Thursday, May 5, 2016

Homeschooling My Kids Ruined My Life


I have thought all along that because this is how I grew up, that this is what my family did, that being
a second generation homeschooler would make me happy. It makes sense; it's part of my identity,
my ethos. I am one of twenty-one grandchildren on my mother's side, and all of us were homeschooled.

This is what we do.

We ordered all the books and went through all the motions this year. Counting, rhyming, memorizing,
sounding out words -- starting over -- crying, laughing, reading good stories and drinking warm tea.

We explored the world around us more than the books on our shelves; making notes and coloring in the
details of the magic found in nature, free play and being little. We collected all the treasures to
keep in our pockets, mason jars and hearts.

Instead of the routine I had envisioned, it was raw and unpredictable. I had goals for me and
my children; milestones and achievements I wanted to hang on the wall. Not for accolades of course,
but just for me to know, "Hey, we did that" --

some came easy, some came hard, and some didn't come at all.

There were days I tried to stuff our school into this box of expectations and elaborations;
doing all the things that I thought we must be doing to be a real school --

beating myself up at the dinner table, "He didn't get it. We had to start over. I'm doing something wrong." I'd throw my hands in the air, go to sleep and wake up to start all over again. Is this it?
Is this what I am going to spend the next 25+ years of my life doing? Schooling children in my bathrobe
and messy bun with a barely warm cup of coffee in hand?!!!!

And believe it or not, somewhere in the middle of all that, I think I found myself?

Somewhere between singing math facts for peanut butter cups and snuggling on the couch
to devour Magic Tree House books -- somewhere between wiping finger paints off the walls
and scraping play doh out of my carpet --

I realized that homeschooling my kids had ruined my life in the best way.

It had changed me and made me a better person and mama. Nudging me, sometimes ruffling my feathers,
straight out of my comfort zone and into this new place where I am being transformed...

learning to "let it go" and just plain have more grace on myself and my children --
being ok to forget perfection and just do what's perfect "for us".

It has made me little and curious again. With a thirst to explore, go outside, get messy.
I want to BE IN IT with them -- the world brand new all over again!!!

I didn't see it coming. The gift to be had in the ebb and flow of teaching and learning
with my children. What a gift.











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A Redemption Story

I have stared at a blank, white computer screen for the past hour or so
with a story filled heart and not enough right or holy words to do this justice.

I feel vulnerable.

It's going to sound dramatic, but for as long as I can remember I have struggled with feeling
like a burden. A demon must have whispered deeply into my ear because I somehow drank it all in;
that devil's milk. I've spent most of my life trying to be better, the best - holding my own -
please don't even notice I am here.

Don't be a burden.

I was twenty-five years old. We had gone to my grandparent's house for a weekend stay, and the
entire time I was scheming up ways to make our presence barely noticeable. I'll never forget.
We were standing in her dining room when my grandma grabbed my shoulders and
looked deep, soul healing level, into my eyes,

"You are not a burden. I want to take care of you."

Words are powerful.

Chains fell that day.


Like most people, I'd say my life is pretty evenly full of all the good things and all the
disappointments. I was and am loved deeply by family. I've celebrated and traveled. Accomplished
dreams. Done hard things. I've felt the blows and seen the damage as loved ones battle sickness,
addiction, betrayal. I've had my heart broken. I've lost friends. I've had my childhood home and
life slip between my fingers. All out of my control. All ultimately in HIS.

I thought I was fine, just fine, going through all the motions of college, ministry, marriage -
even a couple babies - before I began collapsing, shutting down -- diagnosed autoimmune --
flesh attacking flesh. Almost as if I wanted it to happen? To feel something, to control something,
to make myself the victim so that no one, nothing could hurt me again.

That's hard to admit. It's hard to say that I withheld forgiveness and mercy.
That I decided to "be my own god" and run from true healing.
Like a child holding tightly to a skinned knee, I refused the Band-Aid.

And all along God was patiently waiting for me, writing a story of redemption for me.
I couldn't see the significance of each encounter at the time. But He was placing people in my path --
a patient husband, Franciscan sister, a healer, a counselor, new friends, a chiropractor, doctors....

But I clung to the bitterness.

