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The Clearing

On St. Patrick’s Day a few years ago L and I started our journey side by side down the path of adoption. At first the path was a little rocky and felt like it would take forever. Once we completed our classes, were certified to become parents, and our house passed inspection (not to mention that it was move-in ready), we took our first steps into the forest that the path took us along.

My arms were full with two binders of information about adoption and girls around the US that were available for adoption, and a mind full of random parenting traumatized children facts, while I edged my way through the darkening forest behind him; his automatic tendency to protect me. The ground grew thick with slick moss and spindly tree limbs pulled at us as we kept going. Surely God would reward us for continuing along this horrible path.

So many times I’d think I saw the light for us, but was wrong, and L would have to hold me until the tears passed and try to caution me from letting my heart get involved while we were still in the forest. But I was in love with the idea of finally getting to be a mother, so a bit of my heart broke every time that light was just a trick of the forest.

Finally a very kind woman joined us and helped lead us out of the last bit of the woods, and my heart soared. We made it through the forest, we started the walk with distance between us but had grown closer throughout, and now we could enjoy the sunshine of the clearing, while we awaited our reward for working so hard and diligently. For my loving so much despite the pain.

For a few weeks it was absolutely incredible. There was a young lady to learn about, to take care of, and to work every day to make her know that she was loved and valuable. She said “I love you” and even called me “Mom”, yet I had to keep from sharing the highs and lows with the world. Until the papers would be signed at official placement, the edges of the clearing filled with shadows of all of the secrets about her that, by law, we were supposed to keep. The shadows of secrets became so thick it was hard to see beyond the clearing anymore, especially after the woman left and most of the time it was just the girl and I. One day I finally looked clearly into her eyes and saw Evil. I had narrowly escaped murder before and knew that look well, and knew deep down that my life of dreams, work, and family was about to collapse.

With the help of a friend who understood that Evil, I was able to tell L that I was scared and he immediately stopped the proceedings. I spent the next three months sitting in that clearing, shadow secrets and trees pulling at me, the sky as dark as ink nearly all of the time. L would come and hold me close, but no one can hold you close enough or be there for long when you live in Depression.

An illness contracted from being around the child, coupled with my weak immune system, left me on bed rest for well over a month, and left me in that shadowy world to think and mourn. (I just saw my world’s-best-doctor who is now treating it and my immune system is no longer under attack! Yay! I may actually get off bed rest soon!) Although I still don’t see a light and don’t know where the path from this place is quite yet, it’s not quite as dark now that I’ve been forced to face my fears and forced to mourn.

We never received the blessings that I expected, but in some ways we came away with different ones. 15 years after our vows and I love him more than I ever did before, plus we went through such horrible times that I’ve never felt closer to someone. I learned that it doesn’t take a child to make us a family – we have four fur babies and another one planned to adopt once the youngest two are out of their terrible twos, and we finally made our house a home. Together we make a family.

I also learned a very painful lesson about myself while being forced to face it all. I never truly mourned miscarrying my daughter from my first tango with Evil and was so caught up in the idea of a pre-teen or teen girl because I wanted to share those moments with her that I never got to share with Sierra. I never got to get a dress and her hair done for a formal dance, never got to take one of those holiday card family photos, or even got to plan out a themed birthday party. I missed those special moments that parents often take for granted. But I was just substituting another for the daughter and her moments that I missed out on. That was a hard pill to swallow and an extremely hard failing to admit to, especially putting it out there in the public. If it helps one person in their journey though, I’m thankful I had the strength to write it.

I felt such sorrow for that child with so many secrets and such pain, that I truly wanted to help that young lady. I was in love with being her mother though, not with her. If she didn’t have the other issues, I know I would have grown to love her, but now I don’t know how much would have been for her alone versus a stand-in for Sierra. I also can now see just how much she was manipulating me with the “I love you” and “Mom”, as well, which I would never have realized. As disappointed as I am in myself for motives I was unaware of, I know realistically that we both had severe failings in our motivations.

