Geez Louise, it’s another one of those mornings! When some areas of life start cracking open and moving forward with creative juices flowing and good mojo and flow, I start forgetting my wallet, losing my bus pass, and spacing on calling or texting people back. Such is the life of an artiste, non?

Right. No real harm done, just a bit scattered. It’s a weird and short week with Monday off, a quasi-sick day for E on Tues (he turned out to not be actually sick but I was terrified he was getting croup again), and we’re taking tomorrow off to go to Yosemite. Happily, work is going great and I’m blogging in my job now which is totally fun. I’m enjoying it.

Meanwhile, miracle mornings NOT going as planned, due to aforementioned problems getting up without rousing the babe. Today I’m going to see if my company wellness program offers any deals on fitbits, good idea for a soundless alarm! I did meet with my new life coach and, as planned, instantly loved her. She reminded me of my doula and she said that’s funny because she used to be a doula. I believe it. We dove into the deep end. I was proud of how succinctly I stated the big questions of my life right now. She led me in a guided meditation and provided resources. She gently reminded me that I will likely find the answers not with my head, but with my heart, which made me cry. Because I know a LOT more in my heart than my head, and my heart is never wrong. First order of biz: daily meditation. 20 minutes.

A couple of news items! We accepted a spot for E at a Spanish immersion preschool to start in July! I have felt stressed and horrified by the preschool application process and largely avoided the bulk of it because most schools accept kids 2.9-3 in September, and E will be like 2.4. So this was one of the few schools that accept 2 year olds (“school” in quotes, I think it’s more just day care for the twos, which they call Pequeñitos). They do not offer aid, but very few places do and I think only one that I know of for 2 year olds and it doesn’t have Spanish- we’re good for now. I like the place, the nurturing, Latin vibe, the songs, the food, the playground. It will be awesome. It costs approximately three times what my parents paid for me to attend college per year including room and board but that’s not a fair comparison because that was 24 years ago. Wait is my math right??? Anyway, c’est cher. Mais c’est super.

In other news, you will not believe on which creative project I’m making real headway: the nursing garment. I will not over promise but my dear clothing designer friend L came over for dinner the other night and sketched it. It’s awesome. She works for a company that accepts crowd sourced ideas for new garments- so, if we manage to get her sketch posted with my description, I will have you ALL vote to get it made! Hallelujah!

Tomorrow, we head to snow and I’m as excited as you to see E and 4 friends romping in some serious snow!

Love to all and keep on plugging!
xo

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OMG I just want to remember the details of last night and this morning because it’s so funny and crazy and I know these details slip away.

Last night we had sausage and quinoa and kale for dinner, facetimed with Mimi and Chacha, and E had a bath with his new tugboat from Lili which he loves. I realized that I could get everything cleaned and put away and ready for bed without keeping him up too much past 8. So I did and we got in bed for the night. This was my next attempt to get up early for the Miracle Morning. Go to bed super early, get up super early.

Because E had eaten almost a whole carton of berries right before bed, he was apparently on a sugar high and was crawling around the bed and up and down for a while before settling down around 9.

At about 2:30am he starts saying, mournfully, “Applesauce, applesauce… mommy…” And I thought he might be dreaming. But then he sat up and said cheese, cereal, pan (as in Spanish for bread), and I realized he was hungry. So we got up and both had a snack.

Back to bed. I put my fully charged phone within reach on the bed (there’s no outlet near the bed which kind of screws up my plan to quickly turn off the alarm) and went to sleep.

I missed the alarm at 5:30 because it was too quiet and buried under the covers- never heard it. I woke at 6:20 and E was not latched on. I sat up and started meditating for three minutes before he started whimpering. Back to the boob and back to sleep.

We woke again at 7:50 with the sun streaming in, nearly 12 hours after going to bed. Now I was running late! Got him dressed, put a kettle on for coffee and hot cereal (the microwave is broken) and it barely was ready in time for him to take three bites before the nanny arrived. She ended up taking the bowl and spoon with them for breakfast on the go. I had left his lunchbox in the stroller way downstairs the night before so quickly put cut-up veggies and hummus in little containers, plus applesauce and a package of crackers. They left and I started in on a crockpot recipe when I realized the applesauce and crackers were still on the counter- ran outside in my bare feet but they were gone.

