Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Small Group Thanksgiving

Last night there was delicious good as far as the eye could see...

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As my grandma always hosts Thanksgiving and Christmas, this was a first for me.  And although I didn't even come close to making all the food (I really don't know how she does it), it was still an awesome exeperience to have tons of people in my house celebrating the holiday.  

We had 13 adult and 12 children!   Our house was slightly full, which made my heart all the way full, and my stomach very all the way full.  

I had a great time holding all the babies - we had 5 a year and under.

I have to admit there were a few times where I yelled, "Does anyone see Ina?!?"

That girl is so quick, she could be upstairs before we know it.  However, more often than not, she was just playing cars with the other kids.  Such a big kid.  

Lastly, I want to tell a funny story about Dan.  I know that I won't be able to convey how funny it was through writing, but I want it documented here, so that in two years from now when I read this I can laugh as hard as I did last night.  

Every year my grandma makes scalloped oysters for Thanksgiving and Dan loves them.  Yesterday he came home from the grocery store and told me he was going to try scalloped oysters.  I was like OK, go ahead, and went about my business cleaning the house.  He didn't make very much, so I didn't eat them during dinner and as we were cleaning up I noticed that most of the dish was left.  I asked him if he wanted me to save them and he said, "no, give them to the dogs."  I went to scoop it out and crackers just fell out of the dish.  Apparently he forgot any type of liquid and pretty much just layered crackers and oysters in a dish and put it in the oven.  

I don't know why I thought that was the most hilarious thing in the world.  Bless his heart. 

I hope you all have the most amazing holiday.  Muah!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Meatless Monday?

I probably could go an entire day without meat and not even notice.  I was essentially vegetarian the entire month I was in Africa.  

However, when I know I am not supposed to eat meat - ugh, that is difficult.  I guess I am a rule breaker at heart?

No, probably not.

#Elf4Health started yesterday (you can sign up in two weeks for round 2!) and the first challenge was meatless Monday, which of course I figured out after I had prepped stuffed pepper soup for lunch.  

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Although I went all day without eating meat (fairly easily) I didn't like it very much.  

  • B: Coconut, banana, walnut overnight oats
  • L: hb eggs, red pepper, grapes, almonds
  • S: chips and salsa
  • D: veggie fried rice (we put jalapeƱos on top and oh my, it was next level)

Dan and Ina had chicken in their rice and I was jealous.  Meatless Monday - I am not your biggest fan. 

Things that took my mind off the meat: 

- An almost 4 mile run with Kim.  Only she would motivate me to run while wearing my skiing clothes to stay warm

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- Ina's new Gap hoodie (Dan has plans to send this pic to Gap and ask for money)

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- Ina's hand turkey - LOVE

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- Bath time.  We have been in a hurry the past week so Ina has been stuck in the shower with us.  Last night she was reunited with all of her bath toys and she had lots to tell them.  

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All of Ina's bath toys have squirt holes where their mouth would be.  Except for the whale, which is anatomically correct. Which I always remember AFTER I squirt water in my face.  Fail.  

Today is a big one - small group Thanksgiving!  Hope your day is blessed!

Monday, November 25, 2013

A Relaxing, Yet Productive Sunday

Good morning!  Before I forget, I wanted to share the book I made for Ina for her first birthday.  

Click here to view this photo book larger

Photo Book Tip: Create an adventurous travel photo album at

I can't wait until it comes in the mail!

Yesterday was the perfect balance of relaxing and productivity.

I started the day off right with a 3 mile run on the treadmill.  

We slept in but went to the later church service. 

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Ina was so ready for church!

Yesterday's church service was extra special because my mom was baptized.

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I know that many people don't have the luxury of seeing their parents' get baptized, so I thought it was pretty cool.  I am so happy for / proud of her!

After church Dan and I slowly browsed through the grocery store for a few things to make nachos for lunch and dinner this week.  Ina had to show her outfit to everyone, so we took our time and of course, I forgot everything.  Never go without a list!

While we watched some football, my mom and I started to tackle the mountain of projects I have planned for Ina's first birthday party. I traced.  She cut.  We made a pretty good team.

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I feel like we made a pretty good dent, but I honestly think I will keep adding things until I run out of time.  The possibilities of Very Hungry Caterpillar decorations are endless.

