10 Signs You’re a Modern Day Mom

As I find myself immersed in this “mommy world”, I’ve picked up on a few new trends. I know they’re new because when I talk to any other mom from an older generation, the response is always the same – “Wow, we didn’t have that when my babies were younger!” Cue Bob Dylan – The Times They Are a Changin’. Here are 10 signs you’re a modern day mom:

  1. Your baby wears an amber necklace to help with teething. No one actually knows if it really works, but it’s worth a shot if it does, amIright?
  2. And what’s that lovely new necklace that YOU are wearing? Chewbeads of course! And you pick out a chewbead necklace based on what color will match most of the outfits in your closet (so anything that matches yoga pants).
  3. You read every blog or Huffington Post article about being a parent because it will either be informative or it will make fun of all of the modern day parenting antics just for entertainment (guess which category this blog post falls into? :))
  4. It’s time to introduce your baby to solids. But hold the jars of Gerber baby food, you have an important decision to make: purees or baby led weaning? Let the Googling begin…
  5. Your son/daughter owns Sophie the Giraffe and loves it! At play dates, you have to make sure to keep an eye on your child’s Sophie because it’s always the hit of the party and that is one expensive teether toy!
  6. All of your toys, baby spoons, bowls, bottles and – pretty much anything that your kid comes in contact with – are BPA free. Wait, children’s stuff made WITH BPA still exists?
  7. You have a B.O.B. stroller or a similar jogging stroller even though you hate to jog (I believe it‘s jogging or yogging. It might be a soft j. I’m not sure but apparently you just run for an extended period of time. It’s supposed to be wild).
  8. You feed your baby nothing but organic fruits and vegetables, either whole or as a homemade puree, while you sit there eating a bag of cheetos (oh wait, just me? Moving on…) and if you dare feed your baby store-bought purees, you best believe they’re organic and you recognize every single ingredient on the label.
  9. Forget Cheerios and jarred baby food, your baby loves Puffs and baby food that comes in (BPA-free) pouches. And (surprise!) it’s all organic.
  10. One word: wubbanubs. Your baby loves them and you secretly love them because, seriously, how cute is that little stuffed animal dangling from their mouth?

What would you add to the list? Let me know in the comments below…

modern day mom

International Breastfeeding Week: A Story of One Mom’s Journey

In honor of International Breastfeeding Week, my dear friend from my Mommy Group, Shelley, is here guest blogging to share her amazing journey/struggles with breastfeeding. Shelley is such an amazing mother and all-around great person and I’m so happy she chose my blog to act as the platform for her amazing story. If you are a new mom struggling with breastfeeding, please read – there are some great resources at the end as well. Without further ado, here is Shelley:

International Breastfeeding Week

My Breastfeeding Journey

By Shelley C.

The latch

Ahh, breastfeeding… sweet, sweet breastfeeding. It’s almost taboo how no one really warns you what lies ahead between you, your soon to be poor, raw nipples, and your little paraná with what feels like razor-sharp teeth chomping down on you.

I remember being pregnant and listening to stories from my mom about her breastfeeding journey, and she had absolutely no troubles. Zero, zip, nada. Not one. So, naturally, I assumed baby pops out, latches like a champ (latch: a term I had no idea I would hear over and over again for the first few months), and the rest is history. Well, not for me. In fact, my breastfeeding experience was quite the opposite. A rough, confusing, extremely painful and emotional journey intertwined with anger, frustration, and doubt. It turns out I wasn’t alone amongst my breastfeeding struggles, and I thankfully was (eventually) able to create a beautiful, positive, blissful breastfeeding relationship between my son and me, who is turning one at the end of the month.

I remember how magical it was after my C-section when they finally brought Tanner to me in the recovery room. They placed him on my chest for skin-to-skin contact and he pecked his way over to my boobies right away. It was amazing to see this tiny little creature have such natural instinct for his mom and his food supply. He latched right on, and no one ever showed concern that something could eventually prevent a struggle.

The hospital I delivered at had a couple lactation consultants on staff who would stop by and check in on you at least once during your stay, because they wanted you to succeed breastfeeding. Mine was named Cari & I remember her popping into our hospital room on day 3 because I was absolutely exhausted. My family and my in-laws were all in our tiny room, and I already felt overwhelmed amongst the chaos. Everyone was so excited to meet and hold Tanner the days following his birth, and inside I remember thinking “Do I ever get to hold my baby?!” I remember how uncomfortable it was that no one excused themselves from my room when Cari was clearly there to observe my boobs, and I knew my nipples hurt so bad I just wanted to lay around topless all day and have her wave a magic wand around to get the pain gone (and for everyone to give me some privacy). Ya, most your dignity goes out the window during childbirth, but there’s still something about whipping your boobs out in front of your dad and mother-in-law that’s just weird & awkward. Cari didn’t have a magic wand, but we did have the bedside curtain to close, and that’s as good as we were going to get for now. I had my mom with me (she’s a nurse and we’re super close, so her seeing my boobs was no biggie) and Cari had Tanner latch on to feed, and watched him nurse. I told her how excruciating it was and had been since his first few latches, but she said his latch looked great, and the pain should only last a couple weeks. A couple weeks?! Ah!! How will I ever survive?! If only I knew that pain would continue for three.more.months. Yep, three.

