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"You're not eighteen anymore," the doctor told me.

Then he apparently heard his words and desperately back-pedaled. "I mean, you're still quite young, of course..." and turned red.

Not-eighteen-me should not be attempting to level railroad ties by herself apparently.

Nor should such days be followed by abnormally active days spent working on the woodshed and blowing glass ornaments.

Friday morning, it all caught up with me a vengeance on step #8 of 11 with hot mugs of coffee in each hand.

Adjectives like blinding and blazing and brutal are appropriate.

As there was no real choice but to take those last few steps, that's what I finally did, after standing there a stunned moment and a few false starts. Then I staggered into the bedroom, safely deposited the coffee and fell into bed.

The husband earned his wifecare merit badge by getting me fed and carefully put in the car for an emergency visit to the chiropractor. X-rays later, it was determined that it was "just" muscular. It was still pegging the pain meter.

The next three days were spent in a stupor of agonizing pain, reclined in a chair, lifting nothing heavier than my phone. I couldn't get out of my chair without assistance. We watched a lot of TV and husband earned that badge several times over. Monday, desperate for relief, I went to first care, and they gave me a shot in the ass and some prescriptions.

So, it's been un-fun. I am feeling much, much better, but that's relative. Today is the first day since injury that I've felt up to opening the laptop; I haven't even done any art. I am going to take it super, super easy for the rest of the week at least - they told me it could be several weeks before I was back to normal, and I am not going to push it. See above about not being eighteen.

But hey, I've got a bandaid with a dinosaur riding a skateboard on my butt, so it's not all bad.

***

In other news, it's Skycat Month at Torn World! We've got several skycat-themed pieces we'll be releasing this month, including this amazing felted skycat from my talented friend Carina:



Next week is our muse fusion! You can leave prompts on any topic, but I'll be focusing on skycat-themed work.
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I went to the farmer's market today for lunch and bought cherry tomatoes and fresh peas and green pepper and carrots. So much delicious!

Yesterday's lumber delivery involved rejecting some of what they sent (one board had a big split, the railroad ties were just chewed up), and I ended up gong out to the lumber yard and self-selecting a few things. They were absolutely lovely to work with, and did not fuss for a moment about sending the delivery truck twice. Northland Wood for the win, Fairbanksans. I'm pretty sure the 1x8 roughcuts they sent were rolled directly off the mill onto the truck and were just beautiful.

We got the back wall of the woodshed up last night in about an hour, and I got the old railroad tie base for the steps leveled and set this morning before the market. We have five more short walls to put up, which should take very little time, and then we can start loading it with actual wood! I am going to love it so much this winter.

Tomorrow, I'm excited to be taking a short glass-blowing class. But first, some writing, and an art release:


I don't do much custom work right now, but I'll make exceptions. This was done as a tattoo design for my awesome nephew, E.
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The tarot expo was really fun and inspiring. I have used it to kickstart my muse on the Sketch Tarot project I started a gazillion years ago, and used THAT to kickstart a workup of new rewards at my Patreon - there is now a $3 level that includes a sketch tarot file every month. And a $4 level that includes another extra coloring page every month. And there are higher levels that you'll have to click that link to see... *whistles innocently*

Today was a crazy day. I ordered lumber to complete the woodshed, and they surprised me by saying they could deliver it tomorrow. Which meant I needed to get some bags of gravel to level the pad for the steps. And I got new propane for the grill, and I took a flat tire in to get repaired (for free!), and I bought dog food and got replacement parts for a broken lamp and went to the post office and got water and wrote about a thousand words and added an epilogue to my not-a-book. I even spread out some of the gravel, though I had to stop before it was finished because that's hard work and I had to go to bellydance practice.

*lies on the floor*

Here's the last of the pieces I did for my feature in Color On! Magazine:



Now I'm going to go to bed and sleep the sleep of the just. Or the just tired, anyway.
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I have book hangover, so bad. I finished the not-a-book (my fourth!) late Wednesday night, not dragging into bed until about midnight.

