Convos with Solo

S:  Mommy, some girls have swimsuits that are called Zucchinis. Did you know? It's the kind where their belly button can see. Like, you have a Zucchini, mommy.  On the bottom is undies and on the top... hm. I don't know.

Really? Who told you that?

S:  Pablo. And I tell you what? Pablo has a novia.  But they aren't married.  Even Matheus has a novia!  His novia is Sophie.  Sophie used to be the novia of Pablo.  

Wow. Okay. 

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Climb Out 2014

Remember when Mr. P & I climbed out of a canyon? Literally? It was such a cool experience of reflection and gratitude, just the two of us. And we were able to raise $470 for Postpartum Progress. Bonus! (thanks to many of you!)

This year I'm going to be in Oregon for the Climb Out of the Darkness event on June 21st, so of course I jumped on the chance to lead a Team climb with my Oregon homies. Any Oregonians out there lurking about? Come out and make yourself known! Share with your friends and family! Let's rock this Climb!

Here is where you can join Team Oregon - Portland. Registration is free, but you MUST register to participate. Fundraising is optional, but rad. And if you raise $100 you get a free t-shirt!  We are going to have so much fun, while remembering and supporting the moms around us who are suffering. 

Team Oregon, over & out.

xo 



Life lately.

Mr. P is gone all week. We're on day 3 and going strong. I remember when him leaving on a work trip would send me spiraling into anxiety and fear. Yesterday as I cleaned up the kitchen after dinner I could hear the boys giggling and playing happily in the living room. I thought to myself, we are all stronger than we think we are. In so many ways we sell ourselves short. Just imagine the potential bottled up underneath the layers of each of our fears.  

I just finished an 11 mile training run. As I was planning my route I thought, hmm, I'll try for 8:30s, that way I won't be disappointed. I know I can run faster than that, but I don't like the idea of letting myself down. Of course, I ended up with an 8:14 average, and I just smiled knowingly to myself. Next time I'll go for 8:10s, and it's ok if I fail. I will run my 6th half marathon next weekend, and it will probably be my last race in Mexico. Definitely bittersweet. Mexico has given me so much; I can't wait to stomp 13 more miles into it's pavement. 

While the boys and I were eating together the other day, I said "I miss daddy." Solomon said promptly, "yeah, me too, but you do even more because you're his novia."

(novia means girlfriend. There has been a lot of talk of novias lately, and I'm not entirely sure what triggered it, but it's adorable. For now.) 

In this season of unknowns, I'm so proud of Mr. P. He's been so diligent and wise in his pursuit of work opportunities. And he's received the multiple rejections honorably and gracefully. I know that eventually the right door will open at just the right time, and the internal applicants will suck, (I kid. Sorta.) and the people will realize what an absolute rock star he is and they will say YES. 

YES.  

We just need someone to give us a chance. To say: yes, you can prove yourself here. yes, we think you are probably awesome. Yes. 

Next month Rainer will be 2 1/2. That's how old Solomon was when I got pregnant. That blows my mind because I remember thinking Solomon was so big, such a kid. And I look at Rainer and all I can think is NOO. He's a baby. My baby. It's not that I want to be pregnant again, because no. I just don't want my kids to get any older. Please. Not now. Not yet. They are so damn perfect I almost can't stand it.  

Sigh.  

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we do a lot of eating when daddy's away. 

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daily bathtub Olympics. 

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sharing a bed with these two is my favorite. 

the evolution of 7th grade

When you get through the 7th grade, it's like you've climbed Mt. Everest, even though you don't really know what Mt. Everest is. You are sure you've done the most difficult thing, and the awkwardness and insecurity and trying to check yourself out in the window reflection, is done for good.  

But then you're twenty-six, and a new mom, and the neighbor lady scolds you for not putting socks on your baby's frozen feet and the teenager checking your groceries out at the supermarket gives you the side eye and mentions knowingly that "wearing your baby like that really hurts their hips," and you go home and you cry because it's been awhile, but you feel like that all over again. 

And then you are twenty-nine and you've lived in Mexico for 5 years now and all you want to do is transfer your phone contacts but the girl on the other end of the line doesn't understand you, despite your best pronunciation efforts and then she gives a patronizing chuckle, and right then and there you lose it because WHY can't you understand me?! And you feel like that all over again. Thirteen and all unibrow and baggy pants. 

