Tag Archives: Support

To My Favorite Valentine

14 Feb

Dear Little Man,

Today is Valentine’s Day! I know that doesn’t mean much to you yet, so I’ll tell you a little bit about it.

Today is all about love. Love for your family, for your friends, for someone special. It’s about celebrating the people in your life that cherish you, and that you cherish back. It’s about loving yourself for who you are. It’s about realizing how much love you are surrounded by, period. Again, I know this doesn’t mean much to a two-and-a-half year old, but I find it to be very convenient since I am crazy, madly, head-over-heels in love with you.

When most people think of Valentine’s Day, they think of romantic love (which is definitely lots of fun!). You won’t have to worry about this until you’re at least 45, so don’t worry about it too much yet. But today E and J may have something special planned or they may swap cards and cute little gifts. Somewhere right now, a girl is getting chocolates in a heart-shaped box and a guy is planning a romantic evening. As you get older, things like this are what Valentine’s Day will be about.

I, however, like to think of Valentine’s Day as how I said it earlier: “It’s about celebrating the people in your life that cherish you, and that you cherish back.” I don’t save my all of love for one person (although if there was a list, you’d be at the top!), I like to give it freely to everyone important to me – my mom and dad, my beautiful friends, The Boyfriend, The B’s.

In a way Valentine’s Day is like Thanksgiving for me – it makes me realize how many people love me and care about me. It’s a day when I realize how wide my support system is and how lucky I am to have everyone in it. I have some of the best friends in the world, friends who have known you since you were just an 8-week old ultrasound picture, who love you almost as much as I do. I have a wonderful Boyfriend who makes me feel special, who loves hanging out with you. I have parents who never fail to take care of me when I need it, who want to take care of you too. We have all of this support because we have love.

So on this lovely Valentine’s Day, I want you to know that if you choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day the way I do, you are going to have the world’s biggest support system to be thankful for. You will have The B’s who already love you beyond words. You have J and E’s parents who love you to pieces and feel so lucky to have you. You have my parents you brag about you endlessly and have their home wallpapered with photos of you. You have my friends who ask to tag along on every visit I take to see you and swarm my house whenever you come to town. You have your awesome big brother who loves teaching you things and playing with you. You have everyone you’ve touched along the your journey from me to the B’s.

And lastly, you have me – no matter where you go or what you do. I am proud of you and I always will be. It is so important to me that you know how much I love you. Which part of the reason I write you these letters – so I can tell you every day. Not just today, which is dedicated to love, but every day I possibly can, whether I’m with you or not.

So Happy Valentine’s Day, my handsome Little Man. I’m so happy to be yours.

You and I on Our First Valentine's Day :)

You and I on Our First Valentine’s Day :)

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The One with the Lucky Baby

19 Nov

Dear Little Man,

One of my favorite TV shows when I was growing up (and now) is called Friends. Recently I got my hands on the DVD seasons (it ended in 2004) and I’m re-watching them all. It’s a funny sitcom-type show about six friends (three boys, three girls) who go through all of their ups and downs together, but no matter what, they are always there for one another.

Now — following that description — it is a sweet show with some truly tender, genuine moments…but mostly it’s just really, really funny. It will probably be way outdated by the time you’re old enough to appreciate it (or old enough to be allowed to watch it) but I think you should check it out at some point. If you turn out to be anything like me, you’ll certainly relate to the humor :)

Now in the first season of Friends, there’s a weird dynamic between Ross (one of the main characters) and his ex-wife Carol. As it turns out, Carol’s romantic interests were not…how should I put this…male-oriented. However, before Carol discovered this, she and Ross created a baby boy. By the time the baby was born, Carol was with her new life partner, Susan.

But Susan and Ross didn’t get along so well, especially when it came to the baby. Ross was technically the father, but Susan wanted the baby to recognize her as a parent as well. She and Ross would argue all the time about who would get to see the baby more and hold the baby more and love the baby more. Finally, at the hospital on the day that the baby was born, Ross’s friend Phoebe was listening to Ross and Susan fight over this little guy, when Phoebe said this:

“When I was growing up, my dad left and my mother died and my stepfather went to jail, so I barely had enough pieces of parents to make one whole one. But here’s this little baby who has three whole parents who care about it so much, they’re fighting over who gets to love it the most, and it’s not even born yet. It’s the luckiest baby in the whole world.”