Withholding grace somehow made me feel powerful.
When in reality, it was literally weakening my very flesh.

One night on Twitter, I saw a comment from another blogger and recognized that she was living in
the EXACT SAME TOWN that my parents had recently moved to when everything fell apart.
The town I just didn't ever want to visit or pardon.

But the next time I went to Iowa, I decided to meet up with this girl and make a new friend
in spite of circumstances. (thankfully she really was a friendly Twitter girl! ha!)


I left that afternoon in the park with Nicole Neesby having NO IDEA
that such CHANGE was going to come into my life through that town I hated,
through the chance meeting of a girl I saw on social media.

We were both pregnant with our babies at the time, but the birth of mine would leave me in the darkest
place I've ever been in my entire life. Postpartum depression is real.

This girl reached out and asked me if I would try essential oils...
And I told her "NO!" And "NO!" again... "I can't. I have so many allergies and
sensitivities! I don't need one more thing!"


She sent me an article on allergies, autoimmune disorders, cell damage --- and the need to
repair our bodies from emotional trauma at the leukocyte level. I cried all over that email.
THIS IS MY STORY.

I took that article to my counselor and told him, "I am cutting myself.
I am slashing at my heart, my mind, body -- every day -- because I refuse to let it all go."


I'll never forget the look on his face. He smiled and nodded, "This is big."

I was being ushered into a place I never thought I would find again.
Suddenly all the people, all the moments and conversations were colliding -- everything rising,
everything converging, and I'm just in tears, "Why does God love me so much?"


I wept. I prayed. I chose forgiveness and GRACE.
Nicole then mailed me a roller bottle of JOY essential oil with a note to use over my heart,
and EndoFlex to support my hormonal system as it readjusted in this new chapter of my life!!!

It changed me.

My dear immune specialist sat me down one afternoon and told me,
"Brittany! You've received SO MUCH GOOD!
You must find a way to give back."


I say it often, but I don't think people really understand how sincerely I believe God was and is
fiercely coming after me, after you. And how He uses so many people and avenues, even a Twitter girl
and a company called Young Living to wreck my life in order to make it new again.

"You are NOT a burden. I WANT to take care of you."

Over and over again. The message has always been clear. He thought of me in His creation and knew the
people I would meet and the work of His fields I would one day be gifted. He gave me the doctors and the
therapist and the friends and blogging community...

And so I GIVE BACK through Young Living; in the gift of supporting, leading and cheering on
a community of people, families -- who want to experience radical, awesome change on all the levels!!!
I can't even begin to tell you about the deep gladness it brings to my heart.

He is in the details. He is in the disappointments and tragedies, the sickness and broken heart.
He is in the change - the JOY - the celebrations. Heck, He is even in Twitter!

And it's all just some big excuse to prepare my heart for the day I meet Him face to face --
to put me through that refiner's fire as He begs me to hand Him those vices I cling to, to let Him
have that skinned knee


so that He can save me...

so that He can save you...



Amen.





If you are looking for more information on Young Living, please e-mail me

oilwellsociety@gmail.com || @oilwellsociety

If you are looking to enroll into an awesome community CLICK HERE.
I'll be there to meet you!!! XO.

































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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Childrenisms

I do some pretty awesome things when my husband is working all day. *pats self on back*
Recently, I managed to rearrange all of our living room furniture -- which included shoving
a very hefty loveseat down our hallway and into our master bedroom. When he finally got home
to the "surprise", I equated the whole moving the couch into the master bedroom scenario to

"giving birth".

I told him, "You must LOVE it! I birthed that couch for us!" Lol.

Disturbing imagery, I know. But I think it highlights the creative labor I put forth
to make my our interior design dreams come true.


Anyway, what I really want to talk about is my children. I did truly birth them.
Do you know the other day while I was shopping at Whole Foods (because this would only happen at
Whole Foods) a very energetic, normal-looking woman chased me down the aisle waving and smiling....

Stranger: "Yoohoo! You have two boys and a girl!
You MUST tell me what you DID to get a girl!"


And I'm thinking, clearly she knows 'what to do'.

But no, this lady wants legitimate tips on conceiving a girl. Like down to vaginal pH
and ovulation theories. And I'm just here for fermented pickles, not a fertility lesson!