Got all the ingredients in the crockpot while making myself eggs and quinoa (oatmeal is annoying on the stove and I forgot to order any kind of milk for cereal), cleaned up, packed myself a lunch of cheese sandwich, clementines, banana, and crackers, got dressed, took down the recycling, moved my car because tomorrow is Thursday street cleaning, then realized I had left my bus and office passes in the apartment, stopped at home again, changed my pants and boots because they were uncomfortable, and walked to the bus.

And now I’m on the bus. Late! It’s 9:45. But always in awe of the process and enjoy the challenge. The nanny says esta bien, she can fill in some more lunch snacks. Another day begins…

Tonight I’ll try again to get the alarm figured out because I think 5:30 may be the sweet spot.

Hope your day goes smoothly, amigos.

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Greetings from SF! We are back. Every year, I get all reflective at the New Year, set some intentions, and then all hell breaks loose as I attend my sales meeting in the first week of the year. So, knowing that, I approach the second week of January as the Real Deal.

My Miracle Mornings are going just OK. Basically, my nursing and cosleeping toddler doesn’t want me to get out of bed and seems to be latched on every time the alarm goes off. Waking us both up an hour early certainly defeats the purpose, so I’ve most often just gone back to sleep. I may keep trying or I may transition to a Miracle Evening for a while.

The really wild and amazing and mind-blowing part is that as soon as I did let’s say 1.5 Miracle Mornings and shined a light into the dark caverns of my mind, I discovered a host of competing priorities all in a wrestling match. I had known they were back there but just had faith that I would figure it all out later. Well, guess what? It’s time.

I don’t really like the expression “figure it out.” It sounds like you’re starting from scratch, with no real clues. I have a lot of clues! Yet I’m going to start by opening up all the options. And hiring a coach. Because after my last post, my friend E recommended her coach and I loved her website and want to pay attention to what the universe puts in my path right now. Because I feel myself entering a transitional time and I am seeing meaning in everything.

For example, I’m crunching numbers constantly trying to get them to add up during the child care and preschool years- and the other mom of my nanny share just texted (since I started writing this post) to say she wants to share the full five days a week, bringing my costs down. Powerful stuff.

Yesterday I did a prioritization exercise where I compared every priority to every other priority and decided which was more important, which allows you to rank them. There are always surprises. And if you choose to give up A, it’s because you know you’re prioritizing B. I can send you the exercise if you want- this one has helped me at many critical decision points in my life.

I’m guessing this is how it will be from now on now that someone else’s future is in my hands. :)

Almost to work. I’m feeling expansive and more aware of the big picture and the control I have over my choices. So much unknown yet so any possibilities for me and my little fam.

Happy New Year and love to YOU!
xo

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I’m always just barely pulling my thoughts together before midnight strikes on New Year’s Eve. But this year is different, in that it’s 8:49pm and I’m in for the evening, on my own with a sleeping boy.

Also, I’ve given a lot of thought to my plans for the New Year already, especially while laying around nursing and waiting for E to fall asleep. It doesn’t exactly qualify as meditation but it does sometimes qualify as productive, albeit relaxing, thought.

The other morning, I went on a four-mile run here in Scottsdale. I put on Liz Gilbert’s (of Eat, Pray, Love) podcast about creativity “Magic Lessons” and took off toward this pretty green space that has 20 miles of trails. Simultaneously, I started my Map My Run app to record my workout.

As you may know, Map My Run (or other apps) will pop in with a voice every mile that says, “Time: 10 minutes 30 seconds. Pace: 10 minutes 30 seconds per mile.” (I actually ran faster that day but often don’t, especially on the hills of SF.) Well, I went about listening to several inspiring podcasts, and it happened not just once but TWICE that when the Map My Run lady popped in to say, “Time:” the person in the podcast was saying the word “time.” Simultaneously. Twice.

The first time, I thought- cool. Notice. Coincidences are meaningful. I was understanding something like, “It’s time.” Hmmm. And when it happened again, I was blown away. The second time, the message was, “Make time.”

