Growing young

confidence, empowerment, Family, Marriage, Mother, Uncategorized

As a child I was surrounded by my grandparents and great-grandparents. My parents were 18/19 when they started our little family. My grandparents 40, my great grandparents 60. 

Similar to many American families, divorce struck our family and we really needed the support of my grandparents-great grandparents. I practically lived with Grandma and Grandpa. Heck, today, they would be just about that age that we feminists are having our children. 

Ain’t no thang in that 40 ovary game. 

I digress. 

My grandparents did everything for us during times where my parents were – figuring it out. My grandma stayed at home and cared for us. She was the busiest woman I’d ever met. There was no a moment to wait, relax or sit. She was always moving. I, of course, loved that. Let’s go! I’m always up for shopping and driving around the city. My grandfather, worked all day. He made the life for this family. He worked long, hard hours in his younger years and that paid off dividends in his later years. 

So, here I am, 30 and realizing things are starting to change. So. Freaken. Fast. 

When you have young grandparents you have the luxury of enjoying them for many years. But, time is a fickle thing. Time does some nasty things. Time creates a sense of false security- just more time- just once more- if I only had more time. One more minute and one more breath. 

I’m writing this as we drive away from the family that cared for me when my parents were absent. The people that held my hand and led me through my childhood. They rocked me, encouraged me, fed me, clothed me, loved me. Many times, I was the apple of their eye. The first girl in a family full of boys. The sassy one that kept them on their toes. The steadfast yet flexible one. They built me and I’ve been gone from them for years. One state away through high school, college, marriage, career and family. Still, one state away. Always waving – goodbye! See you soon! But, today’s goodbye was different. As we drove away sentimental items in tow I can’t help but deeply and intensely feel the change, deep in my bones. I feel it so much it hurts and comes out as ice sharp tears. Knots in my throat and full blown belly ache. My grandparents have come to a new life stage: dependency. They aren’t traveling. They aren’t leaving the house as much. Grandma isn’t busy. She’s not even driving. 

Aging hurts. Is it just selfish? I don’t want to see them like this. I want to go back. Back would mean so much pain – and I know that. It’s not possible and I know that, too. It’s not the wrinkles that bother me or the gray hair. It’s the early signs of losing their sense of self. You know, the… Oh, gesh, that’s so sad- I never want to end up like that, kind of thing. We are our identities. When you lose your sense of self and understanding of what life means for you… What are you doing here? 

I saw my great-grandma (Nana) yesterday. 95. Ninety five freaken years old. Glorious. How is that even possible? The stories she would have for us… Vast… If only she could talk. She stopped talking 6 months ago. If her 40,50,60 year old self saw herself- she would not be happy. As I was masking my tears and picking my jaw up from the ground, I, again, became selfish. Why? I wanted her back. For just one minute. Tell me the story about when I was sick at school and you had to pick me up and give me soup. Tell me about my Papa and how you met. Make me one of your little dolls with the knitted dress that I took for granted and didn’t think about saving. Tell me. Instead, we sat there- strangers. I didn’t know this woman and she didn’t know me. 

I took photos. Too painful to look at – I can’t see the joy in them. Again, just selfish. I took a close up of her hands because those are and were her hands. When I was born she said, “oh my goodness, look at her beautiful hands!” And now, as she nears the end, the only thing that caught my attention was her beautiful hands. 

Those hands picked cotton as a child, they held a pencil as she learned to write her name, they held her husband and children. They bathed four girls, diapered, fed, rocked. They held grandchildren and great grandchildren and this weekend her great-great grandson, Zaccai. Those hands have accomplished more than can ever be imagined. As I opened chocolate after chocolate for her and placed them delicately in her hands I thought. This. This could be the last time I see her sweet, soft hands working. She’s worked for 95 years. 

How do you let them age? We grow old to turn young. Regression and hopefully softly and safely into the arms of the one who loves us most. 

Easter Bunny Sunday

Attachment parenting, confidence, empowerment, Family, Mother, Parenting, Uncategorized

It’s been so long I almost forgot how to start a post. Life is busy and crazy and so damn demanding. I just want a full 24 hours to pee by myself and not respond to one email. NOT ONE. 

