Kangaroo Farm

A few weekends ago some friends of ours drove up from Nevada to visit for the weekend. That’s fourteen hours of driving! And they drove straight here! We had a wonderfully enjoyable weekend with many laughs and good conversations, as well as an epic round of Monopoly in which Luisa was the conqueror supreme!

We took Patrick and Luisa to our local kangaroo farm after church on Sunday. It’s basically a small zoo where you can roam with and pet all the animals. What I really liked about it was the non-commericalized feel of the place. There were beautiful flowers everywhere, and little garden benches, and bridges over untroubled water. It was a lovely setting.

We are currently reading about the rodent family in the Burgess Animal Book, so it was kinda neat to see these capybaras (although admittedly I was thinking to myself, “So, you’re basically a huge rat with webbed toes…” and then shuddering inside whenever I looked at them).

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Checking out a sugar glider (a sort of flying squirrel).

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Luisa and a rose-ringed parakeet.

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This bird looks dressed for a wedding!

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I really gotta chuckle every time I see this picture. First, because Alice was so brave and let the lady put the parakeet on her shoulder. And also because her favourite colour is pink these days, and when we told her she could get her face painted she picked the pink animal… the pig!

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This was the joey holding corner. Jeremy’s heart was melting into a puddle looking at the baby kangaroo in his arms, and Alice was very happy to have one nestled on her lap.

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Ahem. Luisa got stuck with the unnatural-looking kangaroo with red eyes. Sorry mister, you are NOT CUTE.

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Thrilled!

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Feeding some capybaras. We also saw some kangaroos, wallabies, emus, goats and fluffy roosters/chickens.

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Face painting!

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One day of one September / I never can forget

Jeremy and I celebrated our tenth anniversary yesterday, so I thought I’d share a few photos from the past decade!

Our Wedding Day (2008)
Our wedding took place on a fair and lovely September day with light clouds scudding across the sky. In a funny coincidence, our photos were actually taken at a Catholic monastery!

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Our Honeymoon (2008)
We had an amazing honeymoon road-tripping across the USA for five weeks. It was so fun! We look back very fondly on those days of driving, dipping our toes in the Atlantic ocean, seeing the gorgeous fall colours along the east coast, wandering around museums, reading aloud to each other, and exploring big cities (Boston, New York, Washington DC).

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Can you even believe these colours??

2008 – 2010
For the first year of our marriage, we both worked. I spent my days working as a pediatric nurse and finished my intensive ER training. Jeremy returned to university to complete his Bachelor’s degree, and eventually decided to become a pastor. Around the same time, Duane and Skye asked my sister and me to take their wedding photos, and I began taking more wedding photos after that.

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Duane and Skye’s wedding. Renae and I had so much fun planning for and taking their wedding photos!

2011
– James was born in 2011 and our hearts exploded with love for our sweet little boy!
– So much love, so little sleep
– Around this time, Jeremy and I decided we’d like to homeschool our children so I began reading Susan Wise Bauer’s books on education! Nothing like getting a good head start, right? 🙂

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2012
– we sold our condo and lived at my parents’ place for a few months. ‘Twas delightful, especially for our extroverted firstborn!
– we moved to Hamilton so Jeremy could attend seminary
– we settled in pretty quickly into the seminary and church community
– made some dear friends in Hamilton!

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We got the WORST driver’s licenses ever! Jeremy looked like he had died… and the probable cause of death was my deathly stare.

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Seriously.

2013
– Jeremy completed his first year and began his second year at CRTS
– our spunky June Adelle was born in the middle of a very intense semester!

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2014
– Survived a deadly winter
– Enjoyed a visit from Opa and Oma
– Drove out to New Hampshire for a lovely summer vacation
– Jeremy completed his second at CRTS, completed a practicum in Prince George, and began his third year at CRTS
– Went to Hawaii to celebrate my parents’ 35th wedding anniversary!

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Atlantic Ocean meets New Hampshire

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de Haan family in the oh-so-beautiful state of Hawaii!