I mean, come on. How can I pull my thoughts together at 8:49pm on New Year’s Eve and think I’ll have a coherent plan for a full year? Or pull together a book proposal in 30-minute sessions once every three months? Or even do significant blog posts only on the bus? How can I even know what I want, what I am yearning for, what I’m fighting for, what I’m aiming for?

Make time. It’s so clear. And- it ties in with a conversation I had with my sisters in the basement in Chicago last week, where we crammed in all significant life topics and planning and sibling business into about 45 minutes. With kids, you must take these windows of opportunity or go years without having sister time. My life summary was: I have big creative projects brewing that can’t quite be articulated, I may try to have another baby, and I need to make more money. I’ve been happily working and parenting and running home from work and blogging–yet my ideas for next projects percolate and never quite go anywhere. My sisters’ prescription: the Miracle Morning.

Now, before I start championing this idea, let me state that I haven’t read the book, nor have I even once yet put the Miracle Morning into practice. All I know is what my sisters told me: go to sleep with E at 8pm and get up at 5:30am. Meditate, do affirmations, do visualizations, exercise, read, and write- for an hour. Every day. They’re both doing it and it’s indeed been life-changing for them. (B starts with dancing.)

What seems absolutely thrillingly right on about this is that the hour or so I get per evening to myself is wasted. I am beat. I walk out of the bedroom and somehow ending up looking at facebook for an hour and I haven’t even done the dishes yet. The prospect of putting clothes away fills me with despair. I have rarely done anything creative at that hour. So it does seem logical to start fresh, in the morning, and start the day with progress already under my belt. Plus, I’m drinking coffee again (yay!) and look forward to savoring my cup with more time in the morning (and the caffeine won’t hurt either given the early hour). Plus I could put in a load of laundry before getting started…

So, this is my plan. My mind is overflowing with other ideas for New Year’s resolutions, such as decluttering (never quite finished the Konmari method in 2015), finishing my book proposal (also didn’t finish in 2015), expressing love more freely, being more kind and generous with strangers, setting up a regular time to play chamber music, running a race, moving to Paris, designing a patented nursing garment, creating a gratitude practice, learning about content strategy, and coming up with a slogan for 2016 about being fearless. However, it seems like all of this can derive from my one hour a day, because that will be my time to focus on whatever I want. HAHA! It’s like the genie gave me three wishes and my first wish was for more wishes.

And, yes- for the past many months and years since embarking on the Solo Mama Project, my creative project has been bring E into the world and making his life awesome. And, yes- I actualized him after committing myself to the journey and many failed attempts. I also actualized my affordable two-bedroom apartment in a bananas rental market. I am a powerful being! I have many gifts to share with the world! I’m so looking forward to clearing some of the fuzz from my brain and just clearing some time and space for me.

May I express my gratitude for those of you who read my blog? Thank you!!! In 2016, get ready for the book, the podcast, the movie! Who knows? I’m enjoying the not knowing and just committing the time slot. That’s it. Clarity to follow. Hopefully more writing all around.

Grateful also for wonderful, memorable, relaxing family time in Scottsdale and Chicago, and while E did have croup #3 on Christmas Day (yuck), he’s doing much better and is doing awesome things like out of the blue singing happy birthday and counting to ten in Spanish.

Happy, happy, healthy, fulfilling, peaceful, new year to you xo

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My Christmas cards came back with the colors all wrong. We had gone outside for a photo shoot with my sister and her fancy camera and my dad who brought out the baby smiles. Gorgeous photos. We did all the necessary handling of big high-res files (read: time-consuming) and I chose a template online. The photos looked “cold” to me, so I warmed them up with an app. On screen, they looked perfect. When I picked them up, they were yellow. Like a filter gone wrong.

I stared at them for full minutes in the store before speaking to the also- silent employee. They had already printed 50. What can you do? That is, if you’re pretty sure you won’t have time to make another trip and you know without a doubt you don’t want to spend more money. I said, OK. And took them home.

The first three friends I showed it to tried to talk me off the ledge, “oh they’re so cute! I see what you mean, but they’re really fine.” But were they just making me feel better? So disappointing! I’m on top of things in general, really! So why can’t I send out a card that reflects that? Cards are on the easier side of life’s challenges! Wah! Wah!

