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Saturday, December 15, 2012

If It's good enough for Jesus...


So, we've been struggling to decide how to "do" Christmas with our kids.  You know...Santa/no Santa...tons of gifts/very few...getting/giving.  One very important tradition we have started is our daily Random Acts of Kindness to get us in the "giving" spirit. I have to say I LOVE IT! And the kids are excited about it everyday.  Charleigh has started to come to me with her own "extra" acts of kindness she would like to do...which was JUST my goal...get her thinking outward instead of inward.  
So, Santa. I am ALL for the magic of Santa and our fun little Elf on the Shelf.  But, I have to admit, lying about the whole thing and having them work to please this big guy who is "watching" them all the time is somewhat bothering me.  He isn't God after all.   So, I have desperately tried to keep ole Saint Nick in perspective. He is a man, who really existed and loved the Lord.  He gave gifts to please God...he embodies the spirit of Christmas.  EVERY time we talk about Santa I am sure to relate him back to Jesus, how he served him, loved him and this whole shi-bang is for HIM. I am satisfied with that compromise. Still letting them have their innocence on the matter but making SURE they are not missing the point (after all, I have no problem with them believing that mickey mouse is real...I'm not telling them otherwise...are you?) The one thing I was still struggling with was the whole "presents" thing.  How can little baby Jesus compete with a man with a bag full of toys?? So, here is our idea from now on.  Our kids will receive three presents from Santa.  The same three presents Jesus himself received: Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh.  After all, if it was good enough for the king of kings, how dare we ask for more! Here is an article describing how we will do this. Thought I'd share :)
Begging for MyrrhStressed out by Christmas presents? Try this simple approach to godly gift giving.By Trina Conner Schaetz
If you're like most Christian parents, you enter the holiday season intent on focusing your family's celebrations on the "true meaning" of Christmas. We set up our nativity sets, bake birthday cakes for Jesus, and reenact the birth of the Savior so that our children aren't confused about what Christmas is about. Some of us even choose to keep Santa out of our holiday to prevent our children from losing sight of Jesus' birth.
But Santa or no Santa, most families find that the whole gift-giving commotion ends up fizzling our focus anyway. Even if Mom and Dad try to reign in the gift explosion, kids get oodles of presents from Grandma and Grandpa, Uncle Bob and Aunt Susie, friends, and even neighbors. As a result, our visions of a meaning-filled Christmas get buried under all the wrapping paper, and by December 26, we start making promises to do things better next year.
In an effort to maintain some control over the lessons learned at Christmas, my husband and I have come up with a way of giving gifts that seems to work beautifully. Maybe you've tried limiting your giving to three gifts per child to echo the three gifts Jesus received from the Magi. But our idea takes this plan a step further. The three gifts themselves symbolize those that Jesus received from the wise men: "On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh" (Matt. 2:11).
On Christmas morning, our immediate family takes time to reflect on why we celebrate Christmas. Each child receives three presents: one to represent gold, one to represent frankincense, and one to represent myrrh. As we open them, we talk about the special significance behind the gifts that Jesus received, and how they symbolize Jesus as King, as God, and as Savior.
Gifts of GoldWhen Jesus was born, gold was even more valuable than it is today. It was a gift that was fit for a king or someone of the highest regard. What a great symbol it was for Jesus to receive such an offering from the wise men, as he is indeed the King of kings and Lord of lords.
Not only did the gold gift signify Jesus' kingly position, but in their book, Gifts for the King, (published by Priscilla and Aquilla Ministries and available at house2house.org), Bill and Leah Miller suggest that the gold may also have helped Mary and Joseph escape Bethlehem. It may have paid for the family's expenses and protection while they traveled secretly to Egypt to flee King Herod.
This Christmas, explain to your children how the wise men's gift of gold was significant to Jesus and his family. Then give each child her own "gold" gift. The present should be something of great importance to suggest how valuable your child is to your family.
