Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sick... and sharing

It's hump day, y'all.  Whoop whoop!  (Who else loves that Geico commercial?)

It's been a little crazy around here.  Grace is projectile vomiting and having... other tummy issues.  So we went to the doctor yesterday (even though I knew it might be viral... I just wanted to be sure it wasn't something that needed treatment), and didn't get a whole lot of clarity.  She might have a virus or she might still be having tummy troubles related to the amoxicillin she was on for her ear infection.  The doctor did think she might be having some reflux, so we're trying some Zantac for that.  Fingers crossed it helps (although she's still just as happy as could be!).  Do any of you experienced mamas have any advice - how long should I wait to see if it gets better before I bug the doctor again?  

Other than that, we had a fabulous weekend with friends and family and enjoyed some lazy time at home on Saturday.  

And Grace has been sleeping so well the last few weeks.  She usually takes a bottle between 6:30 and 7:30, followed by a bath and snuggles.  

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(sometimes Daddy and Gracie fall asleep during snuggles... and then I die of cute.)

She goes to bed around 7:30 or 8:00, and then we do a dreamfeed (where I feed her while she's still sleeping) around 9:30 or 10:00.  She can usually go until 6:00 or 6:30 the next morning until her next bottle.  Hallelujah!

And I may have already mentioned it here before, but my sister-in-law gave me the Babywise book when I found out that I was pregnant, and we have definitely found it so, so useful in developing good and consistent feeding and sleeping habits.  If you're a momma (or soon-to-be momma) and are hoping to establish at least some kind of a schedule, I can't recommend it enough.  And I know that some perceive the book as advocating a rigid schedule or promoting ignoring a baby's cry or needs, but that couldn't be farther from the truth.  It simply gave me an idea for promoting some structure, and I really needed that.


On a completely unrelated note... I never intended to become a full-blown mommy blogger.  Not only because I feel wholly unqualified to put myself out there as knowing what the heck I'm doing (because I don't), but also because this space has never just been an online scrapbook/diary to me.  It's a creative outlet and a way for me to meet some really amazing women.  So I really am trying to remember to really share here, rather than simply document.  Thanks for sticking with me while I figure it all out. :)

Friday, July 26, 2013

Pigtails and Project Nursery...

Happy Friday, friends!

I don't have too long to chat (in truth, I'm posting at work, but it's a ghost town around here today, so I feel like I'm completely justified in wasting a little time), but I wanted to drop in and say hello.

We have had a great week.  Miss Grace has been doing fabulously at daycare.  She came home the other day with pigtails, and I just about died.

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I mean, kill me.

We did have a spit-up mishap on Wednesday right as I was dropping her off, so I walked around all morning with a wet spot on my boob.  #mommyprobs

Other than that, it has been pretty uneventful around these parts this week.  We have plans to spend some quality time with friends and family this weekend, and I'm looking forward to a nap or two.

Oh!  I also wanted to tell you that you can check out Grace's nursery (to the extent you didn't see the original reveal) on Project Nursery!  I'm sure it's just an automatically generated feed, but right now we're on the front page!

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I promise I didn't give myself five stars.  (I thought about it but managed to resist the urge.)  Mom, was that you? :)

Alright, loves.  I think I'm actually just going to sneak out of here right this second and go get Miss Pigtails.  Her little face is tugging at my heartstrings.

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Who could blame me? :)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

My story...

I wrote this last year but wanted to share it again.  

This is the story of my Christ's redeeming love.

I am nine years old. 

I spend some time with my grandmother, and she tells me about the cross and about a love big enough to redeem even the worst of sinners. During the car ride home, I rest my head against the back of the driver's seat of my mom's car, eyes closed, and invite Him in. And because I'm not sure if once is enough, I pray three more times when I get home. I am baptized and receive a book about what it means to be a Christian. And then I go on about my life, just as before. Business as usual. I am good and sweet-natured, but then I always have been. I do what I am told (with occasional sass and a flair for the dramatic), but I remain the same girl I had been since the day I was born.

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I am in seventh grade, and my parents flip my world upside down.

They tell me that we're leaving the town I have always known. My friends, my school, everything I had come to love. In an effort to ease the transition, they start driving me to church in my new town that year, even before we move, so I can get to know everyone there. Eventually, I meet Micah and rekindle a semi-friendship with Lauren, who would come to be my very best friend.

And, for the first time, I really meet Jesus.

At a youth conference I walk with Him on His journey to the cross, and the enormity of His love and sacrifice wash over me. I am a broken mess because I wonder if I have ever really accepted Him as the Lord of my life. I feel confident in the Savior part -- accepting grace, redeeming love and all that -- but when I look back I just can't be sure that I have given Him my heart in return. So once again, I invite Him in.