A close associate of mine who gets right to the point said, “Well, it depends on the purpose of the cards for you. Are you trying to be the perfect mom? Or send holiday greetings?”

Touché. That put it in perspective. I mean, why did I care so much anyway? Is this just another way we/I compete for perfection or Best Mom award? Or was I just trying to do justice to the cuteness? Or was I just hoping to get my money’s worth? Or did I want maximum gorgeousness on refrigerators across the nation in 2016?

Come on. Or, “Come ON!” as E says. As the perfect, flawless, correctly-colored cards flow in from friends and family, I am so bugged! It’s the truth! It’s my ego. I notice it. I practice noticing. I practice enjoying everyone’s cards. This is a perfect Christmas lesson, right?

At the SMC holiday party, I was trying to protect toddler fingers by carefully closing a door, not knowing that E was on the other side of the door, on the hinge side. When I popped my head around the corner, he was in a soundless scream. It turned out that his fingers were completely unharmed, probably mostly surprised or minorly pinched, but in that moment I didn’t know what damage I might have done. I’m still traumatized! I cried to my mom over the phone later that day- she had the perfect response: maybe I just spared him a worse door experience in the future? I felt like such a failure and really jolted that I, his protector, could be the one doing damage, however well-intentioned. And that there will be more of these occasions in the future, no question. It’s part of the deal.

Then, over the weekend I was lucky to get a little kitchen from a friend of a friend for cheap. That night, at a birthday party, the moms were talking about how the plastic ones are an eyesore. I had a plastic one.

All of these things serve to cut a mom down a few notches.

So why do we all have this refrain ready in our heads: “I’m SUCH a bad mom. I am the WORST mom.” We all hear it. It’s a thing. Can we abolish this already? There will never be an actual competition or actual awards and we all do exactly our best, right? And the kids are safe, healthy, happy.

So, let my less-than-perfect cards symbolize less-than-perfection and the reality of life: messy, sometimes painful, sometimes not what we expected. But full of so so so much love every day. We all do our best, mamas. We have a blast in the plastic kitchen. And that’s all that matters.

I hope the moms see my card and realize the jig is up!

Love to you all, and happy happy holidays. xo

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Wowzers it has been a while. Crazy month o November with work deadlines, parents’ visit, Thanksgiving, house projects… I fell off the blogging wagon.

Today, I’m back on. All we can do is start wherever we are. I am sitting on the bus in a wool coat and winter hat. It’s cold. I couldn’t bring myself to run home this week, not so much because of the cold as the dark. I’m not procrastinating and I do need the exercise, but it feels dangerous. After two days of carrying my running clothes and shoes back and forth, I’m going to try running IN to work tomorrow when the sun is up and who really cares if I never do change into work clothes- seriously, no one. So I look forward to finding out if it really is more downhill on the way in. (Probably not!)

Part of not wanting to run home is because I feel more vulnerable after recent world events, particularly after yet another mass shooting today. I feel like being more careful and mindful with this one wild and precious life of mine. It’s the least we can do for those at the wrong place at the wrong time.

After the Paris attacks, I found myself one night staying up late reading about the victims, watching videos, and sinking into a deep spiral of sadness and anxiety about the state of the world. I was in the living room when I heard E wake up and cry in a panicked way that matched my mood. I got ready for bed and snuggled in with him, nursing as usual, but neither of us fell asleep for almost an hour. I was lost in emotion, sinking, worrying, and at some point he just started wailing and saying, Mommy, Mommy, and I had to rock him to sleep. He absolutely absorbed my feelings, poor little thing.

It reminded me the importance of staying mentally healthy as a parent. There’s a fine line between being aware of news and maintaining your sanity. I know that we’re all struggling during this time when hatred is getting a lot of press. But love always wins. We’ve gotta keep hugging and loving on each other and enjoying our times together. Keep loving, dreaming. Stay safe.

Only three more weeks before the dark days get lighter.

My weeks with my parents here were wonderful. I didn’t make dinner, fold laundry, or take the trash out. My mom organized my bathroom, replaced the shower curtain. My dad installed a little row of hooks for E’s little jackets. It’s so peaceful and relaxing when they are here and I feel really blessed that E gets to really know his Mimi and Chacha. And we’ll see them again in a couple of weeks.