Yesterday, I was too busy to really process it, and too tired. Guppy got me up at 3 in the morning, though she went right back to sleep. That, with the late night, meant I was pretty wiped. And then we put the roof on the woodshed! It is an actual woodshed, with a roof! After a day of blistering heat, it was obliging enough to rain last night, and we went out and stood in our perfectly dry (if wall-less, still) woodshed. Horrah!

Today, however, I wandered around staring at things a lot, feeling vaguely overwhelmed and more than a little lost. The book... is done? It's... done? Wait, what? Professional writers may laugh. There are a billion things to do, not the least of which is start the next book, but I'm mostly just finding myself wanting to lie down on the floor and watch dust settle, or binge-watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer or something.

And there's Sketch Fest today! https://www.ellenmilliongraphics.com/sketchfest/

I haven't done anything for it yet, but I hope to tonight.

I'm a featured artist at a Tarot Expo tomorrow, which is fun! I am going to be bringing art supplies and offering $15 on-the-spot commissions for personal tarot ACEOs. Just rough sketches, color or pencil. We'll see how it goes. Locals, I'll be at the Coop Plaza, 12-4, at Woven Sylver. They are going to have tarot readers and demos and workshops from 10-5. (And probably cookies, but don't quote me.)

It's taken me HOURS to write this, so here's some more new art, and I'm going to go eat chocolate and pour a stiff drink. BOOK DONE. BRAIN GONE.


Another of the exclusive pieces for Color On! Magazine.
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I owe a weekend report! On Thursday night, I drove out to Chena Hot Springs, all by myself in the van. I camped there overnight, soaked in the morning, and met Layla for a plein air watercolor painting class. Yes, I was torturing myself again with Things I Am Not Good At. Patreon patrons will get a look at what I painted! Friday night I camped out with Layla, Saturday was another day of painting outdoors, and then Saturday night Layla drove back in and Jake left Guppy with the grandparents and drove out in his fancy car. We stayed until Sunday afternoon, soaking and enjoying a leisurely breakfast.

It was a gorgeous time. Sunny weather the first day, threatening clouds the second - but no actual rain until we were tucked into bed, long after a lovely fire and marshmallows.



I brought my iPad and keyboard with me, and actually managed to write a few thousand words, as well! Not-a-book is up to 40k, and I've got just another scene (maaaaybe two) and a fluffy epilogue still to write on it. I've mocked up the cover and drafted the blurb. It feels like it's stampeding to the finish line now! It's eating my brain, big time.

Tomorrow: a massage, the farmer's market, a new artwork release, and maybe a thousand new words, if I'm lucky. All the paid #junicorns are mailed except a few I'll take into town with me tomorrow. (And one more original sale would make me over the moon! I made a special folder at my artist Facebook page to show which originals were still available.)
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Wow! If I sell one more #Junicorn original, I will have sold half of them. This pleases me enormously: http://ellenmillion.dreamwidth.org/1604777.html

Writing continues, slowly but steadily. 579 words today, 538 yesterday. Not-a-book is approaching 35k and I'm still pretty happy with it. My main characters are adrift on the ocean, but rescue is in sight. Then there will be a climactic show-down, a sweet epilogue, and I've got a brilliant idea for a scene (that may become two scenes) that I need to go back and find a good spot for. This is already longer than any of my published books, and I have at least 10k left to add. (I thought it would be done at 40k, but that's not likely now.)

This morning I got my car perma-registered, which entailed a painless trip to the DMV, and then I got the oil in the truck changed and fixed a turn signal. Then Guppy and I went and played at the Children's Museum for a while, then went to the Farmer's Market, and she was happy to take an actual nap when we got home.

I have fabulous writing and arting plans for the weekend, and will be non-communicado starting tomorrow afternoon until Monday. I shall hopefully be back with many grand tales and updates.

I have to go wake Guppy or tonight will be unpleasant, so have another of the Color On! Magazine pieces:


Original available!
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It was a weekend of beds! We bought Guppy a bed frame, finally. She outgrew her toddler bed a while ago, and we had a mattress on the floor for her, but this is much, much better.