Gold gifts often end up being our most expensive presents. For example, a gold gift might be the bicycle a child has been dreaming about, the CD player she has been saving for, or a piece of jewelry that seems appropriate. For an extra treat, wrap the "gold" gift in shiny gold paper with iridescent gold bows or ribbons.
Gifts of FrankincenseFrankincense is a white resin or sap taken from the wounds of a tree found in East Africa and Southern Arabia. Today, frankincense is known for its antiseptic, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. No wonder people in ancient times begged for it. It was probably one of the ancient world's first "cure-all" medicines, healing everything from infections to headaches. Surely Mary and Joseph could use the gift of frankincense with a new baby around.
Frankincense was also a sacred substance. In Exodus 30:34-37, God specifically requests that frankincense be used as sacred incense in his Temple and forbids the Israelites to use frankincense for anything besides his religious purposes. God commanded the Israelites to place frankincense in front of the Tent of Meeting to scent the place where he had promised to meet with them.
Years after that temple was destroyed, God sent his own Son, Jesus, to be a symbolic "Tent of Meeting" for all people. How appropriate, then, that the wise men brought frankincense as a gift for Mary's baby. Jesus had become our Emmanuel: God with us.
With that in mind, your child's "frankincense" gift should correspond with the way he "meets" with God. For example, you could give your child a new study Bible, a devotional book, a journal, or worship CD as a frankincense gift. A younger child might enjoy a Christian video or CD of children's praise songs. Eventually, your children will be able to identify the ways they most enjoy spending time with God and will be able to suggest future ideas for their frankincense gifts. As a symbolic touch, decorate frankincense presents with bright white paper and bows to represent the sacred white incense that Jesus received.
Gifts of MyrrhLike frankincense, myrrh is also a resin taken from a special tree; however, rather than being white, myrrh is a dark, earthy color and has a rich aroma. In ancient times myrrh was used to scent anointing oils, perfumes, and embalming liquids. Today you can still find myrrh added to some soaps, oils, and lotions.
Miller notes that myrrh was more costly than gold or frankincense because it was needed for the sacred embalming process before a person's burial. Still, it seems strange to offer an embalming liquid as a gift to celebrate a baby's birth. But when you consider that Jesus was born to eventually die for our sins, the symbolism behind the treasured gift of myrrh becomes easier to understand.John 19:39-40 confirms that Nicodemus did, in fact, anoint Jesus with myrrh as part of his burial preparation.
I am not, however, suggesting that you give your child a gift suitable for her funeral. Instead, remind your children that even though Jesus started out as a little baby, he was sent to die on the cross to take the punishment for each of our sins. Then, as a family, be thankful for Jesus' sacrifice.
For a "myrrh" gift, present each child with something to "anoint" her body. For instance, you might give scented bath soaps, perfume or cologne, lotion, or shampoo. For younger children, choose colorful bath bubbles or playful tub soaps. To stretch your options a little farther, consider buying combs, hair products, comfy towels, or even make-up if it's age appropriate. If you look hard enough, you might even find something made with real myrrh. Wrap the myrrh gift with earth-toned paper to represent myrrh's rich dark color.
The Real GiftWith a little creativity, these three gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh will help remind your children that Jesus is our King of kings, our Emmanuel, and our Sacrificial Lamb. When the extended family arrives bearing even more gifts, your children will already be focused on Christ and be able to receive additional presents gratefully and graciously. They might even enjoy telling other relatives about their "wise men"gifts.
Have fun with this approach. Your kids might not get it at first, but as the years go by, it will become a treasured family tradition; it has for us. No matter how many gifts come flooding through your door, the three gifts will help your whole family remember that the most important gift given on that first blessed Christmas came not from the wise men, but from God: the gift of his Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Friday, May 13, 2011