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Except this time, I give Him all of me.

After that I am sold out for Him.

Throughout middle school and high school, and even college, I am bold in my faith. I never touch cigarettes or drugs or alcohol. I lead my school's FCA group and speak often at youth group and Disciple Now, and I lead bible study on multiple mission trips. I fall madly in love with Micah, and we vow to wait. I stay plugged into the Word and have an active prayer life.

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At some point, the fire and spark fade. My parents divorce. I move to Houston for law school. I get wrapped up in how hard it all is. I lose sight of where He's leading me and start walking alone. But He still speaks. Forgives. Loves.

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I am a third-year law student, and I have no job.

I am broken, defeated, humiliated. I miss home. He wraps his arms around me and reminds me that He has a plan. So I start walking again, but this time I'm following Him. I accept that He may not bring us home quite yet. But then He does, despite all of my clumsy attempts to do it myself.

Today, I am His.

I still fall short every single day, but His grace is sufficient. He is molding me into something better.

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I will inevitably lose my way again. But the best part is that He never will.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Moms know: big purchases...

I know I already shared a few of my newborn must-haves with you guys here, but I'm linking up today with Leslie for her Moms Know series to share some of our bigger baby purchases.

It can be so difficult to decide what you're going to need, particularly if you are like me and had virtually zero baby experience before you got pregnant.  I remember being so thankful when I'd find a compilation of recommendations from veteran moms, so this is a great link-up for anyone who is expecting a little pumpkin anytime soon.

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1.  Fisher Price My Little Snugabunny Deluxe Bouncer.  We've definitely gotten our money's worth out of this thing.  Particularly in the first few weeks, anytime I needed to put Grace down for a little while, I'd plop her down in this bouncer, and she'd stay happy and content.  Since we have a clear glass shower, I could even use it to squeeze in a shower when we were home alone.  It vibrates and plays music, and she's just now started to notice the cute little bird mobile, as well.

2.  Chicco Keyfit 30 Carseat and Liteway Plus Stroller (in Surge).  I love this carseat and stroller, y'all.  My sister-in-law had recommended the carseat, and we've really loved it.  From the very first time we put her in it, I felt like she was safe and secure, and it's super easy to use.  I ended up going with the Liteway Plus stroller because it seemed more streamlined and less bulky than the other Chicco strollers.  Plus, this one can be used as a travel system with the car seat AND as a standalone stroller for when she's older.  Love.

3.  Fisher Price Deluxe Vibrating Rock N' Play Sleeper.  I've written about this product before, but I'll say again here:  this thing is so convenient.  We used it instead of a bassinet, and Grace loved it.  It kept her snuggled up those first few weeks, and we could move it easily from room to room so she could nap in different places.  It also folds up really well and is super portable.

4.  Summer Infant Baby Touch Boost Color Video Monitor.  This monitor was recommended to me by a friend (hi, Audrey!), and we have been so pleased with it.  It's pricey, but the quality is amazing.  The volume is adjustable (because you won't want to hear every tiny noise after those first few nights of obsessively checking to make sure they're still breathing), and you can even move the camera via the handheld device if your baby moves in the middle of the night.

5.  Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump.  I obviously wasn't able to utilize this after the first month (go here to read my very topsy turvy breastfeeding experience), but I think a good breast pump would be absolutely necessary for anyone planning on working and even for most stay at home moms (if only to give yourself a break now and then).  This one has been described as the Cadillac of breast pumps, and it definitely seemed to work really well (although I won't lie... I was slightly mortified the first time I used it.  I've never felt more like a milk cow than I did in that moment, watching my nipples expand to an ungodly size.)

6.  myBaby SoundSpa by Homedics.  Everyone told me not to create sleep props, and I really did try to follow that advice as much as possible.  So we tried to lay Grace down while she was drowsy but still awake, even when we first brought her home from hospital.  And I only occasionally rocked her to sleep so as not to make her dependent on that motion to fall asleep (although I couldn't resist at times... such sweet moments).  But as soon as she started sleeping in her crib, we started using this sound machine to help drown out background noise.  She seems to nap much better with it, and I think she'll really enjoy the ceiling projection feature as time goes on.  I definitely don't regret using it, and we'll probably continue to use it at night for at least the foreseeable future.

Go link up with Leslie to share your baby gear recommendations!

Friday, July 19, 2013

A full-blown list...

I'm not sure what's causing this insane bout of writer's block I've been experiencing lately.  I've typed and erased at least four paragraphs this morning, displeased with everything that comes to mind.  So let me just resort to a bullet point-style post, because I really do love sharing with you guys, and that's about all the creativity I can muster this morning.

