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Posts from the ‘Personal’ Category

How Are You Doing?

 

 

How are you fairing with everything going on during these strange times?  I personally have never ever experienced a time like this before.

We’re hanging in there.  We have been really busy with Alex who is home from school.  We have managed, to our best ability, keep her busy and we get outside twice a day on most days.  The fresh air helps everyone.  We have found a new schedule and pace of things, as the days pass.  It is definitely different than our norm and more challenging to get things done, for sure.  Alex misses her friends and school, as do we.  We all did a Zoom yesterday with Alex’s teacher and friends from school.  During this time, we have experienced great joy to intense meltdowns with Alex within minutes of each other.  Doug and I are traversing our way though everything with Alex home from school.  Some days feel really long and challenging, while others pass quickly, like usual.  Sometimes, it is really difficult to believe this pandemic is happening.  Someone wise said to me, recently, “this will pass and all we’ll have is what we did with the time.”  I found those words so helpful.

However, we are doing our best to thrive versus survive this time.  I am doing my best to look on the brighter side of things, most days, even though what is going on is truly awful for people experiencing really hard times and sickness.  Everyone is experiencing some type of hardship.  Reflecting on this time, so far, it is the most time the four of us have collectively spent together since Alex was born.  We have had to be very creative, which has been interesting, as we cannot go on our typical outings together.  We have taken car rides together, gone to open fields that we have never been to before in order to get everyone out of the house.  Bubbles have been a hit as well.  I think Doug has purchased every type of ball for Alex from tennis balls to kick balls, as she loves them and we have already lost a few of them as well!  (She even likes to sleep with some of her balls — go figure!)  Alex is still really into studying her books, so we always do that with her in the evenings before bed.  The pace of life has not been so frenetic as usual, which has been a nice change of pace not to have to be somewhere at a certain time.  Doug and I have more time to talk and visit.  We actually are getting to watch a little television in the evening on Hulu and Netflix.  We are all getting a little more sleep at night, which never hurts.  Perhaps some good things will come from this uncertain time.  I have found the most beautiful things often can come from difficult times.  I am grateful that we are healthy and we can all be home together, for now.  Stay safe.  Sending love.

 

(Top image credit: Morgan Harper Nichols).

Nineteen Month and Twenty Month Snapshot: Alexandra

I completed the monthly snapshots of our beloved Alex during her first year.  Here is the snapshot of Alex’s nineteenth month and twentieth month!  (You can view Alex’s thirteenth and fourteenth month here; and Alex’s seventeenth and eighteenth month here).  Alex is changing all of the time and she is still growing like a weed!

How is our little girl already twenty months old!  The time continues to fly by very quickly!  I cannot believe we will have a two-year-old in short order!  This is such a sweet time, and there has been so much change in these last two months.  Alex is finally sleeping consistently throughout the night and it has really made a difference.  Since birth, Alex has not been the best sleeper at night.  Right now, her sleep is consistent and predictable, and I am honestly getting the best sleep since before she was born.  Her hair is getting longer, and she still has her lovely curls.  We can even do little pigtails now!  She is not a picky eater, and she is willing to try anything.  She is also working on getting her two-year molars.

Alex is quite outgoing, she has a sense of humor, and she is fun and adventurous!  She has the cutest laugh and giggle!  She is dancing up a storm and she loves to dance (she makes up her own dances) on the hardwood floors at home!  She loves music and she makes up her own songs, which she sings, and it is so endearing.  She still loves her bath time and she loves practicing going under water and blowing bubbles during this time!  She has even started to take a few showers with me, and she loves it!  She also is really into balls right now — she loves to throw them and play with them!  Alex is also captivated by her Daddy’s trains, shown below!  She still loves to read her books, she loves for us to read to her, and she enjoys going to the library and bookstore.  A favorite book right now, is the “I spy” books!  She loves looking at her books, and she frequently says, “What’s that?”  She is spending more time on her own reading her books and playing, which is great!  She also loves coloring.  She made the cutest Valentine for us at school and we gave the girls Valentine gifts, which they loved!  Alex loves going to school and she enjoys learning and being with her friends at school.  Alex is learning to count numbers and she is saying more words and she seems to comprehend and understand more and more each day.  Her favorite that phrase is, “What’s that?”  Alex still loves to be outside and go to the play grounds.  She is quite curious; and, she never forgets anything!

