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We spent 4 days in EDH ringing in the new year and I did not take one single picture. This is all I have and was sent to me by Larry 🙂 We spent time with cousins, played with the boy across the street, visited with family, then woke up New Year’s Day and headed to Santa Rosa to stay with Nana’s cousin Marte.

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Beckett attended Boost, an intensive therapy conductive education clinic for 5 days while I searched out all of Santa Rosa and the surrounding cities for things to do to entertain three little monkeys for 4 hours each morning. Not that I’m complaining. We had a great time and Santa Rosa is a pretty awesome place ti kill 5 days. Our first morning, we headed to the Children’s Museum. And for what I lacked in photos in EDH, I more than made up for here. This place is seriously the coolest! I took Addie and a barely 1-year-old Coen here with Beckett did his first Boost in 2015. I lost Coen for most of the day. He was so busy running from one activity to the next and I was busy chasing Holden around. Addie was my amazing helper as usual balancing her own enjoyment with keeping tabs on the brothers.

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Day 2, we went to the outlet mall in Petaluma to this play place filled with candy land-looking climbing structures, bounce houses, and slides. I want this entire place in my next house. It was amazing and again, the kids ran around basically unattended for nearly 3 hours. I didn’t even have to worry about Holden getting lost of trampled. It was perfect. I wish I had brought a book or something because facebooking for 3 hours was pretty unproductive!

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Day 3, back to the outlet mall, this time to check out a gymnastics place. I think it was called Adventure Recreation Center or something, but basically it was a huge warehouse space with gymnastics equipment. Trampolines, bars, a ninja course, tightrope. There was a tots area, but Holden quickly lost interest and followed his sibs around the big floor for 3 hours. This day, I brought my computer and got  little work done.

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Day 4 was a little more of a struggle. Beckett’s camp started at 9 every day but most places didn’t open until 10. I could usually kill that hour at Starbucks or Target (I somehow needed to go 3 times in the 5 days we were there??) but by day 4, I was out of reasons. We ended up strolling through Petsmart before popping in to a giant toy store with a small play area where we spent about 45 minutes before heading over to a party place holding an open play session that started at 11. It was pretty small but the kids played for a solid 2 hours before it was time to pick Beckett & Jimmy up. They had a giant inflatable slide, a bounce house, an inflatable obstacle course, and a climbing structure. All were a little too much for Holden, but he was happy in the under 3 area with a tiny slide and ball pit. I think the best part about all our excursions was that Addie found friends at every single place who she bounced around and played with the entire time we were there. She’s such an awesome kid!

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Beckett (and Jimmy!) worked super hard at Boost. Beckett did lots of stretching, ladder walking, and playing games. He was beat every day! We would get back to Marte’s around 3, I binge read Michelle Obama’s book while the kids taught Marte to play Uno and destroyed her house with forts, and Beckett napped. It was pretty wonderful! Marte made us delicious food every night and we slept in comfy beds. Not a bad way to spend the first few days of the year!

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On the last day of Boost, we picked Beckett and Jimmy up right at the same time CHP closed I-80 due to the storm. So, back to EDH for another night. Luckily, the snow reached Reno and the first day back to school was cancelled. We took our time getting back to Reno Monday and were able to get a little prepped for the week ahead before the boys started back to swim lessons. Coen’s a little fish but Holden refuses to get in the water anymore. We switched teachers and now have to go super late on Mondays, but at least he got in the pool. Wouldn’t leave the step yet, but still, progress. Addie and Beckett started back to school Tuesday while the other two came with me to work. Our usual routine is just far to much for Holden to handle as he’s been falling asleep in random places, then last night, went down for a nap at 5 pm and didn’t wake up until 6:30 in the morning! Plus, he ate a piece of pizza and 3 pb&j’s last week!!! That’s huge for the boy who lives off of cereal bars and pouches. Oh, just one more funny from my office. That last picture is Coen & Caleb snuggled together watching Caleb’s tablet in the tiniest corner of my office under a desk. So random but so adorable!