One.  I haven't actually styled my hair in at least a week.  I have every intention of curling or straightening it every morning (after going to bed after a shower with wet hair the night before), but the alarm goes off at 5:30 and I recognize, yet again, that I'd much rather have an extra 20 minutes of sleep than pretty hair.  So air-dryed, wavy hair is becoming my signature look, and I think I'm okay with it.  At least I can usually manage to get Gracie looking somewhat presentable.

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Two.  Speaking of Gracie, she's had her first full week at daycare this week, and she's doing fabulously.  She seems to be feeling a little better (although feedings are still sub-optimal... any mommas out there have advice on enticing her to take a full bottle again?), and she slept through the night last night (praise the Lord!).  Girlfriend knew momma needed that...

Three.  I think this picture may be one of my very favorites so far.  Her sweet little face.  And that little ponytail.  Kill me.

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After I snagged this picture, I wanted to try and get a video of her sweet little smiles.  So I turned on the squeaky, make-you-want-to-vomit baby talk.  Just watch with the volume down, okay? :)

Four.  I swear to God, y'all... if I get one more Candy Crush invite on Facebook, I think I'm going to stab someone with a pencil.

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You've all been officially warned, capiche?

Five.  Is it sad that I'm already contemplating Halloween costumes for Grace?  (Truth be told, I'm actually already contemplating first birthday party themes and the possible names for Baby #2 [who isn't even a gleam in Micah's eye yet, I promise!], but I felt like I probably shouldn't lead with the super-cray.)  I've never been much of a planner, so this newfangled obsession with the future is very out of character for me.  I think the transition to Mommy may be officially complete.

Well, looky there.  I've got myself a full-blown list.  I'm going to remove the bullet points, slap on some numbers, and call this a High Five for Friday Five Confessionals post.  Go make your own list and link up with Lauren, Joy, and Leslie.

Happy Friday, friends!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Grace: three months

My darling Grace,

You're three months old, sweet girl!  Time is flying by.

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Here are your three-month stats:

Three Months at a Glance

Weight:  13 pounds, 15 ounces
Length:  ?
Eating:  5 ounces per feeding (at least you were before you got sick)
Sleeping:  6.5 to 8 hours at a time at night
Diapers:  size 2
Clothes:  3 months, 3-6 months
Things You Love:  your MAM pacifiers, cuddles, bath time (you've really started splashing around!), being swaddled, conversations with Mommy and Daddy, sitting up (propped up), your play mat, Daddy (it's already starting...), eating
What You Can Do This Month:  smile in response to our smiles, laugh, hold your head up even better than last month, watch Mommy and Daddy move around the room, roll onto your back from your stomach, really lift yourself up on your arms during tummy time, reach for things, hold your toys, drool

We had a lot of firsts this month!  You rolled over from your tummy to your back for the first time.  You went to the nursery at church for the first time.  You slept through the night for the first time.  You stayed overnight with your Mamaw and your Pawpaw while Mommy and Daddy went out of town.  You started daycare.  You held your toys for the first time.  You started reaching for things on your playmat.  And you wore your first ponytail!  You also got sick for the first time with a cold and an ear infection on Mommy's first day back to work.  Yucky...

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Eating:  You moved up to the big girl bottles this month!  You're drinking five ounces at a time, every three hours during the day.  At least you were before you got sick.  Mommy's first clue that you weren't feeling well was that you started turning away from your bottle.  You normally drink every last drop and cry when I take it away to burp you. :)  You're still on a three-hour schedule, and I'm not planning on moving you to a four-hour schedule until you're consistently sleeping through the night.

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Sleeping:  You kind of hit a standstill on your sleeping progress.  Occasionally, you'll go a full eight hours, but you're usually going down between 8:30 and 9:00 (with a dream feed around 10:30) and waking up fussy around 4:00.  We give you your pacifier, and you'll usually go back to sleep until about 5:00.  Dad's getting up for work around that time, so he feeds you and puts you back down until Mommy gets you up to get ready to go to daycare around 6:40.  After I put you in your carseat, you usually go back to sleep until we get to school.   So you end up getting plenty of sleep -- it's just very interrupted!  Mommy's plan is to start slowly decreasing the amount you take at that 5:00 feeding and going ahead and starting a consistent wake time and feeding at 6:15.  If that doesn't work, we're giving you until four months to try and figure it out on your own, but then I think we're going to have do do a little crying it out.  I'm dreading it, but I know it'll be best for you to develop good sleeping habits.

