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Dolce far Niente – or – the art of doing NOTHING. Replay.

img_4049I am sure I have used this title in the past. But you know how the saying goes: Do something for at least 10,000 hours and you will be an expert.

Only a few thousand hours in, I have mastered the art of doing nothing. Me: mother of two, wife of one, keeper of chickens & a dog, community leader, 4-H parent, chauffeur, family referee, business women crafter, housecleaner, cook……

All you need is a like-minded friend and place to go. Off grid is preferred, but not necessary.

I am writing you while sitting on the porch, overlooking the majestic Lake Tahoe. This is the third time my friend, and partner in crime, Marie (you will recognize her as the other half of TwoWitchesinSuburbia) and I have rented a car and made our way up here.

We pack clothes, paint stuff, witch stuff, books, computers, practical shoes…..

I pick her up, and our first stop is to buy food. We both love to eat, so our basket is filled with bread, cheese, prosciutto, fruit, COFFEE, wine, snacks, etc.  Some would call it indulgent, we call it getting back to our European roots.

The ride up the mountain is leisurely, with lots of stops for coffee, random historic site adventuring, etc.

When we arrive, we unpack the food, open a bottle of wine, and exhale.

That last sentence about describes our weekend: Dolce far Niente.

We have figured out why we are such good friends for 16 years. We can both just be. We do not need to be entertained, we do not talk all the time, we do not need to “do” things. We talk short walks to make space for more food, plus the high elevation just about takes our breathe away when we just venture to the beach. We decided “going hiking” was overrated the first time we came here.

We can sit up here, stare at the lake, and be completely content. As long as there is food, and wine.

Our everyday lives are CRAZY. We are both artist’s and life entrepreneurs. We live in suburbia, and between us, we have 5 children, 2 husbands, 2 dogs, 1 cat, and lots of chickens. The families revolve around us all the time, and we manage just about every aspect of them. We both sell art, we both manage businesses. When we are here, we are just Heike & Marie, basta.

With that said, my message to you today is short & sweet:

Take some time away for yourself and just enjoy LIFE. Sit quietly and realize all the things that are good in your world. Breathe.

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Last five images courtesy of Marie Delange-Carlson :).

You can follow our every day adventures at Goddess in the Groove and Marie Delage-Carlson

 

 

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Even good Shit can get overwhelming

It is 3am, and I am contemplating the purpose of life.

I was asleep, but was awakened by my frantic dog, barking at the door and intermittently coming to get me to tell me something is wrong. A houseparty up the the street from me must have exploded, there are hundreds of loud, slightly stupid sounding kids on my street. God, I hope my kids never sound or act like that. I can hear the police approaching, the crowd outside is getting antsy.

Anyways, I digress. 25 minutes later the street was back to its’ normal, quiet, sleepy suburbian boring self. My dog is now sleeping soundly under my bed, and I am fully awake.

After several rounds of guided meditations, a sleepy tea, an audiobook that did not grab me, some exercise….I decided to go the library and play book roulette. “A Love Story” popped up, I put it on my iPad, and was pleasantly surprised. An collection of short stories!

The first story is about Mavis, who locks herself in a bathroom for a week to think.

I have not finished the story, but am in love with Mavis. And I am jealous that I only have one bathroom. The thought of locking myself into a bathroom for a week, with food that I love (not nourishing, that I love), books, magazines, something to write, and maybe my wi-fi, is fantastic. I would also buy myself a one cup coffee machine for this adventure.

Lately, I have been restless and sleepless, and all around annoyed. I am not sure what is triggering this insolence, but I can feel little tentacles of bitchiness coming out. In one way, it is helping, as I am ruthlessly purging things that don’t make me happy, and that is a big feat right now. On the other hand, I took a pause in reading with Mavis to ask myself “What is wrong?”.

7733821_origI have a great family. I am not kidding, my husband, though truly nerve wracking, is a good and hardworking man. And obviously gifted with a inhumane amount of patience, as we will be married 20 years next week. I am not easy. My kids are both fantastic, spoiled, but fantastic. I have a house in suburbia, lots of stuff in it to keep my creative spirit busy, a dog, chickens, a back yard, wi-fi…..I don’t have a 9-5, so my crazy sleep/ no sleep schedule is doable. I really don’t know how I would function in the real world, I would have to take drugs.