This "stranger" was suddenly becoming my new BFF. I mean I don't just talk about mucus patterns
with anyone. Oh my gosh this REALLY happened. But then she just said, "We have the three boys,
and I just don't know if I can do one more pregnancy... and not get a girl!"


To which I consoled her with really not consoling news at all, "Well, I really hope we can
have a few more! They are just awesome -- no matter what!!!"


Her whole face changed. But not in a bad way. She THANKED me.

Stranger now BFF: "It's so relieving to hear you say that! I don't want to feel
alone in this! And I think big families are great!


And I'm just standing there like, "What just happened?!"
I hope you name your child, Brittany Awesome, dear lady. Ha.
#cultureoflife #missionwhereyoustand


But I concur.

Big families are awesome, and I just love doing life with these people God gave me --
they make everything so fun...ny.


Me: "How did you get so good at drawing dinosaurs?"
Judah: "Well, I waited 100 years... and then I could just do it!"
Me: "But you're only 4 years old."
Judah: "Well, ok so 4 years..."
Me: "Gotcha."


Isaiah: "Mom, are you making dinner or eating cookies again?"
Me:

Isaiah: "Mom, how much do pets cost?"
Me: "Well, it depends on what you want to buy. Like a pet fish would cost about $3."
Isaiah: "I was thinking T-REX."
Me: "Buddy, dinosaurs are not alive anymore."
Isaiah: "What! Are you kidding me?"


Me: "How many pieces of candy did you eat?"
Judah: "ONE!"
Me: "Then why are there NINE wrappers in your bedroom?"
Isaiah: "Well, we EACH had one."
Me: "Well, there's only TWO of you!"
Isaiah:
Judah:


Judah: "I love you!"
Me: "YEA?! Why do you love me?"
Judah: "Because you're a good cooker and picker upper. You also know a lot about oils."


Me: "Why do we eat vegetables?"
Judah: "I only eat carrots."
Isaiah: "OOH OOH OH!! So we are not constipated!!!!"
Judah: "That is not right."

Me: "You guys, please be quiet, I am tutoring Anna."
Isaiah: "Toot-er."
Judah: "YEA! Toot!"
Both: "TOOTER ANNA!!!!!"
#minions


Judah: "What can we call this hammer?"
Me: "Knuckle Sandwich?"
Judah: "How about AWESOME? Rock Star? Or Punk?"
Me: "Whaaaaa?"
Judah: "Or sponge."

Bella: *screaming* *throwing things from purse*
Me: "Would you like some water?"
Bella: "NO!"
Me: "Would you like a snack?"
Bella: "NO!"
Me:
Bella: "MONEY!!!!!!!"
























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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Importance of Kindred Spirits

Here's a toast to Anne Shirley; to all the bosom friends and kindred spirits!
Diamond sunbursts, marble halls, puffed sleeves and strings of pearls are lovely, but
tried and true, rich and deep friendship? Our Anne girl knew what she was talking about.

It's such a beautiful gift this side of heaven.



This month I managed to escape with some of my dearest friends to spend the
weekend together! I kept pinching myself thinking, "I can't believe we pulled this off."
Shout out to our amazing husbands who held down the forts + children... on DST weekend no less!

That wasn't on purpose, by the way. But a nice perk for us momma-ladies!

Community does not come easy these days. I watch my grandparents, "the greatest generation ever,"
so easily plan to do life together with their "people." They naturally are inclined to not walk
the road alone. Whatever they are doing, you can bet there is more family or friends involved.
Whether it be work or play. I envy them.

So what's wrong with our generation? Hidden behind cell phones and profile pictures, we talk
without really talking -- always texting, pinging, DM-ing because... I don't know why?

I guess it has become convenient, normal, socially acceptable.
I guess our lives are so full of busy-ness that there just isn't time.
I guess it enables us all to be multi-tasking Jedi masters.

I know I get scared, but I want to throw caution to the wind and send out the call, the invite.
I want to keep showing up and being vulnerable enough to be really real with the people I encounter.
Our stories, our connections -- the lives we touch -- are not arbitrary.

Let that sink in.