I’m riding the waves of motherhood and a full time college teaching career coupled with a part time teaching gig at another college. I drive to 3 different campuses each week. It’s utterly insane and I love it. I can’t help to yearn for the day I’ll find my tenured track teaching position and settle down.

These past few months that I’ve been gone (from you- blog) I’ve feel these words:

Happiness, joy, laughter, sweet, caring, friendship, excitement….

But I’ve also had some really terrible situations happen that have left me feeling…

Lost, isolated, sad, uncomfortable, depressed, uncertain, out of control, fleeting, inadequate…

Is there a chance PPD can happen when your child is well into toddler years? I feel like the world is sitting on my shoulders and trying to suffocate me. 1 step forward and 5 steps back. 

I mean, I’ve accomplished some really amazing things… But they’ve kind of just been an almost there success… I feel like I’m part of the Myth of Sissifus.

………………………………………………………….
Wow. If I want to have a blog and followers I should probably FINISH BLOG POSTS FROM Easter! 

All I can do is laugh. I wanted to just throw this one away, like, oh well [she] tried. But then I thought, nah, they can see I’m a total mess just like everyone else. 
Half finished

Half inspired

Half irritated 

Half assing this thing called life.

Do you feel you’re half-Ing shit, too? Well, dang, you’re NOT alone.

Since it’s been SO long. Here’s a few pictures from our lives lately. 

Oh. And. I’ll post a REAL blog post this week. Don’t hold your breath 😁

Stolen Time

Attachment parenting, confidence, empowerment, Family, Marriage, Mother, Parenting, Uncategorized

First of all, Happy Birthday to my momma. 

  
Everyone has the “perfect” mom…. And I’m here to say, I have the “perfect” mom. I mean, we get in our fair share of arguments but I wouldn’t trade her in. My mom was once a young mom with three children who too most likely felt like a huge failure. 

Why, why do we [women] find fault in like everything? Now, let’s backpedal a bit and bring you to my mom at 24 years of age. Marriage falling apart, 4 year old boy, 3 year old girl and infant baby boy. 24, people. 

Maybe you’ve been there, maybe you’re there now. I’m here to say, I admire you. You feel like a failure and like you’re never going to muddle out of the mounds of debt and depression and these children need you… And you need a partner; however, s/he is gone. I think my mom would tell you: this sh!t is hard and it’s not going to get easier. She would tell you the pain is heavy and the stress is intense. She would also say the most painful part is losing your children. She would say the courts f’d up and gave her children to the wrong parent. She would tell you her children suffered tremendously because of her. 

She blames herself. Everyday she tries to make up for stolen time… She can’t. It’s gone. 

For so many years I cried for my mom. I wanted her in my life, daily. I knew what I was missing out on; but, more importantly, I knew what my siblings needed- their mom. I, at the age of 6, was certainly no replacement for a mother. I tried. 

A moment of clarity came over me as I sit in tears on my therapist’s couch. WHY AM I STRUGGLING IN MY MARRIAGE AND PARENTING? I knew some of our marriage issues were unearthing through my rotten childhood. My husband has a lovely family, solid foundation. I, very very cracked. I told her of a story (unrelated to myself) about a 2 year old boy being forgot in the car in the middle of Arizona summer and he died. I literally cried all night for him. Young, forgotten child in the car. How horrifying. How lonely. How sad. My therapist said, “Amber, do you know why you can’t shake that”? I stared, confused. “You’re the baby stuck in the car, you’re waiting for your parents to save you, comfort you, protect you. They didn’t.” 

They didn’t

Maybe, they just couldn’t. Two people interested in the same thing: 3 children and ripping apart the other person. Divorce. Hatred. Dirty laundry. Attorneys. Judgements. Weekend visitation. It’s all just f’d up. 

They couldn’t. 

I knew my parents would never work it out. I knew they would never be amicable. I never even wishes or prayed for it. I only prayed my life would not reflect theirs. I didn’t want to go through the pain again. 

How did my mom survive that pain? My son went to the ER one night and I thought I would lose it, ear infection. Drama. How in the world did my mom go years without holding, squishing, smelling, and cuddling her little lug bugs? 

So, now, here I am – 30 and trying to get past all this yucky childhood stuff and pray to God we don’t put our son through any of this… But there are still so many families out there that can relate to this pain. There is so much hurt, so much anger. If I can give you one piece of advice from a child who desperately needed both parents to be civil and kind…

Don’t deny your children their right to see the other parent. They will resent you. 

