.:32:. a Season of Seasons

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Happy Fall y’all!        …feels appropriate.

What season are you in? Life season, that is. Are you growing a baby, weaning a baby, trying to decipher baby gibberish, saying “no” too many times to a toddler, explaining sharing (on repeat), decoding tantrums, protecting a sensitive soul, scratching your head at a new form of math, running around to all the activities, working too much, using Shipt for everything, because you can’t bare the thought of bringing your pack to Target (that is definitely a season), losing sleep, gaining weight, trend hopping, bandwagon jumping, making new mom friends, losing loved ones, letting go, taking chances, making big life changes, feeling regretful, feeling grateful, taking a new job, going back to school, having heart to hearts – that have occasionally broken your heart, taking on a new hobby, re-connecting with old friends, empty nesting, selling your home and traveling the world? … I could go on and on. Too many seasons to wade through.

I’ll tell you where I’m at.

Not all the above, but much of it…

Honestly, I am in a Season of Seasons. I think it’s safe to say that we all are in a Season of life that is overlapping with other seasons. Sounds chaotic. But surprisingly, history has proved that we have the capacity, as humans – to take on such chaos. Wade in it’s waters, jump in it’s leaves, clean up the mess of past and present seasons, while preparing for the upcoming seasons. It’s like a never-ending game of Tag. Goodbye baby season, tag-you’re-it walking talking melting down season (I think that’s a few seasons in one right there). Or maybe it’s more like a game of Red Rover. Some seasons break us and knock us down and others make us stronger and whole again, sometimes simultaneously.

So, when you feel stuck in a “season”, think of it this way :

You are the strongest ever at the beginning of a season, because it hasn’t wore on you yet… and in the midst of any season, a new one is forming and you may not feel (even an ounce) that you are unknowingly regaining the strength to tackle the next season, while the old one sneaks away and becomes a memory.

So in actuality, you are much stronger than you think – even at your weakest moment.

With so much overlapping and in a constant state of flux, you just might be in a Season of Seasons. Really it’s what life is filled with. Add a little (or a lot) of grit, tenacity, emotions, some coffee or wine and that fancy spice mix you keep saving for who-knows-what, and we are all in this together… just sending Red Rover right on over.

…and when you see a mother, a neighbor, a friend, a family member, or even a stranger breaking down, stressing out, overwhelmed or even sharing with the world how amazing life is – leave your criticism aside and give them grace in the midst of seasons. Cheer them on as they celebrate and give them a pat on the back, a hug, kindness, and some sympathy as they seek that strength that’s hiding deep down.

I share this because I sit and sip coffee while kids are at school – a season that felt like eons away, only a couple years ago. I can feel the overlap and transition of seasons as I get back to work again after 6 years of being home. With simultaneous feelings of weakness and strength, I am savoring the transition and excited for the twisty road ahead – filled with new and overlapping seasons.

Here is my grace to you, strong mama!

.:31:. a M O T H E R S | D A Y.


on a New Year we resolute, envisioning change and exciting things ahead. Clinking fancy stemware while smooching your beau.

on a Birthday, we find solace in celebration of any sort, while attempting to leap gracefully into another year of life – hoping to be better than last year and avoid the extra wrinkles and aches of aging… believing that turning 29 (yet again) is amazing!

a New Year and a Birthday – two of the many events that mark a celebration for all to enjoy in their own way.

No discrimination, no struggle, no wait or wonder. We all go to bed one year and we all wake up in a new calendar year or a new year of life. Nobody is left behind. Their is no criteria for these holidays besides just being.

on M O T H E R S | D A Y we are reminded of our title and how it became. A unique title not held by all. Some of us are reminded of the wait before the celebration. The questions, and worries. On a day like Mother’s Day, we watch the little people that we’re raising, shower us with love in their own special way. We open our arms to sweet homemade gifts and cursivey quotes of affirmation and celebration for a job well done.

“Thank you for mothering our children.”

“You’re an amazing mother.”

“You deserve this…”

“MOM = WOW”

I write to remind all you Mothers that today isn’t just another holiday like the others. It’s a club with a member’s only card, a bouncer and a handshake… and if you don’t get in you either try again next year or decide that this isn’t the title that suits you. But it isn’t a simple “check yes or no” application. It’s a process – for some, a long and tedious one – and a quick signature won’t do.