If you believe in God, there is no random business here.

He chose this place, these people for us to walk with. We need them.



And we need cupcakes.

I think the opportunities to build meaningful, beyond small talk, friendships come up a
few times throughout our lives. And this weekend spent with some of my "kindred spirits" really
spoke into my life (who says that?!) -- shaking me awake! Brittany, show up, invite, be present.

People are in the present moment, and are merely caught in virtual code on the digital frontier.

I want to be present.
I want to be counter-cultural.
I want to channel that "greatest generation" vibe.
I want to dare to be a "bosom friend."
I want to LIVE life with the people God chose to surround me with.


Viva Anne Shirley!



"Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think.
It's splendid to find out that there are so many of them in the world."

- L.M. Montgomery







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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

How to Date Your Spouse

Remember your dating life before marriage? It was so spontaneous and frolic-ky...


Like, "Oh! Do you want to go get pancakes at 2am?!" And then you just did it.
You'd sit side-by-side, sharing bites, laughing, having a real conversation in between
all the red heart emoticons. There was so much time! Time to spare. Time to waste.
Time to change my clothes 6 times before Nathan rang the door bell. The good 'ole days.

We were laughing not too long ago about how strategic we are with our time now. We don't
have time to take a nap together BEFORE we spend the day riding the motorcycle BEFORE we
spend the evening restaurant hopping to try all the things... because we can.

For real, one time Nathan planned an 8 restaurant excursion back before we were married.
I had to figure out the riddle of the evening...

Bruschetta's
Rosa's Pizza
Ibiza Tapas
Tom's Diner
Thai Me Up
Ali Baba's
Nakama Japanese Steakhouse
Yo Rita

He was so cute. Still is. Let's just look at him. He's all mine, ladies.
I can hear my little sisters in my head: #vomit.
This is why we are going to have so many babies.


But something we walked away with from our marriage prep classes was to

be INTENTIONAL about DATE NIGHTS.

And I don't think we've missed a week in almost 7 years of marriage? Go us.
No, but seriously -- that was not to boast, but to shed light on the blessing and
importance of this in our marriage.

We just decided that every week we would have one night specifically set aside for just the
two of us. Sometimes we get a babysitter, but more often than not it is one of our classic
"at home date nights". And our kids are aware now! They tuck themselves in bed and double check
with sheepish grins, "It's date night, riiiiight?" You can feel the security level in their
hearts rise. I mean, date nights are healthy for EVERYONE!


And I'll do anything for my kids. Even if it means dating their father. Wink.

Just those couple of hours to forget the housework, the finances, the children (I mean, don't
really forget them!), the rush of the week -- and just BE together -- make a difference!

The other night we were driving home from our date night out on the town (ow ow!) and I felt a little
giddy girlfriend-like?! I don't know. I tried to put it into words for Nathan and all that came out was,

"I like just being you and me."

THIS life is happening...

but before all of "this", and through all of "this", and after all of "this" --
at the end of the day, I go home with Nathan Vail. And we're working and praying and building
the best foundation we can right now. Even in the usual chaos of family life.


We don't let all of that be an EXCUSE not to make time for each other,
but as a REASON to make it a priority.


I went ahead and polled the crowd for this one!
Here are some tried and true date night ideas...

For the musically inclined...
"This is weird, but we have a lot of fun watching concerts on TV together!"
- Abby Moldovan

"Dinner date & Musical/Play at the Fine Arts Center!"
- Julie Fluette

When a babysitter cannot be found...
"Backyard bonfire! We read books by the fire while enjoying virgin pina coladas, country
music on Pandora and talking about our favorite moments of married life!"
- Nellie Simoneau

"Movie on the couch or coffee in the afternoon!"
- Colleen Mason

If you are travel lovers...
"Corny, but we are geography geeks and love to quiz each other and look at maps...
and then have fun taking our own adventure!"

- Natalie Reeves

"We like geocaching - so we look to see if there is something nearby and then we sit down
and make up an interesting adventure story on how we found it."