Not stopping there, we dismantled my weird-sized bed and turned it into a twin XL, which frees up the bedroom space ENORMOUSLY, and makes the room so much more gorgeous. Hopefully it will mean fewer barked shins, as well.

There was gaming and art on Sunday, which I haven't scanned yet.

It's a sulky, rainy day today, and we're watching movies while I do some Facebook promo and jot notes on my not-a-book. (Earlier, we had a balloon party and drew in Guppy's workbooks together).

Don't forget about the Amazon clearance: http://ellenmillion.dreamwidth.org/1609672.html

And the next Sketch Fest is the 21st! Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/144259459467548

And I promised artwork this week! I am the featured artist at Color On! Magazine. I did five exclusive pieces for them (back in April!), and you can buy print or digital issues. One of them is Butterflies at Solstice, posted a few weeks ago. One of them is this piece:


Under the Rose Bush - Fairy Wedding. The original is available, inquire!

You can read the interview they did here: https://coloronmag.com/issue/july-2017/

(And then there was food poisoning. Better now, but not up to bellydancing tonight.)
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Addicted to Amazon prime? Just hate paying shipping?

I am liquidating my Amazon Fulfillment stock!

Use the links below to get the last few books I have available there at the same price as the webpage, but pay no shipping with Amazon Prime (or by purchasing enough to qualify for free shipping). Disclosure: these are affiliate links. You can also view everything at my seller page.

Wild Teas of Alaska (10 left)
Garden Sprites (3 left) SOLD OUT
Christmas Sprites (3 left) SOLD OUT
Splendid and Scaled (4 left) (4 reserved!)
Fishtank Fantasies (5 left) 3 LEFT
Feathered Fantastic (7 left) 6 LEFT
Equine Enchantment (4 left) (4 reserved!)
Fairies and Friends (2 left) 1 LEFT
An Alphabestiary of Clockwork Devices (7 left)
Fantastrix (2 left) 1 LEFT
Wildflowers of Alaska (4 left) 3 LEFT
Dotminatrix (5 left) 4 LEFT
The Collected Faeries of Victoria Griffin (2 left)
Fishpond Fantasies (5 left) 4 LEFT

I will still have coloring books available on Amazon after these are sold, but they will be shipped directly from me. And they will not be this cheap - I'm taking a hit on these to save myself having to pay to remove or destroy them before storage fees hit. Mitzi's books will continue to be available through Amazon Prime, as they continue to do well enough to be worth it.

Also, I would very, very much appreciate your reviews and comments at Amazon! Even mediocre but honest reviews will help legitimize a product, and that really matters for a small business like mine. (And of course, if you share your raves, that's even better...) You can leave a review if you purchased through a Kickstarter or through my webpage, as well. If you have a PDF copy, you can also review that, just specify what format you have and how you got it.

Thanks!
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Who stole June? Seriously, wasn't it JUST here?

We worked on the woodshed this weekend, and got it braced and all the purlins on. The only things left are roofing and siding. (We also found out that someone stole a bunch of stuff from my yurt, which was less wonderful. :/)

The three of us also braved the fourth of July madness at Pioneer Park (Alaskaland!), and that was a very mixed bag. We went to hear the 1812 Overture, which is Guppy's very favorite song, and the band was not bad. While they were playing Sousa, there was a bald eagle cruising around overhead, which was pretty epic. We had ice cream cones first, and then of course, Guppy did not want to sit still, and later there were tears because we went hunting for a balloon after they had given them all away. It was a billion degrees and there were so many people it made my skin itch.

Lots of art things to share over the next week or two! So many! Let's start with the all-#junicorn round-up:


(Photo updated to show sold cards, and also the four that were on my scanner bed still...)

