Brave

I posted this on my facebook as a random thought tonight. I realize that I haven’t been utilizing my blog as I should and decided these posts belong here too. So you may have read my ramblings about bravery already… But just incase you need to hear it again, here you have it. 🙂

” If you dont learn how to be scared, you’ll never really learn how to be brave.”

There’s something to be said about fear and how we approach it. I can count on one single hand the times Ive sat in a hospital bed and been completely free of fear. Considering the amount of times I have sat in a hospital bed…. that’s really not many. There’s fear behind every operation. Fear behind every test. And fear behind all the unknowns that lie ahead. I used to believe that there was weakness in being gutted with fear and even more so admitting those fears. As I’ve grown, I realize there is a certain kind of greatness that our fears bring about. It’s not fear itself, that’s bad. No, Fear brings with it an opportunity for great courage… Choosing to take that step into the unknown.
For me? Its choosing to do an operation or a test even with it’s unknown and hec sometimes even with it’s known. For me? It’s choosing to say yes to going somewhere brand new and far away for treatment. For me? It’s not having enough memories built up for the one day Im not there to make them anymore.
For you? It could be leaving your job for a new one. Or moving far away from where you are. Or voicing your thoughts and opinion when you don’t know if anyone will agree. Or simply afraid for what the next day holds.
Our fears bring with it an undenied bravery. Being afraid of things we can’t control or don’t know? No, that’s not a bad thing. The bad thing would be letting those fears win and not pushing forward. So whatever you may be scared of right now?? Wake up tomorrow and be brave. Wake up and go do what you are afraid to. Let your fears mold you in a good way. And if no one has ever told you before…
It truly is ok to be scared, just remember to be brave too.

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Until we meet again 🙂

Is it really 2014?

I can’t even begin to fathom it.
I took the month of December off from the blog world.  Mostly because I had a very sick kiddo the entire month but also because It was quite a busy month for my family. Looking forward to jumping back into the blogging scene with fresh posts, fun stories from my little family, and all kinds of outlooks and opinions.

It seems that nearly everyone I know on this New Years day has posted their Resolutions they plan to attack this year. I’ve never really been one for resolutions, for a lot reasons really. I am not a stick to, do, and complete kinda gal. I tend to be really excited about something but when the excitement wears off so does my interest. I’m also a huge procrastinator… tomorrow is always better than today and next week is even better than that. Thus, December rolls around and I’m just starting on my resolution. 🙂 Finally, I only like to set short term goals because the long term seems so unreachable. I don’t like to fail and thus it’s much easier to set something short term than it is to promise myself a big win.  Small victories for this girl is more than enough.
So if I don’t set a new years resolution… then what is the point of a 2014 post?  Well, for me starting a new year is about reflection.  Reflecting on the year before and taking away from it only the good and moving forward. Reflecting on the lessons I could have done without but learning from them and not looking back. Summing up what I learned from a year in the life of me and running with it into the next year.