- Stacy Pustka

Calling all culinary adventurists...
"Going out for dinner!"
- Maripaz DeLuna-Rouleau

"Either long coffee dates or an evening dinner -
followed by a walk through the countryside.
#26goingon86"
- Gemma Watts

A walk on the wild side...
"We like the shooting range, goodwill dates, playing board games and eating brownies
while catching up at the end of a day."

- Amy Giove

Because it smells good in this store...
"Menards!"
- April Kirkpatrick

To keep it real...
"What is this thing called dates?"
- Valerie Caron Darragh of BLANQI

...because sometimes that is reality.

But here's to being intentional and strategic in marriage about dating!
Because our dating life shouldn't die at the altar.

Of course, it should die in regards to dating other people. Oh geez.
Just date your spouse, ok?!




















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Thursday, March 3, 2016

Choosing a MLM Company


I wasn't looking for a job. I wasn't even entertaining MLM companies or doing any research
into the pros + cons of all the options available to the stereotypical stay-at-home mom like me.
For years people have asked me to do and share and "go business" with it all.

Seriously, name the company -- I've been pitched.

In fact, if you would have told me that I would be part of a multi-level-marketing
organization one year ago, I probably would have laughed in your face, "Yea right!"

And here we are! Ta-da! I feel like I should do a little tap dance or something?!

I can't even believe it myself, really. But here's the deal...

In the past three years of building and loving a social media platform + community
through blogging and all -- I have been so adamant about choosing and sharing
products and companies that I would naturally use, support and rally behind
in real time - my non-virtual life.


True story. One time I almost took on a campaign to share a CIGAR COMPANY! Can you
imagine?! The money was lucrative. I could have made it work. Lol. But my husband helped talk
me off of that NON REALITY cliff so I could stick to my POV. Because I love ya...

and I'm true to my heart. Like Mulan.

Young Living didn't come easy either, btw. In fact, I'd say our relationship was
more like the guy who wouldn't stop asking me out. For years and years I played hard to
get and spat out all the skeptical remarks... and then one day, I said, "Sure, I'll try."

I think I became the desperate one, looking for more answers, solutions -- ways to
lessen the chemical impact on our home and help our bodies + immune systems naturally!!!
And the community (education, classes, support, friendship, etc.) that comes with it all?!
Beautiful. Priceless. Better than a Visa commercial.

I never looked back. Now we're married and having babies... JK JK.
I didn't marry Young Living. This isn't Brother Husbands, ok?! But I'll blow them a kiss!



Truth is, I'll be using Young Living whether I share about them or not. And I thought about it.
I thought about just keeping this on the DL and going on my merry way...

But it's become such a huge part of my daily routine now and brought so many good, blessed
changes into our lives -- including helping support my very whacked out thyroid! And I'm just
like, "HOW CAN I NOT SHARE THIS?!?!?!?"

People need to know.

Because what if it can help them?
Or make a difference?
Change a story?


That's something I want to be part of.

Plus Young Living is a rock solid company with good morals + ethics -- like you can't CALL
Customer Service on a Sunday! I love that. Their Seed to Seal promise and sustainable farming practices and world relief efforts ---


Seed to Seal - Web HD from OolaLife on Vimeo.


Don't mind me. You'll just find me frolicking in fields of lavender over here... haha.
But seriously.


So yup. This is why I'm sharing Young Living.

And slowly, but surely, I'm getting over the fact that there JUST IS a stigma attached
with multi-level-marketing. Some people like it. Some people don't.

Some people will unfollow me, unfriend me, whatever...


But it won't be said that Brittany Vail wasn't true to herself and to her audience.
I share about my REAL life here. And Young Living is now part of my REAL life. #hearts

In fact, I'm pretty sure God used it to SAVE my life...
but more on that later!!!




If you'd like to chat more about Young Living or learn about how to get started,
please don't hesitate to reach out? Shoot me an email: lilyfieldmomma@yahoo.com
or catch me over on my essential oils INSTAGRAM @oilwellsociety

XO






























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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Snow Day




Yesterday we experienced the biggest snowstorm of the season; which was mild for our region according
to record, but still a lot of beautiful snow! We all hunkered down and stayed cozy with pancakes,
school work and a family movie night. That new The Good Dinosaur totally made me cry! Oh, Pixar.

But I don't think anything will ever get me like UP. I ugly cried.

