Just a first time mom writing about the randomness of life and how being mom is full of laughter, tears, fears and happiness. Living it out one gray hair at a time.

Challenge: Me In 5 Words and Why

I have been really, horribly sick for the past 3 weeks. I swear, I don’t think I have EVER been on this much medication! But, I am finally feeling better enough to sit down and write this post, that probably should have been written over a week ago.

So, the friendly gauntlet has been thrown down. Ms. Suzanna, over at It’s All In My Head, has challenged me to describe myself if five words with the explanation of why I chose that word. You can read her post here and get to know a little bit more about Suzanna. She’s a really nice lady, whom I have never personally met, but I’m pretty sure we would get along pretty great if we were ever in each other’s company and if you haven’t checked out her blog YOU SHOULD!!!!!

Let’s see if my head is clear enough to do this. If anything, this drug induced blog post might be comical. Enjoy people!

1. Observer

I am a total people watcher. Actually, I guess you can say I am a “situation” watcher. I assess my surroundings constantly and kind of sit back and watch the crowd a little before I dive in. I like to see what I may potentially be getting myself into. It has also made me a pretty good judge of character. I don’t really have an explanation as to why I am like this. I just am.

2. Dreamer

Call it the Pisces in me, but my head is constantly in the clouds. In fact, I would say about 85% of the time I would much rather be where my thoughts are rather than where my actual body is. Being an adult is hard sometimes, walking on the clouds serves as a great escape for those moments you want to bang your head against the wall.

3. Creative

I grew up with the women in my family constantly crafting something and making foods from scratch. Thankfully, those skills were passed down to me. I can be pretty crafty on occasion AND when you are on a budget, I have learned to make a meal out of nothing. I also have to give credit where it is due. My aunt use to constantly challenge me with my writing. It was tiresome at the time (I was a tween) but it really has helped me grow as a writer. It’s where I feel completely comfortable. It’s where I feel I shine. I am most comfortable when I am with pen in hand or at a keyboard.

4. Lover

You know that saying, “I’m a lover not a fighter”? Yeah, that’s me. I dislike confrontation and seemingly avoid it at all costs. I much rather get along with people than bicker with them. Call me a coward, call me a hippie, call me whatever. I pick my battles carefully and if you do on the off chance really make me mad where it’s cause for me to confront you, it’s probably not a good thing and it may not be a battle you will win. Like I say about my mom (who’s 4’11”) you gotta watch out for the short people.

5. Motherly

I think I have always been this way. I take care of others before I take care of myself. My family comes FIRST and it will ALWAYS be that way.

So, let’s see, to sum this up: I am a quiet observer who has their head in the clouds, who’s creative, dislikes confrontation and takes care of everyone before I take care of me. Hmm, I guess that pretty much sums me up. I did a post similar to this before. Either way, that is me in a nutshell. 

Now, to challenge the next victim…I mean, wonderful individual. I think I am going to choose my good friend Eli Pacheco over at Coach Daddy. Go check out his blog, he’s a really funny and great guy and we have respectfully written on each other’s blogs. Good luck to you sir! 

What I am Thankful For: A-Z

I came across a great post by my friend Suzanna (you can read the post here). She had read a book by Max Lucado entitled Before Amen. In a chapter, Suzanna describes how the author wrote down what he was thankful for, listing them A-Z. Seeing how this is such a cool idea, Suzanna made up one of her own. I loved Suzanna’s so much, that I decided I would do one myself. 

This isn’t an easy task. I commend Suzanna for doing such a great and thoughtful job on hers. Coming up with just a few things you are thankful for can be difficult, let alone 26 AND alphabetically. Here we go!

A: Alice (my almost 10 year old cat)

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I love this cat SO much. She talks ALL THE TIME. I can seriously have a conversation with her, although the conversation understanding is kind of one sided. She snuggles with me, she gives me kisses and she is super patient with my daughter.