Back to Mavis living in her bathroom. I am drawn to her because we are both yearning for the simple life. I am almost feel as if my life, and the stuff in it, are taking my breathe away. I am tempted to pimp out my van and go live in it. But then where would everyone else sleep?? How would the kids get to school and function? Who would cook heavy, meat based dinners for my hardworking husband, and where would all this damn laundry go??

Sitting here in the quiet, yet chaotic dining room sipping my warm milk with turmeric, I think I have hit the nail on the head.

Too much shit. Even good shit can get overwhelming.

Too many little responsibilities and needs of others suck away energy from the true purpose of what I am here for. Don’t get me wrong, being the mother of these gorgeous humans, and the wife/friend to my husband, the daughter to my mama, and the friend to my few, but true friends is fulfilling. Yet, I also want to find the energy to work with young women, find my witchy circle of women for ritual and growth, go camping by myself in the redwoods, publish my ebook, make KitchenWitches for fun and give them away (I had this dream that I traveled around and delivered custom KitchenWitches to women in different situations, and just made their day. I was like Ellen, only with Witches. It was fabulous, and now is on my “to do” list), things that make my spirit grow and bring in money to support it all comfortably. On that note, I also want another shepherd puppy.

It is time make things clear and simple again, and I need to do it before I am 79 and locked in a bathroom.

How are you finding your life’s purpose, Beautiful??

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Hot Stuff had my back while I finally got my DREAM TATTOO

I finally got my tattoo.

This journey began when I was about 18. I really wanted a tattoo. At that time, tattoos were still a sign that you were either a biker chick, a hooker, a jailbird, and only if you looked very exotic could it MAYBE be a tribal thing. It was a tabu, and my family would have been aghast.

Even tScreen Shot 2016-08-11 at 11.19.22 PMhough, I wanted to get the Hot Stuff the Red Devil from Caspar the Friendly Ghost tattooed on my stomach. Don’t ask.

Alas, the taboo and the fact that the only place to get one was the redlight district, it did not happen. It’s a good thing, he would have been sliced in half two years later when I had my car accident.

Fast forward about a lifetime. In the last 10 years or so, tattoos have become such a mainstream thing, you see them everywhere. Every day I would awe or cringe away from someone’s body art. I would make drawings, get ideas….but never found the person to do it.

I view a tattoo as a sacred, intimate  thing. You are literally letting a person etch a permanent picture into your skin. I am amazed at how lackadaisical people can be, deciding in the moment to get a tattoo. Friends getting matching flowers (what if you don’t like the flower, or break up with the friend?), names of lovers, drunk group tattoos from a poster in the tattoo parlor, you get the picture.

I literally sat on this for YEARS!! Yes, YEARS. And I consider myself a pretty spontaneous person.

One day I walked into a tattoo parlor with my 18 year old daughter, because she wanted to get a nose ring (also a tabu in my time, but she would have passed, as she exotically gorgeous. My nose does not need any more attention, so it was not an issue) . In the sea of classic tattoo posters on the wall, and head to toe tatted people, for the first time I did not feel threatened. I was in a beautiful restored Victorian, buzzing with tattoo machines and happy people murmering.

While I was waiting, I began a conversation with Grimace, a tattoo artist. Me: White, suburban, middle aged witch who FINALLY wants to get her first tattoo. I felt like a 45 year old virgin.

When I told him what I wanted, he just let me finish, then said: “That is a lot of things for one area.”

Yes, well I have been collecting things to add to MY tattoo for about 30 years, Sir.

He convinced me to pick what was most important. I already moved my spot from my back (yes, that is where my life karma plays out, but then I can’t see it) to my shoulder. I made an appointment, and sent him about 1000 pictures of tattoos I collected over the years. Trees, wolves, moons, flowers, more flowers, herbs, witches, etc.

The day was finally here, and I almost chickened out. What if I don’t like it? What if it hurts? What if I don’t like it??????