2015
– Jeremy completed his third year at CRTS,  did a summer preaching practicum in Fergus, and started his fourth and final year of seminary
– Alice was born!!!
– we begin to think about becoming Catholic

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2016
– Jeremy graduated from CRTS with an M.Div. degree!
– we moved to Fruitvale, I began working as a nurse again
– we started RCIA

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My favourite picture of Alice.

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Driving across our home and native land.

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2017 
– I had a miscarriage
– we joined the Catholic Church!!!
– we moved to West Kelowna
– officially began homeschooling!
– Jeremy got a teaching position!

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2018
– we moved to Kelowna
– Leo Ignatius was born!!!

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Moving Day!

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And here we are, 10 years, 6 moves, and 4 children later! Thanks be to God!

Summer Days

Hello there! Summer seems to be wrapping up, doesn’t it? The weather has cooled down here (yay!), the smoky skies have cleared (also yay!), and it seems like autumnal days are just around the corner.

We started school about five weeks ago, but then spent a few days at my parents’ place while they were on holidays. It was very, very smoky. And rainy! Our kids are such BC children – they just adore the rain!

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Then we spent ten days at the River House, one of my favourite places to be. The Chilliwack River runs by the back yard and it is LOUD, freezing cold, and gorgeous. To the south and the east majestic mountains rise. Waking up to this view just never gets old!

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My sisters came by one day, Kristi in the morning, Renae and Tanya in the afternoon. What a delight to catch up and enjoy the surroundings together!

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We hopped over to Chilliwack Lake one morning and enjoyed the sandy beach and lovely views.

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Jeremy took James on an overnight salmon fishing trip with his cousins. James gave it two extremely enthusiastic thumbs up.

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When we returned home, the children found the feather of a northern flicker in our yard. I guess it has taken a liking to our maple tree, because it’s been leaving quite a few feathers around it lately!

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This week we’ve been getting back into the swing of things school-wise. Leo’s been going through a growth spurt, I think, and is waking up 3-4 times a night again – hopefully that ends soon and we can both be a little less bleary-eyed!

Today we popped over to a nearby lake where Renae and Jon and their children are camping. A few hours of digging in the sand = happy children all around!

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We were just reading about castles in A Child’s History of the World today, so James pointed out the keep, the serf’s houses and the moat. 🙂

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And a few photos from around our home…

Getting some good mileage out that exersaucer these days!

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This little one loves her little brother so.

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And so does this little one. 🙂

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Goofs.

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Summer Days

We’ve had an excellent start to our summer so far! Just before Jeremy’s last week of school, we slipped out to North Barriere Lake for a short vacation with his family. It was so beautiful there! We had a little cabin on a bluff overlooking the lake – what a sight to wake up to every morning!

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It was a bit cooler than expected, with cloudy days and mist-shrouded mountains. Beautiful!

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Our kids had a great time playing with their cousins!

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Roasting enormous marshmallows.

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Ha! I just had to include this photo of my dear husband smiling for the camera! I was taking a picture of him and he was just looking at me with the faintest crook to his lip. It couldn’t even be called a smile. “Oh come now!” I chided, “Can’t you smile a little bit more?” This picture makes me laugh out loud every time I see it! Why yes, he can! Such verve!

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My favourite part of the trip was kayaking on the lake one evening. The water was so calm, the light of the day was fading, and the mountains looked simply splendid. Along the shores little campfires were burning and everything looked so homey and beautiful.

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Family photo:

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We did get eaten badly by mosquitoes and no-seeums, but we won’t dwell on that little fact.

After Jeremy completed his school year (hurrah!), we packed up and skedaddled to the Fraser Valley. We borrowed my mom and dad’s motorhome and went camping at Rolley Lake for a while. (In my opinion, tents and babies just don’t belong in the same sentence.) It’s a beautiful place – there are so many impressive, tall trees in that neck of the woods! We walked around the lake, checked out the (unbearably crowded) beach, walked to some waterfalls . . .

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Jeremy is an excellent and efficient camper. He takes care of the fires, the camp stove, the arranging of the gear, etc. Here h’s teaching the kids how to properly start a fire:

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James started his own fire! Success! He was VERY pleased.