B: Buddy (my almost 9 year old cat)

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5 years ago, almost to the date, we almost lost him. He became really sick and began losing kidney function. With lots of TLC, mucho doctor visits and giving him fluids at home, this little guy got better and is fine now. We have no idea what caused the kidney failure, but I am so very thankful that he is still with us. Sure he walks around in the middle of the night trying to wake me up so he can eat when he wants to eat, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.

 C: Canada

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Yeah, you read that right. From blogging and twitter, I have met some really amazing and wonderful individuals (a lot who live in The Great White North). When I pack up and move, maybe I will just go there.

D: Diana (my bestie)

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Isn’t she beautiful? She’s beautiful on the inside too! She is such a good mama to 3 wonderful children I am lucky enough to call my nieces and nephew. We have been friends for 13 years now. Easily the longest relationship I have ever been in. She’s the one that told me to give my now husband a chance (the little match maker). I don’t know what I would do without this lady. She lives a few hours from me now and we don’t see each other that much, but I KNOW she is always there for me, as I am for her. She’s my sister from another family and I am so lucky to have her in my life.

E: Emily (my absolute everything)

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This kid! Words cannot even begin to describe how much I love this child! She is the center of my universe. God blessed me with such an amazing, beautiful, smart (sometimes smart-ass) girl. She makes me want to be a better mom and person. If I could pluck a million stars out of the sky and give them to her as a bouquet of shimmering light, I would.

F: Family

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Both mine and my husbands family mean the world to me. They do everything they can for us and my daughter and I couldn’t be more blessed to have these wonderful people in my life.

G: God

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I’m finding him more now than ever. Not like he wasn’t there in my past, it’s just that there is SO much going on right now with family members and other things that are just out of control, that I am trusting in Him more now than ever before.

H: Home

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I moved into my Nanie’s home after she passed away 9 years ago. If we didn’t make this move I can almost guarantee you we would renting somewhere. This house has served as such a blessing to me and family in more ways than one. It’s nice to have my daughter growing up, essentially, in the same home I did. Combining old memories with the new, not very many can say that.

I: Ice Coffee & Imagination Movers

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I feel I may have an addiction to the stuff. Not saying to which one (or maybe both). ;)

J: Judy (my aunt) & Jordan (my nephew)

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I’m slowly coming to terms with the past regarding my aunt. She has been gone for 8 years now. She taught me so much when I was a kid and I am grateful for that.

My nephew Jordan is such a good kid! He adores my daughter and plays with her every time he’s with her. So proud to be his aunt.

K: Kalana, Kalei and Kali

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These wonderful girls are my nieces and I love them so very much.

L: Love

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Where would we be without love, right? Everyone needs it and everyone should give it!

M: My Mother

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This woman! She gives so much, even when she can’t. I am so lucky to have the mom that I do. She is the strongest woman I know and I can only hope that I am a quarter of the mom she is for me.

N: Nanie

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There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of her. She was an amazing person and I miss her every single day. Not a lot of people can say they had two moms; I can!

O: Opportunities

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Starting this blog has really opened up a lot of opportunities for me. I am thankful for the people that open up their own blogs and personal websites and allow me express my own thoughts and share it with their audiences. Thank you for allowing me to do this.

P: PBS (specifically Downton Abbey)

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Words cannot express how much I LOVE this show! I am so thankful that it is on a local channel so that I can actually watch it, unlike tons of other shows that are on Showtime or HBO or something like that. I absolutely adore Maggie Smith! She has some of the best lines in the show. Also, I just want to thank the casting directors for casting Allen Leech. Irish accent and he can do “the smolder”.

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Q: Quiet

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This precious moment doesn’t happen very often, but when it does…never taken for granted.

R: Rainbows

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Not only are they beautiful to look at, they also remind me of hope. Sometimes that reminder is all we need.

S: Starbucks

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Like I said with the letter I, I have an addiction. Someone call an intervention!

T: Typical Mommies

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I am so lucky to have this forum to write articles for moms (and dads too). Thank you Dee for letting me write for your awesome website!