Don’t deny your children their right to visit with their grandparents. They will really resent you. 

Don’t talk bad about the other parent in front of them. Just don’t do it. 

Co-parent. Make decisions about their lives and focus on them. Not YOU. 

We just finished a holiday season and every year I’m so thankful it’s over. I can’t help but think of all the pain I had each Christmas without my family. Now that I have my own little family the holidays are bright; but, the past is sometimes hard to shake and I have to continually remind myself that I am in charge of my happiness and no one else. 

Whatever you do, do it with love in your heart. 

   
    
   

The Process of Finding Happiness 

Attachment parenting, Beauty tips, Body shaming, confidence, empowerment, Mother, Parenting, Student loan debt

I’ve been silent for months now. So much has changed in my life and it’s really hard to process it all.

Three months ago I was miserable. I was working long hours outside of the home and hating every minute of it. I climbed up that proverbial corporate ladder, well, mostly… to the third step… Okay, maybe the second one, stay with me here! None-the-less, I hated life. My happy place was leaving work and teaching. I teach community college communication classes and LOVE every minute of it. Well, minus the grading.

I knew I couldn’t leave my corporate job, I was making too much money and ironically not enough. We were barely making it due to the mounds of debt I took on through my bachelors and masters degrees. You know the story. The sad, sad story. 

And then, one day, I told my husband, “I can’t do it.” I’m giving myself a few more months of this and I’m done. I said it out loud. DONE.

I was scared. I had no plan. I have so much debt, so many bills. Yet, I spent my days being so miserable and feeling suffocated. I. Hated. Life.

I was making my family miserable too. Sorry dudes. Then, the sky opened and I landed a job at a major university in their communication department. DREAM JOB. There is one little problem… Less, much less money.

Let me take you back to when I was in the middle of my misery pleading to God to help me. I said, “please allow me something that I love to do and I can share my talents.” I forgot to mentioned that I wanted millions along with it. So, I got the dream job.

I also asked my therapist for help. She knew I was miserable. She could see it each time I visited her office. She asked me if I felt successful, I always said “no”. Why! Why don’t you, Amber? I said, how could I? You should see the red in my bank account each month. How can I claim success when I’m in this state? I didn’t get it.

I went to see her last week. I sat there. Completely mesmerized that I was the happiest I’ve been making less money. I made it. I’m successful. It’s real. 

She asked me about my classes and students and I literally cried. I love my life. I’m so happy. I’m using my skills in the field I love. Students call me professor- and I turn around! Haha, it still makes me giddy.

Life was stressful and overwhelming when I hated my job. I just had to let go and let God.

What have you been holding on to? A relationship? A painful memory? A dreadful job?

How can you find your happiness?

What is happiness to you?

I found mine; go get yours.
All my love.

  

Motherhood, you’re disgusting 

Attachment parenting, Cloth diaper, Family, Mother, Parenting

That’s what we’re told anyway. 

NO? 

Really? NO?

Okay. Thanks but no thanks. 

For what? Your simple little opinion of motherhood. The naysayers. The others. The non-mothers. The righteous mothers. Or, just the righteous. 

You know who I’m talking about. The ones who make THIS a story. 

All day every day

Moms everywhere are forced to explain themselves or justify their actions. Like it everyone’s business how long we nurse, diaper, co-sleep, when we potty train, when we take away the paci, when we.. Blah, blah, blah. 
Look you assholes, it’s our business. 

Now, if we let you into our world, don’t be an asshole. If you must, practice this old saying: “treat others as you wish to be treated”. Or, take it one step further, “treat others as they wish to be treated”.

As a mom, I’ve done things I NEVER thought I would.

  1. Nursed and peed. Numerous times… What else would I do? Kid is hungry and I pee occasionally, ever try to hold that in? 
  2. Allowed my child to vomit on me, I’d rather clean myself than mop a floor. I wasn’t sure of my other options in the moment. 
  3. Cleaned poop out of the tub, twice. 
  4. Slept in pee. It’s like water, right? I just moved right on over… It was really a win-win. 
  5. Eaten kid left overs. Why? I have no idea- waste of calories on food that isn’t even luke warm. Stupid.
  6. Nursed in public, with no cover. Judge me. 
  7. Give up myself, daily. 
  8. Work endlessly. 
  9. Worry often.
  10. Love, amazingly. Or, to “you” maybe disgustingly. 