The rest of the day was spent lounging around, watching more football, and making this stuffed pepper soup for dinner.

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I swear Ina ate as much as I did.

I went to bed at 9 and when Dan came upstairs to tell me that the Broncos were behind (after going into half-time with a 24-0 lead), I literalliy couldn't think of who the Broncos were.  Ha!

I hope you have a blessed week!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

My Weekly Food and Fitness Plan #13

Good morning!  How is your weekend treating you?

Mine is going great!  It started out somewhat stressful on Friday when I realized that Ina didn't have any shoes for her first year pictures the next morning.  When I say that she didn't have any shoes I don't mean she didn't have any cute shoes, or she didn't have any shoes that matched her outfits.

What I mean is that she did not have a single pair of shoes that fit her feet.  Baby girl is growing!  After an emergency trip to Target all was right with the world.

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She did mostly okay during the pictures. She started out in a great mood, but once we took the Christmas lights away it was all downhill from there.  

After a much needed nap we headed down to my grandparents' house for the evening where Ina played with her cousins.

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I got my second workout of the day in by pushing those 3 around in that rubbermaid container.  

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Those two girls are going to get into some trouble.  Half the time they are kissing each other and they other half the time they both wanted to sit in the same chair.  

They both managed to climb onto the door of the dishwasher - such help.

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I played ninja turtles and pirate with my nephew.

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If anybody has any good ninja turtle stories, could you please help an aunt out?  My imagination is limited and there are only so many semi-nonviolent ways a good guy can catch a bad guy.  

I am oh so excited for Thanksgiving week coming up.  I know that meals will mostly be up in the air, but I can still plan on fitness.  


  • Sunday: 3 mile run
  • Monday: 3 to 4 mile run
  • Tuesday: spin class (<-- I skipped out last week, so this week I must go!)
  • Wednesday: rest
  • Thursday: TDay I would like to get in some form of exercise - maybe I should bring my soli beat DVD to grandma's
  • Friday: Ripped in 30
  • Saturday: rest

A few things I do plan to cook this week: 

- Our small group is having Thanksgiving dinner, so I am going to make cranberry salad (friend's recipe), corn casserole (mom's recipe), and stuffing

Pumpkin oatmeal bites for breakfasts this week

- Chicken fried rice (if I get the rice ready today, the meal can be made relatively quickly whenever we need it)

Running with Racheal

What are you up to this week?

Friday, November 22, 2013

Friday Favorites

Woohoo, it's Friday! 

I am not going to lie, this week has been a doozy and I am more than happy it tell it goodbye.  

An update on Dan's job for all of you who are worried about if we can afford your Christmas presents (just kidding).  His doctor put him back on short term disability for a few more weeks.  After that Dan is fairly confident that his employer will be happy with his recovery and allow him to do his old job.  So, we still don't know exactly what is going on, but feel tons better about the situation.  

Ina was relieved and felt like she could finally take a break from her chores.  

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A hard worker, that one is.  

Other Friday Favorites:

- Elf for Health: I am so excited about joining Lindsay in her Elf for Health challenge this holiday.  You can click on the picture below for more information.

The Lean Green Bean

You don't have to be a blogger to participate in the fun.  Join in, I dare you.  The deadline is Sunday.

 - This cutest puppy and baby sleeping together.  Ugh, can't handle how adorable they are.  It almost made me want to get Ina a puppy and then I climbed right out of that box of insanity.


 - This Kansas City based Christian radio station.  

 It took a few swear words in songs and a few, are they really talking about that at 4:30 pm on the radio?s  to realize that my previous station was not Ina friendly.  I love this new-to-me station.  No commercials.  Lots of parenting and life advice.  Great worship songs.  I don't feel dirty when I get out of the car anymore.  

- Pinterest.  Obviously.  

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But more lately, as I am planning Ina's first year birthday pictures (this weekend) and her first birthday party (next weekend).  

Whew, that reminds me of my mountain of a to-do list.  I hope you have a fantastic weekend!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for Ina's blanket(s)

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They help soothe her in any situation.  We are totally going to be the family carrying around a tattered, dirty blanket when it is 104 degrees outside at the zoo, but I have accepted that fact. 

(That picture reminds me I am also thankful for baby bellies, baby giggles, and baby kisses.  Ugh, I love that girl.)