U: Understanding

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This word is a powerful word. I have to be completely honest, there isn’t enough of this in the world. There is too much judging. If we could ALL understand this word, I think we would all get along a little better.

V: Vacations 

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Whether it is to Disneyland (which I LOVE) or Tahoe, these little trips keep my and my husband sane. It’s a nice little distraction from regular life.

W: Water

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I am a true Pisces. I need to be around it in one form or another, otherwise I just feel like a “fish out of water.” It calms me, it centers me.

X: X-Ray (MRIs to be more specific)

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No, this isn’t the only X word I could think of. My daughter has to have an MRI done this summer to look for a thickened filum which, if she does have one, could create problems later in life. The MRI will give us the answers we need and the course of action we need (or not need) to take.

Y: You All

Thank-You

Thank YOU for coming back, subscribing, and reading my (sometimes random) posts and rants. It means a lot to know that people actually enjoy what I write and continue to come back and read my posts. So, thank you!

Z: Zippers

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Without this invention my pants wouldn’t stay where they should, an nobody wants to see the aftermath of that situation. ;)

Book Review: “Mama Don’t You Worry”

Recently, I was contacted by an children’s book author, Louie Lawent, on my Facebook page for this blog asking if I would like to do a book review for him. Being an aspiring author myself, currently working on self publishing my own, I jumped at the chance. Writers need welcomed feedback and reviews. You have to get your own circle going, sometimes, in order to succeed.

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The book lovingly titled, “Mama Don’t You Worry” is about a 6 year old boy who, like all 5-6 year olds, wants their own little independence. The little boy talks about how holding his mom’s hand “cramps his style” and just wants to be treated like a big boy. That is, until he loses his mother in the mall. While the mom is trying on shoes, the little boy wonders off to the toy store. After playing, the little boy loses his way and is unable to find his way back to the store his mom was at. He quickly remembers what his mother taught him if he should ever get lost and is quickly reunited with his mother. After this unexpected, scary incident, the boy realizes that maybe it’s okay for his mom to hold his hand, “after all…I’m only 6 years old!” 

The story is well written in a sweet little rhyme and is a great story to read to kids. As a mom of a 5 year old who I consider a flight risk (she’s taken off a few times in stores and then there was that trip to Disneyland we had to prepare for), this is a great story to read to her. It lets her know that someday she will grow up, but for now she needs to listen and stay with me. It also teaches kids to remember what to do if they ever do get lost.

If you have a child that tends to wander off on their own, I highly recommend this story. The story is currently an E-book on Amazon and you can purchase it for only $1.29. Click on the link, Mama Don’t You Worry, to go straight to the Amazon page.

7 Things I’d Rather Be Doing Than Cleaning…the Bathroom

It’s been a while since I have posted anything. Call it stress, call it as being uninspired, call it major writer’s block (which is a very rare thing for me). It’s funny how life events can halt your mind creatively, but alas, that is exactly what happened…until NOW!

I just have to give a quick shout out before I start this post to Coach Daddy aka Eli. Thanks for the ideas and friendly advice. You, sir, are awesome! And if you haven’t yet, I highly recommend you go check out this guy’s blog. If you like humor, thoughtfulness and storm troopers, you will like this blog.

Alrighty, let’s move on. 

Being an adult, you are berated by chores. It stinks, right? Yeah, I had chores (unpaid) to do when I was growing up (probably why I despise dusting to this day), but nothing like now. I do a majority of the household chores; dishes, laundry, school drop-off and pickup, groceries, but none gets under my skin quite like cleaning the bathroom. I HATE IT! Yes, hate is a very strong word, but I wouldn’t lie to you good people. It’s gross and icky and I just plain don’t like it. It is me, however, that has this unpleasant task 99.9% of the time. So, Mama Kat had a great idea for this heinous chore. List 7 things you would rather do than clean the bathroom. I, personally, have a million things I would rather do, but I will spare you all and list my 7.