Now you are thirty-two, and you've known for awhile this means you're an adult, but you still feel 19 inside, scared and unsure. All of the decisions you are expected to make, where to send your son to school, where to start your brand new life, what to leave behind and what to bring, how to pack up 8 years into tidy little piles tucked into suitcases, fastened snugly with the hope of something even better. You get the rejection emails and phone calls and you try not to take any of it personally; "there's something better for you," and "more opportunities will come along" sounds so nice, but you still feel that much smaller inside, and you try to distract yourself or the fear may become unbearable. 

You realize life is just the evolution of 7th grade; it cycles in and out, always in a timely manner, always smacking you against the darn tether ball pole the moment your life gets too comfy cozy. So, you pull up your neon tapered jeans, put on your game face, and keep on keeping on, one awkward day at a time. 

free write

It's been a long time since I've come to this place with no agenda, no plan, nothing to say, really. Sometimes that's all we really need to do; admit that there's nothing to say, and yet we are bursting at the seams in silence. 

Sometimes I look at my boys and I just can't believe they are mine, that I'm old enough to be their mommy, that I can be trusted with lives. Solomon is a daddy's boy, but he sure loves to get a rise out of Rainer. And, he's no dummy; he knows that the surest way to make Rainer mad is to give mommy hugs and kisses. I don't mind. Solomon loves seeing the reaction he knew was coming ... "No, my mommy! Marco, mommy's boy. Solo, daddy's boy!" Two years old and already very territorial. I reassure him that he is still my boy, but Solo is my boy, too. That does not suffice.

"NO! Marco, mommy's boy!! Solo, daddy's boy!! Go, Solo, go!" (pointing to Daddy)

Solo is loving this, as he further snuggles his face into my neck. Go on, fight over me, boys. I know these days will end.

As they fight to secure their spot squeezed next to me, I'm reminded of this basic, carnal human need to belong to somebody. Don't we all just want someone to say to us, "I'm yours."  Nothing else, no strings attached, no requirements or stipulations, just two words:

I'm yours.

Yesterday Solo hollered at me from the backyard: Come mommy, watch my trick!  I lazily walked out to the trampoline and watched as he did a flip. And then another flip. And another, even higher. I couldn't believe it. I can't even do a flip on a trampoline (not that I've tried.) Of course after lots of OOhing and AAAhing and Wow-ing, I asked how in the world he learned how to do that?! 

"I don't know mommy, I just watched Santi G and then I knew how."  Everyday there's less and less he needs me for, and meanwhile his friends keep getting cooler and cooler. It's all very frightening, really. Before long, I'm going to be wearing jeans hiked up past my belly button and polyester floral jumpers (oh wait, that IS in style) and he's going to hide from me in the school pick up line. I hope that somewhere along the line, I'm doing something "right" enough that he'll always know deep down that I love him more than his friends ever can or will, and one day many moons ago he fought with his little brother to sit on my lap and give me kisses. 

Those days, long, long ago, when I was his world. 

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spanish lessons.

I love when Solo translates for me. 

"Mommy, do you know how to say Monster's University in Spanish?"

No, tell me, how?

"Monsturrrs YOUneeeverseCEEETEE" (said in his very best Mexican accent)

Ohhh, okay. So it's almost the same as in English.

"No, it's not the same. It's like this, mommy, listen: Monsturrrs YOUneeeverseCEEETEE"

Um. Ok. Gotcha.

 

 

drowning in the abyss.

The past few weeks have been consumed with online applications. 

RESUMES COVER LETTERS REFERENCES JOB DESCRIPTIONS LETTERS OF INTENT TRANSCRIPTS ENDORSEMENTS CERTIFICATIONS TELL ME HOW AWESOME YOU ARE!!!!

It's been all-consuming. But, I'm not gonna lie, I kind of love the challenge of cranking out cover letter after cover letter, tweaking wording here and there, attempting to write in Spanish, and then the ever so satisfying checking off of boxes in our application spreadsheet. 

But, I'm also tired. 

I purchased Mr. P's ticket to Oregon in April; a total leap of faith. He'll be job hunting and interviewing, Lord willing, taking the Admin endorsement exam, visiting schools and neighborhoods, and let's be real ... spending hours in Nordstrom Rack. 

It's getting real up in here, folks. And it's only February. My fingers are a little shaky just typing that. But, with all the stress and work and late nights editing, we are holding up surprisingly well. We've decided that we have to focus on being on the same team, working together, feeding off one another's strengths, pushing hard when the other one is tired. 

The fear still creeps in from time to time that all of this might not be worth anything. That we'll end up back where we started, rocking in a corner in the fetal position.  I just repeat over and over to myself: that's life. Life is risky and uncertain and confusing and scary and exciting and breathtaking and overwhelming and beautiful. It's about having a dream and making it happen. 