2013 was a year to remember. We celebrated E’s very first birthday in January and her very first gotcha day in December! She baffled us with her language skills and made us laugh more than we ever expected.  E has the keen ability to keep our hearts light and our spirits full of joy. I ran into a health scare that challenged my faith and my strength… even as I write today I question who has really won that small battle. I gained wonderful friendships in sweet ladies who also call themselves “mommy.”  I celebrated small and great joys with friends – from moves, engagement, babies, and graduations. I had heartbreak through some incredible losses. And I learned that even decisions that seem right at the time could be the wrong ones. I learned not to hold on to things that are ready to let go and to move forward on even the hardest days. I learned the grief of falling in love with an angel baby… though her hours on earth were small, her impact was incredible, Eliza will never be forgotten and her memories lives on. : ) I learned that the very things in front of us are worth fighting for and that love is a full time gift. One worth working at. I learned that the things of this life that we aren’t prepared for could lead us into the biggest grace of all. The little things that even though we don’t see at the given moment is a complete blessing in disguise.
My biggest lesson that I have clung to tightly is the lesson of grace. This year after some hard battles, I could genuinely take a step back and see Grace’s hand all over the situations. From timing to circumstances. There have been times where I broke down questioning and angry with life. It’s funny how things completely fall into place even when we can’t possibly imagine that they will. Someone asked me how a certain set of circumstances could pass as grace to me… and why didn’t I look at it as a bad hand dealt or the complete opposite of blessing. It’s simple… I know how much worse it could have been. I know exactly where I could have ended up.  I was graced with a daughter who simply snuggled with me on days that I felt so terrible.  I am graced that my husband works full time so that I do not have to… thus I no longer have to worry about leave or someone trying to get my work done by a certain deadline because I can’t. I am graced with friends and family, who despite knowing my every being (the goods, the bads, and my failures) still love me unconditionally. Grace… not every situation was an easy one this year. Grace not only saw me through them, but also shielded me from things, at the time I couldn’t possibly fathom. In some ways, my hardest minutes were my greatest blessings and that is certainly something to be thankful for. And that is certainly grace.
I am immensely looking forward to 2014. I can’t wait to see how much my sweet girl grows. I’m anxious to strive to be a better person than I was in 2013. I’m excited to see where life takes my little family. Every minute is an absolute gift and I am so excited to live it. There’s blessing in the new year and the waking up to see it.
My biggest wish for all my readers this year is that you strive to be better than the last year.  That you love who you are and are proud of the decisions you make.  That you fight for good and squash bad. That even when you hurt… you unroll your covers and get out of bed with your chin up. To be strong even when you feel incredibly weak. To smile at every stranger and hug as often as you can. Choose life, friends… in every possible way that you are able. 🙂

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

It’s Black Friday… what gives?

uh oh. I have another bone to pick with all you folks…. and mainly you folks who hate on black friday.

Department Stores Macys Black Friday 1946This picture is dated back to the 1940s and is at Macy’s. Black Friday… no matter how it caters to American Greed and Consumer needs… it is still TRADITION.

I have many friends hating on black friday. “The stores opened too early. People should be spending time with their families. Black Friday is for the crazies. People are too consumed with material things to enjoy thanksgiving.” Well here’s what I have to say about that. While black friday shopping is not for me because I hate standing in line at walmart on a normal day… many people enjoy it and it truly is tradition. I woke up to a newsfeed of people who hadn’t yet been to sleep and going on 24+ hours of shopping… and you know what I say to them. WAY TO GO. Because you have much more stamina then I do.  Most of these people went WITH their families and they do so every year. So for you folks that say they need to be spending time with their families, you should stop and think that just maybe they are. This is a tradition for some families they pile in the car going from city to city with each other and snag the best deals on everything. For some people staying out all night is a comittment they have to do so they can ensure that their shopping gets done for Christmas… because to pay full price for all the things in their cart they would need to pay nearly 2 grand or more to bring it home on a normal day.

So for all you black friday haters… be ashamed of yourself.  No one hates on you for choosing not to go black friday shopping… so don’t put someone down for going. Most of these people enjoy it and spend all week looking forward to it.  It is not a new concept… black friday has been around for decades. There is nothing wrong with anyone taking part in the “crazy” that is a thousand people in one place getting the best deals they can. Just like there is nothing wrong if you want to stay home in your PJs all day.

Good heavens guys… we should be above the judging.  And I’m serious on this… stop putting your two not so nice cents out there just because you aren’t on the same page as someone else. We need to be better than that. These are your friends and colleagues and ranting about how they spend their time is not really any place of yours…. especially if you aren’t being nice about it.

So… happy black friday friends!  Whether you are spending it like I am in pjs with harry potter or going on hour 30 of no sleep. 🙂

Until We meet again,

 myrainbowcounts@gmail.com

What kind of love is this?