E is tearing through language acquisition and it’s so fun to witness. He just acquired the letter “L,” which is now extremely overemphasized with his tongue flying out of his mouth when he says, “airpLane” or “CharLie.” He knows all his moving vehicles from cars to trucks to choochoo trains to motorsickles. I say, “You got it!” And he says, “I got it!” And when he wants to nurse on the other side, he says, “Side? Side?” When he wakes up he says, “Hand?” And then tries to drag me out of bed (before long, he’ll be able to!).

Almost to CharLie’s. Lots of love to you and happy December. More soon xoxo

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Hoo boy. The phone. We all have a problem with it in today’s society, but especially the toddlers.

When he was a small baby, I never let him touch it. My thinking was more along the lines of not wanting it to be smashed on the floor or drooled on. I don’t remember if my intention was to keep it away from him forever.

Then I started showing him photos of himself, of his grandparents, other family and friends. He quickly learned how to scroll. He started asking for it, calling it “On.” “On?” “ON?!?!”

For a long plane ride, I bought a couple of apps, including Little Fox Music Box (interactive songs and a music studio full of animals) and My First Words, a pop-up book with words, images, sound effects. He loved loved loved them. Next he learned how to scroll to the app and start it up. If he got an error screen he’d bring it to me for help.

After our summer vacation, he became so enamored of looking at photos of his cousin that he started calling the phone by her name. With as much desperation as “On.” He is elated to see the photo and then sits down to open every single app on my phone. I’ve caught him watching Ted talks.

The other day I found him watching his own birth video and feel that I need to draw the line!

I now realize that giving him a little screen time is like giving him a little crack. He’s now mastered “phone???” And asks for it whether or not he can see it. He wakes up and asks for it. Who can blame him? We are all obsessed with it too. I do everything on it: talk to family, take photos, look up recipes, play music, communicate about plans, answer the phone! How can I subtract this out?

Giving it to him ends in a tantrum when I take it away. The other night we watched a little bit of a new Netflix show called Puffin Rock- so freaking adorable. I want to watch it with him. I was using it so I could cut his nails but can definitely see the benefit of TV- he is still and calm. Mind you, I’m not a TV watcher and haven’t had a TV in years- but I’m struggling with this phone/ipad struggle.

I sure wonder if anyone has come up with a solution to this, outside of zero tolerance which just seems unrealistic to me. Meanwhile, I’ll be sneaking phone moments, taking fast pictures, and limiting sessions despite the disappointment. We just can’t overshadow childhood with dumb technology! Time to get outside and play!

But sometimes I’ll say yes because it’s easier. Hey! I’m a solo mom. xo

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Last weekend, my sister came over to spend the night and accompany us to the pumpkin patch in the morning. E had a mild fever in the night and I woke up a little stressed and he woke up with no fever but a little cranky.

In the morning, I couldn’t find anything. There was a specific shirt I wanted E to wear for the pumpkin photo opps and I couldn’t let it go- looked through every stitch of clothing and still couldn’t find it. The last time I saw my sunglasses they were in the hands of my friend’s almost-two-year-old running around my apartment the weekend before. And I could find nothing to wear that was nursing friendly and also cute. Frustration was piling up and we were running late to meet friends.

And I noticed something about having people around to help. My sister is so helpful- she anticipates and thinks about taking out trash/recycling and asks what else she can do and washes the dishes after dinner. But when she’s around, I stop doing 100% of everything. And then I feel annoyed when not 100% gets done exactly the way I do it and I start feeling like things are spinning out of control. So extra help, oddly enough, can feel like more work.

It’s famously hard to ask for help, and seemingly more so to hand over part of your to do list. Like maybe just because someone comes over to see me and E they didn’t intend to become my housekeeper! But it feels black and white- when my parents are here, I relax and sit on the couch after work while they serve me cheese and crackers and a beer, because they are doing mostly everything- running the kitchen, going to the store, organizing, etc. but if someone is dividing up the work with me, I am sort of on alert about all of it and it gets half done.

I’ve written before about how this must be a microcosm of what it’s like in a couple only they get a lot more practice (being that it’s a daily balance) and ostensibly find their groove and “own” certain tasks (and/or spend a lifetime fighting about it).

