Monday, November 30, 2009

Post-Thanksgiving Thankfulness... Award Acceptance Post

I don't want anyone to think I'm not grateful!  I soooooo, so so so am!  It has taken me an embarrassingly long time to claim these sweet awards, to say thank you to those who awarded them, and to pass them on to those who deserve recognition in return.  I think I was just overwhelmed by the kindness and got too caught up in the annoying little things that reality uses to complicate my life to really enjoy the fact that my bloggy life is freaking awesome.  So, without further delay or slackage, I present to you my newest awards:

The Heartfelt Blogger Award from Kate at Kate's Life (who I swear is my twin), Arizona Mamma from Our Daze in the Desert (who is absolutely adorable and funny and fun), and Tamara at The (Un)Experienced Mom (who is 18 different kinds of rock star for all she does and has overcome)... Thank you, Gals!  I'm so flattered that my blog gives you a warm, fuzzy, gooey feeling inside!

Tamara also awarded me the Lemonade Stand Award!  Thanks, Lady!  This award is all about blogs with good attitudes, and apparently she skipped my whiny posts and saw through to the fact that I really am totally thankful to have the life I do.

And finally, Candice from Wolf's on Safari (who leads one of the coolest, most adventuresome lives I can imagine and raises a crazy adorable little boy at the same time) thought I deserved the Gorgeous Blogger Award.  How sweet is that?! 

So.  All of these awards come with instructions like, "Award this to 967 other blogs you enjoy reading, post it to your profile, do 17 back flips, crack 3 eggs over your head while whistling Free Bird and standing on a purple placemat, then write 12 intimate secrets about yourself for the world to read".  Well, I'm just not doing that.  I'm a rebel.  And an ingrate.  All of you ladies took the time to send me an award and here I am being a boob.

So, I'm making up new rules.  Well, I'm bending some and adding in new ones entirely.

First of all, if you're on my Blog Roll, you're getting the Gorgeous Blogger Award.  So come and get it my friends!  

Secondly, if you get the award, stick it on your blog for added bling (because who doesn't love flair?) and feel free to, as I'm doing, use as fodder for a post when you're totally stumped as to what to write about someday.

Pay it forward if you'd like, to whomever - as many or as few as you'd like.  

See?  Easy peasy.  Now, because some of these awards come with instructions to tell some stuff about myself, I'll do another one of those.  

Ten MORE Things About Melis

1.  I love the smell of Crayola crayons.  Can't put a finger on why, but I love it so much it's absurd.  Actually, I have extremely strong associations with smells of all kinds.  But the Crayola thing comes to mind first.

2. Going out doesn't really excite me... give me a movie, my sweats, my hubby and a bottle of wine and I am totally and completely content.  Even if we had millions of dollars and free babysitting for life, I'd still choose staying at home every single time.

3.  I can't sing.  I mean, I like to sing along to some songs, but I would rather strip for a theater full of people than sing.  That is not an exaggeration; in fact, it might be an understatement.  

4.  I had natural childbirth for all of my kids including the twins.  Not snobby or hoity-toity about it because whatever, it's your vagina and if you want it numb, dude, that's your call entirely!  But I actually kinda liked how it felt.  Well, not the forceps... no, didn't like how that felt.  But I relished the rest of it.  I'd like to have another kid in part just because I like giving birth.  That makes me really weird.

5.  A ton of things make me really weird, actually.  I would, for instance, rather my child use the "F" word when he drops a toy on his foot than improperly use pronouns or end a sentence with a preposition.  And  yes, before he can form complex sentences I am teaching him proper grammar.  I hate sloppy speech and I despise txt-speak beyond anything.  

6.  I think space and all things related to it are really really cool.

7.  There are quite a few meals and desserts that I adore cooking and really don't care much for eating.  

8.  The sense of accomplishment I get from things like watching Jack go to the bathroom on the big toilet or watching Justin's face when he takes a bite of his favorite meal or hearing someone tell me how clean my house looks is more satisfying than that which I got from turning in a paper or filing a big lawsuit. 

9.  I'm desperately trying to finish school for medical billing and claims but I can't find the time to devote to it.  Even though I find time to blog, what you don't see is that each post is written in 5 minute chunks here and there and there's no way I can complete my schoolwork in pieces like that.  I'm terrified that I won't get it done and we'll have paid for nothing.