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Tuesday night, Addie had her girl scout cookie kick off meeting. She set a goal to sell 25 boxes. As of today, she’s at almost 50! Yay! If you’d like to buy, here’s her link https://digitalcookie.girlscouts.org/scout/adelyn743568, or you can let me know that you’d like to order and I’ll have her contact you. She’s pretty fired up about it, but doesn’t have that competitive spirit to set huge goals and sell like crazy. I like that about her 🙂

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Thursday, Jimmy turned 40. Yep, you read that right. 40! The birthday fairy decorated our house in the middle of the night. We had a random dinner of Mexican food and opened presents before devouring Nothing Bundt Cake. Yum! Friday night, we took Addie and Coen to PF Changs for a proper birthday celebration followed by a movie. We clearly don’t take these kids out enough. They were trying to light a fire with their chopsticks. We saw Mary Poppins Returns

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Addie had a friend’s birthday party Saturday and we had a small church event this morning, but aside from that, finally a fairly quiet weekend to relax and play at home. We’ve been talking up the potty to Holden but so far, he’s not interested. He even got Mickey Mouse big boy underwear for Christmas but he’s still not into it. Finally Saturday, he agreed to try them on and even sat on the toilet. No luck and his underwear were a little wet, so over all, wildly unsuccessful, but we’re trying!  Looking forward to an exciting new year with big changes to come!

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Our Christmas fun started on Christmas Eve Eve. Our church had our second annual Sip ‘n Sing where we eat chili and carol around the neighborhood inviting people to join us for Christmas Eve services. Since we were hanging out at church anyway, Addie got snagged to acolyte for the 11 am service. She lit the candles on the altar and helped with the offering. After service, we filled bags of cookies and set off to sing to our neighbors. We had a pretty big group of kids this year, which made for even more fun! By the end, all were cold and exhausted!

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On Christmas Eve, Addie sung in the Modern Worship choir before participating in the live nativity drama. We both got to wave flags and stand in as angels. Good times, but we didn’t get to enjoy the service, so we went back to church after steak and lobster to the 9pm service. Addie and Coen said goodbye to our elf friend Jolly, then snuggled up in their beds in anticipation of a tree full of presents.

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Since Addie taught herself to ride a bike over the summer, Santa knew just what to get this year. Addie and Coen got new bikes, Holden got a scooter. His favorite present though was his Mickey Mouse helmet! He wore it all morning! We had a delicious breakfast, then Addie and Jimmy practiced casting spells with Addie’s new Harry Potter wand. How cute are they casting spells in their Harry Potter pjs? Am I the only one who thinks this is funny? My parents and Alyssa came back for a yummy dinner. We played Uno, which Coen got in his stocking, before drifting off with happy hearts and fun bellies (Addie fell asleep in her new unicorn hooded blanket!).

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We spent the rest of the week exhausting ourselves outside riding bikes. What a perfect Christmas with these adorable little people! Now, off to close out the year in EDH!

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Decembers in this house have turned into “All About Addie” month. This was her second year for Sierra Nevada Ballet’s Peanutcracker. She had her second Christmas piano recital. And, of course, her birthday mixed in to all the fun.

We’ll start with Peanutcracker rehearsal. We’ve spent all our Saturdays since September leading up to this month’s performances. We rushed home from Thanksgiving to make it to dress rehearsal on the last Saturday in November. Addie was super nervous, to the point of tears. Can you tell by her face…

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The next day, we spent way too much time at church. The kids helped inventory and move all the food from our month-long food drive in order to get the church ready for Advent. They were all a huge help and I think they had a good time doing it!

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Friday, Nov. 30, Addie had her first Peanutcracker performance. This year, she was a soldier and party girl again. She had even more anxiety this year than last. The costume change had he freaking out for every single performance. But, as usual, she had a blast on stage and did amazing every time. This year, there were 7 kids from her school performing, two of them, some of her best friends from last year, which made it so much fun! Plus, their moms are awesome, so I enjoyed myself much more backstage this year.

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That evening, we had the opening of our new Artist Showcase at church. Addie submitted two pieces for the Christmas gallery. How cool that she gets to show artwork in a public space alongside other brilliant artists?!

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Now, on to December. On the 1st, she had two more Peanutcracker performances. We went out for dessert with our friends after as a quick birthday treat for me. No better way to spend my day than watching this girl on stage!