We often forget that many may never celebrate this day for themselves. Many see this day as a sad one, because loss has doused them in sorrow. Some may put this day on an unattainable pedestal, expecting all the glory because… labor, late nights, breast feeding, ppd, etc. Some may want to hide from this day, avoid the spotlight, just live like it were yesterday. And don’t get me wrong, mothering and all that comes with it, is nothing to turn our heads to. It’s a powerful experience filled with exhaustion, pain and incredible emotions – a true reason for celebration, after even small successes! 

The first year I became a “member” of Mother’s Day, I let all of the stress and fervour of year one parenting cloud my vision. I let out this huge breathe I had been holding in, as if reaching Mother’s Day was some sort of goal. The finish line for the past year. “Yay, you did it – your first year of parenting! Happy Mother’s Day!”. After watching so many women in my life enter this club with apparent ease (so I thought), I was finally celebrating!

But something important often slips through the cracks on this day. Something that cards and flowers don’t equate to. This year, with 2 little humans running around and having pretty intellectual conversations now, I am struck with how my view of Mother’s Day has changed. As much as I mother my children and care for them like I should… they have truly formed the mother I am today. I am a “member” of Mother’s Day because of them, not because chose to be a mother.


They came into this life and looked up at my clueless face with zero expectation and 100% trust. When I stumble, they continue to trust. When I break, they see me clearly between the cracks… and because of this unfiltered and no-judgement relationship I am a mother. When I look into their genuine eyes, I see pure and honest love that is always working to penetrate through my emotions. When I anger, I still see that love in their eyes. When I am ashamed, it remains. When I am sad, they worry. When I feel clueless, they trust. When I am filled with joy, they join the party!

So, I am asking this year – why do you celebrate Mother’s Day? Because the local spa has a great deal and the flowers this time of year are glorious? Because your annual Mother’s day feast is fit for a queen and very instagrammable? Or do you celebrate to honor? Honor the little lives that honored you on day 1 – after all, they gave you the pass into this “club”.

I celebrate for them – the extension of my life that didn’t exist 5.5 years ago. Two little people that love me no matter what. On a day like Mother’s Day we can all give ourselves the gift of grace and gratitude for the badge that we wear – the badge that appears in wrinkles and bedhead, dry shampoo and unfolded laundry. So if you don’t get that spa or those flowers, or your feast is a flop – dig deep and find the honor that hugs you no matter what side of the bed you woke up on. The hands that still need you… through tantrums and teen angst, they still choose you.

Happy Mother’s Day to you and the beautiful generation of humans who are unknowingly raising you in motherhood.

.:29:. TGIF (parents)


Those overly expressed four letters.

A term in everyone’s vocabulary, conversation, hashtag, end of week post, greeting or facial expression while exiting work after a long week. An acronym we all understand and have probably expressed at one point in our life.

As a Stay-at-home-mom, I laugh a little when I say TGIF these days. I’ve seen the funny quotes and GIFs that say “Happy Friday! …oh wait, I’m a parent.” and thought, “oh, c’mon it’s just Friday, not that big of a deal.” …until it became a big deal. As a parent it quickly became a controversial day. A day I constantly looked forward to but didn’t have the greatest feelings toward, at the same time. I often think about how different I felt when I would say this as a school aged kid or a yuppie (young urban professional), pre-kids… working long hours, reporting to someone throughout the week and dedicating most of my time and energy to M-F. My week was filled with pleasing all the “suits and heals” for a pat on the back. I saw the weekend as my refuge and I was thankful for the last day of the week that lead me into two days filled with my own agenda.

Now I feel different when I share with the world how thankful I am for Friday. These days, I am always in my workplace, M-Su. My clientele may be small but I am readily at their beckon call. No real break. At least not a break where I could sit quietly and read or chat with a co-worker. Not a break where I could eat a nicely packed lunch made just for me in an environment that is void of all household distractions. Yes, I am still thankful for Friday but I also send my thanks for all the other days. Thankful I woke up with some sort of energy allowing me to be somewhat successful… leaving my clients not only happy but also fed, clean, cozy and in one piece at the end of every.single.day.