Today I am thankful for my jobs.  Dan's work situation is still up in the air, even though we thought he was going back to work, it isn't looking likely now due to his restrictions.  While we are trying to find a solution, I am thankful that I have jobs that give me the ability to (hopefully temporarily) financially support our family solo. 

Today I am thankful for shelter.  I know that seems pretty obvious, but yesterday I was sitting in my dry office, drinking a warm cup of coffee, watching the cold rain fall out the window.  In that big building I felt weirdly protected and happy not to be sitting in the rain.  

Today I am thankful for the women in my small group.   Even though we are a new group, those ladies offer support like we have been friends for years.  

Today I am thankful for my treadmill in the basement.  As it gets colder outside we are going to become really good friends again.  

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What are you thankful for?

Running with Racheal

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Letter to Blog-less Racheal

Good morning!  

Guess what? On November 8th I forgot to wish my blog a happy two year birthday.  

Two years (and 12 days ago) I wrote this post.  Little did I know that this space on the internet would become such a constant part of my life.  

Today, in honor of that, I thought I would write  a letter to my blog-less self.


Dear Blog-less Racheal,

Remember when you thought, "I should start a blog?"  Well, you did!  And two years later you still write almost daily. Crazy huh?

You will never believe the amount of personal information you are comfortable with putting on the internet for everyone to read.  I know that now you worry what would happen if certain people read your thoughts, but you will learn that nothing will happen and it isn't a big deal.  

In fact, it is when you share the most that you become closer with your friends, some internet, some not.  (Yes, you will have only internet based friends.  Weird, I know.  What is even more weird is when you have dreams about them.  Don't get me started.)

On that same note, you will never be able to tell your real-life friends what you did the night before because they will quickly interrupt you and say, "I know, I read your blog."  

You will find that having a record of your life is very handy.  You will be able to answer questions like, What recipe did I use for that casserole? and When was that wedding? with just a click of the mouse.  Never discount the ability to be able to Google your own life.  

You will also be able to document many wonderful times in your life, like when you found out you were pregnant and when your beautiful daughter was born.  Yes, you have a daughter!  I want to tell you every single detail about her, but I think it is better for you to experience it all for yourself.  She is worth the wait.  

You have no idea what your body is capable of.  In a year you recovered from major surgery is record time, mastered breast-feeding, completed two half marathons and a triathalon all on very little sleep.  So, don't doubt yourself.  Have confidence that you can do anything you want to.

Sleep as much as possible now (see above).

Quit the artificial sweetener.  Please just do it.  You will feel so much better and you will find that you enjoy the taste of coffee, tea, cottage cheese, and more without that extra wang.  

Don't waste your time trying to quickly get more readers for your blog.  They will come and some will stay.  Some won't.  You will get over it.  You will learn that the best kind of reader growth is slow.  One friend at a time.  

In the next two years you are going to get the opportunity to visit many different places.  Don't waste a second not taking it all in.  

I have good news and bad news.  The good news first - you will get to where you want to be in life.  Very soon.  However, the funny thing about that is once you are there, you will want to be somewhere else (the bad news).  I wonder if that ever changes?  As soon as I find out I will let you know.  

That is all for now.  Hold on tight, because the next two years are going to be a bumpy ride. 


Two years and 12 days in the future Racheal

Click here for my one year  post.  

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Bleh Yesterday, Better Today

Yesterday started off great, but then slowly went downhill.

I tripped over the sidewalk while Kim and I were running which resulted in the top of my foot bleeding and a broken safety light.  How does that even happen? (Other than that, the run was great!)

Dan's job couldn't let him go back to work due to his lifting restrictions, so now his doctor and HR have to hash out the details. Just when I thought I could get that situation out of the back of my mind.  

I packed only hard boiled eggs and grapes for lunch, so I was ravenous at 1:30.  

I had a headache behind my eye that worsened as the day went on, despite Tylenol and lots of water.  After I said goodbye to my last patient at 8:45 I had to resort to a few sips of wine.

And then I went to bed.

Things that are going to make today better:

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-  Ina kisses when she wakes up.  She has learned to kiss on her own, and I have decided there is nothing better in the entire world.

-  Marriage counseling in the morning

- A (hopefully) productive meeting with my boss's boss today

- Small group tonight

So here's to pretending like Monday didn't happen.  I am starting my week off on Tuesday instead!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Dan's Going Back to Work

Well, it has been a great three months. 