If you have/want a child, read this...

So, I started a fundraiser for my sister and her husband, to raise money for them to have an IVF procedure. And while, I feel like I can passionately tell you their story all day long, and beg you to be a part of their solution, I know to see the journey from her eyes will speak miles farther than I ever could. If you have ever struggled with infertility, you know the hurt poured out in these following words. And if you have beautiful children of your own (no matter how bad you think they are) drop to your knees and tearfully praise the one who blessed you with them...you have no idea how those little annoyances you deal with everyday, scraping green beans off the wall, digging play-dough out of the carpet or having a scratched up coffee table from where they've played one too many games of "vroom vroom" with their matchbox cars....yeah, you have no idea how those little annoyances can be something another actually longs for...
Here's to scratch marks on coffee tables:

(written by Sharry Bingham)
"Here is our story of infertility. Josh and I were married in November 2006. We both knew that we wanted to have children soon. We decided to wait about a year so we could get settled in our marriage. So, in March 2008, we began trying to conceive our first child. The first nine months past by with no pregnancy, so after a few tests were run on Josh and I, the doctor put me on Clomid to help achieve pregnancy. After taking Clomid for the 6 months allowed, we still had no success. They doctor then said he needed to do laproscopic surgery to see if there were any problems with my reproductive system since he could not figure out what was wrong through other tests.
He performed that in July 2009. As I woke up from surgery, the doctor explained to me that I had Stage IV (severe) endometriosis. He told me that he was not able to get rid of it all because the risk was too high to do that laproscopically. In order for us to have a chance of getting pregnant, the doctor would have to do a more invasive surgery to remove the endometriosis. To do this, I would have to take medicine for 6 months that would put me through temporary menopause and then do the surgery. This surgery would not only push pregnancy back at least another 6 months, but would put me out of work for 2-4 weeks! After much prayer, we agreed to do it. I had the surgery in December 2009. The recovery was terrible, but it was successful in cleaning up the majority of the endometriosis. The doctor reminded us that endometriosis grows back over time and our chances of pregnancy decrease the longer it takes. So, after a couple months of recovery, we went to work trying again. I was on Clomid again for another 4 months before deciding that it was past time to make an appointment with a fertility specialist!
We met our fertility doctor in September 2010 and after an ultrasound, found that I had several cysts on my ovaries, probably from all the Clomid I had taken and that I would yet again have to WAIT another month to let them go away before doing any aggressive treatment. Finally, in October, we were able to start fertility shots and complete an IUI cycle. Everything looked good with the procedure, but we did not get pregnant. In November, I had more cysts from the previous IUI cycle and needed to take another month break. We also skipped December because we could not work the fertility schedule around all of the holiday travel and plans. So, as you can imagine, we went back in January well rested and ready to try IUI again. When they did my ultrasound in January, they found more cysts. This concerned the nurse since I had been off meds for two months. She also noticed that one of my cysts in particular looked a little different. She sent my results to the doc to review and we made an appt. to talk with him. He told us that he thought my endometriosis had come back and produced endometriomas (cysts) on my ovaries that were hindering us from getting pregnant. They only way to see how bad it was and fix it was to do surgery for a third time.
Honestly, Josh and I were devastated and had our faith tested. We didn’t understand why this was happening to us. We did a lot of praying and spending time with God. It was during this time that our relationship with God grew the most. He taught us that He is in control and as long as we are trusting and placing our faith in Him, He is going to bless us more than we can imagine. We both had a peace about the surgery, so we moved forward. I had the surgery in March 2011 and it could not have gone any better. It was less invasive than we thought it was going to be, the recovery was good, and the doctor was happy with what he was able to do. Of course, now it was time to get pregnant and quickly before the endometriosis came back. In April 2011, we began another IUI cycle. Everything was going beautifully and I had SEVERAL (almost too many) follicles developing. The doctor even seriously talked to us about the risk of having multiples. We were really excited about the progress we were making and everything seemed to be on track. I went in for my pregnancy test and it was negative. I know God wants to give us the desires of our hearts and wants to bless us. I also know His will and timing are perfect and this just meant that it was not time, but that fact didn’t take away the disappointment we felt at that moment.
As you can imagine, this story gives us plenty to complain about and reason to be angry, BUT we have learned to be thankful for this battle we are going through. We see God using this difficult time in our lives every day to make us stronger and allow us to help and encourage others in a similar situation. Bringing God glory through this is our main focus. This brings us to where we are today, May 2011. We are going to start the IVF process and pray for success. This is an expensive process and we have had so many friends willing to give to support us. Although the money given is EXTREMELY helpful in us reaching our ultimate goal of becoming parents, Josh and I would like most of all to ask for your prayers. Prayer is such a powerful tool. I believe God hears all prayers and wants to grant the request of His people. We know God will bless us with a child one day through some means so please pray that we stay focused on trusting and being faithful to God, that we seek and follow His will, and that this procedure will be successful."