Or not happen.  But, at least knowing that you did everything you could, and you were the best you that you could possibly be. 

And, just for fun, THIS:

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Half birthday donut "cake" & other surprises

Solomon's birthday is in early August. He gets jipped when it comes to parties, and especially this year as we are moving in June, tearing him away from his best friends. (the drama!)

I realized a couple of weeks ago that his half birthday (Feb. 2) happened to fall on a weekend and a day that we had no plans. (Apparently there was a football game of some sort?) This tiny realization birthed the idea for a surprise half birthday party for the raddest 5 year old I've ever known.  

 

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We invited 13 little people and their parents, piled high Krispy Kreme donuts topped with trick candles, threw some balloons around, and squeezed into the dining room for the big surprise. Mr. P took him for a bike ride while we set up the big hurrah.

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I wasn't sure how he would react, but it sure was epic. He turned on his heels and ran right back out the door, through the gate, and down the street to the corner! Of course he was chased by screaming little people and tackled into a bear hug. 

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How cute are these little guys?

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It was so incredibly fun to watch him enjoy his best friends and replay the surprise again and again in the following days. 

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Let the sugar high begin...

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The kids played for 4 hours straight. No fights or injuries, a miracle in itself. So.much.fun. Lots of memories to add to our stash for when we ache for this place, these people.  

The boys slept hard as rocks.  

love as deep as humanly possible. 

love as deep as humanly possible. 

on waiting.

so much of life is spent waiting.

waiting in line.

waiting on the phone.

waiting for the right person, time, date, job, house.

I feel like I'm in a major time of waiting right now. It's most definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone, as we all know I like to be in control, in the "know," and heck, in charge!

One of the hardest parts of waiting is the feeling of vulnerability. I have no idea what changes and adjustments are in store for us the next 6 months or so, and it leaves me feeling exposed, afraid, extremely vulnerable.  

I suppose we never really know what lies ahead in life, do we? Everyday, every minute, somebody's life is turned upside down. The smooth sailing we've been enjoying for the past few years is, in reality, rare.  

I find comfort in knowing that what is most important stays exactly the same. The four of us, together. Ever since we moved to Mexico almost 8 years ago, Mr. P and I have always told each other "you are my home." This simple phrase has brought so much comfort over the years, in times of insecurity, homesickness and loneliness. And as we literally begin the process of changing homes, it brings more peace than ever before.  

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Convos with Solo

Getting Solomon ready for a bath...

Solo: Right, mommy that the muchachas do the work of the adults?

Me: I guess so, is that what you think?

Solo: Yeah, it's because the muchachas do the work that the mommies are supposed to do!


Riding in the car, listening to a kid's gospel sing-a-long CD...

Solo: Mommy can you please turn it to the "Frankie The Lord" song!

Me: The what song??!!

Solo: The FRANKIE the Lord song!

Me: You mean the "Praise ye, the Lord" song?

Solo: Yeah, whatever, just The Lord  one!

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Things I'll miss.

The palm tree in our backyard, thunderstorms, holidays with our friends, park play dates, the fruit truck on Mondays & Fridays, the sound of brooms hitting sidewalks at sunrise. 

Our neighborhood carnival every July, the church bells calling for mass, picking limes off our neighbor's tree, the taco stand two blocks down, someone to clean my house. 

The tiny corner store, pineapples all year round, the sun through our big windows, squeals of little boys flung onto the futon.  

Walks for ice cream and lazy weekends. Words braided together in Spanish all around me. Buenos días y que onda y ánimo amiga! The trees of Colomos and all my beloved running routes.  

Even those things I think I hate, like the camote whistle and the fireworks on Christmas Eve and the aggressive drivers...I'm sure I'll remember you fondly. Isn't that the way with life? Everything illuminates when it's time to say goodbye.  

And I'm sure that in hindsight mi México lindo will be utterly flawless.  

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What is it you want?

Can you put it into words? Or maybe envision it like a photograph? Or perhaps it's a concept described by a word or a dream or a place on a map. I was talking to a friend the other day, and she said to close my eyes and think about what it is I want. Simple. Then, when the fear starts to rise within me & all of those what-if/worry scenarios sneak into my daily thoughts (as they will), I transfer my mind to that picture of the way I want it all to turn out instead. And that's what I steep in. However long it takes. 

I think it's ok and even good to identify what we want and then do whatever we can to make it happen. I'm tired of feeling that it's selfish or useless or petty.  When we face head on some scary times in life, fear is a powerful force to be reckoned with. You better believe I'm gonna start equipping my arsenal for battle. 