That’s right. I’ve done all these things and more. “You’ve” (they’ve) tweeted/facebooked/IG comments of disgust over half of these things. But, guess what: it’s REAL. REAL F-ING MOTHERHOOD. It’s what amazing moms are willing to do, everyday. 

So, step off your douche-bag soap box. We’re not going away. Those real social media photos, they’re not stopping either. Be thankful we’re here raising the next set of hopefully non-douche bag children. 

This weekend was full of disgusting moments. Puke, poop, fever, cleaning and repeat. 

We have a few sweet moments, though. 

Sunshine Breakfast.    
My first cotton candy. [not pictured: the other cotton candy, he wanted both colors]

  

  

Finally, after blood, sweat and tears of a sicky weekend Z wanted to watch a movie in the Jeep. So we sat – in the drive way- in the Jeep- with the iPad. So what?

 

Friends: pray for a clean slate and no more puke. 

Until next time, nurse your kid on the potty. ✌🏽️

Love + Love = Love

Art, Attachment parenting, confidence, empowerment, Marginalized individuals, Marriage, Mother, Parenting, Publishing a children's book, Small Business

If I’ve learned anything it’s to pass on love to my child. My husband and I don’t spend any time explaining who should love who with Z. To us, love is love. 

My parents divorced at a young age and went their separate ways. Dad remarried and mom, well, didn’t. 

I’ve never been asked why my dad remarried but believe me I’ve been asked why mom never remarried. 

I used to lie about why.

  • She isn’t interested in dating
  • She doesn’t really want to be in a relationship 
  • She doesn’t have time! Hello, 3 kids, single mom! 
  • She likes being alone-  duh, doesn’t everyone just want to be left alone!?
  • She’s overweight, maybe when she loses weight
  • She wants to focus on herself

Lie. Lie. Lie. Lie. Lie. Lie. You get it.

Truth? 

She’s a Lesbian.

That’s right. I said it. I’m not a lier anymore. Man, that feels great. 

I’ve lied to everyone in my life until I met my husband. Oh, yea, and the drunken night with some of my college besties and our need to share all. Yea, that happened. Anywho……

Why the lies? “No one cares.” People would tell me. 

Oh, yea. Sure. Tell the world as a teenager that is coming into herself- I could barely contain my period let alone the fact that my mom was a lesbian. Then, I got so used to all the lies that I never went back to those people and corrected them. I just brushed it under the rug. 

Until now. I just took a leap of faith. I wrote a children’s book about Z’s two grandmas. 

Loving My Grandmas

I’m so proud a publishing company invested in me and my family story. I’m absolutely thrilled that Z gets to have representation of his two grandmas. TWO grandmas in love.

In love and that’s okay. It’s really, okay!

He will never have to lie. He won’t have to make up stories about Noni & Grandma. He won’t have to feel ashamed. He will just be able to love and enjoy them. Isn’t that what having grandparents is all about!? 

We think so. 







You can buy the book and support the movement! Equality for all. 

Buy here! Loving My Grandmas

Support my passion and advocate for marginalized couples all over the world! 



Today, I felt like quitting and giving up.

confidence, empowerment, Mother, Publishing a children's book

Do you ever have those days where it’s all wrong?

Today was my day.

I don’t even want to replay it. I know it was bad. If I graded myself I would give me an F. I even drove myself from work to home (25 miles) on E. I didn’t care if I ran out of gas. I didn’t want to think about my horrible day and recount it in my head, but I did. Over and over and over. 

If I only could have.

If I would have.

I should have. 

How many times would I replay this? When will I move on? 

Funny. When I have an amazing day rearely do I replay the joyous moments. Rarely. 

When the bad days come, replay and repeat is apparently my mantra. 

I took about an hour break after writing what you’ve read this far. I wanted to collect my thoughts and eat a few Oreos, pasta and sauce, bread and butter and a peppermint. I mean, I wanted to eat my feelings. I don’t feel better by the way, now I’m just bloated and sad. Hashtag: I’ll never learn. 