However, it has been a tough winter filled with sickness here.  Alex missed at least a week of school as she had fevers, a double ear infection, and bad cold.  It took multiple rounds of antibiotics to kick the infection.  I then got run down taking care of Alex, and I got strep, the flu, pink eye, and a bad cold all in quick succession.  Then, Doug got a bad cold.  This all happened over a six week stretch.  We just cannot wait for spring to come fast enough, and it’s almost here, technically!  Victory and Alex bonded during all of this sickness, as she is so attentive to everyone in our home.  As a result, there are not as many photos taken during this time, as I did not feel well.

Once everyone felt better, we took Alex to the train store to get a few things for Doug’s train set up.  After much work, Doug has nearly finished his train set up, a passion of his, and he can run three trains simultaneously!  And, it is so sweet, because each night, Alex asks to go up and have Doug run the trains!  The trains have never been run so much, ever!  It is so nice Doug can share his passion with Alex!  (A brief video is shown below).  Doug even got Alex a girl’s conductor’s hat, and Alex loves to conduct in only her diaper, of course!  We are working on getting Victory to come up during this train time, but she is not yet comfortable.  So, we bring Victory up during this time, only to have her leave!  So, we are working on it!  For Valentine’s Day, Doug got Alex an Ikea train, which she loves and she is pretty good putting the track together and ‘running her own train’ liker her Daddy!

We also took Alex to Port Discovery, a children’s museum, with her little friend from school.  Alex had a great time.  It is one of the neatest and most interactive places that I have been to for kids.  As you will see in the images below, there was a large slide, four stories high, and one had to be five years in order to go down the slide.  So Doug broke the rules, and they climbed up to the top together, as he knew Alex would love it.  They reached the top, and Alex sat right down on the slide; and, thankfully, the museum worker let them go down the slide even though Alex is clearly not five-years-old.  It was neat to watch them go down together!  Alex still seems to have no fear and she is pretty adventurous!  There were so many activities for the children, and Alex really enjoyed pretending to be a cashier and pressing all of the buttons on the cash register checking people out with their food!

We were finally recently able to get Alex back into swimming lessons after everyone got over being sick!  She still loves it!  Doug and I take turns going in the pool with her!  And, we now have Alex on a wait list for a gymnastics class since she is so active and loves to climb!  That should be fun as well!

We also went with Alex on a school field trip to the Maryland Science Center, where she had a wonderful time with her class!  Alex loved the Kid’s Room and she especially loved the dinosaur exhibit!  She had a great time exploring, as always!

We were fortunate to get some fun outings in, described above, before things really changed out here late last week due to the COVID-19.  We hope you are all staying safe.  It is a really crazy time, isn’t it?  We will have to be really creative to keep Alex occupied, while finding safe ways for her to burn her energy!  Most everything is cancelled out here and work schedules have been modified greatly for many people.

Alex still cuddles with me for a little bit before bed and sits with me in the glider.  She no longer falls asleep in my arms outside of her being really sick.  It is a reminder that everything is always changing and it is all so fleeting.  What I will remember from these months is how she wakes up talking to herself in her crib, and it is so captivating.  She is entertaining herself more in the mornings, which buys us a little time!  However, she loves to and prefers to play with us!  How she greets Victory in the morning with a big smile and wave, whereby Alex says, “Hi Tory!”  I always love her big smile, which melts our hearts.  Alex also loves to run up to us, and she gives us hugs on our legs, while we are standing.  It is so sweet.  And, she is always up for an outing and adventure!   She is becoming her own little person right before our very eyes!  I feel so fortunate.  It has been such as journey.  We are doing our best to embrace the now, the present.  We are so grateful!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few iphone images from Alex’s nineteenth month!