#1: Getting Blood Work Done

Needles scare the crap out of me. Anytime I have to go get lab work done I am usually shaking and feeling completely nauseous. I would still, however, gladly do this than clean that disgusting toilet.

#2: Drive into Oakland 5 Days a Week During Rush Hour

Let me make this entirely clear; I despise traffic! I have no patience, people drive me crazy (especially when they are behind a wheel) and it eats at my gas tank, which I probably just filled up. Typically a 15 minute drive in the morning hours of 8am to 9:30am turns into an hour (at least) drive. This is no fun AT ALL, but still better than the bathroom.

#3: Cutting My Daughter’s Finger and Toe Nails

You would think this task is simple enough and wouldn’t count as taking the “cleaning the bathroom” spot, but it totally does. My 5 year old HATES her nails cut and has this odd fear that I might completely clip off those little piggies. It takes a good 2-3 minutes per appendage (not limb) to complete this task. It’s full of “Wait, wait, wait” and yanking said appendage out of my hand, awkwardly trying to straighten and maneuver fingers to get a clean cut and ALWAYS the inevitable stalling.

#4: Giving My Daughter AND Husband a Plate Full of Veggies and Listening to Them Complain About It

Yes, I said husband too. He is literally just as bad as the child. The verbal complaints come from the kid, non-verbal from the husband. 

#5: Staring At The Sun

Yep, I’d rather destroy my retinas than clean the bathroom. That’s pretty bad.

#6: Standing Outside…In My Backyard…At Night…With No Light…In My Undies…Knowing There Are Critters Ready to Pounce

If I have to go outside at night to the garbage can, I swear, I turn into The Flash. I’ve had a possum creep up on me once at night. It’s hiss and snarling teeth scared the hell out of me and ever since then I have had this paralyzing fear of something ready to pounce on me when I go into the backyard at night. Plus, I found this big foot print the other day in our flowerbed. Bear?

#7: Oh Wonderful Sleep 

I’d pretty much rather do this than most (if not all) of the chores in my home. I already don’t get enough sleep; wandering minds never rest, so it would be nice to catch up.

You icky bathroom, you will just have to wait. I have plenty more things I would…I mean HAVE to do before I get to you.

This blog post was in response to Mama Kat’s Writing Prompt.

Go check her out!

8 Years Goes Quicker Than You Think

This time of year is especially hard for me. Actually, it starts the end of September, fades, then comes back at the end of October. I’ve written a few times before about her on this blog. She was a HUGE influence on me, one of my biggest supporters and most of all, a second mother figure in my life. She was my Nanie.

Yesterday would have been her 89th birthday. I can hear her now, “Don’t you be telling people my age!” She was stubborn, caring, spoke her mind and even when it was 50 degrees outside, you could catch her in her jean shorts and canvas shoes. If she had her way she would be wearing those flip flops instead of the canvas. Her idea of a jacket was a short sleeved, button up shirt over her t-shirt. This would piss my mom off every time! 

She never got her driver’s license; she walked bare foot around the house and she was the most amazing cook. She made most everything from scratch and I can accredit her for most of my cooking knowledge. She taught me how to clean out a turkey for Thanksgiving. I can still, to this day, hear her laughing her infectious laugh as I stood there gagging with my hand up a turkey’s behind. Disgusting and could be the reason why I don’t really eat the turkey during the holiday festivities. It became to personal for me. She could also roll out pie crust perfectly AND get it into the pie dish flawlessly. I still can’t do this. I end up piecing it together in the dish.

I wish, more than anything, my daughter could have met her. My Nanie passed almost exactly 3 years before she was born. What’s funny is that my daughter posses a lot of my Nanie’s quirkiness.

My daughter is gullible, just like my Nanie. She hates socks and shoes. She attempts to wear a skirt when it’s 50 degrees outside. Getting a jacket on her most of the time is like pulling teeth. Speaks her mind. She is stubborn, but she also has a huge heart.