——–//////// A NEW DAY ////////———

Yesterday is gone and I’ve put my big girl panties on and have taken a moment to evaluate my life. 

  • Life is amazing. Let’s be real, I’m writing this on my iPhone 5S. Really, complaining, Amber? 
  • I have an amazing, supportive husband who adores me.
  • I have a beautiful son!
  • I have an awesome career that offers my mind the opportunity to learn and grow. 
  • I have people that believe in me.
  • I feel comfortable in my own skin.
  • I acknowledge my imperfections and allow others to give me feedback. 
  • I stand up for what’s right.
  • I’m a published author! Loving My Grandmas
  • I’ve overcome adversity and I am a happy person.

So, all in all, bad days come and go; however, these “things” they last. I will always be these things. I own these things.

I created a few sayings on A Beautiful Mess and wanted to share them with you. I hope they speak to you as they spoke to me. 







5 signs you’re a mom and probably shouldn’t be…

Attachment parenting, Cloth diaper, Family, Marriage, Mother, Parenting, Publishing a children's book

I woke up oh so early this morning.

4 AM Wake up! For what reason? I don’t know.

Well, that’s not entirely true. Z started whining in his sleep, “MULK” “momma, Mulk.” So, naturally, in my sleep I roll over, pop out a boob and nurse. But, this morning it woke me up and I couldn’t fall back to sleep. I started thinking about being a mom and how much I need to learn.

Here are my 5 signs I need to grow up but probably won’t:

1. If you don’t take a shower at night and you play outside with a toddler, you’ll wake up itchy in the wee-hours of the morning. Fact.

2. After work I take off my nice, expensive work clothes and politely lay them on the ground in front of my closet. After my 4:30 AM shower this morning, I stood on said clothes to find comfy yoga pants. Winning.

3. I walked into the bathroom and found my dirty clothes on the ground – next to soggy cloth diapers, eh, someone’s mom might pick that up one day.

4. I looked back in the shower and realized I’ve been taking a shower with empty shampoo bottles for months. Where is that mom that cleans this shit up?

5. I’ve been sneak eating Marvell’s red velvet birthday cake all week and then coming out of the kitchen with baby carrots. What? Don’t judge me.

There you have it. #momfails of the century. When will I turn into my mom? It seemed that she always had shit together.

Hey, at least I’m up, showered and have eaten a bowl of cereal and a bite of red velvet before anyone even noticed.

That’s winning in my book.

Speaking of book: ITS DONE!

“Loving My Grandmas” will be on bookshelves soon! I approved the proof of the book and 100 copies are being sent to my house. I’ll soon have a link to buy the book. I can’t tell you how excited I am! Here’s a sneak peak of the cover….

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Like me on Facebook as well!

Loving My Grandmas Facebook page

Happy {birth}day Zaccai!

Attachment parenting, Cloth diaper, Family, Marriage, Mother, Parenting, Uncategorized

Well, we’ve made it. Our sweet little boy has turned 2. People this is monumental. Two years ago Marvell and I were clueless as to how to raise a baby, toddler, little boy.

But, we’ve made it. A few scrapes and bruises along the way {metaphorically speaking- egos mostly!}.

So, here’s to one of the sweetest boys in the world! Biased, I know.

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Mostly, I’m thankful this boy has forced me to slow down!! I am a go-go-go type of person. If I don’t have multiple things going on or multiple jobs, I feel lazy. [although I don’t think others are lazy that work 1 job or stay at home] Anyhow… this year I quit my favorite part time job. It is bitter sweet. I did it for Z. I knew that it was time to move on. He needed me to move on. Marvell needed me to move on.

Zaccai’s birthday celebrations were small. We had a nice BBQ, cupcakes and lovely weather outside at a local park. His sweet friends were there to play & have 2 year old meltdowns. Oh, the meltdowns.

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Zaccai LOVED us singing to him! His face lit right up! He knew the celebration was for him!

It was a beautiful day at the park! We could not have asked for better AZ November weather. The only minor problem: WIND! Who knew!? Wind in AZ. So, we blew out candles at home. Which meant singing to the boy again! He loved it.

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Digging the cloth diaper and socks look? You too can have this look! LOL.