I went. My picture as not done. I almost ran, but he showed me the wolf. It was perfect, I knew everything around it would just be too.

I sat and breathed, felt the pain, and almost cried happy tears because this was what I wanted for so long. I felt like the wolf, my guardian from the day I almost killed myself with my car on the Autobahn, was being brought out so I can have him by my side all the time. I thought about the morning I woke up a few years ago during tumultuous time, with a paw print red on my neck ( I took pictures of it before it vanished). The pain become almost rhythmic, and though present, I would call it meditative.

My daughter came with me as my anchor. Her face showed awe. I could not wait to see it.

Finally, after a few hours, it was finished.

Meet my wolf. We are one.

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How the heat awoke my “Spirit”.

IMG_3817My family always makes fun of me when I say “The heat is taking my breathe away”. They say I am like a sensitive flower :). I think there could be worse things to be called.

But in all reality, the heat makes me stop. I can’t imagine how workers outside, or our firefighters, survive in this hell. After a week of 105 and up, it finally hit me yesterday.

My body went on strike. It scared me a little, as my heart rate went up, and I physically felt BAD. Bad enough that I cancelled all appointments, cranked up the A/C, and went to sleep. I could hear my heart beat in my ears. Unfortunately, sleep did not heal, and I woke up still feeling sick. To make a long story short, I ended up going to measure my blood pressure, and it is high. I went back to sleep, and after 6 hours of day sleep and lots of extremely weird dreams, I have come to a revelation.

I need to move somewhere cooler. The summers here are getting worse, and we are surrounded by concrete.

I think my body is giving me a warning. I have been neglecting it. I have been working nights on a project, and not sleeping in the day to replenish. Only 2-3 hours of sleep per day are just not enough.

In regards to #2, I have to learn to put “health & well-being” back on priority spot #1. I find myself, and many of my friends, just straggling from one thing to another, and not embracing the center, Spirit, first. That is detrimental.

Stress is a bitch. We may not realize it, but stress is killer, and we are exposed to it all the time. I had the weirdest, visual stress dream. Stress comes in many forms, and it can slowly eat away at you. A perfectly easy remedy: Nature. I just went outside to water my heat battered garden and mist the chickens, and just being out there barefoot made me feel better. Whatever your life situation is, take at least 15-30 minutes to take a walk, swim, or run in nature. Go by yourself, if possible. This way you can turn your thoughts to your spirit and replenish. I am making it a point to implement this again daily.

We are bombarded daily with “stuff”. Commitments, bills, schedules, internet, news, etc. I just spoke to my friend, whose parents live completely off grid. Sustaining themselves with nature, living off the land, no TV. She said they rose and went to sleep with the sun, and she did not know what day it was a few days in. Imagine that bliss! Even though this way of life may not be for everyone, it certainly is a vast contrast to what most of us living.

What does this all have to with the terrible heat? Who knows! At first I thought the heat was beating me down, but maybe it is just a catalyst.

Take a few moments and contemplate your quality of life. If there is only one thing you can change to replenish your spirit, DO IT!! (Before your heart beats into ears!).

Much love!
Heike

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Deviating from the Original Plan

I am closer to 50 than ever, and I feel like I am trying to climb the mountain of destiny. You know, that feeling that there is something I should be doing right now that will let the big breakthrough emerge.

I don’t know if it is an inflated ego, or if the Universe really has the Big Bang in store for me.

I can still remember this moment like it happened yesterday: I woke up in the emergency room after my accident. I was not operated on yet, but was in the holding loop.  I had the craziest dream where I was talking to my Opa (who passed over many years before) about how I had majorly screwed up with this one, and that I was in big trouble. He did not answer me, just patted my hand. When I woke up to the stark light of the emergency room, I was crying. The nurse,  a short and feisty Romanian nurse that spoke little German (they had just hired her, one of the many foreign nurses that were filling the gap), came and told me to try to calm down, that I was going into shock. I became slightly hsyterical, tellling her that I could not feel my legs. No one had told me at this time how serious my injuries were, I had broken my back. Again, I knew something was very wrong.