 

 

Here is a video from Alex’s nineteenth month — Victory being such a good ‘big sister’ to Alex!

 

Here is a video from Alex’s nineteenth month — Alex feeding Victory some treats!

 

Here is a video from Alex’s nineteenth month — Doug and Alex running the trains together!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few iphone images from Alex’s twentieth month!

 

 

Here is a video from Alex’s twentieth month — Alex coloring!

 

Here is a video from Alex’s twentieth month — Alex at her swimming lesson!

 

Here is a video from Alex’s twentieth month — Alex and Victory sitting together during a dinner together outside!

 

Every Moment Matters

Today, in one of my daily readings, contained in this book by Cyndie Spiegel, gifted to me by a good friend, this quote, below, stood out to me and rings so true.  Especially now, I find the most precious moments in the in-between, ordinary moments.

“Every moment matters — not just the big ones, but also the small ones, the seemingly irrelevant ones and the quiet ones.  All of these moments add up to a life well lived.  Don’t take the presumably unimportant moments for granted.  Look for them and treasure them instead.  Listen for the words unspoken.  Notice the quick glance.  Feel the soft touch.  The long-held hugs.  The sadness.  The graciousness.  The in-between.  The magical sweet spots between tiny and massive moments are your life.  Don’t forget to pay attention to them.  In the end, that is really all we have.”

 

Eight Year Blogiversary!

Today is the eight-year Blogiversary of the blog!  It is really difficult to believe that eight years have already passed by so quickly!  Where has the time gone?  Many things have changed recently, but some things remain the same, fortunately.  I am grateful for this little space here.

If it were not for our beloved Biscuit, I am not sure I would have ever started blogging and I know that I would not have started my long-term photography project, which I am, finally, onto the final steps, for which Biscuit and Victory are my inspiration.  Biscuit was such a blessing and gift to us.  Biscuit permanently changed our lives in so many positive ways and Biscuit sent us our precious little rescue sheltie, Victory, who we adore and love, shown below!  And, coincidentally, Victory is as old as the blog!

Thank you for reading this blog for however long or short you have been visiting!  I truly enjoy creating content for the blog to share with all of you, and I hope that you continue to enjoy visiting and reading the blog!

Thank you so very much!

 

 

Finally, below are two recent videos of our girls, who love each other and who are forever bonded!

 

Victory: Trusted and Loyal Fur Sister

I do not have a blog post prepared this week.  Sickness hit our house recently, and Alex has been quite sick for almost a week with a terrible cold, double ear infection, and fever.  And, I caught strep and Doug is not feeling well either.  We have been in full caring and healing mode here.  Alex is getting better on her new antibiotic, thankfully.  Victory, as always, is always there for us.  During this time of sickness, there has been a silver lining — Victory and Alex have bonded.  Victory has given Alex lots of love to include licking all of the wet and dried mucus off of her nose and face.  (A short video is shown below.)  Alex does not seem to mind all of Victory’s affection.  Alex now holds her hand out gently for Victory to give her licks, ‘kisses,’ and she thinks it is great, which always brings a big smile to Alex’s face.  Alex is giving Victory loads of treats and she is now petting Victory gently on the head.

Victory means the world to us.  It is amazing to me how she always knows what is going on, even if she cannot express it in words to us.  She must know Alex is not feeling well.  (Typically, Victory is a bit timid about getting too close around Alex who is constantly in motion.)  Victory is such a smart, loving, loyal, and protective creature.  We are the lucky ones, and we are so glad that Victory is a part of our family.  Victory is such a great fur sister to Alex and she is always teaching us something about life.

 

Here is a video of Victory being such a loving fur sister.

Seventeen Month and Eighteen Month Snapshot: Alexandra

I completed the monthly snapshots of our beloved Alex during her first year.  Here is the snapshot of Alex’s seventeenth month and eighteenth month!  (You can view Alex’s thirteenth and fourteenth month here; and Alex’s fifteenth and sixteenth month here).  Alex is changing all of the time and she is still growing like a weed!