That quote had me riveted. Of course, years ago when I first saw this episode it didn’t mean much to me, but now that I’m older…and now that I have you…I have a new appreciation for what Phoebe said. While no one has ever fought over who gets to love you the most — I think The B’s and I (along with my family and friends) share that job incredibly well — I hope that one day, you feel like the luckiest kid in the world. The baby in Friends (who they ended up naming Ben, by the way) had the love of three parents. But you have four — two moms, two dads, not to mention four sets of grandparents, and I don’t even want to go into how many aunts, uncles and cousins you have.

But I can tell you right now that, just like Baby Ben, we were all madly in love with you before you were even born. And our love grows as you do…it just keeps getting bigger and bigger every single day.

 

It’s Just You & Me, Kid

14 Nov

Dear Little Man,

Now quite obviously, it’s not just you and me. Even when I was pregnant and it really was just you and me, it was also you, me and my gynecologist. Then it was you, me and the ultrasound tech (who got to know me realllly well). Then it was you, me and an entire medical team on the maternity ward.

Then it was you, me and The B’s, and the rest is history!

However, a few days ago I was revamping my Letters to Little Man site. There were places where it still said I was 20 and I was boasting about how you could recite the ABC’s. I turned 21 in May and you can practically read now, so yes…updating was needed. So I changed some descriptions, added a few things here and there and lastly, I changed the pictures. You especially have a tendency to change rapidly as you grow, but luckily, J is on top of taking pictures as always, so there’s no excuse to have a photo of you that is a year old.

I went to change my photo too. Though I don’t change as much or as frequently as you do (wait, that’s a lie. I just got bangs for the first time in 3 years), I figured it couldn’t hurt to update my photo as well. So off I went, hunting through my most recent Facebook pictures for one that would be suitable for the blogosphere.

Though I wanted one of just me for the “Meet Renee” section, I also thought it would be super neat to have a few pictures of us together. I began the Facebook hunt again. Only this time, I found photo and photo after photo of you and I together. I’m generally so preoccupied with getting great shots of just you, that I truly failed to realize that there are a lot of pictures of us.

So alllll of those photos, paired with my natural inability to make decisions, has resulted in way too many pictures to post in the Meet Renee section. However, there is no such thing as too many photos for a letter to my Little Man :)

Technically one of our first pictures together. Technically.

Definitely our first picture together. You look so happy…

One of my favorite hospital shots!

A little over a week old. This was at Bethany during the interim period.

Exactly one month old! Oh, I miss your itsy bitsy days…

This was on a trip we took to an apple orchard with The B’s when you were 2 months old. Hey there, chunky legs ;)

At Sports Man’s 7th birthday party. You fell asleep in my arms. Then, you started falling OUT of my arms.

And so the hilarity of your expressions begins…

I could never resist giving you kisses. It’s a good thing too because now you’re moving too fast for me to even catch you to give you one!

You and I around your six-month birthday!

A Valentine’s Day visit at Grandma M and Pop-Pop’s house!

This was around the time you discovered you had a tongue. Apparently it was fascinating.

You were suuuper sick this day, but we still smiled together :)

Smoochin’ on you before our first Mother’s Day!

A perfect display of how happy you make me :) This photo is in your nursery!

This was the morning of our first Mother’s Day! J and I went to a “girls” luncheon to celebrate together. I’ll remember that day forever.

A month or so before your first birthday. This was probably the last time you ever sat still for a picture ;)

Little Man turns ONE! This was taken at your “little man themed” party. I got to celebrate the whole weekend with you!

This probably won’t be the last time you get exasperated with me. It also probably won’t be the last time I find it funny.

I would follow you anywhere :)

This past March, right after St. Patrick’s Day. J brought her camera on a visit and we had a little photo shoot! I think we’re applauding your cuteness ;)

You + Me + The B’s + Grandma M + Pop Pop + Aunt S = BEACH TRIP! We went to the Isle of Palms and hung out together for a few days. We even spent a day in Charleston which was funny because the last time I had been there, I was pregnant with you :)

At your second birthday party (time flies!!). Your hand was alllll the way in that cow’s mouth. All. The. Way. Giving mommy a heart attack? Yes.