 

This fantastic nurse creature, whose name I do not know, but whose face is in front of me as I type today, said in her halting German/English “All I can tell you is that you had better get your shit together and find your strentgh. You can get through this, I can see that. Right now, you can’t even walk yourself to the edge of a cliff.”

There you go.

I have had some major setbacks in the last year or so, and felt my path getting mucky. Health, independence, future, money….all these things seemed to get challenging at the same time. One day, I stormed out of the house, walked to the park, and sat under a tree. Quietly. Turned of my phone. I sat there and watched people, stared at the creek, leaned against the tree.

Heike, get your shit together.

I realized again that I am the creator of my own destiny. I did not get through the challenges I did to sit back now and wither. I remembered what Dr. Wayne Dyer said once: “Whenever major setbacks happen, I see them as a learning opportunity.” I also remembered how I layed in a hospital bed for 8 months patiently and not so patiently, waiting for someone to give the thumbs up to let me get up. I remembered learning to walk again, and all the wonderful things that happened since then. I remembered how grateful I am to have received the chance to live my life, even if it deviated from my original plan.

There lies the secret! “Even if it deviated from my original plan”.

You see, there are times in life when we have to step back and look at the whole picture from the outside in. If you are spiraling, it is time to stop the swirl and take a breather. Analyze all choices, and reflect on why you are making them. Are they good for you? Will they be good for you next week, next month?  ARE YOU HAPPY??? I meet so many people who are successful, who have lots of money, who have an impressive resume; but they are not HAPPY.

Happiness is primal. Make your happiness the #1 priority and go from there.

 

 

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If you could travel to any moment in your past, where would you go?

The magic of time travel!

I love reading books about time travel, of course Outlander had me hooked with the first book, and the Discovery of Witches had me up all night.

If someone granted me ONE, only ONE, opportunity to travel to a certain time in my life, where would I go? At first, this seemed like a no-brainer. But, the more I thought about it, the harder it got.

Do I go back to the moment before my car accident, the one that broke my back and changed my life in a second? Would I leave the house a few minutes earlier, maybe have an extra cup of coffee that would make me more alert? Would I avoid the dog I veered away from? Or would it matter, since I am the only one who saw the giant creature? As in any story, changing fate, thus eliminating this bitch of a milestone from my life, would change the course. I would have gone to New York. Even though I believe strongly that my children chose me, I am sure not having their daddy in the mix would have made different children, and I would not give them up for anything. They are the best thing I have ever done.

Do I go back to the day my daddy died? I was on his porch that morning, cutting his hair with trimmer side of his electric razor because we could not find decent scissors. His beautiful, thick white hair. He was a traumatized soul, stuck in a reality he could not deal with without alcohol. That morning, we were laughing and joking, and he said “When I die, just throw me by the side of the road and let the County pick me up!” Macabre, later. He also made sure I knew he wanted to be cremated, an issue I had to fight for later with the family. I left him at 1pm to pick up my daughter. I hugged him, kissed him goodbye, and saw him for the last time. Spiky haircut & no teeth behind his kooky smile. It still brings tears to my eyes. A few hours later I got the call, he was dead. He knew it was coming, I did not. I would have stayed with him and called 911.

Do I go back and see my Oma one last time? Just to give her a hug & kiss, and tell her how much I love her? Tell her how much she influenced me, and that her praise meant the world to me? Whenever I felt like shit as a new mom, or when I was homesick, I would call my Oma. LIke she knew, she would say something like “I just got the photos you sent. You are doing such a great job, I am amazed how you do all this!”. I miss her dearly.

The more I think about this, the harder it gets. So many situations that were traumatic, but the things that came from them are pivotal. Accidents, bad choices, bad situations…So many last goodbyes. Then there are the fantastic moments, the ones I remember that make me smile instantly and make my heart warm & fuzzy. Go back and experience them again?

The Universe keeps giving me learning opportunities, and I am going to ponder on this more, teary eyed & laughing at the same time.

Just in case my wand wielding Fairy Godmother shows up to grant me that ONE time chance!

Where would YOU go?

Much love,
Heike

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A letter to my 13 year old self

In 2007, I was 38, I wrote a letter to my 13 year old self as part of a blog Meme.