How is our little girl already eighteen months old!  The time is flying too quickly!  It has been a busy few months for us.  Alex is still busy as ever and curious as ever!  Alex is turning into a little girl right before our eyes.  Doug coined her name on her new easel, that she got for Christmas, as the following: A is for Active; L is for Lovable; E is for Energized; and X is for Xtraordinary!  Alex is talking more and saying more words, too.  She comprehends a good amount as well.  Alex is down to one nap a day these days, and we have not found anything Alex is not willing to try food wise, including brussels sprouts, go figure!  She has a lot of personality and she is her own strong little person who knows how she likes things — her way!  She loves running around the house in only her diaper!  Her hair is very pretty and it is getting longer with some blonde and red highlights, with lovely curls in the back!  She currently is obsessed with our remote control for the television and the baby monitor screen for her room.  She thinks they are her telephones, which she loves to pretend play with each day!  She also loves to go into my office and sit in my chair and ‘type’ on the computer, use the mouse, and talk to Victory who is usually sitting under my desk at home!  She even likes to help with laundry!  She, unprompted, likes to take our dirty clothes and put them in the laundry, and a short video is shown below!  She also likes to help throw trash away, too!  And, she is also pretty good about putting her toys away as well.  Overall, I think, she is a good little helper!

Additionally, she is exploring more in the house and interacts more with Victory all the time.  Her chasing of Victory has mitigated; and she is petting Victory more gently, and she loves to give Victory treats before ‘night night!’  It is so sweet.  A short video is below of our girls!  In a few more months, I think Alex will understand more about Victory.  Victory still joins us in Alex’s room in the mornings and always before Alex goes to bed!  We will say to Victory, “go see sissy,” and she immediately runs upstairs to Alex’s room!  Alex has stopped calling Victory ‘Lou Lou’ and she is now saying ‘Tory,’ which is so sweet.  She always says ‘hello’ to Victory every morning and tries, sometimes successfully, if Victory is up for it, to pet Victory!

Alex really loves to go out on outings with us as well, even if it is just to the local Lowes with Victory!  She can ware herself out running up and down the aisles, and she thinks it is fantastic!  We also went on another field trip with Alex’s school to the B&O Railroad Museum, which she enjoyed and the museum was decorated nicely for Christmas!  Doug loves trains, so it was really a fun day!  And, Alex loved the short train ride, too!  Alex still loves our neighborhood playground and loves to play with the chalk and go in the swing!  We found another large park that she loves to go to as well.  The weather has been pretty mild, so we have been able to get her out and about!  She also still likes to go on walks together.  For Christmas, she got a new trike, which she loves, and she eventually will be able to peddle the trike by herself!

Alex had a great Christmas and Thanksgiving.  (Their visit to Santa this year was memorable.)  She participated in her school Holiday Party!  She looked adorable and she did her best to sing along with the rest of her class!  On Christmas Eve, she decorated homemade eggnog sugar cookies with Doug and it was a lot of fun! (A short video is below.)  On Christmas morning, Alex and Victory wore matching pajamas, their Happy Hannas!  They looked so cute together, albeit, it was challenging to get a photo of them together, as Alex was excited on Christmas morning doing her own thing, but I managed to get one descent photo of the girls together!  By the end of the morning, after working hard opening gifts, Alex took a long nap.  I am not sure Alex fully understood the concept of Christmas, but she had fun!  She also loves her new personalized new chair, which is fitting as she had been and still says, ‘I sit’ frequently!  She also loves her Roadster for indoors as well!

Alex tried out the Peloton Tred, which we love, pictured below, that we got for Christmas.  Alex never really cared for the child care at the gym, which made it challenging for us to get to and use the gym regularly, so we decided to get a treadmill for the house.  We had to reconfigure two rooms of our house, but we got it all to work and we absolutely love having a treadmill in the house, which is so convenient and the classes are engaging and fun, too!  I wish we had done it sooner as we are now able to workout consistently!