10.  I was in Air Force ROTC for a while in college and it afforded me some of the coolest opportunities.  I flew a jet and several training aircraft and presented the Colors at the first Notre Dame football game I attended among other things.  It was absolutely incredible.  Also, if it weren't for ROTC and for starting off as an engineer, I'd probably never have gotten to be with Justin and my life wouldn't be as perfect as it is.  Fleas and all.

Soooooooooooo..... there ya go.  Haphazard, yes, but I've accepted all of my bloggie awards and returned the favor in the laziest possible way.  And you learned some stuff at the same time.  Cool.  My work here is done. 

Beans, Beans, the Magical...

... No, not that kind of beans... yet.  Green beans!  These are super easy, but they're very... green tasting and my kids don't like them much so I mix a couple bean cubes with a pea cube and it goes a long way to making them tastier. (I'm not much of a bean fan myself, actually.)  I don't strain these because, again, my kids like their foods more texturey and the straining step is necessary for peas because the hulls actually make them super gassy.  To my knowledge, that is not the case with beans.  So here we go:

Step 1: Steam (or blanche) frozen green beans just until tender and no longer frozen.

They should have a lovely bright green color and have a good snap to them.

Step 2: Add to blender and blend.  You probably won't need any additional water, but if you do, make sure you've reserved that cooking water and use that instead of regular tap water.

This is how much a regular bag of frozen green beans will make once pureed.

Step 3: Spoon into trays and freeze!  Done!   Yay!  If you want to strain, feel free, but you will lose some volume.  If you want to make them super smooth, I'd go ahead and strain, then re-blend them.  But I don't. 

Baby's Thanksgiving: Sweet Potatos

So, since Thanksgiving is over and we've got Christmas around the corner, I ramped up the food-introduction schedule and brought in sweet potatoes and green beans this weekend so my girls could have a little feast of their own with the family!  Now, there are a couple of different ways to do sweet potatoes.  I've got some pretty crazy "waterless" cookware that helps me out with this process, but not to worry!  I'll jump in with alternate directions for those of you who still have your sanity and refused to shell out $3k for pots and pans.  (Yeah, I'm a total nutjob, don't laugh.)

Step 1: Obtain fresh sweet potatoes.  They're usually pretty affordable.  Pick up some extras and at the end of this I'll tell you how to make sweet potatoes taste delish for you, too!  You'll need a good, sharp knife (they can be hard to cut) and a veggie/potato peeler.

... and, if you're like me, you'll need a shallow skillet with tight-fitting lid like this one.  (Alternate instructions: Method A - Baking; you will need aluminum foil.  Method B - Steaming; you will need a steamer.)

Step 2: Peel and wash potatoes (Method A - Do not peel; wash potatoes and wrap in aluminum foil.  Proceed to Step 5. Method B - no change.)

Step 3: Chop potatoes into smallish chunks.  I halve the potato, halve again and then slice. (Method B - no change.)

Step 4: Put the chunks into the pan with about a cup of water. (Method B - put potatoes in steamer instead.)

Step 5: Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes and lower heat to simmer for another 45 minutes to an hour if you are using the waterless cookware(Method A - Bake potatoes for an hour at 375 degrees and check with a fork.  If they are soft, remove and let cool for 30 minutes.  Otherwise, continue baking in 20 minute intervals until potatoes are soft.  Method B - Steam until tender according to your steamer's instructions.)

Potatoes, regardless of cooking method, should yield easily to pressure from a fork.

 Step 6: Mash.  Mash, mash, mash.  Enjoy it.  I do.  (I will not name the faces I picture while mashing; that would be rude.)  (Method A - Remove from skins and mash. Method B - no change.)

*At this point, all methods follow the same steps.*

Step 7: Begin adding mashed sweet potatoes to the blender.  You'll probably need water to add to the mix for this one and it requires a bit of patience to keep starting and stopping the blender to stir the mush. 

In case you were wondering, I pureed the amount of potatoes in this case in two separate batches in the blender.  It also filled 6 ice cube trays. 

Step 8: When the consistency is what you'd like - whatever thickness you like, so long as there are no lumps, you're ready to go ahead and spoon into the trays and freeze.  Sweet potatoes freeze exceptionally well and thaw fabulously with no separation of liquid whatsoever. 