I loved reading this again, and will now add my 40’s.

I hope this inspires you to write to your budding teenage self!

(clearing throat, wiping eyes)

Dear Heike,

Yipee! You are 13!! Finally, you hit your teens. Isn’t this the day you have been waiting for? If you could only be like all the other thirteen year olds…but you can’t. It is ok, soon, you will not have to change so much to fit in. Actually, you will be honored because you are so different.

The rest of your teens are filled with adventure, a few authentic friends, and many people who just want to take advantage of you. Heed them! And do not let them into your house. You will know who your true friends are, and they will be with you for a long time. Be nice to your mama, she is doing the best she can. If I could keep you off that motorcycle, I would. Too many close calls :), but you are a bit of a wild child with a very sensible brain.

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Fuzzy blast from my 20’s past

Your 20’s start out with a bang, and an accident that will change your life. You will think it is the end of the world, but it is not. You will survive the pain, the uncertainty, and all the follow up operations. And you will carry all the scars with pride, because you have conquered. When you are MUCH older, you will discover Frida Kahlo, the courageous and ingenious artist who had a brace just like you. I promise, you will overcome. A man you can’t stand to be around becomes your soulmate, and you will marry him. When you are 28, you will have a baby they say you will never have. She is a miracle.

Your 30’s are pretty awesome. You are a mama now, and you have learned from many of your past mistakes. Everything you endured growing up, will now make you strong and opinionated. You will become a Goddess, and finally find your clan. You will also find your path, and all your past and present dreams will make more sense. They are your calling. You will have another baby, and they are both fabulous. You are an artist, and your hands make you happy.

Your 40’s make you feel like you are 25 again. Not in the body, but the BRAIN! Your Spirit is vibrant, and feisty! You begin to get more interested in politics, because you want to make your home a better place to live. You become a very vocal pain in the butt, and people know your name, even if it is a bit difficult for people to say! Your children are now teens, and they are pretty opinionated, fantastic humans. They are a lot like you are now: primal, smart, feisty, wild, and they drive you crazy. Your daughter is the confident young Goddess woman you wanted her to become, she has enough confidence for a whole country.  You are becoming a mentor for a younger generation, as you walk between the lines of society. You are the keeper of the Goddess, and your work is with women & girls, making them warriors. You are still working with your hands, your dreams, and your intuition.

As you get older, your life just keeps getting better. Just like a good wine ;).

Love,
Heike

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Wuups

dramaExcuse me while I rip my hair out over here!

I decided it was a great idea to move my blog to WordPress to give you, my wonderful readers, a better experience.

I managed to get the words over here, now please bear with me while I hunt down my images, an delete double posts.

Much love,

Heike

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Do you still check under the bed?

e18406e6a30811e180c9123138016265_7When I was a child, one of my biggest fears was that something was hiding under my bed. I am still not clear what that “something” was, but I became creative in dealing with it.

Running, and taking a flying leap into my bed from the doorway.

Arranging ALL my stuffed animals around me when I slept to protect me.

Cramming all my belongings under the bed (now that I think about it, maybe that is what my son & daughter both are doing this, not just teenager sloppiness??).

If I was feeling very brave, I would lift up the blankets and peek under the bed, but only from the safety of the top, ringed by my animals.

I also thought things lived in closets, but since those could be closed, they were not as threatening to me. Even today, I will close (and lock, if possible) every closet before I go to the bed :).

Yesterday, we were doing our annual 4H petting zoo. I love watching the small children come and pet the chickens, the awe of touching their silky soft feathers and feeling their warmth. Of course, the baby goats are always a hit too.

Children have no fear, their innate curiousity trumps all.  It is the adults that jump when our chickens even just move to adjust their feet as they are being pet by lots of little hands. The adults that say “BE CAREFUL, the chicken can bite!” Or that urge their children from animal to animal, insisting they touch the animal, instead of letting the child explore on their own terms. It saddens me to see how fast, and unknowingly, adults project their fear of animals onto their children.

That brings me back to my biggest childhood fear: who is sharing my under bed space?

How in the world did that come around? Today, my bed is very high, with nothing under it but my dog, and on occasion my trampoline. Either way,  I can see under it from the door :).