My dear sweet boy. This world is cruel and angry and I hope your generation does more than ours. I pray you see a world of happiness & peace. I hope you see less war and more understanding. I urge you to put yourself in someone else’s shoes before you judge them. Believe me, you may feel tempted. At times you will think you’re better than someone else. Maybe even better looking…
{well, we know that’s a given}

……Quietly stepping off the mom soap box there…….

Really though, Zaccai, you’re world will be different than mommy’s and daddy’s. Just know, your parents have stood in the face of adversity, racism & sexism. The fight has come a long way but it’s not yet over. There are many battles to be won and I hope you’re part of the change. I believe you will do amazing thigs for our world. I can only hope that we positively impact your life to show you the way.

Just know, many parents have their way of raising babies/children/teens. We are all humans trying to do the best we can. That does not mean we are always right – we most likely will be very wrong one day – if we are… Let us know!

Challenge Us
Push Us
Ask Questions
Be Bold
Forgive Us
Love Us

Most importantly, get to know who you are. Be confident in the person you will become.

No matter what, we will support you.

We LOVE you.

Our sweet angel boy.

Born to this world and us on 11/4/2012 at 2:04 AM via emergency c-section. Your parents went through 12 weeks of natural Bradley delivery method to bring you into this world in the most “unnatural” way. But, man, does your mom have a story about her 4 day natural-no-pain-meds labor. I’ll be sure to tell you one day. And by that I mean: every time I get angry at you, when I’m bored and want to tell you the story, or, maybe when your first date shows up at the house… All appropriate times.

We named you Zaccai because we couldn’t agree on anything A-Y and the website stopped at Z: Zaccai. Your middle name is Marvell: didn’t have to go far for that one either: daddy & PawPaw’s name.

You were a tiny 6 pounds 11 oz & cute as a shriveled up old man. Love.

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{birth}. {one}. {two}.

You’re Beautiful & Those Lashes! YOUNIQUE

Attachment parenting, Beauty tips, confidence, empowerment, Family, Mother, Small Business, Younique

I can’t tell you how many times people have asked me, “are those your real lashes!!?”

YES! I’ve always used pretty good mascara and I have my favorites for sure! I really think mascara is the key to a woman’s heart, good mascara!!

So, my drop-dead, wish I had all the money in the world, mascara, is Estée Lauder Magnascopic. Now, that bad boy girl runs about 28$ or so. Wayyyyyy too much for my budget since I use it so often!

My go-to mascara now is MAC volumizer…

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It’s a bit cheaper (around 18$) and is pretty close to Estée. Now, I know you’re thinking… Ahem, that’s still pricy! But, I don’t spend money on myself often and it’s my one treat- good mascara!

Now. This does give me an everyday “OMG those lashes look” and it keeps me pretty happy… But it’s not going to give you the WOW, falsies!?

So when I was approached by Lisa from Younique OMG lashes to try her products I thought, why not! I’m always on the look out for something new and I can share it with my readers!

Also, my neighbor and good friend get false lashes and pay UP TO $150!!!! Holy smokes! I mean, they look amazing but $150 is $150!

So, here’s the process & my thoughts!

This is me before anything on my lashes:

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First, you apply a thin coat of your own mascara. So, here’s a thin coat:

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Then, you apply Younique transplanting gel; before the gel dries you apply their fibers. Lastly, you seal the deal with the transplanting gel!

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The product looks like this…

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I went to her site to check the price. I was expecting around $50. I felt that would be reasonable. NOPE. I was pleasantly surprised!!!!

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The other benefits? ALL NATURAL!!!

Recently, a reader emailed me… Wahoo!!! First reader email. Anyway, she asked about my mascara and asked if I had a suggestion for a natural mascara. I didn’t. NOW, I do!

I seriously suggest this product! I haven’t seen anything like it in the stores. Although, I have to admit I live under a rock these days. But, even if there are comparable products I bet the prices are much higher!

Here are the deets:

Guaranteed Products!
No shipping on purchases over $100
Naturally based products- no crap inside!

I’ve embedded the link to the site multiple times; but, one more can’t hurt!!

Younique OMG lashes!

Now, I can’t leave you without a few moments of my little man. He is turning 2 freaking years old on November 4th. TWO! TWO! How did that happen?

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