As far as naps go, if you're at daycare, you usually take one long nap (about an hour and forty five minutes) and one short one.  If you're at home, you'll take three long naps and then a short catnap before dinner.  I'm still sometimes waking you from naps to keep you on schedule, but I think I'm just going to start letting you sleep.

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Other Stuff:  You hate having your clothes changed.  And having your nose suctioned (although I can't really blame you there...).  You've gotten super smiley, and you love kisses from Mommy and Daddy.  We started putting you in your Jumperoo, but you're not really ready for it yet.  You can really focus on things, even small things.  I've also started walking around with you on my hip.  It's so crazy to me that you're holding your head up like a big girl already.

You are still such a sweet, content, snuggly baby.  You're very easygoing, content to play on your own when I need to put you down, but happy to snuggle, too.  And that hair, girlfriend.  It's on another level.  But we absolutely love it and so does the rest of the world. :)

See how you've grown?

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Keep growing, baby!

We love you more than anything in the world.


Friday, July 12, 2013

High Five for Friday Five Confessions...

Hi friends!

It's Friday, and I've got a few confessions to share, so I'm linking up with LaurenJoy, and Leslie for their High Five for Friday, Friday Five, and Friday Confessions posts (hence the title...) (I suppose it's a little early for "hence," hmm?).

Let's get to confessing, y'all.

1.  Waterworks.

Since Grace wasn't feeling well and stayed with my dad and Micah's mom the past two days, today was her first day at daycare.  I thought I could hold it together, but I made it about 2.5 seconds before the tears started flowing.  Her poor, sweet teacher had to offer me a tissue as I was signing her in.  Ha.

I know that she'll be totally fine (she was just smiling away when I left)... it's me that will have to adjust to spending the day without her.  It's just going to take a few days (and I'm going to have to keep some tissue in my purse until then... :)).

2.  Just Like Mommy.

Someone has begun to discover her thumb.

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Before she was born, I swore I wouldn't let her become a thumb sucker.  For all the obvious reasons, plus one.

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I may or may not have sucked my thumb until I was at least five years old.

But this likely just the beginning of a life of doing things I said I'd never do, and I'm letting it go.

3.   Guilty Pleasure.

Are you guys watching the last season of Dexter?  Micah and I kind of hate ourselves for loving such a dark and demented show, but we can't help it.  We have to see how it ends.  Will Deb pull herself together?  Will the world discover Dexter's secret?  The suspense is killing me!

4.  Another Guilty Pleasure.

I've been trying to avoid sugar stuff lately and failing miserably.  The problem is that, although I haven't bought any Pop Tarts (my go-to indulgence), I've got plenty of marshmallows and chocolate chips laying around.  (I justify their presence in my pantry by reasoning that they're baking essentials.  And every southern gal has to be ready to whip up a delicious dessert on a moment's notice.)  I've been melting a few marshmallows and chocolate chips and topping them with a sliced banana.  It's not the worst thing I could be eating, I know, but it definitely ain't celery...

5.  Lazy.

I've taken to buying every day grocery items on Amazon.  It's a colossal waste of resources to ship Palmolive hand soap via two-day shipping, I know, but I'm Amazon Prime, baby, and it's free.  Amazon has gotten hip to the laziness of people like me and requires you to spend at least $25 independent of your small item purchase, but I was buying a Sophie giraffe anyway, so it was no skin off my back.  (I still hate myself for buying into the scam of spending over $20 on a plastic giraffe, but the peer pressure got to me...).

Alrighty, friends.  What do you need to confess today?

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

My first day back to work...

Well, I survived my first day back to work, y'all.

I spent last night getting Grace's bottles made, packing extra clothes, and labeling anything and everything with her name (with durable stickers from here - love them!).  When it was time to put her to sleep, I rocked her and just bawled until she passed out in my arms.

And then this morning was a complete cluster-eff. 

Poor little princess hadn't been eating very well yesterday (which is very unlike her - Miss Thing likes to eat!), and when she started rubbing her face and ears, I thought she might have an ear infection.  Thank goodness, my dad came to the rescue and offered to take her to the pediatrician for me so that I could still go into work.

So I did my best to get all of my stuff and her stuff together before she woke up.  Then I got her fed and put her in the crib to play while I got the car loaded.  I even waited to put on my clothes until the last minute so that she wouldn't spit up on them.  I was so freaking proud of myself, you guys. 

As I was buckling her into her carseat, she looked at me and gave me the cutest little grin.

And then she went all poltergeist on me.

Projectile vomit of epic proportions went everywhere.  All down her cute little onesie.  Inside her matching socks.  All over the carseat.  Everywhere.