Monday is the start of a long tedious race that I will not win but I proudly signed up for and would never quit. It’s a race with a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. My cheerleaders are few and my shoes are worn and often feel like they were made for someone else. At times I find myself running into the wind and blazing sun, up a hill and in the rain, dodging trains and unexpected hail. I slip and fall a lot, yet still muster up the courage to rise with a grin.

Also, after staying home with little ones for so long, I think about how my relationship with Friday has dramatically changed. There’s no slacking, pat on the back or happily relieved head-nod from a co-worker who says, “TGIF!” while excitingly retreating to a weekend of freedom. After staying home with two little ones for more than four years, I think about Friday often. I think about the two days that follow with some extra help and more opportunities to rest and reset. For this I am grateful. When that second set of hands are in the door for more than dinner and our bedtime routine, I feel as though I can breathe a bit easier. However, I still find myself completely exhausted by the busyness of the weekend. We often do more on these days because we can. Routines are broken and all are tired from running around doing family activities. So, as I look forward to it, I find myself dragging by the end.

I am also grateful that the extra hands are even an option for me. I know many who don’t have this luxury, who don’t have the help and just keep chugging through the weekend, letting Friday pass by as if it were Wednesday. To those solo parents, I am amazed by your stamina, strength and continuous effort and I hope you are ocassionally or someday blessed by time to yourself – to fully rest and reset.

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Confession, I still say “TGIF!”. I pass it to a cashier while shopping, say it to a neighbor and hashtag it on my choice of social media along with a heavily filtered mug of fancy coffee or a tall glass of wine. I even jokingly say it to my husband while our children attack him with hugs and so many requests when he’s home. I am thankful it’s Friday, because I’m grateful to be alive and well and surrounded but those who mean the most in life. But in all honesty, as a stay-at-home-mom Friday is just another day.

TGIF 😊

 

 

.:28:. Like a gust of wind ~ Hello Again!


I walked outside this morning to (finally) put some Halloween decor away and a gust of wind hit me. With a deep breath I reminded myself that the week was 1/2 way over and then as a chill ran over my bare feet (true Minnesotan here) I realized that winter is right around the corner. Meaning… where did the summer and our always-too-short Fall go? I can’t even believe it’s November and we’ve already built a snowman, and the blur of the warm summer months have left me wondering what we did this summer…
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Have you blinked lately and went from one month to the next seven? Well, that’s me today.

So, Hello Again!

Today I’m choosing to sit and thoroughly enjoy some silence while my girls nap. I’m not running around cleaning up, finishing laundry, putting dishes away, decluttering… per the norm. Nope, I have my feet up and words in my head, just for this spot. I love to write and try to figure this whole motherhood/parenthood/life thing out through run-on sentences, more than enough exclamation marks and probably too many question marks!!!??!!

This summer with 4 year olds was really kind of like a swift gust of wind. A breeze that can’t decide which way it wants to blow. An unpredictable breeze filled with high expectations, surprising demands and pure joy in the midst of little plans. I very vividly remember the baby days, staring at their tiny little everything, wondering what they’ll be like as walking-talking people.

Welp, here we are!


Mid summer, I had a realization. This just may be one of the last summers I really have with them. To be plan-less and pokey with long pj wearing mornings. I have a confession, we really had zero regular commitments. No planned activities. Besides a couple small trips, we had a lovely empty calendar, uncertain of where we would go and how each day would unfold. Like the rapid pace of our carefree and plan-less summer, I know we will soon be chasing the clock from one activity to the next and I chose to embrace a laxidasicle summer, enjoying my wild and sweet girls in their element. As parents we are under such pressure to keep our kids busy, stay active in the community, always participate, volunteer, bake, create, and more. We’re often running around racing each other. I’ve done that and to be honest, I don’t always mind the hustle and bustle of being busy and involved but I only recently learned that the unnecessary pressure can wear us out and spread us so thin that we have zero energy to enjoy the simplicity of life that really needs our attention! If it’s hard for us adults to handle at times, how do our kids feel?! So I’m waiting just a little longer for that busy-ness in life to set in and push us when we just want to sit. I will not force it. I needed this realization and I believe it’s made me a better and happier mom.