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Leo was quite grumpy during our stay at Barriere, but did much better at Rolley.

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Enjoying a visit with Opa and Oma!

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After our camping trip, I drove down to Camano Island to visit with a dear friend who was visiting from Australia! Megan is one of the kindest, sincerest and most enthusiastic people I know, and it was delightful to catch up with her.

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Leo and I then spent four days at the River House. It was so quiet, so peaceful, so relaxing! While I was there, the kids rambled, explored, and generally had a fabulous time at Grandpa and Grandma’s.

James (and Jeremy) went flying in a Cessna with his Uncle Anthony! It was, in his words, “amazing.”

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And now we’re home again, back to regular life . . .

Alice’s birthday . . .

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She loved going to the beach!

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Oh, just a little bit of lightning off in the distance! 🙂

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Leo = not a fan of having his toes dipped in Okanagan Lake!

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That’s it for today! Hope your summer is off to a lovely beginning as well! Tot ziens!

Alice’s 3rd Birthday

Our little Alice Genevieve turned three yesterday! She is a sweet, happy little girl who brings so much joy to our lives! Alice and I went to Mass together in the morning and then we went to splash park with some friends. It was roasting hot yesterday (37 degrees), so in the evening we took our dinner to the beach and the kids swam in the lake while a lightning storm flashed on the horizon. It was wonderful!

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I did a little birthday interview with Alice today; here it is!

Q: How old are you now, Alice?
A: Three!

Q: What are some things you can do now that you’re three?
A: That… it’s my birthday!
Q: Anything else that you can do?
A: Play in the playroom! Yeah, that’s what I can do.

Q: What did you do for your birthday yesterday?
A: I had some cake, and you read some books for me.
Q: Did you go anywhere special?
A: Yes! To church with you!!
Q: Oh, right. And did we go anywhere else/
A: And to the splash park! It was so fun!

Q: What are some things you did at Grandpa and Grandma’s place last week?
A: Played with the toys! Playing on the tramp, playing in the rain, yep.

Q: What are some things you enjoy doing, Alice?
A. Playing with my Picasso Tiles in the playroom, playing with my balloons, playing with Leo!
Q: Those are fun things. Is there anything else you enjoy doing?
A: Playing with pencils. Playing “Warrior” with the pencils.

Q: What’s your favourite song?
A: “Ik zag twee beren!”
(Alice loves incorporating a bit of Dutch into our days. She calls Leo a little liefje (sweetheart), says “lekker slaapen!” at bedtime, and loves, loves, loves singing this song!)

Q: What’s your favourite book?
A: One of my new books. (Points to The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes which we haven’t read yet!)
Q: What sort of stories do you enjoy hearing about?
A: These ones.

Q: What are some things that you like to do with June and James?
A: Play with them.

Q: What do you and I do together?
A: Play with each other, and go to church with each other.

Q: What are some things that you and dad do together?
A: Play with my Picasso Tiles.

Q: What is your favourite thing to eat, Alice?
A: German pancakes, and this (oatmeal with peaches and plain yogurt)!

Q: What makes you happy?
A: Leo’s little baby noises makes me happy! And I like playing with you in the playroom!

Q: What’s something scary?
A: Dragons!
Q: Oh, dragons are pretty scary! Anything else?
A: Monsters are scary.

Q: What are you really good at?
A: I’m really good at… BREAKFAST!
Q: Oh! What else are you really good at?
A: Making Picasso Tile houses.

Q: What do you want to do when you grow up?
A: Play with dad.
Q: Oh! Anything else you’d like to do?
A: Play with James, and June. And be an adult!

Q: What do you think about before you fall asleep?
A: (Says in a whisper) Be quiet.

Q: What do you love about God?
A: I like seeing him.
Q: Pardon? Where do you see God?
A: Up in the sky.
Q: What else do you like about Jesus?
A: Jesus is my best friend.