The same weekend as you second birthday. You and I played in the hose for a while. We got soaked and it was lovely :)

I love every single photo we get together, but not just because you’re incredibly photogenic. I love our photos for the simple reason that we get to take them together. Adoption didn’t split us up, it didn’t cause me to miss out, it hasn’t separated us in any way except literal distance. The fact that I got to be around for all of this stuff — holding you at Sports Man’s party, spending Mother’s Day with you, giving you kisses and spending birthdays playing with you — it’s the part of adoption that I love the most. It’s part of the reason why I will love and owe The B’s forever, and it’s definitely the reason we will grow up knowing one another.

I cherish these photos. The silly, the blurry, the candid, the posed, the goofy the smiley, the serious and the fun. We’re creating a history together, you and me. And I hope that one day, you cherish them as much as I do.

Adoption is Everywhere

13 Nov

Dear Little Man,

I’m going to share a secret of mine with you. That secret is that I dream about being pregnant again someday.

In my actual dreams, I’m generally terrified of pregnancy and, in dream world, I find myself thinking, “I’m pregnant again? Oh my, I wonder if The B’s will raise this one for me, like they did Liam…” So, so, so weird. I’m generally thrilled to wake up and realize it was a dream because I has such a difficult time going through with placing you…I’m not sure I could do it again.

But during my waking hours, sometimes I think about having a baby when I’m ready for one. I love you so very much…in that “beyond words” kind of way…and I hope to be able to someday have a little half-brother or -sister for you to meet, that I can love just as much. I never thought I wanted kids, but once I discovered I was carrying you, I realized that I wanted nothing more than to be the best mother I possibly could. Hopefully I will be able to be that mother someday. Hopefully you think I am that mother today.

Yesterday evening, Miss Manhattan (one of your many aunts, a fellow blogger with a wonderful site, and one of my oldest friends) sent me a link to a blog called Arielle Elise. This blog is mostly (beautiful!) photography, but this particular post was about a couple going through an adoption in Uganda.

In my many talks/discussions/speeches given at Bethany functions, I have heard a few stories of international adoption, though most of the ones I’ve heard have been from Asia. Though I don’t know much about international adoption (I am studying it!), I still love that adoption spreads its influence so widely. The love that adoption encompasses can span oceans…how beautiful is that?

The couple featured in the Arielle Elise post are twenty-somethings, married for 5+ years and in the process of adopting their own Little Man from Africa. Their photos are all about them and love and how love creates family (oh how I can attest to that!) Their blog, This Beautiful Truth, follows an incredible, emotional journey through adoption and their daily lives. Like one of my favorite bloggers, Infertility Awakening, these journeys fascinate me. People who have the hearts and souls for adoption never fail to astound me with their openness and their love. I always find them to be very brave, courageous people who have decided to open their hearts and look on the bright side of life…just like The B’s!

I love sharing stories of people like this, mostly because I feel that somehow, we’re all connected through this adoption experience. Birth mothers, adoptive families, adopted children…though we’re all different a spread far and wide, I somehow feel like we’re all connected at the core. I get to share our story and other couples and birth mothers get to share theirs and together, we form this network, this collaboration of people who want nothing more than to love their children and families as much as humanly possible.

And I understand. Though I am the birth mother rather than the adoptive mother, I think I get it, or part of it at least. I understand that longing to be a mother, to create a family, to want to share your love with a child you have the privilege of calling your own. Though I certainly can’t empathize with the frustrating, upsetting, sometimes devastating effects of infertility, I think I realize the desire that drives it. The desire to hear someone call you “mom.” It sounds like a small thing, but it means something so much bigger to so many people.

And that’s why I still have my dream. My dream of being “mom.” That’s why. someday, I’d like to give you those half-sibling(s) that call me “mother.” It’s a small thing, but that tiny act of love can fill a heart to the point of bursting. I would know. That’s what I feel every time you call me “Nay-Nay.” It may not be “mom” outright, but I cherish it as though it were. Because though you may not call me your mother, I will forever call you my son and I will be proud. That’s just how love works.

So enjoy this tiny piece of your expansive network, Little Man. I hope you enjoy reading the stories of this family as much as I enjoy telling the stories of my own little boy, my shining star, my bright light at the end of all of my dark tunnels.