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The next day, we got to celebrate the 8th birthday of our friend for life, Priya. She had her party at a gymnastics studio. Addie and Coen had a great time running, climbing, swinging, and jumping into the giant foam pit. Wow, busy weekend! And just two days into the month 🙂

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On to the second week in December. Hold on to your hats, it’s even crazier than the first! Addie threw up at school first thing Monday morning, so got sent home. She ended up feeling fine as soon as she left, but stayed home Tuesday just in case. She went to girl scouts Tuesday night because she reeeaaaalllyyyy wanted to make a snow globe!

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That Friday, she had her Christmas piano recital. This year, she played The First Noel as a duet with Brittany. It was amazing! She did so well!

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Bright and early Saturday morning, we headed to Urban Air with the kids’ youth performance group at church. They worked super hard most Saturdays from October on to get ready for their Christmas program. More on that in a minute, but for now, they got use up some energy climbing rock walls, bouncing on trampolines, tackling the obstacle course, flying through the air on the sky coaster and navigating the ropes course (slightly terrifying with my fear of heights, but Addie made me do it with her!!!). It’s such a fun place. Coen’s set on having his birthday here.

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Then, that night, Addie’s birthday sleep over! How is it possible that this girl is 8 already? She had 7 friends spend the night. The plan was pizza, gingerbread houses, and slime. How did I not remember how much I hate putting together gingerbread houses? We never did get two of them standing. But the candy decorations were delicious and my dining room was covered in frosting. Good times! After they tore through Addie’s presents, the entire front of the house was a disaster! I sent the girls into the living room for a quick clean up where they proceeded to talk about boys. Then they came back to the table to make slime, which ended up with the dining room covered in glitter. What a night! Addie and her friend Avry were the first ones asleep around 10:30. The rest fell asleep around midnight. I was up every hour making sure there were still 7 sleeping heads as this was the first sleep over for most of them. All survived and we had celebratory birthday donuts for breakfast before they all left. And just like that, this beautiful girl was 8!!!! We rushed off to another youth ensemble rehearsal then birthday dinner at Gram and Gramps’ house to end the day.

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Monday morning, she was back on stage for her last two Peanutcracker performances. Her school had a voluntary field trip this time, so it was fun to see some friends after the show. I love that she chooses to do this. What an amazing experience and opportunity to have at just 8 years old.

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The following weekend, she celebrated her friend Kelsey’s birthday at a pottery studio, then it was time for their youth ensemble performance at church. They led the Modern Worship service Sunday with choreographed dances to four different songs. Addie even had a solo for one of them. Coen hung in there and was the cutest thing ever. Surprisingly, he remembered most of the moves. They had a sweet little nativity in the middle of the service where Addie got to be Mary. Precious, right?!

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Last week of school…all kids had pajama day. Coen got two days in a row of popcorn, pizza, and pjs since most of his friends are every-other day kids. On the last day, his school had their Christmas performance where Coen got to be Joseph in their nativity. Overall, a great wrap up to the first half of the school year!

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Huge Thanksgiving vacation update coming, but before we go there, a little randomness from November.

When my Grom passed away (10 days after Addie was born), my Aunt Lysse found an unfinished quilt while cleaning out Grom’s condo. She assumed Grom was making it for Addie but didn’t have the chance to finish it. She shipped it up to me and I’ve been storing the bag in Addie’s closet from move to move for the past 7.5 years. Over the summer, I finally opened the bag to see what I was dealing with. It was nearly complete and I felt like a big dummy for not looking at it sooner. So, I brought it to our awesome quilting ladies at church and they stuffed it, sewed it up, and hand-tied it for me. Isn’t it beautiful? Addie loves it!!

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A couple weekends back, Coen went to a birthday party for a friend at his new school. I really only know a couple parents at this new place, so it was nice to meet some people and learn kids names, finally. I’m terrible with this poor middle child. It was at a new place in Reno called Urban Air and it was awesome! He spent the first 10 minutes throwing himself halfway up a giant mountain then rolling down. He soon learned how to climb up the rope and slide down from the top. Then, he had the confidence to move on to bigger trampolines, foam pits, and barely tested out the obstacle course/ball pit. I can’t wait to go play there myself! This party was for his “best friend” Hunter. Well, now he says Hunter is his old friend and he now has new best friends. Not sure what to say about that, but it sure was a great party! 9pI3lVB6TEqAR8D7vzixIQCGDNW7UURvq4zvWt942eeg