If God has put a tear in your heart over this story, HELP. Please click the "donate" button on the right hand side of this page and help. I am offering custom fabric flower pins in exchange for a $10 donation but certainly the cause is much greater...please help us put feet to our prayers, giving up one starbuck's coffee this week could add $5 to their miracle.

"Don't confuse empathy with compassion. It's not compassion until you cross the street." Christine Caine

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

A Year to Remember :)

This is the kind of blog post that you will never get through unless you take water breaks...for that reason, I will include mandatory intermissions. You're welcome. So, after August 14th (Charleigh's 11 month celebration) these are the events that followed:

Okay, when I was pregnant with Charleigh one of the boys in our youth group (Ryan Bell) asked me what he could get for her. I was a little stunned that a teenager would be so thoughtful to even ask so, knowing he was a musical talent, I said, "Well, you could always write her a song, haha." Well, he did just that! He gave this to me when she was about 3 months old but I couldn't post it until now (due to copyright stuff). I cry every time I listen to it as the pain of the miscarriages still seems fresh, and the fear of not knowing if we'd ever get our little angel comes flooding back. But, the fear has been replaced by JOY! And she will always be OUR little girl! So, here is her song: **Uhh ohh, song wouldn't upload...I'm going to keep trying**
video


First off what is Charleigh girl up to these days, you ask? Oh man, let me tell ya...She is officially a toddler (I'm assuming to "officially" qualify, you must toddle...and she does)! She walks everywhere now, I couldn't get her to crawl if I put her food on the ground. She's fast too. She is out of her mouthing stage, I mean, she still wants to eat everything but not because she is mouthing it, but because she is always HUNGRY. At 11.5 months she finally got some more teeth (as you will see in some of these pictures), her top two came in. Now at 12 months plus some she is getting her top two teeth next to her big ones (I have no idea what those are called). She has started LOVING to read. All day, she brings me and Daddy books to read and acutally listens to us read them! Aunt Sharry and Uncle Josh got her a box of 26 books each devoted to one letter of the alphabet. She carries it around (it's pretty heavy) and sits down to read them periodically :) She is getting SO stinkin' smart. Her sign language is just easy as pie now, walks around at parties asking everyone for "more" off their plates, which is why her thighs look they way they do. She is proficient at "eat" and "done"and "more", she knows what "thank you" and "please" and "potty" mean, but she doesn't do them herself yet. Speaking of potty, we've got BIG news...more about this with a video below. On her one year birthday she weighed 22lbs and 4 oz, a BIG slow down in the weight gain, which I attribute to walking, but everyone who sees her comments on how tall she is so, maybe she just looks thinner? She actually didn't go in for her one year checkup until the 29th, they had her weight at 22lbs and 4 oz (70%), her height was 31.25 inches (95%), and her head was 90% (I don't remember the measurement). She no longer takes the bottle (figured I should remedy that quickly before it became a problem). She totally didn't care when I stopped giving it to her, she just drinks her milk (which is real cow's milk now) out of a sippy cup. She refuses to use any of the fancy, technological sippy cups...she only wants to use the cheap take-along kind. Boo...not so cute. Anyway, that's in a nutshell what has been happening on the Charleigh front :)



Here she is in her cute little converse, that she only got to wear once before she jumped TWO shoe sizes!
We started off her 12th month with a trip up to Bama, my cousin was getting married and Justin was heading out of town for work so I fancied it was a great time to go visit P'ville! Before we left we played with Granny and Papa's picture (which is why it looks all wrinkly and torn).

video My sis's and I at the wedding (Charleigh started sqealing at the ring bearer when he walked down, we had to leave the room to calm her down)
While we were there I caught Papa sneaking popsicles to my little darling.
Here she is in Granny's bathtub...she LOVES the bath.



Next we took time to celebrate Big Mama this month! It was her 29th birthday! Acutally this picture was taken a few weeks later for Char's bday.

Here she is rockin' her new pink cowgirl boots Big Mama got her AND her cute sweater dress Auntie Whitney got her:) Plus the lace legging which mommy couldn't resist at Target.