You know, I get nervous when I think about sharing a personal post. I get even more nervous when I start to share a post that I know without doubt will cause some controversy or at least anything that tugs at the heart. But this topic has been incredibly heavy on my heart and so now you all are going to bare witness to something I don’t usually do….I’m laying my naked heart out for y’all to see.
Let me start by saying I am SO tired of reading articles on the perfect family and the top ten things you should do as a married person. I’m tired of reading articles that make me feel like marriage is not fabulous and I’m even more tired of reading articles that make me feel like the worlds worst mom because my kid eats sugar and we don’t have craft time everyday. I mean seriously have you tried crafting with 21 month old? It’s absurd… “let’s color a picture Em… ok kidding, mommy will color the picture.” “Let’s put this string through cheerios and make a necklace or wait, your idea is way better we’ll eat the cheerios and put the rest on the floor.” Seriously… just because we aren’t crafting every day or ever at all doesn’t mean I’m a failure as a parent… but gosh dern it if the world isn’t saying otherwise.
I’m so tired of our “today world.”  I’m tired of looking at the internet and basing my value off of that. I’m tired of seeing the picture you paint on facebook of your perfect little family and all the perfect pictures. I’m tired of seeing your hair always in place and all the “selfies” you took at just the right angle to make you look that way. I’m tired of people giving up. I’m tired of seeing both men and women walk away from their families out of selfish choices. I’m tired of seeing people fail to fight. I’m tired of the notion that happiness will be found on the other side and that just because you aren’t happy you can flee whatever obligations you promised. I’m tired of love being made to look like butterflies and fairy tales and well if you don’t have that than you are lacking. I’m tired. I’m absolutely tired of people determining what’s ok and what’s not ok based on what they see on the internet. TIRED.
I love my facebook connections. I love being able to stay in touch with people I went to kindergarten with and family that at one point all I really knew of them was their name. I love facebook. But oh is it terrible for my heart. I see the perfect picture of you and your husband grinning and heads in the cloud in love. I see the picture of your family all together smiling at the camera. Oh gosh to just get Em to look at the camera is a task. I see the post you put up of how awesome your life is because of x y and z. And I see the perfect little family that you want me to see. What I don’t see through our facebook connection is how you cried last night because you didn’t like what you saw in the mirror. I didn’t see that the one perfect picture you have posted was a single picture of at least 500 that went wrong before and after that one. I don’t see how your day went after your toddler knocked over your brand new tv or colored on your antique furniture passed down from generations. I don’t see how hard is is for you to go to sleep at night and I don’t see the disagreements you have with your spouse. I don’t see that you are moments away from breaking down. I see perfection on facebook and that’s it. I am guilty of the same… I post pictures of Emilyn that tickle my heart and I can guarantee you it’s normally not the only version of that picture on my phone. I likely picked my favorite one where Em was smiling and not throwing a tantrum or picking her nose. I don’t often post pictures of myself because I can’t get it in the right position that my face looks smaller.  Ladies and gents… we aren’t perfect. The perfect little family you follow through blogs and pinterest… they aren’t perfect either. My family isn’t perfect. We see the good parts and not the bads when it comes to portraying our lives online.