Actually, just before I finished this post, I had mashed up a banana and stirred it into the girls' thawed sweet potato cubes for a sweet treat for their lunch.  Mmmm - delightful! 

Now, if you wanted to take any of this info and translate it to the adult palate, you could follow steps 1-5 for my method and add some pats of butter and a quarter cup of brown sugar to the potatoes before covering and cooking and mash everything together.  That's how I prepare my holiday sweet potato recipe and it is absolutely delicious.  My husband asks for it weekly.  Sometimes I mash up the sweet potatoes and sprinkle a bit of cinnamon on the mash and drizzle a little honey over the top before serving and omit the butter and brown sugar entirely. 

Enjoy and keep it up if you're walking the path of homemade baby food with me!  It's so rewarding!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Butternut Squash Baby Food... With a Bonus, Too!

I don't really follow the whole "green foods, then yellows, then oranges..." blah-blitty-blah nonsense.  I just kinda move from food to food according to what sounds good or I feel like making or I see a good deal on in the store, etc.  I do stick to mainly veggies to start with, but what I'm actually finding is that it probably doesn't matter with these girls because Jordan will eat anything (including a KFC drumstick... ahem) you give her.

But I decided to make some butternut squash to follow peas (we've done cereals, then avocados, then sweet peas, and now squash) mainly because my husband loves butternut squash soup.  So today, I give you: BUTTERNUT SQUASH!  And the bonus: butternut squash soup!

Awesome, right?  Yes, very!

So, full disclosure: I started with 8.53 lbs of squash.  That's a little absurd.  It took me 4 dishes to bake it all, but I got a TON of yum for my money.

Step 1: Chop the ends off.  Or, if it's a big squash, like these, chop the smaller end off and wait until you hack it down to a more manageable size to tackle the bottom end... or just don't worry about it.   But I like to square off the bottom to make it more stable for cutting.  Because I'm accident prone. 

Step 2: Chop the squash in half so you're separating the skinny end from the bulbous end.  Then, turn each of those pieces on it's end and cut them in half length-wise.

Step 3: You'll have exposed the seeds in the bulbous end after you make the 2nd cut.  Use a spoon to carve out the seeds and the stringy ick.

Step 4: Place all of the "quarters" into baking dishes, cut-side down.  Add about an inch of water to the dishes.

Step 4: Bake at 375 for about an hour or until the tops are brown and wrinkly... this.  You should also be able to sink a fork into the meat very easily.

If you let the squash sit for a little while, you'll notice that they absorb the water from the baking dishes.  This is a good and awesome thing as it makes your life easier.  As before with the peas, if there is any leftover water, save it for thinning the puree later if necessary.

Step 5: Use a spoon or a fork or your fingers (if you let the squash cool off!) to peel the skin off.  It should come off pretty easily, but this part is really messy for me, no matter how hard I try to stay organized. (And please ignore the random junk on my counters!)  Sometimes, I find it's a little easier to flip the squash over and scoop it out of its skin with a spoon.

Step 6: Add to a blender and puree the snot out of it!  It doesn't go as quickly as the peas did, and you might have to pause a good number of time to stir the contents of the blender... thingy... and squish it down and maybe even add water.  Be patient - it's worth it if you consider there isn't any straining necessary!


You should end up with a pretty good consistency thanks to the absorbed water.  I didn't add any extra water to this batch, but I did to a later batch.  Also, my babies enjoy a little thicker texture, so if yours like it runny, thin it out some more.  A word to the wise though: sometimes it makes more sense to freeze the food in a thicker consistency than you'd feed your child for two reasons: a) sometimes the thawed cubes are runnier because of frost from the freezing process and water released from the fibers of the food in the cold and b) it's always easier to add a little milk, water or formula to thin it out later if it's still too thick.  Conversely, if you do either make it too thin to begin with or it winds up being too thin when it thaws, I keep some rice cereal on hand to stir into the food to thicken it right up.  But don't freeze the food with the cereal added - it does funky stuff to it somehow.

Step 7: Fill your ice-cube trays, cover with plastic (if you'd like!) and freeze!  Here's my baggie o' cubes!  My girls like to eat 2 cubes each twice a day of this stuff!