The other day I saw these snow boots on an Instagram used clothing shop for boys.

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I thought to myself how cute they would look on Rainer, and how they were most likely the size he would wear next winter. And then I felt foolish because who knows where we will be next winter, and who am I to assume our dream of living somewhere with seasons could actually come true? 

I thought about the boots for hours. And then I bought them for Rainer, not really because he needs them (not yet at least), but because they represent a leap of faith for me. Because sometimes you have to claim what you want, and then go for it.  

2013 in review.

I think 2013 was the fastest year yet. Or a close second to 2012. As the boys get bigger, our lives seem to be fuller and fuller and the time just disintegrates before our eyes. It's all mostly good and beautiful things ... things like soccer practice and long weekend runs and four hour play dates and excursions to the lake. 

I ended 2013 literally with my nose pressed up against Rainer's, as we drifted into dreamland together, under a warm puffy comforter, to the distant sound of fireworks. I had the realization that he's turning a corner to the very end of the "squishy" phase. So I decided that I will, guilt-free mind you, press my nose against his and breathe in his sleepy breath every darned night. 

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Here are a few highlights of 2013! 

In January we visited Mazamitla as a family of four. We took beautiful photos with beautiful landscapes and made some stellar memories, just the four of us. One such memory was Solomon jumping off of a rock about 10 times his size, and another was buying Rainer a hand-knit sweater by a local villager. 

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In February I trained for and ran the Guadalajara Half Marathon by myself (not a flattering picture at all) after an 8 year long-distance running break! It felt so good to prove to myself that I can do anything I put my mind to, including 21 kms just a year postpartum. I went on to run two more half marathons in 2013 (March & September)! 

In the spring we ran more races, we visited Lake Chapala and also Ajijic, I 'celebrated' 3 years blogging, and also was privileged to raise money through this blog for Postpartum Progress, a non-profit organization that raises awareness and education of Postpartum mood disorders. (Thanks to all who sponsored our Climb in June!) 

In July we went to Las Vegas to visit some dear friends of ours (Solo's best little buddy), and then we flew over to Portland for three weeks with family. The boys had their first American ice cream truck experience, fell in love with the neighbor's black cat, and climbed sand dunes in Pacific City. It was good

August was a FULL month with a chaotic trip to Mexico City, a fun-filled celebration of Solomon's fifth birthday where daddy dressed up as Spiderman and shocked the guests, and the boys starting school (brace yourself. the pictures !!!)

This fall Rainer turned TWO, we lost a dear friend, and we made a HUGE announcement. It's hard to even wrap my mind around the ways 2014 could change and teach and stretch our little family. 

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November and December are kind of a blur of POTTY TRAINING a barely two year old, but let's see.... Oh yeah! My parents and brother came to visit, we took them to Tequila, Chapala, Ajijic, Tonala & Tlaquepaque, downtown Zapopan and Guadalajara (obvs). We drank and ate a lot, spent a fair amount of money, and took lots of pictures... SUCCESS! 

I won't re-cap December since it sort of just happened... But, it was a lovely month of rest, relaxation and just being together the four of us. Our trip to Cancun was full of sunshine, sand, discovery and adventure, and the rest of the month was full of home, what's comfy and familiar. Both are equally good and valuable and sweet. Both did our hearts and souls well. 

Happy New Year! 

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Indoors.

It's been raining in Guadalajara since Christmas Eve. That's a week now. I realize that as an Oregonian this should feel normal and homey, and in a weird way it has at times, but it's also reminded me how much Mexico has seeped into my skin. I'm so acutely aware of the rain-- the sound of it tapping our fiberglass skylight, the way my desperately neglected windshield wipers smear the wetness back and forth back and forth, and how it seems to physically slow me down to almost a halt. Days drag as the strange sky-liquid keeps us inside, twiddling our thumbs, wracking our brains for indoor entertainment. (Even our favorite malls are outdoors!) 

Solomon has begun to express concern as well... Are we EVER gonna ride bikes again?!? 

The slowing down part- however frustrating- is good. I think it's always good. Staying in jammers & slippers until 3:00 in the afternoon because that's when you finally get an idea for a dry activity is when memories are made, people. Not of the Cancun- Disney-variety, but of the everyday love variety... The making paper airplanes and ramps for cars out of Popsicle sticks and duct tape... The building forts in candlelit rooms and decorating gingerbread men and watching "Planes" while eating nachos in bed, crumbs buried in sheets for days. This, this rain-induced boringness, is the really good stuff, too.  