And you know what… if your marriage isn’t perfect, that is OK. You may not get butterflies everytime he walks in the door and on most days you’re probably still annoyed that for heavens sakes he could have just put his socks up today…. seeing him only reminds you of how annoyed you were when you were doing the picking up after him all day. You may not communicate the way you think other couples communicate. Let me just say this… it’s OK to watch tv together and not a feel good conversation be had. We go and go and go and it’s ok to slow down when you walk in the door. Love will not always look the same folks… you will not love that person the same way you loved him 5 years ago. Love isn’t based on how many times you cuddle or how often you feel good inside.   Of course my husband drives me crazy some days. Of course it irritates me when I have to ask him for the 10 thousandth time to do something.  Marriage isn’t butterflies and cotton candy. It’s hard work. These days we have the notion that if we aren’t happy we can just pack our bags and leave. There may be someone else you connected with and you are leaving because you want to be with them…. because with them you have butterflies and they get you and you’re happy. Trust me I get this… but the fact of the matter is, you’re married. You promised life to someone else and you didn’t just promise to them “Till things get hard do us part.”  FIGHT for it. I have so many friends traveling this road right now… one person or the other throws the line that they just aren’t happy anymore or that they aren’t in love anymore. I know how easy it is to leave… hec it’s too easy. But it isn’t meant to be easy. You’re suppose to fight for it. Fight for your family. Fight for the energy to love. It doesn’t have to be a mushy gushy love all the time… but you have to walk in the door having respect and want for your family. That man… he’s the father of your child. He’s the person that you chose…. you chose this life. That woman? She’s the woman you waited for at the end of the aisle. The woman you made cry when you got down on your knee. That woman? She is the mother of your children… you force yourself to love her. You find every reason you need to stay and forget all the reasons you need to leave. Seriously… stop tossing in the glove because you’re losing the game and pick up the bat and start winning.  You figure out what each other needs. You sit down and you figure out how to do life together. STOP GIVING UP.
I get it guys… of all people I understand and I get it. It is so easy to look at someone else’s life and feel like we’re failing.  Especially when everything in this world is agreeing with you.  Stop comparing yourself to that mom you think is so perfect. Stop aiming to please the eyes of facebook and start finding a way to make things work.  We are all set up to fail when we compare ourselves to someone else. We are even more set up to fail when we look at how much greener the grass is on the other side. Do you know how that story ended??? How has it ended for you before… because I can tell you that I’ve been to the other side of alot of things and the one thing I can tell you that the grass is never greener when you’re trading your family in.  SO FIGHT, Dag on it. Fight for your family and stop taking the easy way out because it’s offered.
Your family? IT IS PERFECT. Your an amazing mom. You are a spectacular father and I don’t care what they say.  Kudos to you for raising a sane kid in this not so sane life. Kudos to you for spending time on your phone when the world tells you you’re missing out on your child’s life. Kudos to you that stay at home and never miss a single second or laugh or poopy diaper. Kudos to you that are working two jobs and still trying to keep your head above the water. Kudos to you who want to leave but stay anyway.  Kudos to you who stayed when you thought it couldnt get any worse….
You see we’re all at different places in our walks of life… some of us are over the moon with our life. Some of us our clinging with all we can to get our bills paid. Some of us are just breaking up a what seemed really amazing relationship and now everyone wants to know if you’re ever going to settle down. Some of us are just comfortable and content… we aren’t in a high and aren’t in a low, things are just kind of sailing along.  Some of us are taking on new roles and trying different avenues.  And you know what some of us tried and tried and divorce was the absolute only resolution. NO ONE IS JUDGING HERE so please… forget what everyone else’s life looks like and simply focus on your own.  Set your own bar and set your own pace.  I am begging you. If we all keep measuring ourselves with what the internet says or comparing our worth to what we see of other people’s lives on facebook than were all doomed. Because no life is perfect and honestly… most all of our lives are broken in some way shape or form.  We need really really need to be better about this.  I’m not saying we all need to air our dirty laundry over every internet portal (PLEASE DONT DO THAT! I BEG YOU!) 🙂  I’m saying we need to simply enjoy what we see of others at face value and stop trying to live up to a bar we’ve set for ourselves based off what we see from others life on facebook…. because we are only seeing the good things.