In those long hours in the darkness I also realized that I have never mourned the other two children that I lost because of my ex. I didn’t carry them as long and, in a way, it was just easier to not recognize that they had been a part of that horrible phase of my life. I had shoved that pain and knowledge deep into the shadows of my mind, and had done quite the job of keeping that corner sealed off. It’s ironic that it now hurts that I hadn’t mourned or allowed myself to think about them. One was my Angel while two were secrets that my mind tried to hide, because it hurt so much. Yet again I caught sight of that tarnished silver armor when I brought the subject up to L and he said they were just as special, just as much Angels, as Sierra, so I should memorialize them too. They deserved just as much, even if I didn’t get to carry them as long. Forget the roses and poetry for me; this is the type of gift a partner can give that can truly change and improve your life. I have a whole shelf and binders of poetry, but have never read something as touching as what he said that day.

I know I’ll be in the dark clearing for a while longer, but I have Faith that I’ll see the path out once I’m ready. It is sad and hurts that we went through such a long and difficult journey to get to this point, but I’m learning to be thankful. I don’t know that I could have ever realized that it’s us together that all ready makes our family, and I don’t know that I would have ever felt peace in that without this pain. There may (and that’s one mighty big may) be a fork in the road in the future, but I’m not in such a rush to get there now. I have a lot of myself to learn about that I had suppressed, I still need to get over the PTSD and horrific nightmares about my ex that Kiddo triggered, and I want to enjoy this time with L. I never expected to have such a loving and close relationship; we were Blessed after all, just not as we expected. Although part of me would still love to be a mother, I’m very thankful that God has better vision than I do.

🙂

Clovers Anyone?

Yep, I totally went there for my Celtic Thunder post.  *cracking up*  I will not apologize for it either, since I absolutely love a well fitting kilt on a man, and we got to see several of them wearing them.  *happy sigh* Hey, I’d sigh over the big guy wearing one too, but that’ll never happen, so it’s my burden to sigh at Irishmen wearing them.  *smirk*  (Just a heads up, this will be a picture laden post, so loading may take a little extra time than usual.)

 

For an overnight trip, it feels like so much happened!  I was still on a high from having just met Kiddo in person at our meeting and from our nightly phone calls.  Plus, I got to dress up in my new leather jacket and booties, and I even put on a bit of makeup (although I think I shivered it all off by the time the pictures were taken *laugh*).  I tried, which actually means I put a lot of effort into dressing for the concert.  We got to go their concert in 2016, so I was determined to make this “as a new mom” with my mom time even better.

 

It started with an overnight stay at The Courtyard by Marriott, in Salina.  Absolutely gorgeous and very clean; I actually got to watch another room get cleaned and they strip the beds all the way down, etc., so it’s truly clean and that makes me a loyal customer.  Just check out the basic two queens room…

 

We went to this random chicken restaurant that looked like a small mom-and-pop-type and had the best comfort food ever!  Beef, mashed potatoes, and gravy open-faced sandwich, along with real baked beans on the side.  *sigh*

Comfort food

 

We got ready and arrived early, since last time it was so packed, but we underestimated how cold it would become and that they wouldn’t let us wait in the lobby even once it dipped below forty.  I tried to distract us for a while by talking about Kiddo’s meeting, calls, and Mom’s parenting advice, and then with Snapchat filters and pictures.

Cool Rider

 

Hot Mama

 

Mom and I Beary Happy

 

Once we finally got in, got souvenirs right off the bat, we found our seats just a few rows back from the stage.  I did an excellent job of fighting the downed server in the first minutes the early group was allowed to buy tickets last year!  Look how close we were to the stage!

These aren’t even zoomed in.   When Ryan from CT reached out his hand to the audience, it seemed like I could almost touch it.  Holy smokes!

 

The Theatre itself has amazing architecture and is a wonder to look at while waiting, too!

Stiefel Theatre

Stiefel Theatre

Balcony 1

Balcony 1

Balcony 2

Balcony 2

Stained Glass Light

Stained Glass Light

 

 

As expected their X tour concert was phenomenal, with a mix of Oldies, some of their original songs, and even covers of current songs, such as Galway Girl© by Ed Sheeran, covered by Damian McGinty (ah-maz-ing as they dramatically say).  Seasons in the Sun© and The Streets of London© both brought tears to our eyes, while Bye Bye Baby© and I’m a Believer© were so much fun to sing along with.  This time there were only four of the guys, but they did a fantastic job still, were just as good if not better than their DVD performance of the first concert for the tour, and were so engaging.  I sincerely hope they come back in 2020, so it can be three generations of us singing Ireland’s Call© as the concert closes.