We had conferences from Addie and Beckett. Both have awesome teachers this year. Holden got to sit in Addie’s chair while we learned about her class. Jimmy went to Beckett’s class since it was all at the same time. Addie wrote us a note and drew a picture. Beckett’s aide McKenna made the cut, too! Then she critiqued herself! Such a perfectionist. ouNej%vQRDuef5CafSAr3gcoVFbGimR5Ks4I26JkFutQXp1xoGFAQx2dvbYg+WGIVgGg3FZlEFTAOB1Pamb2n09w

I feel like I may have already posted this but Coen finished out fall ball at the end of October. He had such a good time and dang, he’s such a cutie in his little uniform!ht+v+irWR9u3TRsyUGKMuwYebzUXyuRye41FMRFjtXgQ7Bp6t0XmSGOojv0ARV7ZWg

Holden, Coen, and I spent a day at the park after early voting and checking some books out at the library. It’s right down the street from Addie and Beckett’s school. By the time I drive home or to my office, I have to leave an hour later, so library and park dates are just easier sometimes! Coen made friends with every kid there and Holden finally likes swinging.

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Nearly every night, Coen ends up in our bed. He usually claims to have a nightmare. However, he’s admitted to pretending to have a nightmare just to snuggle in our bed. So, there’s that. Since the time change, Holden thinks he can wake up at 5. If the sun’s not up, our kids are not allowed to be up, so with a little convincing, we tell him it’s still night time and go back to sleep. When that doesn’t work, he gets to snuggle in our bed, too. And, if we’re really lucky, this happens!

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And then there’s this. Holden LOVES Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. He watches it on the iPad at my office every day. When he’s the only kid at home, he even gets to watch it on the big TV and recline in Beckett’s chair.

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OK, I think that does it for the random photos. I promise the next post will be more complete thoughts 🙂

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Gibson monsters were in full force this year for Halloween. Addie decided she wanted to be “something scary”. Mavis’ black hair and lipstick were enough to convince her that Hotel Transylvania was a good choice. Coen was going to be Johnny, but somehow we switched at the last minute to Dracula, so Beckett went as Johnny instead. Holden was the cutest little Dennis though out of context, he was mistaken for Carrot Top. Jimmy was Frankenstein and I was Eunice. We “decorated” a trunk this year for our church’s Trunk or Treat. I had to make a box a few weeks prior for candy donations, so just decided to snag it for our trunk once we separated out all the candy bins. Addie and Josie cut out all the bats and stuck them to my car. It was by far the least effort put in to any of the trunks, but it was really nice to have a “home base” for the kids for the event. And when the sun went down, they just hung out inside the car eating candy. Perfection! On Halloween night, we drove to the community across the street and met up with Coen’s baseball buddy. Two hours, four overflowing buckets of candy, four exhausted children, very minimal planning. All in all, a great way to spend another Halloween!

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OK, seriously, I haven’t even posted about the kids’ first day of school yet? Ridiculous! Taking it waaaaay back to after Labor Day, Addie and Beckett started 1st and 2nd grade at their amazing school. Addie teacher is new this year, and so far, love her! Beckett had Addie’s teacher from last year, so we already knew she’d be awesome. The parents and PTO planned a welcome line the first morning where they had signs and cheered on all the kids as they came in to school. Beckett’s fabulous OT and his friend Brielle wheeled him through the line! Luckily, my friend caught this perfect photo of the moment since I couldn’t see through the tears streaming down my face! I seriously love this school, these kids, the teachers and administration. It’s the best!

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The first weekend of school, we made a last minute decision to go with friends to the balloon races, the unofficial kick off to fall. It’s always a struggle to get motivated to get up at 4 am but always worth it! The kids danced and wrestled, the sky was gorgeous, the weather wasn’t too chilly. Perfect morning!

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A couple weeks later, we had jog-a-thon at the kids’ school. Always such a fun time and with the help of some of our generous friends and family, their school raised $82,500!!!! Their goal was $30,000. I’m completely blown away! This is the biggest fundraiser for the year that the kids do themselves, so really awesome to see them nearly triple their goal! Thank you for all our people who donated. Addie will be sending you each a thank you card in the mail soon, I promise!