That would be YOU, in case you were wondering ;)

Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About

3 Nov

Tonight, I’m speaking at another Bethany fundraiser in Asheville, NC. And before you ask, no, I will not be starting this talk with an underwear joke.

In a way, I’m almost more excited for this talk than I was for the last one. Someday, you will learn that once you give a speech, no matter how well you plan it out, inevitably you will forget to say something. Around midnight or so that night, you will sit bolt upright in bed and think, “Oh shoot, I forgot to mention [insert important factoid here].”

I did that after my talk in Charlotte — it didn’t even take me until midnight. But luckily for me, I now have the opportunity to add the things I forgot to mention. I won’t give you any spoilers, but I’m happy I have the chance to add my “important factoids.”

Also — since my last speech was given in front of a surprisingly large audience — I’m pretty sure all of my stage-fright nerves are already fried. That sounds like a bad thing, but the silver lining is that tonight I won’t have to worry about having excessively sweaty hands and a heart rate of 100 beats per minute. Knock on wood.

Sadly, you and The B’s can’t make it to this talk either (Sports Man’s baseball team is in the playoffs this afternoon…probably because Sports Man hits so many home runs :) ), but I know they’ll be there in spirit as always. I love talking about them almost as much as I like talking about you. They are beautiful, remarkable people who (along with my parents and friends) are responsible for making my life as lovely as it is. I love, love, love spreading our story to everyone that I can. But also, I just like to brag about having you all in my life :)

So wish me luck (again) and keep your tiny fingers crossed that I stay far, far away from any undergarment-related material.

The Audience in Their Underwear

21 Oct

“I feel like I should make one of those ‘imagine-the-audience-in-their-underwear’ jokes, but I feel like that might be mildly inappropriate.”

That is what I opened with at my banquet speech Friday night. That was the first thing I said. Yep. My opening line was about underwear.

When I think about it, I have an image of the real me on stage actually saying it, but I also see an imaginary, invisible me trying to catch the words as they come out of my mouth and shove them back in, silently whispering, “Oh my God! Shut up!”

I’ll defend myself by saying that this banquet hall was packed. One-hundred-and-fifty people, easily, all affiliated with Bethany Christian Services (the adoption agency I worked with), all staring eagerly up at me. I honestly don’t mind speaking in front of people, especially when I’m speaking about a topic that I’m passionate about (like you!), but that doesn’t stop me from getting nervous (and making bad underwear jokes). Likewise, being nervous doesn’t stop me from talking about the things I believe are important — and raising awareness about open adoption is certainly one of those things.

I love telling our story. I love telling the part where it was just you and me and those seven months we spent growing together. I love telling the part where The B’s and I met and how we came together as a family. I even like telling the parts that were difficult for me: having to sign the adoption papers, trudging through those ten days, and missing you all the time.

But my favorite part of telling our story is seeing the looks on the faces of others as I tell them about the relationship I’ve had with The B’s since the adoption became official. They all look a little…stunned. Wide eyes that look a little incredulous, even a few dropped jaws here and there. But they’re stunned in a happy kind of way: Like they didn’t know that adoption stories could turn out that wonderfully, or like they’re thrilled to hear that happy endings aren’t just for the movies.

I love seeing that look because I know that there is one more person out there who knows that adoption has changed people’s lives for the better. When I hear about adoption in my classes at school (if I hear about it at all, which is rare), the only things I hear are negative: negative impacts on the child as they grow up, negative impacts on the birth mother after her child is gone, abuse, neglect…the list goes on. And the sad part is that they’re not entirely wrong. In some cases, things end up that way: bad families, damaged children, etc. But that’s why I feel it is so important to share our story. Because if awareness is raised and optimism is spread, maybe the stigma can be lifted and people can learn about how openness can really change everything.

I know I always say that you are my inspiration, but I really mean it. The reason I love to do these talks and give these speeches and attend these banquets and info meetings and fundraisers is because I have you. You are a miracle, but not just my miracle. You’re a miracle for The B’s and their friends and family, too. Your existence has brought so many people together which, in turn, has spread so much love and happiness…how can anybody not want to share that? Personally, I like to sing your praises from the rooftops (or through social media, the new age “rooftop”) and judging by the great feedback I got on Friday after the rest of my speech, maybe your story will become someone else’s miracle too.

But hopefully, when that person retells the story I told them — about you and me and the wonderful family I found in The B’s and through open adoption — they’ll leave out the part about the underwear.