When Dan first had his surgery, I was unsure of how things would be with him home all the time.  

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And, sure, we have had some rough times.

But, we have also had some good times.

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Some really good times.

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It has been awesome to have him home to help with dinner.

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It has been amazing to watch him become so close with our daughter. 

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Just knowing I would see him when I pulled in the driveway was so comforting.

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After a lot of thought, and many, many discussions, we have decided that Dan will go back to work at his original job.  

This is a job that was very labor intensive and involved 60 to 70 hours per week.  Dan is still on lifting restrictions, so he won't be able to do the exact same work, and today is the day he finds out what he can do there.  

I am hoping and praying that his company can find a spot for him where he can be useful but not wear his body to the ground.  I hope that he can find a spot where he can use his skills and talents, but also learn a few things.  Most of all I pray that he can do something that makes him happy and feel purposeful.  

I know that I am hoping for a lot, but I expect a lot.  If you have a spare prayer or good thought, we would appreciate it.


Speaking of prayers - my grandma who fell and broke her hip last weekend is doing amazing.  Ina and I brought her Chinese food yesterday because she had been craving it.

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(Ina's first fortune)

She was kind of hard on herself, but I was amazed to see that she was walking around with her walker after just one week.  Praise God!

I hope you all have a good week!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

My Weekly Food and Fitness Plan #12

Good morning!  

I hope your weekend is going well.  So far it seems I am having one of those weekends that feel like 4 weekends split up.  You know what I mean?  

On Friday I got home from work and found that Dan had lit a fire outside after doing some yard work. 

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Ina and I were afraid there might be more yard work left to do, so we went for a run with Kim and her friend Kim.  

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After the run we made breakfast for dinner and hung out by the fire the rest of the night. Ina loved it.

Saturday I woke up bright and early to run with Danielle.  We put in 5 windy miles.

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After my run I worked for 3 hours while Dan and Ina played and then did a little shopping for supplies for my Christmas present making.  (Remember, I plan to make all my Christmas presents this year.  All 30 of them.  Whew.)

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Kim came over to teach me how to use her showing machine.  That woman is a saint!  

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Wouldn't you like to know what I am making?  Sshhh!  Christmas secrets!  

After that I went grocery shopping at a place that only takes cash or debit card and forgot my cash and debit card.  Fail.

Then our friends Brad and Chessa and their son Silo stopped by for a while.

That brings us to today, which isn't looking any less busy.  



  • Sunday: rest
  • Monday: 3-4 mile run with Kim
  • Tuesday: spin class
  • Wednesday: rest
  • Thursday: treadmill speed work
  • Friday: Soli Beat
  • Saturday: 5 to 6 mile run
Running with Racheal

What are you up to this week?

Friday, November 15, 2013

Soli Beat Review and Other Friday Favorites

Good morning and Happy Friday!  I hope you had a fantastic week.

Yesterday I wasn't feeling a run, so I was pumped when I found the Soli Beat DVD in my mail box.  


 Gina, who blogs at The Fitnessista, made her first dance DVD - Soli Beat.  The Fitnessista is my favorite blog, the one I have been reading the longest, and the inspiration to start my own blog.  

So, you can imagine how excited I was to have my favorite blogger in my living room.  Ha!  

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Soli Beat is a dance type workout, which is very different from anything I am used to (running, biking, swimming, JM, etc).  

During the first few dances, I was pretty uncomfortable.  Even though I had gone through the beginner portion which walks you through the steps, I wasn't doing them all correctly.  

But, then I was like, "Racheal, who cares?  Just have fun.  No one can see you."

That is when things got a little crazy and I got a lot sweaty.  Who knew that you could get such a great workout in by dancing?  (Okay, a lot of people know that.)  Seriously, I am sore today!  

Thanks Gina for pulling me out of my comfort zone.  I can't wait to get the moves down a little better.  Maybe I will bust them out at the next wedding I go to?


Other Friday favorites: 

- This comic called, The Only Thing that is Certain After a Year of Parenting.  It is mostly funny, but my favorite part is the end: 

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- Ina searching for the cheapest turkey this Thanksgiving

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(Give that girl any paper product: magazines, our church bulletin, a grocery receipt, and she is entertained for at least 20 minutes.)

