software, but nothing worked. It was beyond frustrating! After dealing with a pretty useless phone for two months, my phone company had mercy on me and GAVE me a brand new, updated version of the phone I currently had (I was out of warranty and not up for an upgrade). I was SO EXCITED...for about a week. The touchscreen quit working...and there was no keyboard. Not a good combination! That phone came sooooooooooo close to being thrown out the window on many, many occasions.

When sweet boy came home with our new phones yesterday, I felt like a kid at Christmas. I am in LOVE with my new phone. It not only works (which I totally appreciate!), it is fun, fun, fun! Yay!

It is so much fun, I am having a hard time being productive :o)

For the last year or so, I have heard the saying, "there's an app for that." I have to admit, I didn't really get it. I do now!! I may be a couple years behind, but these apps are fun!

One app that I came across by accident is the local police scanner. I LOVE that one :o) I listened to the cops respond to several burglaries this morning...very interesting. One thing I heard on the scanner made me so sad. The police responded to noise coming from a vacant house...it was some homeless folks chopping wood inside the house to make a fire in the fireplace. A warm house is a luxury many do not have :o(

I downloaded several apps for the girls...talking cat, math fun, animal sounds, but I know there are so many more out there. What are your favorites for your kids?

I promise to try to do better with my blogging tomorrow :o) In fact, I have a giveaway to do this weekend so be sure and stop by!

Just for fun...a picture from this day last year...my baby girl holding my BABY boy...
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Be stil my heart!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Blizzards & Angry Birds...

First of all...what happened to the weather guys that told us about the snow storms coming our way...and then nothing happened? Why are they always right these days? AND why are we getting so much snow? I thought I lived in the South...we aren't suppose to get this much snow I am not sure how much more of this I can take! Florida is sounding REALLY good right now.

I had to drive in a blizzard today. I think I aged a couple years. However, the school district must not have thought it was a blizzard because they didn't dismiss schools until 2:00 this afternoon.

I FINALLY got my new phone today...whoo hoo! I LOVE it and I have discovered Angry Birds, which is why this post is so short tonight :o)

Today is my sister's birthday!!! Happy Birthday Missy! I LOVE you!

Off to play more Angry Birds...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tubes, Adoption and Walking...

After school today, the kids and I went to a local church to play in their AMAZING indoor tube/climbing play area.
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I used to bring the girls here a lot, but I don't think we have been there in over a year because I don't remember ever bringing Jonah. He LOVED it, btw :o)

I don't think I have mentioned it on here before, but there are two families that have expressed interest in adopting Jonah, if he becomes available. Each family is a "friend of a friend." I met both families at two different birthday parties a couple weeks ago. Pretty crazy, huh? Anyways, one of the moms was at the tubes this afternoon and Jonah got to meet her and her kids.

I took a quick pic of the girls as we were leaving...
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Sophie Le's expression and stance crack me up! I said, "Sophie Le, why are you making that funny face?" She said, "It isn't a funny face...it is a cool face, Mama." Haha! That baby keeps me on my toes!

Jonah took like twenty steps in a row today...on several occasions! It is the SWEETEST thing watching him walk. He gets soooooo excited and usually falls because he can't stop laughing.

The news has declared tomorrow a "Severe Weather Alert Day." Boooooooooo!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Why Didn't we Have Spaghetti for Supper?

What to have for supper? That is probably one of the least favorite decisions that I have to make everyday. I really don't mind making supper or cleaning up afterwards...It's just that I have felt so uninspired lately when it comes to meals so I really dread making that decision EVERYDAY. If I was organized and smart like my friend Laura, I could come up with a meal plan for the ENTIRE YEAR! {AND she posts her meals on her blog...hello ideas!!}

Anyways, so tonight I went into the pantry and stood there for awhile...like everyday :o) I finally decided on spaghetti. We all love spaghetti. Good choice. I took the jar of spaghetti sauce out of the pantry and sit it on the counter. And for only reasons God knows, I changed my mind. I returned the jar of spaghetti sauce to the pantry. WHY OH WHY did I change my mind...ugg!

So our day continued...we had a yummy supper,Hillary Ashton finished her homework and we all played a quick game. It was then a very special time in our house...bedtime :o) haha! So, I picked up my sweet, sweet baby Jonah while the girls all ran upstairs to put on their pajamas. I decided to stop by the pantry to get a couple Butterfingers (shhh...don't tell the kids...I always get candy before bedtime...ha!). While I was grabbing the candy bars, my sweet, sweet baby grabbed the spaghetti jar off of shelf (the ONLY glass jar in the entire pantry) and...



That red sauce (and tiny pieces of glass) splattered all over everything...a HUGE package of napkins, a six pack of paper towels, the wall, the door, a printer that I store in the pantry, juice bottle, soda bottles, vacuum, etc, etc, etc...

Yea! Just the mess I wanted to see at bedtime.

Oh how I wish we would had Spaghetti for dinner tonight.

Monday, January 17, 2011

I Have a Dream...

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." ~MLK

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I am thankful MLK's dream. Because of his DREAM, my DREAMS of a multi-racial family was possible.

This year, the idea of segregation has hit me like a ton of bricks. Segregation...can you imagine? Really...can you imagine? MY KIDS would not have been able to go to school together...ugg! Or sit together on the bus...if we rode the bus. Make that the trolley downtown...we LOVE riding the trolley. Or drink out of the same water fountain. It makes me sick to my stomach to think about.

The CRAZY thing is, it wasn't even that long ago that segregation was present in our schools. The late 50s. Can you imagine being one of those nine African American students attending Central High School (here in LR) that first day. I am SO THANKFUL for those individuals. I know it wasn't easy.

I know because of the bravery of those students, MY KIDS have the freedom to go to school together. However, I cannot imagine sending them to any of our public schools...past fifth grade. That IS actually a DREAM of mine...being able to send my kids to public schools all the way through high school. Can I get an Amen?

I want my kids to know the truth about the history of our country, but it is SO HARD to expose them to the ridiculous concept of segregation. This afternoon, they were playing with some blocks on the floor while the television was on. Of course, there was talk of segregation. Honestly, I couldn't get the channel changed quick enough. I want them to know about MLK and his dream one day...but not yet. I am just not ready to have that conversation with them. I want them to stay innocent of such evil concepts for as long as I can. I wish I could snap my fingers and erase the whole idea of racism. They know their skin is different colors, but they have NO IDEA that is anything but WONDERFUL...and you know what...they are right.

Let's get back to my normal blogging topics, shall we? Cute kiddos, pictures, sewing, crafts...Haha!

For Christmas, we ordered photo canvases for the grandparents...and a couple for our home :o) I am IN LOVE with this one I ordered for our bedroom...

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My sweet girls at the beach...oh happy day! I am thinking about ordering a close up of each of the girls' faces...just trying to decide where I would hang them.

Can you believe Valentine's Day is less that a month away? Wow! I have lots of ideas floating around in my head that I want to do this year, but I am always looking for more :o) I just LOVE Valentine's Day!!!! Here is Hillary Ashton's Valentine's outfit for this year...
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I can't wait to see it on her!

How do you celebrate Valentine's Day with your kids?