With Alex’s long Holiday break, we took her on some outings, including a few trips to an indoor playground, which she loves.  She still loves Pump It Up, as well, which we also visited a few times over her break.  She had a few play dates, too.  We also took her to Enchant, in D.C., which we all loved.  The light display was beautiful.  We plan to go back next year, if it is still local.  (There were even a few dates, which we missed, that allows one’s pup to attend as well!)  We took Alex to D.C. and Northern Virginia for New Year’s Eve and we had a nice evening together!  We have a few more places on our list to try this winter with her, which we are looking forward to.

Alex still cuddles with me in her glider, right before bed.  She pulls down her blanket and crawls into my lap with her lovie (a burp cloth); and most of the time, she falls asleep during this time.  It is one of my favorite times of the day.  There is nothing like it.  I feel so fortunate.  It has been such as journey.  We are doing our best to embrace the now, the present.  We are so grateful and we are excited for this new year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few iphone images from Alex’s seventeenth month!

 

Here is a video from Alex’s seventeenth month — Alex doing laundry!

 

Here is a video from Alex’s seventeenth month — Alex swinging!

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 A few iphone images from Alex’s eighteenth month!

 

Here is a video from Alex’s eighteenth month — Alex decorating Christmas eggnog sugar cookies with Daddy and Victory!

 

Here is a video from Alex’s eighteenth month — Alex climbing with all of her might at Pump It Up!

 

Here is a video from Alex’s eighteenth month — Alex shooting balls at Mamma with Daddy!

 

Here is a video from Alex’s eighteenth month — Alex sitting with Victory!

 

Here is a video from Alex’s eighteenth month — Alex feeding Victory treats!

 

Finally, below is a look back, month-by-month, (via iphone images), of our sweet Alex over the past eighteen months!  There has been so much change in such a short period of time!  We are so grateful for our healthy little girl!

 

2020 Word of the Year: Bliss

 

 

Happy New Year!  We had a great time over the Holidays and we hope that you did, too!  Alex was off from school for two weeks, and we all kept really busy, as a result!  We are now getting caught up and back into the swing of things!  Victory is so happy, I think, to have a quiet house back to herself during the week!  And, Alex is happy to be back with her friends at school!  I have reflected on my word for this year: bliss.  Last year I chose embrace; in 2018 the word peace; in 2017 I chose relax; in 2016 I chose present; in 2015 I chose flow; in 2014 I chose trust; and in 2013 I chose the word create.  The idea of picking an intention has worked well over the past few years.  (I particularly loved this talk about not having specific New Year’s resolutions, per se.)

Bliss defined: /blis/ noun 1. perfect happiness; great joy.

Each day is truly a gift.  This past year was a good year filled with a lot of growth.  Our collective intention, this year, is to have as much bliss and fun as possible!  I am excited to see how this year unfolds.  And, we are off to a good start implementing this word/intention!

Are you considering selecting a word for yourself (or letting one find you)?  There is no right or wrong.  The main thing to remember is that this is your word.

And what do you do with this one little word?  You live with it.  You invite it into your life.  You let it speak to you.  There are so many possibilities.

Happy New Year!

 

Happy Pawlidays!

“What would the world be like without music or rivers or the green and tender grass?  What would this world be like without dogs?” — Mary Oliver

Happy Pawlidays!  Thank you so much for a wonderful year filled with much growth.  I wanted to thank you so much for checking in over the past year — I am very grateful.

Below is the front of our Pawliday card (the back of our card containing text is not pictured) along with our matching envelopes using custom stamps and little photo seals of our beautiful girls, Alex and Victory! (You can view our previous Pawliday cards here, hereherehereherehere, and here).  Sending our Pawliday card is one of my favorite parts of the Holiday season!  This is my way of sharing our Pawliday card with you.  Thank you for reading this blog for however long or short you have been reading.  I sincerely enjoy creating content for the blog to share with you.

 

 

 

 

 

And, here is a short video from Alex saying ‘thank you’ for reading, too!

 

I will be taking a break from the blog to enjoy some down time with our little family, and I plan to be back to the blog sometime early next year.  We have some fun activities planned!  Meanwhile, if you are in a blog-reading mood, you are warmly invited to visit the archives — the links are shown below.  Warmest wishes to you.  This life…it’s all a gift.