Leo’s Birth Story

I read a wonderful blog post the other day about calling to mind the miracles of your life. I can think of a few just off the top of my head:
– the way we found a rental home in Kelowna three days before we had to move, a home that was spacious, affordable (astonishing!), and next to great neighbours
– Jeremy finding a suitable job posting on the day his novena (nine-day prayer) ended

And the more I think about it, Leo’s birth going as smoothly as it did was a miracle, too. He was born extraordinarily quickly, and without any medical personnel in attendance; a lot of things could have gone wrong – but they didn’t. So I thought I’d share his birth story today, and I hope you’ll thank God with me for the way He protected both our lives!

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Towards the end of my pregnancy with Leo, I kept wondering how the birth would go. That’s the thing about birth; you don’t have much control over how things will go – you mostly just roll with what you’re given!

So questions abounded: would we have moved into our new home already? Would I go nine days overdue like I did with Alice? (Blah! The horror!) Would the baby be born at home, or in the hospital? (I couldn’t quite decide.) Would the labour be short and sweet, or would it drag out? My labour with Alice had been brisk; I’d woken up at 0600 with the first contraction and our little girl entered the world at 0703! I wondered if things would go even faster the fourth time around, or if I should expect a slower labour.

So I read many, many birth stories online to see what other women had experienced, and my extensive ‘research’ showed that one speedy labour does not guarantee you a subsequent speedy labour. A lot of stories went like this: “I had an unexpected home birth last time, so I counted on this birth being speedy, too . . . and instead it dragged on and on!” So, mentally I prepared myself for a) going overdue for the fourth time and b) having a longer labour.

I prayed a fair bit about the birth: that the baby and I would both be safe; that if the baby was born at home, the birth wouldn’t cause a huge mess; and that the baby would arrive after we’d moved.

Now, I have admit that I was not a particularly pleasant person to be around those last few weeks. My back was sore, the baby was sitting low in my pelvis, and restless legs/pregnancy insomnia made falling asleep difficult. One evening when I was feeling particularly cantankerous, I mentioned my irritability to Jeremy as a possible sign of impending labour. He gently pointed out that I’d been just as crabby for the past fortnight. Ha! When moving day came and went, and we finished unpacking most of our belongings, I sighed in relief that the little one had stayed put till then.

My parents popped by for a quick visit shortly after we moved in and fixed up a few things around our new home. My mom repainted a wall full of holes, my dad fixed closet doors that wouldn’t close, and put hooks in the front closet for the kids’ jackets, etc. By that weekend, our home felt cozy, comfortable, and functional, and after they’d gone home, Jeremy said to me, “It’d be awesome if the baby came tonight!”

Just thinking about the baby possibly arriving made me zip about in a tidying frenzy! I moved a bunch of things cluttering up the fireplace mantle, and we made the living room neat. Then I popped out to Home Sense and bought some things we needed like living room curtains and bedside lamps. After bustling about for half an hour put everything in its place, Jeremy convinced me to settle down and watch a movie. I don’t even remember what we watched, I just remember feeling tired and going to bed half way through it.

That night I awoke around 1am having period-like cramps that came every three minutes. They weren’t painful, just uncomfortable enough not to sleep through. So I took some acetaminophen and ibuprofen in the hopes that I’d be able to rest some more. I really wanted to tidy something up, so I went downstairs thinking I’d fold a load of laundry, but Alice stirred when she heard me tiptoeing past her, so I just went back to my room and prayed for a bit, then twiddled my thumbs for a while. I fell back asleep a while later and slept soundly.

Maybe a bit too soundly? June climbed into bed with me at 0615 (bad habit at that time) and I woke up and looked at the time and thought, Oh dear, the cramps must have stopped, and I’m not in labour. And then as she snuggled up beside me, I had a much stronger contraction. It was strong enough that I bolted out of bed, put on my bathrobe, and hurried into our en suite bathroom where I had two more contractions. I felt uncomfortable having June hear me breathe through them, so I went to the main bathroom instead. (“Mom, where are you going?” her little voice inquired as I bustled away.) I breathed through several contractions there while trying to figure out how serious they were… because, first of all, I had slept for nearly 3.5 hours and hadn’t felt anything… and secondly, the contractions were weird in that they put lots of pressure on my bladder. I hadn’t had that before in any of my labours, nor had I ever heard someone in labour mention it. I wasn’t sure what it meant. (In case you’re wondering, it’s what you feel when your posterior baby is rapidly descending.)