 

You know what makes it even better?  My daughter wore hers to bed the first night and put it back on anytime she was in the house.  It was awesome to see her all sleepy eyed in her new shirt that she didn’t want to take off.  Between the new mom with established mom conversations, a spot of Christmas shopping, a phenomenal concert that included kilts, and then rushing home to go get my daughter, that was the best two-day concert trip I’ve ever had.  A sleepy eyed daughter wearing her Celtic Thunder tee was the whipped topping for my dessert of blessings.

 

By the way, if you’re interested or curious, you can check Celtic Thunder out on YouTube, their website, and Amazon (plus others probably, but these are the ones I can personally vouch for).  If you’re an Amazon Music Unlimited member, most of their work is available, too!

 

Kiddo’s going to help me make a special wall hanging from the concert once I get the pics all printed, to go with the concert book and such.  😀  I haven’t yet brought her over to the Celtic side, but she was pretty preoccupied with her new tablet to listen to my music, so I’m going to try a little I’m a Believer© on her when she comes back very soon while school is out.  Then I’ll get my own lucky charm to help me decide on which style tattoo I’m going to do to celebrate her completing our forever family.  🙂

“Mom”

We had our first home visit with Kiddo, which even included us doing the long drive down to pick her up instead of Transport. We got a little extra time to visit before the drive lulled her to sleep until we were about 40 minutes from home. She picked Taco Bell for a quick dinner, since it was getting late, and then we headed on home. I got her settled in and she loves her bedroom as is, despite my horrible paint job and frequent offers that we can change anything. There was a little visiting and the poor young lady passed out in her new bed.

First thing after brunch it was time to unpack all of the rest of the doll clothes and now she has several outfits for her doll, including PJs which went on overnight), learning how to use her Fire tablet, and setting up her own music playlist for Alexa to play. I learned a lot about a boy singer that is apparently hotter than the sun *grin*, how to tune out JoJo while still listening to my daughter, and about how cool Swift still is. And then I learned a lot about playing horse farm games, which was one of the sweetest evenings ever.

Instead of our Spa Day, we hit the city and ate at a restaurant, where I introduced her to Snapchat filters and got a ton of pictures with her, and finally got her to take some silly pictures, too. When she saw a Christmas inflatable of Olaf that she just loved, the big guy wordlessly bought it. *grin* Me thinks daddy feelings are starting to brew, but I’m not saying that, since he would never say that, you know what I mean? *wink*

She also said it’d be best for the two stray kittens to be brought in Saturday to stay in her room as they acclimate and get trained, before joining our older cats. Kiddo absolutely loves them and one is specifically hers. *grin* She even played a cat app on her tablet for the kittens to bat at electronic mice. It was so adorable to see her with them. They are pretty cute, I admit. Greetings from Zane and Bella…

We spent breakfast with Larry and then back to spend time with the kittens, plus time for some more gaming. (Mini me!!) We even snuggled in bed for a short nap, which was one of the most beautiful times of my life. I decided we should get things gathered and go to the living room about half an hour before Transport was due, just to be able to confirm she had everything. And Transport arrives almost immediately after we enter the living room. After the signing, taking her things out to the car, and waving while watching her go, I had an unexpected breakdown. I didn’t expect the first home visit goodbye to be so hard. Every one of those adoption sayings were absolutely true. I had all ready loved my unknown child, but I had quickly fallen in (motherly) love with this creative, unique, and beautiful young lady.

I sent a text with the picture of the kittens doing well to her foster father to share, so that she could see they’re all right, and I got a reply back from her. It started off as “Hi Mom…”. A few hours later and I’m tearing up again. *sappy smile* I didn’t expect her to refer to me as Mom for a long time, so my heart is so overflowing with joy. My blessings are overflowing, despite a few issues with my health. I always wanted to be a mom and to someday hear it, and had nearly given up on that lifelong wish, and my incredible daughter blessed me with my last “life long wish” tonight. Life is good tonight and I had to share that, since it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to wholeheartedly say that. As they say in a movie, I am incandescently happy. (Or close. I still am, regardless. Lol)

I wish you joy and peace tonight, plus promise to write soon about the amazing Celtic Thunder concert I got back from the day we brought Kiddo home for her visit. 🙂