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Festivities

oh man, December... You win. Why does it fly by so fast? I would kind of like to savor the cool weather and holiday drinks and chocolates thankyouverymuch. 

So, we've been plugging away at our different advent activities; the boys love the little surprises each day. Meeting Santa was a highlight for half of our children, you can make a wild guess at which one.  

oh Santa, forgive me. 

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I could have corrected the red eye, but I think it adds a little something, don't you? 

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we visited the nativity scene at the mall, and we were a little perplexed that baby Jesus was missing from the manger. Luckily this mama thinks fast and quickly explained that's because he isn't BORN yet, being that it's not Christmas yet! Crisis averted. 

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the drool is a nice touch...

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apparently niños malos (bad children) are also very muscular! 

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We also had fun decorating gingerbread cookies with friends. Throughout the morning Rainer gradually lost pieces of clothing as the icing took over. 

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When your kid leaves in his undies... Party=success!

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happy holidays everyone! We are wrapping up loose ends and gearing up for some beach time in Cancun! It will be Rainer's first trip to a Mexican playa (I KNOW. Shameful.) & bonus points to me and Mr. P for staying married ten yearrrrssss. I think we are due for a cocktail by the pool and a sunset (sunrise?) view over the ocean. 

Viva!  

Catch ya later, dudes!  

(You all forgive me for these awful iPhone 4 pics, right?)  

how long will it take.

Often I have something I want to write about; a thought, a simple experience, a dream. But, sometimes I just get stumped. There are those things so hard to put into words. 

Like this.

As a PPD survivor, everything surrounding new motherhood is tainted. It still is, five years later, and even after having a healthy postpartum experience.

I think of it every time I see a pregnant woman. It's there, in the high, hard-to-reach corners of my past, tangled in cobwebs.

I still wonder how new moms appear to be so normal, so smily, just going about life like it's so wonderful. 

I subconsciously assume every new mother is depressed or anxious or on the brink of crazy, and then I am shocked (really, shocked!) when they are not. And then I'm confused. Like ... how?

I often wonder if eventually, maybe when my boys are teenagers, my PPD experience will be such a distant memory, that I will actually be like those other doting "older" moms who look lovingly at swelling bellies and genuinely seem to miss the days of burping underdeveloped digestive systems. And they only remember the good parts and the normal and sweet everyday hard parts. 

Maybe. 

I guess I'll have to let you know.

back to the grind.

My parents left last Wednesday. I'm sure they were looking forward to more comfortable beds, stronger water pressure, and brushing their teeth from the tap. But, for us it was bittersweet, as it always is to drive down that highway to the airport, the city in my rearview mirror. Another visit, the last?, came to an end.

And, as it very inconveniently happens, my boys got sick the next day. It hit Solo first, as it typically does, and now Rainer is going on his fourth hour napping; heavy breathing, sweaty brow, itty bitty limbs sporadically twitching. I don't blame him, as we did rise before 5:00 am. For some reason he insists on sleeping those last hours of the dawn with his nose pressed against mine and his hand down my shirt. I normally don't mind at all, it's just the hacking cough into my nostrils that's not my most favorite.

I've gone back and forth between snuggling with him under the covers, and eating lunch, and folding laundry, and staring out the window, wondering why I'm not sleepy, and now, this. Here, with only silence, save the pitter patters of my fingers on these keys. My tummy is full of warm soup (this one... it's yummy!), and my heart is tired, but happy.

I'm happy my boys are strong and lovely and beautiful. I'm happy we've made it to 10 years of marriage (next week) (also, how?). I'm happy to be able to run fast, and with people I love. 

My baby is awake now. 

I'm happy. (he's not)

'Tis the season!

advent is upon us! 

Celebrating holidays - and especially Christmas - with kiddos is so much more meaningful...magical...memorable. 

This year we are doing two advent "calendars" of sorts. One is the same calendar we used last year, with a card for each day that states what activity we will do together for that day. So far we have looked at Christmas lights, made paper garland, and baked cookies! Rainer is at the age where he wants to do everything by himself, and it's pretty cute watching him interact with his big bro. 

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The other "calendar" is these baggies hung with clothes pins on twine. Each day the boys open a bag which has a small goodie, treat, or gift. It's a fun little compliment to the daily activities, and it gives them something to do in the morning and the evening! 

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The kiddos have been LOVING having Nonna and Grandpa here to play with and do special activities with. Here they are making their garland...

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And here is Mr. Professional Glue Stick Master...

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so much fun! 

Wishing you an advent season filled with joy and peace!