This will be the topic of my next Skype coffee talk with my Mama. Stay tuned!

 

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The Raising of a Wild Thing….Without Breaking His Spirit

My son just turned 14 a few days ago. I was not sure he would reach this tender age in one piece, since teenitis & hormones, as well as some genetic traits, have turned my sweet pumpkin baby into a wild/furious/outrageous/smartass/compassionate/sweet mess.

It is like living with a version of Jekyll & Hyde. One minute, my son is articulate, sweet, intelligent, compassionate…..and the next…..a totally outrageous smartass. If you are shaking your head right now, saying “How can you call your son a smartass, you horrible mom??” I suggest you push the delete button and do not read on. It gets worse.

How can two children, raised by the same parents, in the same environment, be so phenomenally different? I do get the “boy” energy thing. I remember vividly being told: “You have a boy now, things are going to very different!”. Naive, unwise Heike thought she knew it all better. “I am going to raise him the same way, all will be well!”

Ha!

First of all, who could have foretold that my angelic boy would inherit all my crazy traits? MY crazy traits. The things that drive me nuts about him the most are when the “Little Heike” steps forward. I did not realize this until my own mother pointed it out to me one day. “Who does that remind you of?” I really had to step back and realize that this was the truth. This realization helps me deal with the situation in much calmer & organized fashion. Plus, he can no longer push my buttons, because I sit there going “Isn’t that cute, I tried the EXACT SAME THING when I was 14!!”.

Please, if you are video game proponent, or fanantic, don’t email me about the next thought. I will not change my mind.

Video games are screwing with his cells.

Honestly, I can see & understand the lure of video games. I am an Atari child, and how many hours did we spend pinging the pong back & forth? Pac Man & Mario Brothers were the bomb in my day. Unfortunately, video games now are so much more realistic, and they are like crack for my boy. I feel they make him agitated & angry.

My remedy is a spontaneous romp in nature. I disconnect him, pack him and the dog in the car, and we drive to one of favorite “run wild” spots. Here, he and the dog, will run off leash & crazy. Or, we go the river, take the long way down, and sit and make rock towers. I see an immediate change in my son’s demeanor. His whole body changes, and I can just feel his spirit glow. The exhaustion from running with his dog and being outside just makes the world a better place.

What I have learned while being allowed to raise this beautiful, complicated human:

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  1. Don’t fight an outburst with an outburst.
  2. A boy can turn anything into a gun, so go ahead and let him play with NERF guns, and take him with you shooting, since you can never be too safe about real gun handling. Especially since all his friends seem to have BB guns & Pellet rifles. He will shoot them, make sure he is the safest kid on the block.
  3. 14 yr olds still need their Mama.
  4. Alaska State Troopers is an excellent favorite show to have with your son. The troopers are fantastic, and a boy can look up to them. Plus, Alaska State Troopers have to have a clean record. Come at my boy with drugs or alcohol, and he might just call his Mama on you. Also, he has learned more about the law than I could have ever dreamed, and he will never let a friend ride in his car with drugs or alcohol “because the driver always gets in trouble”. Thank you, Super Trooper Cooper!
  5. 12 to 14 year olds are constantly switching between the world of “little boy” and “young man”. Don’t make them grow up to fast, honor the child when it needs to come out.
  6. Find the things that make their spirit dance, and make them happen. Sometimes, you have push someone into their happy zone. Once they are there, you can step away and let magic happen. I encourage cooking and baking, watercolors, building Lego things, felting. Pretty much anything that does not include a screen or guns.
  7. Praise the good things! Point out the bad. I don’t believe in sugar coating bad behaviour. If he acts like a butt, let him know that that behaviour disappoints you.
  8. Never go back on your word. Never. Even if it means you have to pull through on a punishment you blurted out in anger (this is why I have learned never to counter an outburst with an outburst.). Step away, get your brain together, and then talk consequences. Strong Mamas make good young men :).
  9. Love him!!
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Most of all, enjoy your boy. The same goes for girls, of course, but my girl is her own story, and she gets her own post :).
Much love,
Heike

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