- Not so favorite - this  snarky article written about why runners run.  Even though I mostly don't agree with him, I do LOVE to talk about my running (hence this blog).  I also can't deny that I like the accolades I get from other people when I talk about it.  However, if it helps me to run one more day, to be healthy, then who cares?  Everyone needs motivation, right?


- These skinny jeans.  Remember when StitchFix sent me jeans that I loved that were too big?  I found them on Amazon (for $20 cheaper!) in my size.  I can't wait to wear them to work today.  This is the first pair of jean I have purchased since pharmacy school!

- Ina's first birthday party.  I am doing a Very Hungry Caterpillar Theme.  Here is the invite:


Too much?  

Not enough.

Hope you have a blessed weekend!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thankful Thursday

Good morning!  Now that we are over hump day, let's finish this week off nice and easy.

Running with Racheal

Today I am thankful for Greek yogurt, because it can turn any dessert into a semi-acceptable breakfast. 

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I plopped the rest of the apple crisp on my yogurt yesterday and it was amazing.  Fruit and protein, right?

Today I am thankful for Dan as my husband, baby-daddy, and leader of our family.  We have had some tough conversations the past few weeks concerning his job, disability, and going back to work, but I think we are (thankfully)  heading in a direction we can both live with.  When the word is official, I will let you know.  

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Today I am thankful for Ina's 4:30 wake-ups.  I get up, nurse her, and then she collapses on my chest from exhaustion.  It is during these times (when I haven't had any coffee yet and my mind is calm) that I really think about how big she is getting.  About how small she still is.  I really feel her weight on my chest, breathe her in, listening to her tiny snores.  Every once in a while she will grab a strand of my hair and play with it as I rock her back to sleep.  

Today I am thankful for social media.  I love how it helps me stay connected with people I don't see in person everyday, but I also love how it enables me to meet new people.  People who I may never have met otherwise.  

Today I am thankful that I can get every pair of pants in my closet on and zipped up - something I haven't been able to do in years.  As most of them are 5+ years old, I would be more thankful if I thought they were cute.  Ha!

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What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Do You...


I love Wednesday mornings because our small group meets on Tuesday nights and I feel so recharged afterwards.

On the dinner menu: crock pots for the win!

-Crockpot asian glazed chicken with Dan's fried rice

(I had a little howling [literally] begger when I was shredding the chicken)

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-Crockpot apple crisp

Today I thought we do so something fun -humor me.   

I have asked / been asked a few questions lately, so I thought I would answer them and ask you the same thing.

1. Do you wear a coat after you workout if it is cold outside?

Yesterday, as I was leaving the gym after spin class, it was 17 degrees outside.  Brrr.  However, I could not force my sweaty self to put a coat on.  Gross.  

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I will also say that I despise coats on principal and am historically more likely to lose my coat if I wear it, so I usually just don't unless I am going skiing, sledding, or to another outdoor event.  What's the point?  You go from the house (heated) to the car (heated) to work (heated) and then back again.  That adds up to about 3 minutes of being cold, which is not worth the hassle of keeping track of a coat, in my opinion.  

2. Do you acknowledge / smile at people when you pass them in the hallway at work? When passing them while running / walking?

Kim and I were having this conversation on Monday morning.  Granted, I am a smiley person, however, nothing boils my blood more than when I pass by someone in the hallway at work and he/she acts like I am invisible, which leaves me looking like a smiling, waving idiot.  

I am always tempted to turn around and walk in front of them until they say hi.

The same can be said when I pass someone when running.  Hi person I don't know!  We both like running!  We both live in the same neighborhood!  How much more do you want to have in common with someone before you at least say hi?!?

3. Do you take off your shoes at others' houses and/or require people to take off their shoes at your house?  

My friend Courtney posted this article on FB a few weeks ago, which had me really thinking about my shoe habits.  

I take off my shoes as soon as I sit down.  Anywhere.  Except for church.  I hate wearing shoes more than I hate wearing a coat.  One summer I got all the way to my chemistry lab before I realized I didn't have any shoes on.  

I hope my shoelessness doesn't creep other people out when I am at their house.

Our house is shoes optional.  Yes, we do have carpet, but we also have dogs, so there is nothing your shoes are going to bring in that our dogs didn't already.  

Don't you want to come lay on my carpet now?

Have a good hump day!

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