I Can Only Imagine©™

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I watched the title movie a couple of days before we got notified that we were picked for the adoption and have listened to the song for some time all ready.  It lives in my Absolute Faves Right Now playlist.  While puttering around, working on projects to finish before Kiddo comes over soon, I realized that the song applies in other, just as deep, ways.  I knew that it would be the biggest blessing to find and be approved for our forever daughter.  I didn’t know that there are so many blessings just following that even and I’m in awe of what God has been gifting me with.  Within a couple of days I’ve gotten to talk to my daughter (my daughter!) twice over the phone.  She got distracted at times, but hearing her and talking about things she likes to do or what foods she likes…I had tears in my eyes and my heart swelled like the Grinch’s®; way too big to fit in my little body.  The excitement in her voice about trying things she saw we had done or have that were in the scrapbook about us that I made a long time ago for her; the sadness when she learned Bo had passed away since the book was made; how she can’t wait to learn to scrapbook like this and do crafts with me…I couldn’t have imagined that these “little” moments could be such blessings that I would never have guessed at.  God protected such beautiful gifts for when we finally got matched.

 

Finding out that we’ll get to meet this next weekend and get to have two stay overs with us next month…I can only imagine how these will affect us down into our souls.  How would we have ever guessed that we would be blessed to have her stay for Thanksgiving break and move in with a few days to spare before Christmas, to be part of our family forever?  Unlike the question in the song, I’ve sang Hallelujah while crying the happiest tears of my life and I’ve been rendered speechless by the beauty of this blessing God is sharing with us.  In about two and a half months we will have our daughter.  After the past few years I can’t even express the awe that we will get to transition her into our home so quickly.  It’s mere weeks, realistically!  Just months ago I wondered what my purpose in life was; why I had survived the attempted murder.  A few months later God gave us a new path to walk full of love and learning that our purpose is to make this young lady happy and feel the start of  our forever love,  and completely change our priorities to spend the rest of our lives helping her to have the happiest life she can.  Preparing for the hard times and crying happy tears while hugging over the good ones.  It’s hard to imagine that the answer would come in such an incredible way.

 

I had fun over the past two years collecting gifts for her.  I had no idea that buying the additional Christmas gifts that are specific to her interests would be such an adventure!  I get to go to my long awaited concert and the night I come back my daughter will sleep in her bed for the first time in an over-sized concert tee for her nightgown.  I could never have imagined how these little things would feel.

 

And the soaring of my heart when we all agreed, even her foster father, that internet class based homeschooling is the right thing for her at this time.  She needs that one-on-one time and teaching, plus we get to take trips to help make things like history a real concept instead of something in a book, while still also being able to keep up with schoolwork on the computer when away from home!  Plus, there’s built in socialization along with the gradual socialization we have planned – kind of like a dart board.  The bulls-eye is the core support system we thankfully have.  Once she’s comfortable and settled, we will expand out a bit to the next circle of friends and family, and then we will expand to school-organized events, socializing with other kids going to the same homeschool, meeting more distantly connected people, etc.  I’m very thankful that God worked with our Social Worker to make our dreams of how best to help our child work out.  It’ll also give some much needed bonding time, as well, which she definitely deserves a lot of.

 

Anyway, I’ve been in a flurry of preparing the house, going through cabinets to try to change things to what will work for her dietary needs, and wrapping all of the Christmas presents that were waiting in her room, since we were told to not hold out hope for success this year.  Plus, a lot of notes to transcribe to put in my other adoption binder, to have on hand in case we need to refer to her history, etc.  I’m also painting wood to become shelves for her room and a shoe rack.  Might as well utilize my joyful energy.  Who would have guessed that I’d get a few extra spoons after talking to my daughter?!  On the flip side, I have a lot of time I get distracted by the awe of it all and just sit in prayer or meditation, thankful of these beautiful raindrops of blessings from the big blessing.  *soft smile*

 

In the meantime, I won’t get as much written, but you’re along for the glorious ride and my asking y’all advice for which type of gift is a better option, since most of you are established parents.  I’m not above asking for help.  *grin*  So pamper on, and I wish you the joy of raindrops of blessings until I can next sit down and gather my mind.  🙂

 

My Christmas Wish

My most earnest Christmas wish for this year was for us to get matched to Kiddo and have our first “forever family” Christmas. Today we were blessed with the notification that we were picked in the BIS meeting and by the Regent, and we start lining our ducks in a row this Thursday!!