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As carefree as this summer was, I found myself immersed in a foreign stage of life – not like the other stages with my girls…

I braced myself for the terrible twos but my husband and I agreed that age three was better suited for those expectations. Then, age 4 snuggled into our hearts so sweetly with a much bigger vocabulary and imagination, leaving us belly laughing and in awe of their profound curiosity. Then when we least expected it, this sweet age of 4 melted to the floor, flailed it’s arms and whined about everything under the sun… including the sun! And I’m not talking about a little bit of whining. On a sweet silver platter we have been served a large helping of whine, stuffed with whine, paired with a lovely side of whine and a dash of more whine… we accept our serving, and we think we can take it all, that we can handle it. Until we’re stuffed. Then we find ourselves ready for a very large glass of wine.

But seriously. What’s with all the whining?

So, I need to clarify… The terrible two expectations were dismissed by threenagers who busted down our walls, walls that lead directly into the exciting and crazy flames of wacky, wildly emotional, sensitive and strong willed 4 year olds.

Now, this is just our experience. I must say that age 4 isn’t only serving whine. It has been fun and so cool to see them grow – especially together. So, I’m not complaining about it all. It’s the emotions and power struggles that we’re dealing with – that yank our heart out one moment and want to snuggle in that very same moment. Like, who really is in charge? Every age brings its beauty and surprises us with its beast… just when we get comfortable and confident in our parenting ways.

I am so grateful for our lazy summer and hope I can find my bag of tricks while winter sets in for the next 5 months or so. And, like a gust of wind we will be singing the Birthday song to five year olds – I hear that’s a fun stage! 😉 😉

.:25:. PLAY, It’s simple.

 This morning I woke up with my girls and asked (as I do every morning), “what do you want to do today?”, and (as they do every morning), they excitedly responded by saying, “PLAY!!!”.

In the complex and constantly developing mind of a child, play is simple. It’s basic and requires minimal effort to ignite joy and fulfillment. Encouraging imagination isn’t complicated… with the use of tangible or intangible tools, PLAY is happening all the time in the mind of our kiddos and it becomes even more exciting, fulfilling and memorable when we also participate. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t “play” with my children every second of the day and they don’t want me to. They need to play with others and they definitely need to play alone. This is all part of their development.

However, too many parents get carried away by it all and (at times) I am one of them. They structure the day so tightly that they forget that play has to happen naturally. I reflected back on a day last week. Someone asked what we did and I blankly said “nothing”. I felt a bit unproductive, like a bad and lazy mom, and slightly embarrassed that we didn’t do anything on a beautiful day. But wait!!! We did so much more than nothing.

Danced and tumbled in the grass. We practiced somersaults and rolled down the hill, made angels in the grass and compared it to the snow that will come before we know it! We looked at the clouds while talking about the scratchy grass on our backs, and noticed the smell of summer in the air. Practiced whistling like the birds and counted the small planes departing from the local airport.

Read. They listened to my words attentively and made visual connections with the shapes of the letters and the imagery in the book. They recognized when I skipped a word, pointed out the yellow hat on the man, and counted all the fruit that very hungry caterpillar ate.

Pretended. We are at a fun stage. My girls love pretending. They acted out scenes from a favorite story, they made up their own story with an exciting “once upon a time” and a joyful “the end!”, they pretended to be the animals at the zoo, a doctor to their toys (fixing ‘owies’ and checking hearts) and they sweetly rocked and changed their babies like the little mommies they are.

^ This may seem like nothing, but to your child it’s exactly what they want and need!

Parents!!! Enough with the pressure. You don’t need to go places all the time. You don’t need to be so busy. You don’t need to have the best and biggest toys. Play does not require a plan. It’s doesn’t require a location, a certain day, and it definitely doesn’t require a reason! Play happens every single second of the day for children and it’s important that we recognize this with encouragement and support. I am not doing “nothing” when all of the above is accomplished in one morning. We are busy bonding, building brains and making memories.