The E-mail That Changed the World

10 Aug

Thank You Gmail

Well…it changed my world anyways. Nothing like a little hyperbole to get the day started off right.

After I signed adoption papers and you were handed over to the interim care mom (whom I LOVE to this day), I didn’t talk to The B’s for almost a week. We’d text here and there, but I didn’t really talk talk to them until exactly one week after you were born.

This would be totally normal and okay. Except for I had told The B’s that I wanted to be in constant communication with them after you were born. I figured it would be easier for me to stick to my choice knowing that they would always be there. And then you born. And then I wanted to keep you. And then I felt bad about it because I knew they were expecting you. So I didn’t return their phone calls, only occasionally returned texts, and was all but basically silent.

Yikes.

I still feel bad about this, I really do. I would have been seriously annoyed with me if I was them. But as a birth mom, you really don’t know how you’re going to react until you get there. And once I “got there,” I felt…sad. Really, really, really sad. I missed you. I wanted you. I needed you. But the fact that YOU did not necessarily need me (and actually needed people with much more resources at their disposal) kept me from calling my social worker and demanding you back. You deserved better than what I could give you, and no matter how badly I wanted you, I wanted you to have better more than I wanted to be contented with your presence. And “better” was The B’s.

So after a week (and a couple of therapy sessions) I came to a realization: J had told me that she wanted to hear from me. Up until the adoption, we had talked multiple times a week via e-mail (and a couple of times in person during visits) about everything under the sun — our favorite movies, the best ice cream flavor, summer camps Sports Man was involved with, etc. It suddenly dawned on me that The B’s wanted our relationship to be open. So that meant that I could tell them anything I was thinking…even if I was thinking about keeping my son.

So that’s what I told them.

Exactly one week after you were born — one week of the worst kind of internal tug-of-war you could imagine — I sent J the longest, most emotional, most raw e-mail I’ve ever sent to anyone. Maybe I’ll post it one day. But it was all about how much I missed you and how I’d always feel like your mom even when she was, and how I felt like I wasn’t good enough for you and that I wanted to keep you so, so bad but I couldn’t find a way. I told her how I felt when I first saw your face and how broken I felt without you. I told her how I felt about adoption. I told her everything.

But the e-mail that changed everything wasn’t the one I sent to her. It was the one she sent to me in response.

The first thing she did was thank me for being open with her. She told me she thought of me as “her Renee.” She told me she ached for me in all that I was feeling. She told me she never, ever wanted to take away the fact that I was your mom too. She told me I was not alone. She told me a lot of things that I have since saved, re-read and cherished for the past two years, and will continue to cherish for all the years to come.

Everything changed that day. The pain, the hurt, the horrible tug-of-war…it all kind of dulled after The E-mail. It all became more of an echo than a reality, because I knew everything would be okay. I felt reassured. I felt like this family, The B’s, really, truly did understand my desire to be a part of your life and their family. A desire that was, thankfully, mutual.

My erratic heart, my frantic mind, my up-and-down mood…they all calmed that day, the day I read her response. That e-mail was one of the many small things The B’s did that made all the difference, but it was the last thing. From there on out, I was okay with my choice, because I knew I would never have to leave you. I would get to be a part of you forever, not just because wanted to be, but because they wanted me to be as well.

Which is awesome. Because now I get to see all of your cuteness on a regular basis. And you are really, really cute. Not that I’m biased. But in all honesty, I’ve never looked back. I never miss a beat when anyone asks me if I regret it. Because I don’t. Not for a single second have I ever regretted it. I love them with my whole heart. And you. And your cuteness.

So I’m just saying…anyone who knocks technological advances should rethink the wonder of e-mail. You’d be amazed what it can do for a girl.

Gotcha Day

3 Aug

Two years ago today, you were adopted. The B’s call it Gotcha Day. I think that’s adorable.

The day itself wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. There was an official ceremony at the adoption agency and everyone was there — me, Pop Pop, Grandma M, Aunt S, The B’s (I finally got to meet Sports Man that day — Happy Second Anniversary of Knowing You, Sports Man!) and your foster family whom we all still love dearly and talk to frequently. There was also cake (not a terribly important detail, but it was delicious). The B’s had to sign their half of the paperwork and that day, you became theirs.