Years before she passed, my Nanie quilted a baby blanket and gave it to me. When asked why she was making a baby blanket now, her reply was, “If I’m not around, I want your child to have something from her great grandmother.” This blanket was the blanket my daughter came home from the hospital in and has been safely tucked away in my daughter’s closet since. I couldn’t bare for it to get ruined or stained, so it stays in a safe place. I have shown my daughter the blanket, a few months ago actually, and told her the story behind it. She felt special that someone she had never met loved her so much.

So, Nanie, it may have been 8 years since I’ve last seen you, but honestly there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about you. And I know is some way, you are watching over my daughter. It’s comforting to know that she has her own special guardian angel to keep her safe. I love you so very much. 

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Guest Post by Shannon Adams-Mercer: Bringing Those Dreams to Reality

I am so happy that my friend, Shannon, over at Radio Chick Reflections agreed to do another guest post for me. We live far apart from one another (California and Canada), but we get each other and subsequently share some of the same interests. One being writing and publishing our own books. Shannon has already self published one children’s book and is in the process of doing the same with her second! Go Shannon! And now, without further ado, Shannon over at Radio Chick Reflections:

 

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I’m honoured to do a guest post for my friend Tammie’s blog, The Graying Chronicles.  Although I haven’t met Tammie – we know each other through Twitter, and have bonded over our similar love for the Imagination Movers(!) – she has been one of my biggest cheerleaders and supporters as I’ve done something I really, really wanted to do:  write children’s books.

I’ve always been a big believer in having dreams and ambitions, and in finding a way to realize them.  The dreaming part is easy.  However, it’s not always easy to find a way to realize them, and, let’s be honest, life gets in the way.  It gets busy, and our passions get set aside and put on the shelf to collect dust while all our responsibilities are taken care of.  That most certainly happened to me.  I used to write a lot when I was younger.  In fact, I even went away to school to be a journalist.  But after I worked at a television station in Toronto, Ontario for a few years, I decided I wanted to do something different, and I ended up becoming a high school teacher.  And for the last 13 years that is what I have done, along with becoming a wife and a mom.

As that all happened, my writing (and other things I had a passion for) stopped.  I didn’t think I had time for it, and I didn’t make time for it.  That changed at the beginning of this year.  I had seen Tammie writing blog posts for a blog hop called Ketchup With Us, and though I didn’t think I was good enough or prepared to participate, I saw the prompt for their first blog hop of the new year, and decided to write a post for my work blog (at a radio station – where I work part-time while on extended leave from teaching).  It was about goals for the new year.  And it got me thinking seriously about making the most of the time I have at home before the craziness of going back to my full-time teaching job starts again.  Most importantly, it forced me to write down what I wanted to do (with the spare time I had), and make a commitment to do it.

One of the things on that list was make time to follow my bliss.  Initially, it meant to start singing lessons again, after 14 years, and record a CD.  However, it quickly turned into writing a children’s book.  I already had an idea, based on some experiences I’ve had in adulthood in my job, and so I just wrote…and wrote…and wrote…Having two children who love books means I also have many, many books on my shelves here, and so I knew my idea was a different one, although it dealt with a topic that is commonplace:  bullying.  I thought about contacting a publisher, but I really had no idea how to do that:  Where do I go?  Who do I contact?  What do I send?  And, to be honest, I thought it would be just be my mom and me who would be buying the book, so I decided I would try to self-publish.  A former high school student of mine has recently self-published several novels (a whole different beast!), and so I got the idea from her and did some research.  I found the Blurb website, which allowed me to download a program called BookSmart, an incredibly easy program to use that has a good variety of text and picture layouts.