Whew. Deep Breaths.

Until We meet again,

 myrainbowcounts@gmail.com

It’s heart day… again.

Last year on heart day, I put a lot of emotion into my blog post.  I shared with you the joys and struggles it was to be a recipient and how challenging it was to find joy in what is such a difficult situation. If you don’t remember it or have never read it, please do so here.

As it was last year, it never gets easier to find words that are right and fitting to the occasion. It’s a day of joy and grief… in some ways a day I wish would fly by without so much acknowledgement but in the same thought a day I want to shout from the roof top. I spent a lot of time in quiet today and I also spent a lot of time in tears. That said, I write a letter to my donor family every single year… but this year will be the first year I will ever share it with someone else. Please bare with me and be patient as you read through it. And if you’re my donor family… I hope this reaches you knowing that I am desperate to have you know how incredibly grateful I am for you, you taught me more than I can ever put into a single letter— or 18.

To a family I have never had the honor of meeting, yet have the humility of carrying your loved one with me,

Today marks 18 years. Long years for you, I’m positive. Yet these 18 years have gone by much easier for me. I wonder myself who he would have became. I wonder whether they’d be married and have many children. Would they have gone to college or excelled at some great gift of talent. Golly, I even wonder who they’d become in terms of careers and passions. I know 18 years ago and many days earlier that you never imagined that you’d be wondering such things so soon. I know that as a parent you feel slighted… no parent should lose a child so soon. You missed all the years ahead of them. It truly is heartbreaking. If you are a grandparent you ache for the noise in your home and all the special things you did before this dreaded day. If you are a brother or sister you have likely felt the guilt yourself. You’ve felt the ache of losing your best friend and maybe you have felt the anger of knowing that their heart is beating… but they are not breathing any longer. If you’re a friend of this sweet child you have gone on to graduate high school, go to college, and start a family clinging to the memories as they grow distant and more vague. I know. Because I have placed myself in each of your shoes. As a mom now, I can’t even begin to process your grief. I can’t imagine how it feels to lose that which you cherish most. I can’t begin to process the thought of my daughter meeting Jesus while someone else carries her beating heart. I cry at the simple but such difficult thought. I see my own mom interact with her granddaughter and understand with just a glimpse of how she loves.  She misses E’s laughter and the way she can storm through her house in seconds making the biggest mess and this miss comes as soon as we go home that day knowing we’ll be back and usually as early as tomorrow.  As a sister, I can’t imagine losing my best friend. I would feel guilty that I got to live, if she didn’t. I’d feel angry that someone else was living with the heart that should have kept my sister alive. As a friend, I can understand holding tight to memories. When that person is no longer there it’s all you have… and you feel guilty that you can’t remember every detail of them or that she doesn’t cross your mind as often as she should. I have placed myself in your shoes countless and I do mean countless times.
There are no words I can offer to you to ease any of your aches. In your own right, I hope you found AMPLE time to grieve for this sweet child today. In so many ways, I have. The heart that beats in my chest is so strong. It has given me a life I never could have dreamt of. I am a mom today. My daughter said “awesome” today when seeing Christmas lights and giggled with me in the early hours of the morning. I giggled too and this says so much as I’m not a morning person. When she giggles first on early mornings, I normally and oh so selfishly roll over and tell her to “close your eyes baby, mommy needs just five minutes longer.” 🙂 Today I woke and giggled too.  She greeted me with breakfast today and as she gave me my hash browns she followed suit with “Happy Heart Day.” She was coached by her sweet father and I couldn’t help but grin. I can not wait til E is old enough to understand what that really means. I can’t wait to teach her what selflessness looks like and to explain all it’s importance. I want to show her all the reasons we celebrate – not just mommies chance to be her mommy and many other things but heart day also is in celebration of the life that carried this heart first. We celebrate his life too.
With every letter this gets so much more difficult to write. Not because I don’t have words but for each new year I am granted, I find it harder to condense all I want to say into a single letter. I will be forever grateful for your decision to be so selfless in some of your darkest hours.  This year I have spent hours and many of those into the wee hours of the morning searching for you with my not so skilled way of doing so. I’ve missed you more this year than I ever have before and this year as per the past years, I have longed to hug your neck and show you what your decision has done for me. I didn’t just get a second chance at this crazy life… I was given life altogether. I learned from you what faith and mercy looks like. I learned from you the idea of grace and what a precious hard concept to grasp. I learned from you how to love and even more how to love my daughter. You have taught me to not take my days for granted and not to take those around me for granted either.  To not only love fully but love overwhelmingly never holding back. You’ve taught me that life is hard and you fall into places that you don’t always want to be… the beauty in that is not how we got there but how we rise above and come out of those places not focused on our own selfish needs. I strive to be the family you are. To live my life selflessly giving to those around me more than I have to give and loving more than I sometimes want to. I found myself learning forgiveness in places where it was easy to say no to.  I have lived well but more importantly I have love living. Thank you is not nearly a sufficient word choice… but it is all I have.  Thank you again today as I remember you and dwell on you more than all the other days of the year. I think of your family and the one sweet child who carried this heart before me often and not a day goes by that I don’t feel you beating within me. As I fall in love with my sweet girl over and over, as I find a love for music and friendship, as I pig out on mexican food and start christmas shopping. As I laugh and laugh and as I shed tears for things lost… I think of your sweet child. Maybe they would have loved mexican as much as I do and Maybe they would find peace in listening to gospel songs. Maybe they would have enjoyed being a parent as much as I have. And maybe they would rub off on me and have a love for exercise. Maybe they would have been gifted musically and excelled in dance.  So many things I wonder…. and so much of my life I contribute to them and to this sweet family. So Thank you. For giving me life. I am forever indebted to you and will never ever forget the memories you have given me. Not a day goes by that I don’t love you… a little more today than yesterday and a lot more now than 18 years ago.  My appreciation for you never falters and grows immensely with every passing day. I feel as if I’m part of your family already and yet I have never met you. I love you and I am forever and ever grateful to you.  Thank you thank you thank you… you’re child is my hero and your family a team of incredibles… a great team of heroes, indeed.
With all my heart,
  Stephanie

Letters… who knew!