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Addie had her first official sleepover (at our house) with our friend, Brooklyn, over fall break. She spent two days with us brunching with friends, crafting, singing and dancing, and putting on a performance with the brothers. All my kids adore her!

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Aside from that, more birthday parties, more horse lessons, more baseball, and peanutcracker rehearsals. We’ve been busy!

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Two weeks ago, we took our annual trip to Beckett’s vision doctor in Pittsburgh. She’s always so uplifting. His vision has improved and we seem to be on the right track academically with his wonderful teacher adapting curriculum for his vision needs. And, this weekend, we’re in Texas with Beckett. This morning, he had SPML surgery to release the spasticity in his hamstrings, adductors, biceps, and pectorals. He’s been sleeping all day! Hoping tomorrow brings loose limbs and the months ahead bring more strength and mobility. Super busy but so many good things and more to come!

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What a jam-packed summer it’s been! Capped off by two bonus weeks from Addie and Beckett’s school since construction isn’t quite complete. That’s OK, we’ll take two extra weeks of summer any time! Backing all the way up to July. Beckett was in full-blown therapy mode, attending Thrive five days a week, so once again, with 4th of July being in the middle of the week, I stayed home with two sleeping boys while Jimmy took Addie and Coen to see fireworks. After a hot day of water fun in the backyard, they headed up to Windy Hill to see fireworks from all over the valley. The next day, back to therapy, as usual!

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That weekend, we decided to have an impromptu baptism. Something that’s been weighing on my mind for 6 years now. Auntie was in town for 5 days and Shawna and Perry somehow found the time to make it to Reno on crazy short notice to serve as Godparents to three awesome brothers! We had such a nice ceremony, after church services so I didn’t have to stress over my children being loud or acting crazy. Holden wanted to wipe the water off his own head and his face while blowing out the candle was hilarious! Coen was a little apprehensive, but ended up cooperating amazingly well. Beckett was great, as Beckett usually is. We had a nice little swim party and sandwiches to end the afternoon. Prefect, low key, and they’re finally baptized with three awesome Godparents, so a success in my book!

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Addie had the huge honor of dancing on the amazing Sand Harbor stage for the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival. She’s been rehearsing all summer and her final performance is tonight in Carson City. This show is with a lot of older dancers, so has been a more mature production than what she’s done in the past. It’s been such a good experience and she’s been able to share it with one of her favorite friends, Addison. Her school had a special preview of the Reno show last week and her principal came backstage and played with the girls for a few minutes before they went on stage. We are so blessed by this amazing school and supportive “family” we’ve found! It’s been truly wonderful! All these kiddos below go to Addie’s school and are so sweet!

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Next up, Beckett’s 6th birthday!! Miraculously, it did not fall on a Thrive day this year, so we got to have a relaxing day at home followed by pizza at the Pub and Dragon Lights. It was way past Beckett’s bedtime, but he loved every minute of Dragon Lights. It was pretty incredible! We spent an entire two hours there and no kids complained!

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In what we had anticipated to be the culmination of our summer fun, off we headed to Lake Tahoe for our church campout. Just to set the tone of my camp life…Jimmy and I have been together for 17 years this November. We have camped once. 17 years ago. The whole precess of buying/borrowing gear, food shopping, packing, was overwhelming! The immediate dirt factor of my children was overwhelming. The bears sniffing our tent in the middle of the night…overwhelming! But, we were in great company and actually enjoyed ourselves. And dare I say, we fully plan on doing it again next year. In an RV. I need more than a flimsy tent separating my children and bears.

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Aside from all that fun, we’ve just been hanging out, doing puzzles, building towers, playing in Gram & Gramps’ garden, going to plays with friends, reading books, watching way too much TV, and just playing (sometimes fighting) way too late into the night. Coen starts a new preschool Monday. Yikes! I’m not ready. More on that later as it’s a big, unexpected change in our lives. And with our bonus weeks of summer for Addie & Beckett, we plan to have a lot more fun before we’re all back into the groove.

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Oh, one funny thing, I make birthday posters for each kid’s birthday, but after a couple years of making them for Addie and Beckett, and adding two more kids to the mix, I got really sick of designing these posters! So, I implemented the posters until 5 rule. Addie doesn’t like that the younger brothers still get posters and she doesn’t, so she made her own. For her 8th birthday. 5 months from now! She kills me 🙂

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