As if the birthdays ended there...every weekend in September was full on the Tyner's calendar with LOTS of birthdays! First up on the kiddo list was Cade and Hayes (I'm so glad their mama does their birthdays together).They had a huge water slide and all the kids almost killed themselves having so much fun! Char made her appearance in her FSU cheeleading outfit as it was their first game of the season.
The next weekend we were off to Nathan's party.
They too had water festivities for the kumquats. We like to take family pictures at birthday parties :) It's our blog, we can do what we want right?



The next weekend we doubled up. Sweet Vivian celebrated in the morning and little Emorie was that afternoon:I forgot my camera at Viv's party so I only got this one shot of Janie and Charleigh sitting at their little minature table together (so cute)!And here is Charleigh and Em, they are just little best friends when they are together (one week apart).


Well, while all that was happening, we had some other things going on during the week. Like...Charleigh turned ONE! We weren't having her party for a week or so later but we still wanted to celebrate her special day. So here is how I decided to wake her up that morning:


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She's so precious!

That day we had several visitors. Baby Bella came to wish Char Happy birthday, we went to see Daddy at work, and then Paw Paw and GranMama came over to help celebrate! We finally got to turn around her car seat. She just kept looking at me in the front seat driving and busting out laughing...I guess she thought it was funny that she could see me??




INTERMISSION (insert corny elevator music here)


Alright, now that your hydrated and ready to go...let's continue...We also had several playdates and lunchdates as they are our favorite things to do :) In no particular order: We met Jill, Kennedy, Emily, and Baby Ley for a Chik-fil-a lunch. Charleigh is saying "LIIIGHT" in the picture. This was before Emily found out that her little "girl" had magically become a little BOY! haha, so funny (but totally not, Emily).
We also visited the new Roger Scott swimming pool with Jill and K. So fun for the little tikes. Charleigh LOVES to swim. Sticks her whole head in the water and then laughs. We always have playdates with Baby Bella but here is one we actually took pictures at ;) they are so cute together.We went back to Roger Scott with the Kepners for Labor Day (forgot to get a picture with them). Lunchdate with the Taylor's after church one Sunday...Charleigh is in LOVE with Christian (he's only 9 years older). And he is pretty fond of her too. Every Wednesday night at church dinner all three of those Taylor rugrats find Charleigh and just hug her and love her...it makes me happy, those little lovers!Here we are having ANOTHER playdate with K and Jill...they look extremely happy don't they?

We also got the priviledge of dog-sitting Titan and Tacoma for our friends Jaime and Adam while they went on a week long cruise. These little Yorkies are half the size of Prissy put together...they were soooo stinkin' cute and LOVED to cuddle. I miss them :(
As the month went on, it grew closer and closer to Charleigh's birthday party. I'm going to write a second post on the party as it was WAY too complicated :) The way I like things apparently. So, I'll skip over the party itself and go to the next day. Granny and Papa had spent the night and were leaving early the next morning. So we took them to Village Inn for breakfast. Charleigh just kept leaning over and hugging Papa...so sweet. (Justin dressed her this particular day, he's totally cool with the big bows I usually put on her but he thinks she looks really sweet with the little ones clipped into her hair...she did look pretty sweet).
Granny also gave her her first taste of soda...she did NOT enjoy it. (check out BOTH of their faces..haha)
Bye bye Granny and Papa :(



The next weekend we had our first official theme dinner. A big group of young couples that we are all friends with have decided that we want to have theme dinners every month (inspired by my sis and bro in law). You know dinners where you must come in full theme attire and eat eat "theme" type foods...it's for the kids (or so we claim). This month's dinner was at Jaime and Adam's house and the theme was "Take me out to the Ballgame". Everyone came out in their sports attire and we watched the Bama/Gator game. We ate, hot dogs, cracker jacks, football shaped dips and what not. It was a blast, next month is at the Tyner household for "Nightmare on Spencer Oaks Street"!!! Can't wait!
Ohhh, so, bad news, my daughter, the one with the amazing immune system who has avoided major sicknesses for the first year of her life...well, she got pink eye!It later spread to her other eye and turned into an ear infection :( She woke up Saturday night at 2am with a fever over 103 (I couldn't get her to sit still for the thermometer to beep but, it got up to 103 and I knew we had problems). Worse than the reading was her body, it was beet red and you could hardly hold her without bursting into flames...she was sooo hot. And she was shaking, just shaking, it was so scary. I gave her a warm bath, dosed her with Motrin, and rushed her the ER (per the request of the pediatrician). Found out it was an ear infection and have been giving her motrin/tylenol every three hours non stop. It is now day 4 of our event and she is still running a low grad temp when I don't keep the pain meds in her constantly :( But she is laughing and playing and pretty much back to her old self. **Update: She woke up (day 6) with her left eye swollen shut. Visited the doc and she said that she had a reaction to the Amoxicilin. Now she is on Benadryl too. Oh and she had two ear infections, not one.**