The last video I posted was Em, in all her glory, counting. To my surprise… this girl also knows hers letters.  And by “to my surprise” my mouth hit the floor when she knew what a double-u was. 🙂 I’m not sure if her grandmas have been doing letters with her or if she has been spending a lot of time watching and really paying attention to the tv show – Super Why.  We have blocks with letters on them and whenever we play with those I always tell her A is for Apple!  B is for Bumble Bee! and so forth and she is always way more interested in the pictures on the opposite side of the blocks than the letters that represented them. 🙂  This morning as she brought me her newest book – “Berenstain Bears A Happy Halloween Book,” out of more habit of pointing out pictures in the book, I decided with no obvious reason to ask E what letter I was pointing too. I had NO and I do mean absolutely NO clue that she would be able to tell me. We went through all the letters on the page and she really amazed me!  So here’s a peak into this proud momma’s morning. 🙂

 

Until We meet again,

 myrainbowcounts@gmail.com

Tipful Tuesday :)

This quote speaks to my heart in huge ways… I love helping and I don’t always need a reason to do so.  It’s important to realize that we give more that we take and love even more than we’d want to be love.  No amount of money, time, or heart that is given because you care will be a burden to you.  So with that… here’s your tipful tuesday. 🙂

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Until We meet again,

 

 

 myrainbowcounts@gmail.com

Count your blessings…

Did you know my just shy of 2 year old daughter can count? Yes, I’m completely amazed to but I’m also her Mommy and that makes me incredibly biased. 🙂  Today’s rap sheet include my daughter counting!  I’m not sure where 6 went during this session but I decided who needs 6 in our lives today anyway!  So so proud of my girl and all that’s she’s growing into.  While she was counting and also expecting a chocolate tasty treat… I was counting my blessings and E being the very first on my list. How special it is to love someone so little so very much.

This video was captured on October 9. 🙂

Until We meet again,

 

 

 myrainbowcounts@gmail.com

Emilyn goes to dance

This month E had her very first of many to come dance classes. Once again it left this momma, oh so proud.  Because I am a stay at home momma this has really been her first (big sized) interaction with a group of kids where she doesn’t get to hold mommy’s hand the whole time. We have lots of play dates with friends and cousins but this was such a big thing for her! E is definitely a mommy’s girl and I’m excited to see her grow on so many levels through dance!! E was so timid at first and we had quite a burst of tears but she finally came around… I think she will do excellent as time goes on and she really begins to understand what it’s all about.  Since her first day she’s constantly “practicing” at home and has even added a few moves of her own. She will be playing and suddenly announce “angelina!!” (this comes from her love of the show angelina ballerina, thus all ballet she calls angelina) then she quickly asks “mommy watch me… pleaaase!” She does her ballerina turns and points her toes and bounces her knees. She’s learned so so much already. 🙂

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The coolest part of dance is that she is starting where i spent 18 years dancing myself, starting young and dancing til I graduated high school. It’s such a sweet blessing to know and love her dance teacher Mrs. P who taught me all those years.  She impacted my life in countless ways and I’m so grateful E will get a chance to be loved by her.  Even more awesome?? E’s aunt A also teaches their and she gets to be taught by her favorite aunt. 🙂 What a wonderful opportunity and so much fun for her.  Thanks Mrs. P. and Aunt A for your incredible patience and loving my sweet girl.  She truly truly loves being a ballerina!! 🙂

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E’s adorable dance bag came from an awesome shop on Etsy.  The owner of this shop is so very talented and her craft includes more than just adorable bags. 🙂 Check her out here and if you purchase something tell her that I sent you just for fun. She was so easy to work with and I really appreciate all she did to accommodate my needs for specifics and time frame.

Until We meet again,

 myrainbowcounts@gmail.com

We love fall!!

Last day of October is upon us today and wow did it approach quickly! We haven’t done as many fall things as I hoped to do but we did make it to the pumpkin patch!! 🙂 I am going to let the pictures speak for them in this post. This day was absolutely a day for memories and had this momma in sweet tears seeing how much growing my sweet baby girl has done. Wow, does time surely fly the older we get.  Stay little, sweet girl, please stay little as long as you can.

 

E and the pumpkin patch – 2013

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E and the pumpkin patch 2012!

 

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Until We meet again,

 

 

 myrainbowcounts@gmail.com