The wonderful thing? That was the day I became theirs too :)

We all became each others family. It’s been two years of tears and adjusting and overwhelming love and getting to know each other and learning new things and becoming sisters and brothers and daughters and mothers and friends. If it were possible for me to be any more thankful, I might try. But I feel so fulfilled, I truly don’t believe it could be any better than it is.

All because of you, Little Man. All of this — this family, this love, these lives that you have completed — is all because you exist. You are beautiful. You are incredible. You are a miracle. You are everything everyone needed. You brought us together. You are my angel for that, and so many other reasons.

So Happy Gotcha Day!

Happy Family Day

Happy Anniversary

Happy Day-You-Met-The-B’s

Happy Day-Renee-Got-the-Sister-She’d-Always-Wanted

Happy You-Are-Not-Alone Day

Happy Day-We-Started-The-Best-Adventure

Happy Beginning-of-a-Wonderful-Journey-Day

Happy First-Day-of-the-Rest-of-My-Life

Happy, happy, happy day. What a beautiful thing it’s turned out to be.

My Family. I Gotcha <3

Mama’s Makin’ a Change

30 Jul

This summer, I’ve been interning. It’s one of those lovely things you do to try to integrate yourself from college-world to real-world (not MTV style. Also while, we’re on the subject, never watch The Real World. Ever.)

During this wonderful, amazing, incredible experience of interning, I’ve been doing a lot of research — one of the many tasks I’ve been given. And the cool thing about this research is that a lot of it is researching blogs. Lots of parenting blogs to be exact. It’s been eye opening, let me tell you. Everyone has a different style. Everyone has a different voice.  Lots of people have some seriously cool photos. Some people have interesting advice while others have humorous anecdotes. But all of the blogs are about the people who write them, the people they love and the people who read them.

That last sentence probably shouldn’t be an earth-shattering realization. But it kind of was (no judging my slow uptake…you may seem on top of things at the age of two, but you probably inherited it). So, after coming to my not-so-novel conclusion, I’ve decided that I’m going to be adding something to your letters — a little bit more of me.

I started these letters because I didn’t want you to go through a single day wondering whether or not I loved you. It’s a common birth mom fear…that as you grow, our choice will seem less like a sacrifice (which it is…wow, let me tell you) and more like “giving up.” And the last thing I would ever want you — my sweet, gorgeous, incredible baby boy — to think is that I gave up on you. I never have and I never, ever will. I love you entirely too much. While you may no longer be literally linked to me, my lifeline is intertwined with yours; what hurts you, hurts me and what makes you smile, makes me the happiest girl in the world.

But I also want you to know me. And every now and then, I just want to talk to you about what’s going on and what I’m doing and how I feel and why it makes me think of you, or how I wish you were here to see something I really want to show you. But I generally don’t, because I think to myself, “That’s not the point of the letters. These are about him, not you.”

But then I realized you are 50% me, and that maybe one day — if I’m lucky — you’d really want to know me.

I also realized that I am the writer, and you are who I love and the people who read about us are the people that love and adore us both (well, maybe just you. You’re more photogenic and you’ve got the whole “I’m-a-baby-and-therefore-automatically-adorable” thing going for you). And since these are my letters to you, I can put in them whatever I’d like. And what I’d like is for you to really know me, as deeply and as much as you can, because that’s how I plan on knowing you: wholly, completely, entirely, truly.

So just a heads up, you’re going to get to know me very well. I’m determined. I’m also very talkative and thoroughly enjoy talking to people who have yet to develop the ability to tell me to shush.

A.k.a you :)

I love you. Thinking of you always.

Why yes, I’d love to hold you :) anytime.

We’re so gonna be BFFs. I can tell.

You got a kick out of spraying me with water. It was adorable. Also, when did you learn how to aim accurately?

Fifteen Minutes of Fame

12 Jul

Photo by J

We’re famous! Well…relatively famous…kind of famous. A picture of our family beach vacation this past May was chosen for the Best Family Vacations by iVillage (slide eight)! J did a write-up about why she loved it, and the picture of all of us on the steps is now out there for the world to see and read about. Cool, right? Especially since I know you must be so unfamiliar with having your pictures posted for the world to see on a regular basis. Wait a second…

And just for kicks…

Our Very First Family Photo! How the times have changed, huh? :)
Photo by J

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