INTERMISSION *insert 90's pop music here*


Latest crafting:
A couple months ago I had a hankerin' to make an over-the-top ruffled pant outfit for Char, since she is walking now I knew it's be so cute to see her little ruffles bouncing back and forth sooo...I came up with a pattern in my head that I prayed would work and to my surprise...IT DID! I loved it! She is wearing this in several pictures above because I just love it so much and she seems to like it too! (it's a halter top which I adore on little girls)So this outfit turned out to be a hit with a lot of folks. Here are some other's I've done since:
For my friend Jill's little girl on her birthday. This one had three rows of ruffles and matching korker pigtail bows!
This one I made for a little girl also for her birthday party. It was Strawberry Shortcake themed, hence the red, pink, and greens.
Then football season rolled around and I decided to make an Auburn version. I'm not usually a fan of "characters" on clothing but this little tiger applique was too cute to pass up! (it says "'lil' tiger" underneath the tiger applique)And here is one I made for Emorie for her birthday...it's really funky, and I just love funky!
Here are some appliqued onesies and matching burp cloths:
I'm in love with this little monkey and his orange cheeks! The tan face is made from a fluffy fleece fabric so it ends up being three dimensional :)
Two different versions of this cross onesie.For all you frog lovers out there...how cute is this onesie??Some FSU attire I made for my friend Jenna who just had her baby girl :) I also later made her a tutu to go with it...it was ADORABLE!Another sweet onesie for a family that actually work for/with the SAINTS...so cute!I am fully aware that The Prissy Pink Polka Dot is lacking on the "boy gear". I'm just such a girl, and have a hard time motivating myself to make things for boys but, this month was the month of birthdays and, yes, some of them where...BOYS!! So here is what I made for them:


I was also enlisted to make some pettiskirts, tutus and hair bows for Hartman Photography this month, I showed my zebra and hot pink pettiskirt in my last post. Well, I am especially proud of this Ivory one because it is made a good bit shorter and twice as fluffy! For the little ones!
I ended up making a matching tank to go with it so that Charleigh could use them both in our upcoming beach photo shoot with Hartman (I will be writing a separate post with all of these pictures).Then I proceeded to make her wear it around the house just so I could oogle how cute she was in it :)I have one customer that gets me to make her daughter dresses for every occassion of life, weddings, ballgames and I am SURE the holidays too! Her brother is the coach of the Coleman Bluecats, here is what I came up with for her to wear to her first football game:
Probably one of my FAVORITE things I've made this month is this new hospital gown! I am in LOVE with it. If I have a baby any time soon (which I'm not) I will make this one for myself....that is, if I don't fall in love with another fabric/color combo by then :)

I'm into making these ribbon rosettes lately. Here is a shirt and matching headband I made from them. This flower is actually more of a dark pink but my flash made it look super pale (???)
Here is the little dress I made Vivian for her birthday. It is a new one on my resumé as well. The ribbon straps thread through a hole in the back of the dress and tie a bow in the back, which is the perfect touch in my opinion.

I make prizes every month to give away to my Chosen HS girls and here is one from this month. A sweet collapsible basket.I thought I'd leave off with some videos of Char baby. Here Char is playing with her Alphabet Train from GranMama and Paw Paw...she is a persistent little booger:
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And even though I KNOW she is young for potty training, I realized that when I would do the sign language for potty she would start grunting and many times make a poop in her diaper. I figured that meant she understood. So, I bought a little potty seat to put on our toilet and decided to see how she did with it. The first day she just laughed and crossed her legs (like the little lady she is) but the second and third day...she tinkled!!! She's gone 4 times in the potty so far (when she got sick this week we took a break from the potty...hope she remembers!)


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