At 0630, I went to the kitchen for a drink of orange juice, woke Jeremy up and told him what was going on. He asked sleepily, “Should you page the midwife?” and I replied that I wasn’t sure. It had only been 15 minutes, and I wasn’t sure what was going on with the pressure-on-the-bladder contractions yet. He brought me the cell phone in the bathroom and I tried to page them but the last thing I could focus on was a piece of paper and I misdialed. The kids were up at this time and were curious about what was going on. Jeremy sent them to the basement and they played there happily, only once stealthily climbing the stairs to see if they could figure out what was happening (turkeys!). I hopped into the bathtub (which, if I was going to have a homebirth is where I wanted to deliver the baby, its virtue being that it’s easy to clean) and had one or two contractions there while leaning forward. They weren’t intense, but I thought maybe the pressure on the bladder feeling was from the baby descending, so I asked Jeremy to page the midwives. I grabbed a towel and laid it on the bottom of the bathtub, just in case. He paged them at 0637.

And just then it felt like the baby was coming! I said so to Jeremy, and he said, “Okay” really calmly, and he helped me sit back and whoosh, our little baby just came out all at once! I don’t even think I pushed; he just came out! He cried right away, and Jeremy noticed the cord was wrapped around his neck, so he unwrapped that. I think he must have emerged sunny side up, because he was laying on his back when he was born and I noticed his male gender right away. I was shocked! “What?!!! He’s a boy??!” I’d been so, so certain during my pregnancy that the baby was a girl that I’d only purchased girl clothes! Jeremy laughed in response. “I knew it!” he exclaimed, and picked up our son and gave him to me to hold. We dried him off with the towel together and I looked at our little one, astonished at this dear little BOY in my arms, and nearly as astonished at how quickly he’d entered the world. I asked Jeremy, “Is this a dream? Did this really just happen?!” Our little boy was born at 0638, twenty-three minutes after I woke up, and eight minutes after I woke up Jeremy!

The midwife called back right away and Jeremy explained the baby had already been born. She made sure everything was fine with both of us and said she’d be on her way. I just sat in the bathtub snuggling with our little one for the next while – it was peaceful and wonderful! I had snuck some cord clamps from the hospital while working there, so after about fifteen minutes I used those to clamp Leo’s cord and Jeremy cut it with a pair of kitchen scissors. The kids had been even more curious ever since hearing him cry when we was born, so we covered up the “debris” with some towels and invited them in for a minute to meet Leo. They came in together and looked at him with wide eyes for a few minutes before Jeremy shooed them out again.

When the midwives arrived, they helped me up, the placenta came out, I freshened up a bit, and then nursed Leo in the master bedroom while they, in answer to my prayer of having very little mess, tidied up the bathroom. They did some routine checks on Leo and me (blood pressure, etc.) and left after about two hours. Then Jeremy and I hashed out Leo’s name. We’d decided on our baby names a month or two before Leo was born, but because I was so sure that the baby was a girl (ha!), I hadn’t given the boy name much thought. The name we’d chosen didn’t seem quite right, so we talked about baby names again for a while, reviewed our baby name consultation, and eventually decided to give him the name Leo Ignatius (or, as our kids like to jokingly say, Leo Tenacious). He was named after Pope St. Leo the Great, who defended the early church against heresy, and St. Ignatius, whose writings were influential in Jeremy becoming Catholic.

So that’s it! Leo was born, he got checked over by the midwives, and has been doing great ever since! Praise be to God!

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Newborn Leo

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June and Leo (3.5 months old)

Life Lately

Some more photos of regular life around these parts . . .

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The weather’s warmed up in the last two to three weeks, and spring is in full bloom. It’s been wonderful to spend more and more time outside!

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Our cherry tree looks so promising!

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