We've been moving forward with our Charlotte Mason style Kindergarten, and I think we are all at
peace with that. Believe it or not, I think I've had the hardest time adjusting to homeschooling. But
not for the reasons you are probably thinking. It's just been difficult for me to remember to "go at their
pace" - keeping in mind that we are not mocking the school system, but creating a learning environment
that we all can thrive in. Look for the educational MOMENTS, not the educational norm.

Good pep, talk, Brit.

I almost bought a ticket for this conference.

But they sold out so quickly and airline prices shot up. So Nathan consoled me with, "I'll go on a
trip with you!"
I'm married to a good man, y'all. We are currently looking at some pretty cool Airbnb
tree houses...

Nathan is like, "So I'm going to pay money to sleep in a tree and pee outside?"
I'll let you guess who is the nerd in our family and who is the freakin' adventure rockstar.
There's a 50/50 chance here. I'll put money on your deduction skills.

I can't wait to catch up on The Bachelor this week. Don't roll your eyes at me. I'm betting he
goes with JoJo, even though Lauren B is his soul mate. Oh well. We will see her on next season's
The Bachelorette. You heard it here first.

This blogger is my new fave. She kills it with the re-caps.

Everyone in my house is coughing at the moment. This winter has beat us up. I'm so over it.
Can we all just be healthy at the same time?! In the sunshine?! On the beach?! No? Just pass the tissues.

I'm looking forward to this weekend! I'm teaching a Basic Oils class and it's going to be G-REAT. I could
talk about essential oils until the cows come home. But I don't do that in class. It scares people.
Seriously though, it's been so fun and different for me to teach adults who don't raise their hands
every 5 seconds to ask questions like, "Mom, is there a squirrel in the front yard?"

My life.












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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Life Lately



Dear Diary,

Yesterday I made chocolate chip cookies "for my kids" *wink wink*.
Being real health conscious, I rationed out two cookies per child, and fed myself six.
That's what moms do. They take one, or in my case six, for the team.

I feel like we are all just a little expectant /slash/ crazy over here. We open the front door every
morning expecting Cancun and then spend the rest of the day running around the 18X20 living room
like crazy because we live in the Midwest. And Mother Nature hates us here.

I really do love the four seasons. No lie. It's just rough with the chicken nuggets all cooped up inside.
So we skateboard down the hallway and carry on. Winter nature hikes with our Wild + Free group
save us. Until someone face plants in the snow. Then it's tears and false claims about limbs freezing
and falling off. But we've been finding some awesome tracks and loving the fresh air!




My sister came to visit with her crew! It was awesome until all four toddlers woke up in the middle
of the night with the stomach flu. It was as awful as it sounds. Quality bonding material though.
The family that pukes together... stays together?

Seriously this is TMI but there was someone throwing-up/screaming every thirty minutes
from 10PM to 6AM. It was like a horror movie that wouldn't end. I kept whispering to Jesus,
"Remember this penance when I get to heaven!" I bleached the bathroom seven times
and still shudder when I walk by. Out of the three adults, I was the only one to catch it
and join the pukey pack. What is that!?

It's because I eat six cookies.

But it was so good to see them!!! Wishing they were not so far away.

Bella slept with us for a week straight during her recovery. Poor thing. We soaked up every minute.
And then I realized that she no longer sucks her fingers. I am definitely somewhere between
heartbroken that my baby is growing up and jubilant that we didn't have to break that habit for her.

But seriously you know the "last time" for so many joys of childhood come, but nothing can prepare
or soothe the momma heart in regards to that. Unless we are talking about the last diaper change.
Then maybe I throw a party. No tears. Just confetti and high fives.

Ok well other than that, it's been all homeschooling, soccer, Valentine's Day, Lent, Young Living ---
You know the more I think about it, winter may be long and cold, but there is much to enjoy in
the stillness and slowing down. Like the fact that I can eat ice cream every day without thinking
"Will this make me look bloated in my swimsuit?" So we will soak up these last days of February
for the good that they DO bring and look forward in crazy expectancy to the
first day of spring next month!!! NEXT month!!!!

P.S. my legs are so white, the South Pole is jealous.

Sincerely,
Brittany















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