I sat there for about 30 seconds, overwhelmed by the sheer volume of yuck.  I finally realized that the best place to start was probably the baby and tackled the carseat after that.  It was a mess, y'all, and the carseat now smells like death.  (Don't worry, we're going to wash it.  Eventually...)

I finally did get her dropped off at my dad's and off to work.  He took her to the doctor, and she does, indeed, have an ear infection.  Plus a cold.  So girlfriend hung out with Dad for the day instead of going to daycare, and I left work at 2:30.  (Work will be slow to get going again, anyway, so no one missed me.)

In all honestly, I think the commotion throughout the day kept me from missing her too much.  Even if I did stare at her cute little face on my screen saver all day long.

And speaking of her cute little face, I snapped these picture when she was supposed to be napping yesterday.

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I know, right?  Perfection.
So, the moral of the story is that the first day back was terrible, and I did miss her, but I'm hoping we'll all adjust to our new normal relatively quickly. 
(Oh yeah, and we had a fantastic time in Chicago!  Maybe I'll eventually get around to posting a picture or two... :))

Friday, July 5, 2013

Laters, baby...

I totally didn't intend to let the rest of this week go by without blogging. But given that we're headed to Chicago tomorrow for the weekend, this hastily typed-from-my-phone-at-midnight post is all you're probably going to get.

After typing out three pages of instructions for my parents (apparently I'm THAT mom), and packing what I can only hope is a suitcase including a cocktail dress (this wedding's fancy, y'all!) and some deodorant, I'm about to crawl into bed and salvage about three hours of sleep before we have to get up and get Grace to my dad's and ourselves to the airport. (Longest. Sentence. Ever.)

As always, I'll be documenting our trip on Instagram (hit me up at @mrshargrave), so feel free to come say hello there.

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend!

Oh! And happy Fourth, y'all!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

July 2, 2013

My darling Grace,

I've been your mommy for two months, two weeks, and one day.  And I can say, unequivocally, that these have been the best days of my life. 

Before you were born, there was a part of me that wondered how you would fit into our lives.  Your daddy and I were incredibly happy and content before you were born, and I worried about upsetting that balance.  How could things possibly be any better than they already were? 

But, sweet girl, you really do fit.  It's like you've been here all along. 

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It isn't that I wonder what we did with ourselves before you were here.  I remember, in detail, all the episodes of Friends that we watched and all the slices of Papa John's thin-crust pizza that we consumed in the four years that we were married before you were born.  I'm so very thankful for those days with your daddy, and I wouldn't trade them for the world.

It's just that now that you're here, I know without a doubt that you're exactly what we never knew was missing from our lives.  Just like Nutella, sweet tea candles, and Pottery Barn, I couldn't have imagined how much I'd adore you until you arrived.  And I know that it just keeps getting better.

You are the light of our lives, little one.  And we're so, so thankful for you.


Monday, July 1, 2013

Smiley face...

This is my last full week of maternity leave, and I get teary-eyed just thinking about going back to work next Wednesday.  But we've locked down a daycare that I feel super comfortable with, and I know it'll get easier with time.  At least that's what I keep telling myself, anyway...

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Other than soaking up every precious minute with our pretty girl, we've just been taking it easy lately.  We're looking for a new truck for Micah, and that's been a bit of a headache.  Apparently my OCD, engineer of a husband is slightly particular.  Who would have thought? ;)

We're also getting excited because we're headed to Chicago for two days on Friday!  One of my sweet friends from work is getting married there, and we're looking forward to seeing the city for the first time.  It'll also be the first time we've been away from Grace for more than a few hours, and my parents are each giddy about getting to keep her for a night.  I can't decide if I'm totally dreading it or ready to have some time alone with my love.  Probably both.  Anyway, I'd definitely love any ideas for things Micah and I must absolutely do/see/eat while we're in Chicago.  Obviously, deep dish pizza is a must at some point, but other than that, we haven't made any real plans.

Miss Priss is doing wonderfully.  She slept eight hours straight again last night, and it's so bittersweet to watch her becoming such a big girl!  She's getting so smiley and giggly, especially with Micah and me.  We usually spend at least fifteen minutes after each feeding just sitting and "talking" to one another.  And in the mornings, I see a lot of these sweet smiles.

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Grace also got in the pool for the first time last week.

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She wasn't super smiley, but she was definitely content in the water.  I can't wait until next summer, when she'll really be able to enjoy the pool.  It'll also give me an excuse to get some Vitamin D. :)

I think she's waking up from her nap, so I'd better get her bottle ready before she turns into a demon baby.  But here are a few more pictures... she's so darned cute I just can't help myself.

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