I think I need to better articulate what’s needed and also let it go. But there’s this panic when my sister or my nanny is there, like “I better do x, y, and z in the next ten minutes or I will never ever again get another opportunity.” This feeling started the minute E was born and it inspires efficiency but also isn’t entirely true.

The truth is, it’s easier when I’m in the groove of doing everything myself. More hands are great, as are nights with a built-in babysitter! But transitioning in and out is harder than you would think.

Lest I sound ungrateful: I am so grateful for helpers (and especially sister BaChee)!! Just need to be a better helpee.

Pumpkin patch was stellar although E wasn’t feeling great and it was oppressively hot- he was obsessed with the tractor from the hayride and pretty much nonplussed by everything else. “Truck! Truck!”
xo

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Charlie (ta-ee, his buddy)
Chacha (grandpa)
Tree
Agua (for a cup of water or Lake Michigan)
Doggie
Ana (his nanny)
No
Birdie
Choo choo
Truck
Socks
Shooos
Mom (also mommy or often monny)
Betsy (aunt bah-chi)
Mimi (grandma)
Walk (as in I want to)
Ellie (his cousin: Eye)
Book
Más (more. Mosh)
Poo poo
Bath (bat)
Lani (neighbor Leilani)
Teeth! (Request for tooth brush)
Baby (looking in the mirror)
Four words that sound the same: airplane, open, Evan, and ice cream: “aben”)
BUS!
Yes! (Only when prompted but we’re working on it- YESH!)
Nose (pointing)
Peach!
Stairs
Pan (as in bread)
Lili (or Deedee) and Mone (friends Olivia and Simone)
Mmmmmm (I heard this coming from the pantry when he found the jar of dried cherries)
Di (aunt Diana)
Phone? (Or- Eye? As in- can I see photos of Ellie on your phone? 20 times a day)
Nurse? Nurse! (Nosh)

Language acquisition is the coolest.

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All this talk about the brave new world of diblings has me thinking about terminology and how we talk about this to each other, to people who have never heard of our brand of alternative families, and to the kids themselves.

While I was trying to get pregnant, I made it my mission to educate people about Single Moms by Choice. While E was a baby, I felt like I skated through- most if not all people around me know my situation. “By choice” felt clunky and unnecessary, or smug. Also not the right qualifier–I had a baby by choice but I’m not single by choice (most of us would have preferred a partner). I introduced myself as just a single mom. Later I might say, “I chose to have him on my own.”

Now that he’s here, and will increasingly overhear me and eventually will know what I’m talking about, I’m feeling best about introducing myself as a solo mom. In a sea of imperfect options, solo mom feels most comfy. We have a lot in common with single (i.e. divorced) moms but their issues are different- mostly around dealing with the ex. They also quite often have a co-parent, or at least an adult who takes care of the kids occasionally and, if they’re lucky, helps shoulder the financial burden. “Single” refers to marital status only- there are two parents.

“Solo” to me means that you’re really doing this alone, or without a partner. Flying solo implies (doesn’t it?) a choice in the matter. It’s thrilling and risky and in the end you get all the blame and all the glory. It fits. Luckily, that’s how I named this blog 3.5 years ago- how did I know???

The other new terminology I love I got from my friend C who got it from a solo mom she works with who has an older kid. It’s the answer to the question “Where/who is E’s dad?” The answer is not the tragic and shocking, “E doesn’t have a dad.” Which is what I told my four-year-old niece when she asked. (I went on to explain about a nice man who helped me have a baby, which was totally over her head and unnecessary. We don’t always get it right the first time!)

The right answer is, “OUR FAMILY doesn’t have a dad.” We are in this together. Neither of us have the guy who would be his dad- we didn’t have him and lose him. There are all types of families. Ours has a Mommy, two aunts, an uncle, a Mimi, a Chacha, two cousins, and as many friends and honorary aunts and uncles as we want to throw in. We have lots of love. I love this answer. Me and E go solo, together.

The dibling extravaganza has begun! We’ve been trading photos and info and it’s really exciting. There’s definitely resemblance among the kids and plans to get together- one kid lives just across the Golden Gate Bridge! How fun is that.

Thanks for accompanying me home, kiddos. Have a great weekend. xo

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