Now, on to the soup!  I really love the slightly nutty flavor of this soup and it's delicious as a first course for a holiday meal.  I tend to pair it with baked chicken and veggie medley. 

Step 1: This is about 3 cups-ish of pureed squash prepared at the same time as the baby food version, so it's already baked.  That's great news and makes this a really quick meal!  I've also been known to thaw a few cubes out and whip this soup up in single servings for hubby's lunch... Transfer the squash from the blender to a pot.  If you wanted, you could probably do it all in a blender and heat it through later, but this is how I do it and this is my blog, so deal.

Step 2: If you're working with the 3ish cups of squash, add some milk to it... about 3/4 cupish.  See, it gets fuzzy because it depends on how thick your squash is to begin with and gets even ish-ier from there.  But start with 3/4 cup. 

Step 3: Add some salt.  I use sea-salt and I add a little extra later for hubby, but this is probably a tablespoon.

Step 4: Ditto for the freshly ground black pepper.

Step 5: Sorry about the picture quality... I apparently had too much coffee for breakfast.  Anyway, the secret ingredient is ground nutmeg.  Add one dash.

Step 6: Once all your spices are added to your extremely thick, gloppy mixture, thin it out to your desired thickness with chicken stock...

...See?  I like it to where it coats the spoon.  Think... Cream of Mushroom type thickness.  It's totally up to you.  You could add more milk at this point, but to make it more like a soup than a runny "mashed squash" deal, I  use the stock.

Now your whole family can enjoy butternut squash! 

Monday, November 23, 2009

Not My Life! Monday

Taking a departure from the norm today, I think, is in order because I truly don't feel like I can be held responsible for any of the awesomeness in which I am currently steeping.  So, while MckMama's Not Me! Monday is the true name of the game, and it is supposed to exonerate us from our personal non-faux-pas, today I am paying homage to those amazing twists and turns that life throws at us and reminds us that we control absolutely no part of this carnival.

Therefore, though I may not be smart enough to change this snazzy button, let it be known that this is (drumroll, please) Not My Life! Monday.  So... you know... welcome!

Well.  I'm never overwhelmed by anything and never left clueless as to how to begin... *sigh*

So... Being that I am the luckiest person in the world and everything ALWAYS goes right for my family, I'd be shocked if we got caught in the most absurd storm I've ever seen in my life.  I further cannot imagine a scenario in which my husband would be faced with the decision to drive our Honda Civic home in said storm or wait in a soggy parking lot for me and the children to get him in our van, risking multiple cars and multiple lives.  And since I lead such a charmed existence, there is positively no way he would venture into an intersection in said car and tell me on the phone, "Oh this water is really deep!  Oh no! The check engine light is flashing!  Oh no I don't know if I can keep going... oh no, it's on steadily now... wow, it doesn't sound so good... I'm gonna keep driving and see what happens."  No, I just don't see my husband doing that, and thankfully too!  I mean, I can only postulate that when we took the car in to the dealership to have diagnostics run, it would be someone's rotten luck that they would find no evidence that water had anything to do with it and was therefore not covered under comprehensive insurance.   Bummer, right!  Thankfully, since this isn't my life, I wouldn't have gotten the phone call on the way to the dealership that went like this: "Babe, the brake light just came on.  Oh, the brakes feel really squishy.  Hm, I'll increase my spacing and use engine braking to get there... wow."  Phew - so glad this isn't me because I'm sure the dealership would explain that the brake lines totally rusted through and that the total on (uninsured) repairs will be over $1300.  Dude, that would suck.

As would finding all of this out... well, the total dollar figure and the unhelpful insurance company who believes that it's just an AMAZING coincidence that the check engine light would come on at the exact moment the car was submerged in a puddle-part of it... while I was sitting in the ER with a son who has somehow punctured his cheek with a plastic airplane wing.... the middle of a party...

...that I was hosting...

...the day before we were going to take Christmas card photos and 5 days before school pictures...

Good grief, that'd be a disaster!  Luckily, even if that did happen in my life, at least I wouldn't be so vain as to be very, very sad that my baby's face is going to have a scar on it forever now.  Seriously? Come on, I have priorities.