Dog Related posts

Dog Rescue posts

‘Dog-Centric’ Artists Interviews

For Artists posts

Photography posts

Personal posts

Victory Related posts

Christmas Time: Visiting Santa

This past weekend we took Alex and  Victory to visit Santa, an annual tradition!  This year, however, went a little differently than last year — Alex was not keen on Santa this year.  (We even tried putting Alex on the floor by Santa, but that did not work either.)  Someday, she will get a good laugh from these photos, below, as you likely will as well!  Alex is very brave and fearless when it comes to everything, except for strangers and doctors, which I suppose are one in the same.  (The pediatrician says this is very normal for her age.)  So, this is how our pediatrician and dental visits go, shown below, and Alex does not give up easily at all!  Thankfully, Santa is extremely patient!

Victory, our beautiful fur girl, did very well, like always!  Victory also tolerated her sister well, too!  And, of course, Santa and his helpers remembered our beloved girls, as this is Victory’s sixth time visiting Santa and Alex’s second time visiting Santa!  You can see Victory’s previous trips to visit Santa here, hereherehere, and here.  This is the only Santa in our area that welcomes both of our girls!  Victory wore her Holiday velvet ruff and antlers; and Alex wore a burgundy corduroy dress to coordinate for their visit with Santa!  All proceeds from visiting Santa are donated to a local dog rescue, a very good cause near and dear to our hearts as Biscuit and Victory are rescues.  If you are interested, be sure to check with and visit your local pet stores to see if there is a Santa in your area that specializes in furry family members!

A few images from Victory’s and Alex’s second visit together with Santa are shown below along with images of Victory with Santa from the previous five years!  The time really does fly by too quickly!  We are so grateful for our fur girl, Victory!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Victory’s visits to see Santa, 2014-2019!

 

 

The girls’ visits to see Santa last year (left) and this year (right).  Great change occurred in a year!

 

Additionally, each year, I have a photo ornament made with Victory and Santa for our Christmas tree!  This year, I made another ornament of our Victory and Alex together visiting Santa, a memorable visit; and one of Victory visiting Santa!  I also had personalized ornaments for Alex and Victory made for our tree.  I will get Alex an ornament each year, a tradition we had growing up!

Below is our decorated little live Christmas tree from Maine that we order online each year; and, this year, Alex was not willing to sit by our tree long enough for me to take a decent photo, so we will try again, at some point!

 

 

 

We have so much to be grateful for this year!  We are looking forward to celebrating our second Christmas together with both of our girls!

We hope that you are enjoying the Holiday season!

What surprised me most about becoming a mom

Our little girl, Alex, is nearly seventeen months old, which is difficult to believe.  Almost a year and a half into this journey, I finally feel more acclimated to our ‘new normal.’  My body feels more how it used to feel before Alex; I am getting more sleep, which is so helpful; and we know our little Alex more — her personality, her routine, what she likes, what she does not like, which, of course, is always changing.  Albeit, there are days where Doug and I both collapse into bed at night, with Victory, because we are utterly exhausted, both wondering how we will get up the next day, at the crack of dawn, (Alex is our alarm now) and do it all over again!

Besides the normal things one likely hears prior to having a baby such as, ‘your life will forever change; you won’t sleep for awhile; and you won’t have much time,’ which to a large degree are all true, what nobody really tells you is how much fun you will have with your baby.  Now that Alex is communicating verbally more, and we know what to expect with her more, to a degree, we have so much fun together!  The early months were difficult with trying to navigate this uncharted territory and just generally feeling a little off, in the beginning, trying to get the hang of it all.  Now, as a family, I think we have found our flow, for now, and it is all getting a bit easier to navigate.  Alex is always up for an adventure, with her side kick, Victory, and we have a lot of fun with Alex and Victory.  Alex is almost saying ‘Tory,’ Victory’s nickname!  It is just really neat to witness her growing and changing, there is nothing like it.  All that to say, I am working the hardest I ever have, but I am having the most fun, ever!

Happy Thursday!