With all of this in mind, I love going places with my children and I appreciate the importance of learning and exploring other places than home. But, what I’m also learning is to ignore the pressure and not feel so bad when we do stay home to PLAY. If you’re the type of person that needs to get out all the time, I commend you and I am sure you are making wonderful memories… but just know that when you stay home, you are still surrounded by many opportunities for your kids to PLAY, explore, learn and simply be happy.

Some days it’s just too much to expend all my morning energy into packing a car for two kids, quickly dressing pokey children, eating on the run, and skipping naps. It’s just not always worth it.

I encourage you, you reading this, you with the to-do list in your hand and the plan ready to be implemented. STOP for a moment and just let your littles PLAY at their own pace.

One day, they will leave the house and you will beg for them to come home as much as they can. Enjoy these days, these simple days of PLAY while it lasts… and go roll in the grass with them!


THAT is what PLAY is all about. Simple, beautiful, PLAY.

.:24:. To Err.

lemonplant

:: when life gives you a lemon plant, have patience and watch those lemons grow!


During pregnancy or preparing for baby and the first years that follow, parents turn into walking talking teaching machines (and many years after). Trying to avoid error in parenting, perhaps? Unfortunately, error is inevitable.

| To err is human; to forgive is divine.” |                            – Alexander Pope

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Well, thank you Mr. Pope but forgiveness to oneself can be difficult and doesn’t feel very divine when I can’t seem to figure out my newborn’s needs, when I’m up all night with an uncomfortable child who can’t tell me what’s wrong, when a kiss on a boo boo is not the answer, when I first heard the words, “I don’t want you, mama.”

>Where did I go wrong? <<

What happened to my machine… that teaches “right” and “best”. How did I err and why does it not feel human?

This is so easy to think and so easy to point the finger at yourself. “Going wrong” is just not the route I thought I took. From the start I did what I was suppose to do.

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Per the suggestion of some psychologist somewhere I remember reading children’s books out loud while my little girls developed inside me. Even before that I quickly had my hands on parenting books – making sure my husband and I were well prepared to raise smart, curious and wonderful little people.

>This is where I went wrong.<<

Well, kind of. I’m not saying being prepared, educated and excited is wrong but…

I didn’t allow myself to just be. I found myself referencing every “how-to” book and following steps like a puppet. When I let certain things work themselves out and I relied on my gut for answers – those were the moments we I learned so much more. To watch in awe as their little brains developed. Physiological and emotional growth cannot be fully controlled by anyone else, but that being. It’s a beautiful thing that we (parents) think we have so much control over. We have a little more control at the beginning and then we pray (really hard), that are teachings help them decide what is “right” and “best” as they go from scooting to running a marathon right before out eyes. While they are figuring it all out… they will ERR and it will be ok – especially if we are there to tell them that it’s all ok because they are HUMAN.

We don’t get a report card to see how we’re doing with our children. We don’t get to meet with a coach who high fives us for our victories or benches us for our faults. What we get is this…

>without request, unprompted<< children who say “I wub you mama”. who look you in the eyes and say “thank you”… and then “you’re welcome” – because that’s how they hear it ☺️.  Who joyfully sing their ABCs and really everyother song you sing together. Who surprise you by counting past 10 one day (did I teach them that?) and curiously ask and tell me what color everything in the world is.

They are determined to complete tasks on their own, gently pushing me away… This is new to me. I’m proud but a tiny bit sad that my babies have hit the ‘no mama, I can do it’ stage. They are particular when it comes to colors and specific when we choose books. Decisions are complicated but powerful. When they make one, their excited eyes delight with joy and confidence… “I will brush my own teeth, mama!” “No mama, I will read the book.” “I don’t need to hold your hand, mama.” “I can do it ALL by myself.” This confidence amazes me. They can’t be trusted to do all the above by themselves just yet, but I can’t get in the way of letting them err.  We’ve all heard this and have probably said it before but, they need to fail before they succeed. The common conflict and result from failure is the fear to keep trying, the fear that failure may occur again. We can’t allow this fear in our children and at the same time, we can’t allow this fear in ourselves. We are HUMAN and we need to watch our little ones err, praise them for trying and encourage them to continue, while showing them that we also err and keep going.