Self-publishing is great because you do have total control of everything, and you don’t have to wait on publishers and worry about rejection.  I am a sensitive person, and I know that if I was rejected by publishers I would feel terrible and unmotivated.  And my passion for writing would, once again, be put on the shelf to collect dust.  One negative about self-publishing, however, is that you have to do all of the promotion yourself.  If you’re hoping to sell thousands of copies of your book, you need to do a lot of work.  That wasn’t my goal.  I just wanted to have something that I created sitting on a bookshelf to show my kids.  It would be a symbol to them that you need to follow your dreams and make them happen.  And I had very low expectations (again, I thought it would be my mom and me buying a few copies and that would be it).  Fortunately we have social media to allow us to do our own promotion quickly and easily, and so I used Twitter and Facebook to announce to my friends and family that I had written a book.  And to my surprise, people bought it (including my cheerleader Tammie)!

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Now I have just finished my second book (I actually wrote it months ago but needed an illustrator – another thing that can be a problem when you self-publish), and I have been trying to perfect it over the last few weeks so I can finally hit the “publish” button.

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I did shop this one around to a few publishers, via email only (I am a control freak and the thought of printing and sending manuscripts away without knowing what will happen to them was unsettling), but I got no responses.  If that had happened with my first book, I would have been disappointed and dejected.  With this one, that’s not the case.  Sure, it’s disappointing when you think you have a terrific idea and you want others to think the same but they don’t.  But it doesn’t mean I can’t complete my creation and put it out there for others to enjoy.  And that’s why I wanted to write children’s books.  I know that I have followed my bliss, I have created something I approve of, and I have written something my children will enjoy.  Now to get to that CD…

An Open Letter to My Daughter on Her 5th Birthday

Sunday will mark a pretty big milestone in our lives. My daughter will be turning 5! It really does seem like yesterday that I was holding that tiny body in my arms. Now, I can barely lift her since she is almost my height. She’s 46″ and I’m 5’3″; she definitely didn’t get her height from me. It’s strange, this looming 5 years old is hitting me a lot harder than 2-4. And as I sit here and type this, tears are already welling up in my eyes. I will try to get this post out before a tear drop hits my keyboard.

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Dear Daughter,

It’s hard to believe that you will be turning 5! It seems like yesterday you were climbing up my rib cage in protest on the way to the hospital to have the c-section. It was a difficult road for you to be here with us. From infertility, to the fear of losing you when I was 3 months pregnant, to doctors wanting to do a procedure to turn you in the correct direction so that a c-section wouldn’t be necessary (which I opted to not do). Your dad and I used to put headphones on my belly and play different kinds of music for you. You seemed to like old country and My Morning Jacket.

I still remember when they brought you into this world. They announced to me, from behind the large, blue curtain, every single body part that brushed earth’s air for the first time; starting with your feet. And when you took your first breath of air and made your first cry, I can still remember the nurses commenting on how that was one of the loudest cries they have heard and that you were not happy that you were no longer in your cozy, warm mommy.

I had to wait a good hour before I could hold you in my arms, but once I did I knew that my whole world had changed and for the better.

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Emily

I never knew how much I could love somebody until I looked into that precious little face and every time you smiled, my heart would (and still does) melt into a million pieces.

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I am so very lucky to have you in my life. Sometimes I feel like I am not good enough for you. Like you deserve better. I know that I get too stressed sometimes and become more frustrated than I should be with you. Please know that I am working on this. I’m learning just as you are. I’m not always as together as I feel I should be for you and I know that you get upset now that I have to go back to work. Just know, that every second I am away I am thinking about you and no one could love you more than I do.

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You are an amazing girl! You are beautiful, funny, have a brilliant imagination, smart and one of the most forgiving and loving individuals I know.

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You are going to do some many great things one day. I know this because you are stubborn and determined. “No” is not in your vocabulary. Combine that with your loving nature and you are going to own the world once it’s your time to get out there.

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So, enjoy your day, my love. Know that you are loved by not just your mom and dad, but by so many others. We all can’t wait to see what you do in the years to come. I love you my little girl!

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So much for not letting a tear drop hit my keyboard before the end of the post. I’m lucky if I got to the end of the first sentence.


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