And in someone's cluster of a life in which this crap might happen, I'm pretty sure the icing on the cake would be to believe, with a fair amount of certainty, that someone stole - yes, stole - a big stack of files (past years' tax documents, idle credit card account information, Navy orders and move documents, medical files, etc.) from an upstairs bedroom.  I can't imagine coming to the conclusion that the only logical explanation for how a 4-inch stack of file folders could be totally absent, along with a favorite over-sized cardigan, is theft.  And I am so glad that this event could NEVER transpire in my life and not just be POSSIBLE, but PROBABLE considering a landlord who refuses to fix a back door that doesn't lock from the outside with a key anymore.  That would be a total disaster and if it were me, I'd demand to move out immediately, especially since the house boasts not only a non-functional door, but a wall full of wet wood that's probably growing mold and causing 3 kids' worth of respiratory ills. 

Good.  Grief. 

Like I said... Not my life!  Not my problems!  And thank goodness, too, because if it were, I'd probably be half-buckled into my straight jacket and on my way to a padded room...

... now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go find someone to tighten these straps...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I Like My Muffin Frosted, Thanks

We had a ridiculous storm here in Virginia last week and my darling husband's work schedule has prevented him from being home to help me with clean-up.  It's all well and good and I like working outside and I don't really mind wading through millions of leaves from our ancient magnolia tree, but it's just a function of having the time to get after it since I can't really take Jack out with me.  You see, I'd LOVE to rake the leaves into giant piles and let him stomp and jump and kick through them - I'd even happily rake them back up.  However, in addition to leaves, branches, giant seed cone things, and bark, this particular magnolia tree also spews dead animals.  I don't know why, but it's been a chronic problem since we moved in.  I always tread carefully in the front yard because I never know when I'm going to step on a disgusting carcass of some hapless bird.  Or pieces of a carcass.  Yes, there have been times when I've raked up various chunks of birds - once a fully decapitated chunk.  It's horribly disgusting and beyond confusing to me.  I'm the one who won't let her kid pick up a feather he finds on the sidewalk so I'm certainly not going to let him romp around in the slaughterhouse.  And even if there weren't avian murder victims scattered across the yard, I'd not let him out because hidden under leaves all over the place are steaming piles of stinky dog feces from rude, annoying dog owners who let their beasts poo in my yard and neglect to pick up after them.  It's positively infuriating because there is nothing I can do about it.

Anyway.  All of that was unnecessary ranting only intended to set up the fact that I have to run outside and get accomplished what I can while the girls are sleeping and Jack is either at school or napping himself.  Therefore, I haven't got time to mess around with changing my clothes so I generally end up doing the yard work in whatever pair of jeans I've got on and some kind of t-shirty thing.  Now, another tangent must be visited here: I am back in my pre-pregnancy jeans.  Before you clap and cheer for me (because I know you were going to) understand that I can put them on.   Good for me.  But they're not really fitting the same way they did before in that they ride lower than I'd like since my hips are a little funkified from having carried 3 children since I purchased the pants (or since my sister handed them down to me).  But whatever; they get the job (chiefly, of covering my butt and legs with fabric) done and don't look too bad if I restrict myself to normal daily activities (chiefly, of sitting on my butt nursing babies or standing in the kitchen making food).

So the other day, I'm standing outside raking for all I'm worth, bending and picking up branches, etc. and I notice that cars are starting to pass by a little more slowly and that people are looking at me.  My first inclination was to assure myself that they think I'm a total badass for tackling such a huge project by my own little self.  My second inclination was to think, "Dude, they're so checking you out!  Girl, you still got it!" and feel all kinds of hot out there in my jeans and tight-ish shirt showing off my nice nursing rack.  Hah, Motherhood, you can't beat me!

Well, at some point I reached back to grab the wasitband of my jeans and hike them up and grabbed cotton.  A big, billowy bunch of cotton.  Gasp!  My granny-panties have spilled out over the top of my jeans. Mortification began to set in when it fully dawned on me that my shirt had scooted up, my jeans had scooted down, and my panties were moving into the void.  My bright blue panties.  Sitting there, highlighting my post-partum muffin top like a big glob of frosting. 

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I am a sexy beast.

After fiddling with it for a few minutes, I realized that there was, short of a pair of suspenders and/or a great deal on liposuction, nothing that could be done for the time being.  So I went back to work and made a conscious effort to keep my backside pointed house-ward to spare the drivers the sight of my frosted muffin and spare me the humiliation of knowing that they're not checking out my sexy butt, they're laughing at the demise of my dignity. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Through Your Eyes...