I’m still in shock, I think. I start something and go sit down. After a while I remember I was doing something, go move an item or complete the task, and sit down again to just stare into space. *laugh* I spend time thinking about Christmas, since our Social Worker believes we’ll definitely have Kiddo moved in by then and able to celebrate with us (if not, daring to hope, sooner). Sometimes I wonder how those first minutes are going to be. Will they be awkward, tearfully happy, a bit of both…? And I need to get her suitcase for that first meeting, still, because my daughter isn’t putting her belongings in a trash bag to move. The knowledge that it occurs still tears me up.

In a couple days we get to go over the transition plan, which includes meeting Kiddo in person, visiting on her turf, and bringing her here for some overnighters. It varies with every situation, so who knows if it’ll take her a while to feel comfortable enough to stay overnight or if we’re all running headlong into family life.

So, although I’ve been working on product a lot (and having some EPIC fails!), those plans are getting set aside. I have some fun ones to add to my site now, but lots of my new ideas are going to wait for mother/daughter project times now. I have fun creating product, even when I fail horribly, but we’ve waited so many years for this blessing that my business is going back to being a craft now. I’ll share some of the fails with you soon, just for a good laugh and to mourn with me how pretty they looked at first. *laugh* Once I know Kiddo’s preferences I need to make some gifts for her. I also am about to hit the manic housewife mode that I need to get my house into some serious order. *grin* Do you remember when I mentioned how I have a hard time dealing with emotions? You add excitement and nerves together, and suddenly our home is good enough for us but not for bringing in Kiddo. Anyone want to paint some boards with me, take things down the ladder into the basement, or steam clean my living room? *laugh*

Beyond the insanity, it’s been a beautiful day of sharing our news. I appreciate every person who has been encouraging, uplifting, and travelled this journey with us. And for those of you who are involved and so excited, thank you for being part of this. We couldn’t have kept going if it wasn’t for all of you. Who would have thought I’d actually get my Christmas wish early? Now that I’m getting all girly and emotional I’m going to go move things around, and then sit back down again for awhile. I think Jacksepticeye is perfect for tonight’s dazed mind.

Until next time, I wish you joy and blessings. 🙂

Happy Birthday Virgos

L and B 9 11 18 Boudouire_097

 

Happy Birthday to all those Virgos out there!  

 

I’m sorry for the radio silence since the internet went out.  All sorts of stuff went on, between my laptop starting to go out, internet going back out; all those great moments in life that make you say meh and hide away until the next day.  Next thing you know it’s been quite a while since you’ve blogged.  *grin* I have managed to make several pieces of product that I’m actually sending over to a favorite show in Ireland, plus Christmas items, and had a LOT of failures while making product recipes.  *laugh*

 

While I’m at it, this is the least enthusiastic I’ve ever felt about my birthday, honestly.  My mind is pulled too many directions, plus it was recently the twentieth anniversary of miscarrying Sierra, which has a lot more emotional impact than just another middling birthday.  It’s a step closer to the fortieth, which is a little less enthusiastic than even this one.  *laugh* It’ll make figuring up my age easier for the doctor’s office, at least.  If you ever wonder about why I’m so critical with myself or analyse everything, just read the definition of a Virgo.  I’m the epitome of the nerdy one.  *grin*

 

One super huge event that has taken up most of my thoughts while off is that the BIS meeting happened for our hopeful daughter.  We’ll know in a month or so how the results came out, so it’s a dual-edged sword; there’s finally a time frame for expectations, but now there’s a chance that in four or so weeks I may learn that we weren’t selected for this daughter that I felt for as soon as I read her profile.  It’s been just the two of us rattling around in this home for so long that it’s hard to imagine another person, especially when it’s not one that has grown up into our family, but is a mini-adult with us all jumping into massive changes.  I can imagine her at Christmas, making product with me, and going through schoolwork together.  I’m trying to not be excited, since our SW made it sound like it went very favorably, but we’ve been burned so much by our experiences.  Parts of me can’t help but think if we have at least visitation by Christmas I’m turning our home into a mini-Branson.  *laugh* Make a freaking Winter Wonderland for the first Christmas with our daughter, plus it’ll be such a memorable time with the family anyway.  Needless to say, I’ve had a lot of self-editing of my emotions and thoughts, but the hamsters are still pretty lost in the ideas and hope, honestly.