Many originals are still available, plus bookmarks, magnets, and signed prints! For a larger look at each image, and pricing, the landing page is here: http://ellenmillion.dreamwidth.org/1604777.html Just let me know what you'd like via email or PM, and I'll send you an invoice which you can pay by Paypal or credit card. I'd also take a check, if you want to mail one.
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Last week I was a featured artist for a Facebook event, and instead of doing a coloring contest, I did a crowd-sourced coloring page. I asked for ideas, and tried to incorporate all of them into one piece, then showed progress shots and even livestreamed some of the process. It was a lot of fun, if a lot to cram into one piece and one week, but I'm very happy with the results:


Prompts included: A forest scene, fairies in the forest, a baby dragon on a toadstool, baby creatures, fae, wands and crystals, and angels. The original is available for $400 and available as a digital download at Etsy.

And because it had a unicorn in it, it counts as my #junicorn 30! Yay!

Got a little over 1k written yesterday, more of the sloggy in-between stuff, but I like how it's all coming together. I think the end will be really fun to write now, because I know how it all ties together!

Today is the last day of summer camp, and I don't have any others lined up. However, my parents are in town, and they are talking about taking Guppy to the library some mornings next week, so hopefully I can continue to plug away at this and get it finished in the next few weeks. I'm doing camp NaNo, and my goal is 15k for the month. That seems reasonable! I'm pretty close to hitting that this month - I actually think I can get there today. (I actually woke up about 5:20 this morning and debated getting up to write... but the bed was sooo comfortable. It didn't happen.)

This morning was exciting in all the wrong ways. Velcro expressed her displeasure at seeing the bottom of her food dish by throwing up on the rug, and down the backside of her bed (which then required laundering), and for extra credit, the one spot on a colored throw rug where it blended in, so I stepped in it and then had to spend time tracking down all my footprints. We were a few minutes late to camp. On the plus side, the other kids were really happy to see Guppy, and our hand-off was basically painless.

Now to try to get that workcount up! Not-a-book is at almost 29k!
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Here are the last four cards!



But waaaaiiiiittttt, you're saying. Wasn't #junicorn supposed to have 30 pieces of artwork? Like last year, one of my #junicorns this year is a little different. I will be officially releasing it tomorrow! (Patreon patrons got a sneak preview!)

See all of them together here: http://ellenmillion.dreamwidth.org/1604777.html
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Have you missed some of my creative updates over the last month? I'm doing monthly roundups to try to keep some sense in the chaos!

Artwork

I only did two sketches for the May Sketch Fest, but both of them spanned into full coloring pages that I released at Torn World for Sea Monster Month. Arguing Over Dinner also became my Patreon perk:



I also did this one: http://www.tornworld.net/artpageview.php?id=554

At Muse Fusion, I did this painting:



I also did two sketches that didn't go anywhere, and two sketches I finished into coloring pages! http://www.tornworld.net/artpageview.php?id=553 and http://www.tornworld.net/artpageview.php?id=552

And, miraculously, finished this painting that I started last year:



I also did this for a client:



In total, 4 complex coloring pages from sketch to finish, another inked piece, a teeny painting, and I finished a giant painting. Go, me!


Writing

A poem up at Torn World for subscribers from our previous Muse Fusion, "Tokens, Time, and Fire": http://www.tornworld.net/storypageview.php?id=614

I set a goal of 500 words/day, which I didn't quite meet, but I did get a little over 10,000 words written, which is a LOT for me!


Other

Guppy graduated preschool!

Whittled one and one half spoons! So fun! http://hotlink.ellenmilliongraphics.com/ellen/IMG_8901-spoon.JPG
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I've been slogging at the writing, about 2k over the last few days, but it's hard stuff, filling in gaps and working on scenes I skipped for a reason. Some writing is like uncapping a firehose. This is more like trying to get those last few iotas of toothpaste out of a tube. But I've soldiered on, and the not-a-book is up to 27,700 words. Unfortunately, my stupid muse is telling me all these awesome ideas for book 8 or 10 (this is book 3). NO BRAIN, STOP.

I have WON #JUNICORN! 30 pieces, finished yesterday. I haven't, however, gotten to scan them all yet, so I'll share this one, now up at Torn World:



This is one of last year's #junicorns, but I wasn't happy with it, so early this month I went back and revised it extensively.