My dearest Jack, I had no idea, when you found my old digital camera, that you would figure out how to use it.  Nor had I any idea that when you brought it to me and asked me to "lookit pitchers" on the "commuter" that I would find on its memory stick a treasure of the rarest kind: insight into how you look at the world.  I found, among the pixels, another clue into who you are - into what is most important to you and into what you see through your eyes.

When you were very little, before you could crawl and roll, I read in a magazine that parents should crawl around their house and "look at things from the child's perspective" in order to help baby-proof the home.  I did that, and I picked up nick-knacks and I plugged outlets and wound up cords... but there is no way I really "saw" what you see.  I didn't realize how wonderfully interesting that plastic "pukkin" in its basket of leaves can be to a toddler just discovering the fact that seasons change and holidays are special occasions replete with their own adornments that set them apart from every other day.  The pukkin that I take for granted as a routine decoration that just goes along with the drop in temperature is so much more to you - it's strange and different and out-of-place and therefore worthy of capturing with your pitcher taker.  It's fodder for deep discussions about the color orange and the fact that leaves do grow on trees which are very tall and sometimes hide the birds making all that noise.  So that these things now sit on the floor in your living room is astonishing and interesting, and I never grasped that until now.
Your toys are important to you in the same way that my cell phone is important to me.  The way my wallet and keys and credit cards are... Those things are essential to me getting through the day and they are the tools I use to conduct myself in this world.  Your toys are your tools for interacting with your world.  They are how you express yourself and how you learn, and they are as integral to your day and to your life as my phone and internet are to mine.  So it is perfectly natural that you would capture your "dackter" in the camera's memory - though I cast it aside as an annoying nuisance to trip over and put away each night, it is so much more than that to you.
... Your airplanes are classified into two kinds: "Airplanes," and "Brrrrrm-brrrrrm"'s, which Daddy is forever trying to convince you are actually called "propeller aircraft" but I keep telling him is an obnoxiously specific name and using the sound it makes is not only more efficient but more practical.  We have long discussions about airplanes; we talk about the sounds they make, the "boom booms" they carry and cause things to go "bouf", their speed, where they go, whether or not we can see them "high up in sky" or if "there too mannay clouds"... Maybe one day you'll be an aerospace engineer like your Dad, or maybe you'll make your desire to "fly up in space to look at stars" come to fruition...
I had no idea, Little Man, that when we bought our house in Georgia near the railroad tracks we were buying into a life-long love of all things train.  I don't know if it was that twice-daily visit from the St. Mary's Railroad engine that imparted your love of locomotives, cars, tracks, bridges, tunnels and cargo, or if you were born hard-wired to be fascinated by the rails, but I do know that, even though we don't have a train that rocks past our house every day, our lives are full of "hoot-hoot"-ing and "chug-chug"-ing just as often anyway and I would not want it any other way.  Your train-o-philia is so much a part of your personality, I am not in the least surprised to see frame after frame of photographs of your collection - the tracks, the table, the engines and cars... Jack, I love your enthusiasm and focus so much.
This photo is so bittersweet to me.  I don't think I have any other pictures of me nursing any of you kids.  Jack, you captured, in such a respectful and innocent way, one of the most intimate moments I get as a Mommy.  It makes me sad, to an extent, that this is what you see from me so often - me, on the sofa, baby on lap... but it makes me so happy that you're there with me, sharing the experience.  Even though you're over two and a half years old, Jack, and even though those chunky pink legs belong to your little sister Addie, they just as easily could have belonged to you; it wasn't that long ago that I was holding you on that Boppy, on my lap, on that sofa.  I never would have seen myself this way if you hadn't given me this photograph. Thanks, Buddy... it means so much.
My first inclination when I saw this last one was to holler at you to stop flashing yourself because it will  hurt your eyes, but it's too late, and I should just hush and enjoy looking at how blond your hair is and how blue your eyes are and how long your lashes are.  So here I am, marveling at how bright you are in so many ways, Kiddo...  and at how awesome it is that you've given me the chance to step behind those bright blue eyes and look out from your windows and see your world...  It's fascinating and heart-warming and funny all at once. 
So thank you, Buddy, for sharing with your Mama.  I love you beyond comprehension. 


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