 

Anyway, I’m back with my new laptop, improved internet connection, and five injuries I’m recovering from.  *laugh* Bengay is considered pampering too, right?  😉

An Update to Kiddo’s Room

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Since we decided to Home School via Connections Academy I felt it was important to have a designated spot for school time and would have all of her supplies at the ready, so L modified my huge wood desk to fit in her room and I just had to share how awesome it turned out (yes, I need to re-stain it, but cosmetics can wait until the big stuff is done *laugh*).

 

Kiddos Desk

 

The cloth boxes filled with things are actually specific curriculum subject supplies, so those will actually go up on a shelf once that is built.  Right now I have the binders and extras all stacked underneath the desk, awaiting the shelf, too.  She can lay in bed and watch TV, there will be a frame with four family pictures (three of us all individually and then placement or adoption day in the last window) that will go with the “family” sign, and the desk doesn’t interfere with her window while giving a lot of work room.  And it is SOLID.  *laugh* We got a great deal on it when I started my first business and since it’s such a high quality piece we just had to modify it to work for her room.  (And yes, I’m about 1/3 of the way done Christmas shopping.  *grin* I’m that annoying friend who doesn’t understand wading through the crowds on Christmas Eve.  *laugh*  Plus, I have some that have to be shipped out of state, so I start working on them early, too.)

 

I know it’s super nerdy, but organizing the subject supplies and books together today made it all feel so real and happy to me.  Whichever is Kiddo will have to do art as part of their coping techniques, but it can be such a fun outlet that I couldn’t resist putting together a variety of mediums beyond what the school sends. 

 

Although my dad is now out of the picture I even got to put his graphing and blueprint drawing tools in her math box.  I like that I can add a few things of his for her that bring back good memories for me.  For her science box (which I had to stick a few pieces of other things into since I wanted to keep the center of the desk clean until the shelving is built) I even have a DNA testing kit to learn about her long ago heritage, how blood types work, and even a lesson on haplogroups.  Genealogy is something that she can share with Grandma, since I’m only interested in the science and the heritage, instead of the ancestry. 

 

It’s really kind of awesome that I’m able to supplement the core classes she will take and have them connect to her new family, as well.  There’s a little concern about the DNA test, but since I’m the one handling all of it, I will keep the more current information put away for her to have when she’s older, if she wants genetic information about her closer biological ancestry.  We definitely don’t want to add to her trauma, but with so much loss of identity I think knowing if she has Irish, Russian, German, or whatever roots might give her a little something to help her not feel so set apart from the general population.  Adoption and foster guru Sherrie Eldridge recently blogged about how left out this group of children are, especially when it’s that first day of school and they go through the trauma of a new place with new people all over again.  It left me thinking about what would her first day story be that she would give others, if she starts standard school the next year?  I’m hoping that I can give her something to relate to, like which heritage she has, so she isn’t just “the Cornelisons’ adopted kid” or leaving her to make up a life she thinks other kids will think is cool.  Even if she hasn’t attached to us by then, at least she will have something real to identify herself with and keep her system story private if she wants to, without making up a whole story that will inevitably go wrong at some point. 

 

Anyway, I beam every time I look at her desk and especially her bins.  The anatomy book L picked up at a garage sale in the middle of the dead zone of our process; the calculator that I used for working at home and then starting my own business is now hers, and even brand new pencils instead of the old household ones.  She may never realize it, but there’s meaning and memories behind almost every item, and I just can’t wait to take her shopping to see how she accessorizes and makes all of this hers.  I can clearly picture the tween we’re waiting on the BIS for sitting in that chair doing homework.  The other two not so easily, but it makes me catch my breath sometimes.  I imagine this must be what it’s like when a mother sees the crib all finished and ready for the first time.  Schooling is where we will start our deepest bonding instead and I’m actually okay with that now.  I’m not sure what tomorrow brings, but this past week just standing in her doorway and looking at everything is my happy moment every single time.  🙂

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