Have been suffering more than usual back pain this week, because I am an idiot. Today is better, but I'm being super diligent about taking breaks and stretching, and I'm going to go do that before my next writing window. Just two more days of summer camp!
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Blogging time is already gone, so have the #Junicorns I scanned last night:



Landing page: http://ellenmillion.dreamwidth.org/1604777.html
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I was drawing on the couch, minding my own business, when I felt a tickle against my thigh.

I looked down to discover that a VOLE was wiggling in the space between me and the arm of the couch. Being a grown woman of great sensibility, I shrieked like a little girl, and leaped from the couch like it was on fire. The vole, sensibly, dove under the cushion into the recesses of the couch.

This resulted:



Heavily gloved and armed with a flashlight, I probed and prodded the interior of the couch, nearly cornered the terrified rodent several times, and finally gave up and set the live trap baited with peanut butter nearby.

The cat continued to doze.

We sat down to dinner, debating the idea of leaving Norway outside, because if he caught the scent of vole and saw it scrabbling around through the fabric, chances seemed good that we would wake up to shredded couch. We also speculate on how the vole got into the couch, let alone into the house, and decide the likely culprit is the sleeping bag we brought in from the garage that had been laying on the couch for several hours.

The cat snored louder.

Then, suddenly I caught sight of it braving the outside world and coming around the corner of the still-sideways couch. I hissed and pointed and generally flailed, and as quietly as we could, Jake and I got out of our chairs and started stalking the wily beast.



It made basically a beeline for the cat, who slumbered blissfully on, then darted back behind the entertainment credenza.

I put on the heavy gloves and positioned myself at the escape end of the credenza while Jake poked and prodded and hissed and generally flushed it my direction. "This is a terrible idea," I said, but patiently waited. The vole, cautious but not terribly cowed, came my direction.

I waited.

The vole hesitated, just out of Jake's reach. I could have made a grab for it, but it would have sent him hiding if I missed.

The cat snored.

Jake rattled wires.

The vole darted.

I pounced.

Vole safely in my gloved grip, we all cheered.

The vole took a swift air flight out into the woods, and we returned to our dinners.

The cat wheezed on in sleep.
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Today started wretchedly. I wrote an interview back in April that I sent off to the publisher. They opened it yesterday and said, um, Ellen? Because it was blank. I figured I'd sent the wrong file, but I opened mine, and lo. BLANK. And of course, they needed files TODAY to send to the editor, and I've got appointments and early summer camp and I'm still reeling after a Very Bad Back weekend.

Leaving Guppy at camp was the usual amount of agonizing. MOM! MOM! MOOOOMMMMMY! One more HUG! MOMMMMMYYYYYY!

Oh, and the cat missed the catbox.

Then I got a massage that fixed the Very Bad Back, and found an un-formatted draft of the interview in... my wholesale accounts folder? What? So I got that fixed up, grabbed lunch (and veggies!) at the farmer's market, and Guppy had a grand time at camp, of course. Now I need a gallon of ice water and an ice cream sandwich in the sun.

No words today (yet), but I did get some reading research done, and started working on an exciting plot bunny with a partner in crime.


Here are #19 (claimed) and #13 (available!). I did finish #20 but haven't scanned it, so if I get one done today I'll be caught up again. The landing page for my #junicorn project is here: http://ellenmillion.dreamwidth.org/1604777.html
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I haven't scanned the latest #junicorn pieces yet, but did go back and finish #13 and forge forward with #19 and #20. I got six done in total with Sketch Fest prompts.

This was just released at Torn World:



It was prompted at the March Muse Fusion and finished in April as part of a collection that I'll give you more information about in a few weeks. ;P

Speaking of Muse Fusions! Our next one is in August. I am eyeing the second week, does anyone have any thoughts on what would work for them?

Got about 700 words of not-a-book written at the library the morning after peeling Guppy off at summer camp. This is a new camp, in a new place, so all the anxiety was new, too. She was TIRED and nearly fell asleep on the way home, so I'm hoping she uses quiet time for a nice nap. (So far, no dice.)