As a parent, the most difficult part for me is knowing that they can keep going through failure in all aspects of life. That they can forgive themselves and others who may fail. I will not always be there to offer a helping hand or a wise word when someone shames them for failing, when someone discourages them or denies them the ability to succeed. But I can give them the best tools to embrace err, positively respond to negativity, succeed in their own way and be happy and confident little people.

Thank you Mr. Pope for shedding so much light on us humans – even before your fellow innovator, Mr. Edison, brought us an actual light.

Now, I must get on with my day… embracing err along the way.

 

.:23:. // hibernation \\ 

^Bear cub A (Lainy) – – – – Bear cub B (Hannah)^

A few months ago (right before the real cold set in), I went on a chilly walk with my two little ones. We strolled past a grassy den-like cove, that looked as though it could be a perfect spot for a bear to fluff her pillows and chill until spring. I discussed this scenario with my girls – how bears hibernate, taking long naps until “the snow starts to melt and pretty little flowers bloom!” I made it sound very desirable with subtle persuasive cues alluding to how wonderful sleeping is.  …praying they would take a nice long nap when we got home.

Then I had one of those moments, as we continued our walk in silence… One of those daydream moments. I imagined myself nestled in that cozy spot, laying on freshly fluffed pillows, getting a wonderfully long nap… Just like a mama bear (in my story, bears love fluffy pillows). I imagined someone graciously bringing my girls home to their beds while I snuggle up in that den and get lost in sleep. Unfortunately,  I’ve been cursed with a terrible ability to nap – I’m not typical mama bear material… but the “daddy” bear I share my fluffy space with has a pretty comfortable relationship with hibernation ;).

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taken by one of my children and very fitting as this is the typical view of my lower half…

As a Minnesotan, I’ve proudly worn my puffy parka and big-ole-furry boots to the grocery store. I love when big pretty snowflakes fall from the sky, I can handle below zero weather and dark winter mornings haven’t kept me from being a morning person. – – – But as a mama in Minnesota, I now have my puffy parka pockets full of Kleenex, bandaids, disney chapstick, extra tiny gloves, crumbs of some sort, something sticky or just plain unknown… My big-ole furry boots once looked cute when I wore my sassy skinny jeans but now they stare up at me partially covered by my yoga pants and yell “get a hold of yourself! What is happening here?!”. Oh, and mornings… I’m still (what some might consider) a morning person. However, sluggishly rolling out of bed has become a more common introduction to the day. We push ourselves out the door like a roll of Pillsbury dough… you know the ones that “POP” open when you peel them and hit the container against the counter (release of aggression, EH?). Well, I’m not aggressive… and I’m not Canadian but their is a small sense of fulfillment when that tube pops open.  Where in the world am I going with this? This is exactly how we get out of the house. After all of the getting un-dressed/dressed/brushing teeth/throwing little tantrums/trying to look like tame sweet bears… once we “POP” out of our cozy den of a home, their is a huge sense of fulfillment + accomplishment. Really? Yes, with two toddlers who love playing in diapers and have a strong sense of determination when it comes to dressing themselves – inside out . upside down . slowly but surely – getting out of the house feels like I completed a marathon some days, and I only have two!

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Me + my bundled little cubs, just to walk into the mall…

Motherhood is tiring. Just ask any mama bear… Go ahead, she’ll tell you exactly why she naps for so long. Because she NEEDS it! Or she’ll growl and claw at you, due lack of sleep and frequent interruption of the hibernation she’s seeking.

>Funny story<<

Their once was a tired mama bear who never hibernated and she was extremely exhausted, and possibly a little irritable. With a smile and many sighs, she did what she could to keep her ‘coat’ clean and fluffy, her den in order and her cubs content. However…

…some growls and sharp claws may have come out a few times……..maybe.

The end.<<
Unfortunately, us mamas don’t get to nap like real mama bears, but we definitely deserve a break and time to ourselves. We need a little R&R, we need to slow down, take deeper breathes, fluff those pillows and chill until spring. Winter can really drag a mom down and wear her out – especially after months of being continuous toddler entertainment, while (mostly) indoors.

Now, excuse me while I go fluff my pillows in my den and close my eyes for a few months…

…or minutes. (very easy to get those two confused).


 

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I’ll let daddy bear take over.

 

 

 

 

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