I'm going to get some more words in now! More art later!
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I got five more #Junicorn pieces finished for Sketch Fest (so far!) and updated the landing page: http://ellenmillion.dreamwidth.org/1604777.html

I also scanned last week's cards. I'm still not done with #13, but that will get finished eventually.



I've also added the option for magnets and bookmarks! These are also ACEO-sized, 2.5 x 3.5 inches. The magnets are flexible magnets, laminated and durable. The bookmarks are laminated, with a silky tassel in a random color. Both are $4 each or 5/$15.

(I've signed Guppy up for another week of summer camp, which is not cheap. Buy #junicorns!)

Portrait,

Jun. 16th, 2017 10:13 am
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I still haven't scanned the latest #Junicorn (and I'm still behind and working on lucky number 13), so have a Portrait Adoption piece I posted a week or so ago:


Adopt her here: https://portraitadoption.com/portrait.php?id=2947

Summer camp remains the greatest thing in my life right now. It's still hard to peel her off in the morning, and she doesn't want to leave in the afternoon. My writing count isn't quite as awesome as the first glorious day, but I have gotten to the gym every single morning (which feels amazing) and I've gotten a ton of stuff done. I'm 4/6 into sekrit art project #789 and finished up a private commission yesterday. I submitted a short story to an anthology, and the EMG newsletter finally went out, and I HAVE gotten 500 words minimum every day, with spurts of much, much better, so that I'm nearly at 6k for the week. (I know my powerhouse writing friends are sniggering up their sleeves, but that's a LOT for me.)

Having ME time is huge. It's different than nap/quiet time, too. I spend that time with half an ear at least out for her. This is time I spend with sound-cancelling earphones absolutely focused on what I'm doing. I've tried four different places, and they've all worked beautifully. I feel productive and free and fulfilled. And then I can pick Guppy up and not feel like she's pushed my buttons all morning and I'm happy to see her and spend time playing. (Or working outside in the guise of playing!)

It helps that she is clearly having a great time.

Yesterday, Jake took the afternoon off and we finished the decking on the woodshed. YES. I used our new impact driver and WOW. I'm sold. It's supposed to rain today and tomorrow, so we wanted to get that finished while the weather was nice.

Okay, back to the not-a-book.

This afternoon is SKETCH FEST! http://www.ellenmilliongraphics.com/sketchfest/index.php
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I've gymed every morning this week, and it feels great! Day 2 was not quite as productive as Day 1, but I still got 1800 words written and a bunch of admin-type things, and I felt refreshed when I picked reluctant monster up from camp. (She tried to run away instead of getting ready to go, because she wanted to staaaaayyyyyyy!) Day 3 saw about 1300 words, but I also finished inking two more pieces for a project I've slipped to my Patreon patrons, and then squeezed in 2 junicorns when I realized I'd written and deleted the same paragraph twice and my brain was just not wrapping around story anymore.

These are three junicorns from the weekend:



The greenman unicorn was an experiment on birchbark, which was only semi-successful - the bark flaked as I worked, and is still really fragile. A sneeze would peel off the colored part. I will have to apply some fixative to it, now that it's sunnier.

The garden is exploding. The potatoes are just peeking up, but the lettuce baskets are gorgeously frilly and full, and the delphiniums are eager to take over the world. I planted some garlic cloves I had that had sprouted, and they merrily shot up several inches over the last few days.

The voles seems to have given way... to ants. It appears that they have moved into the rocks around my garden, and while they don't appear to be damaging anything, I have had to squish more ants in my house recently than I am happy to.

Speaking of happy, Guppy yesterday came cheerfully to the door while we were outside working on the woodshed. "I have a terrible emergency!"

Then she hands me a warm, stinky pair of underwear and flees back into the house. "I have to finish pooping."

Yes, my daughter had handed me a pair of poopy underwear. BECAUSE PARENTING IS AWESOME.

We're going to go have ice cream sandwiches on the porch now and I'm going to just pretend that never happened.

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