After Cari came by, the pediatrician came in to do a weigh in. It’s normal for newborns to lose a pound or so from their birth weight, so Tanner’s weight was okay, but he had orange pee crystals, so that was the first red flag he wasn’t getting enough fluids. Instead of someone trying to help me breastfeed further, or call Cari back in, they said the only option was to add formula to some of his feedings. Being a health conscious, I was irritated & confused, but they were the doctors and recommending what’s best for my baby…right? They ensured me they had organic formula and “not everyone can make enough milk.” Are any pro breastfeeders or LC’s losing it right now? Are flames coming out of your ears? Are you throwing things at the computer screen?? I started to hate myself for not being able to naturally provide for my son, and blamed myself (and the breast augmentation surgery I had when I was 22, which turned out to be totally unrelated.)

[Note: I believe ALL moms are wonderful, whether you chose to breastfeed or to not. This is simply my personal journey with breastfeeding & always wanting to breastfeed. I fully support every mom’s decision to provide for their baby in ways that work for them & their circumstances.]

After meeting with Cari again, she said lose the formula and stick with breastfeeding, because babies only need colostrum the first week anyway, and a teeny, tiny amount.

I would cringe every time he would feed

Around week two and a half post partum I was completely sobbing to my mom (thank god for her; she took every single day of her work vacation days & flew out to help us for three weeks; she was my therapist, our house keeper, our chef, our nanny, my go-to – thank you so much, Mom!!) about how badly it hurt every time still Tanner fed. My nipples were literally cracked, bleeding, blistered and scabby. I would cringe every time he would feed, and any new mom knows newborns’ cluster feeding “schedule” (aka 24/7) is NO JOKE, but something just wasn’t right! We Googled how long new mom breastfed nipples should hurt, and every article and source said max two weeks, or to contact an LC (lactation consultant aka breastfeeding guardian angels) if pain was still present. I felt embarrassed and frustrated I had to reach out for help, and figured since my mom didn’t have problems, that neither would I. This was also right around the time we had Tanner’s follow-up pediatrician visit, and he was in a super low percentile and labeled as “failing to thrive.” Which meant my boobs were failing to thrive. More formula was sent home with me to “bulk him up; you’re hurting his brain growth!” with the phrase “some people just can’t produce enough milk.” Great.

The outside pressure

The outside pressure from everyone else around was irritating too because they just didn’t get it. They didn’t understand my struggles because they all bottle fed or didn’t have breastfeeding issues to be able to offer advice. The bottle feeders always said “just give him a bottle, it’s easier.” Actually, it’s not because my husband travels for work and sanitizing bottles, pumping milk, and warming milk all hours of the night is way more overwhelming. P.S. – Don’t ever say that to a new breastfeeding mom who’s hormones are raging out of control. Ever. I was also the first in my circle of friends to have a baby, so didn’t have any modern mama to turn to for help. Lucky, my husband was very supportive of my breastfeeding desire because he attended the classes with me while I was pregnant and learned about all the health benefits. He had testicular cancer as a child, so his ears perked up when exclusive breastfeeders lower their children’s risk for childhood cancer and can help set them up on a healthier path. There’s something so attractive feeling like your husband’s got your back; that you’re a team; that you’re supported.

After we got home from the pediatrician appointment, my mom found Cari’s card and I called her for advice. She dropped everything she was doing and came for a private lactation appointment at my house. She cringed at my nipples and decided to test out my brand new, ridiculously expensive breast pump to see if I could pump anything. We got a drop. Like literally one drop. After 20 minutes of pumping. Devastating. So she had me get in the shower and try to massage my boobs as hard as I could under the hottest water I could tolerate. Turned out almost every single one of my milk ducts was clogged, and I would’ve woken up with mastitis the next morning if she hadn’t massaged the clogs out. Yes, you heard that right; she literally squashed the life out of my boobs for me while I was naked in the shower to get my milk to come in. We tried the pump again and still only got a few drops. Are you kidding me?!? She said it would take time, and that my milk would continue to come in…

I just knew in my gut, something was off

A couple days later, I still never felt my boobs feel full, and I still hadn’t experienced a letdown. I just knew in my gut something was still off, so we found the schedule for the local breastfeeding support group. My mom packed Tanner and I into the car (I actually had to get dressed?!), and came with me to my first breastfeeding support group session. An LC and about twenty other new moms and babies were there, all having problems nursing, all looking for support. I fell in love with that support group right then and there knowing I was no longer in this alone. They ended up being my outlet & some of my closest friends, and came at perfect timing because my mom had to fly back home a couple days later.

Monster list of tips to increase milk supply

Cari, Nicole, and Janet were the three LCs who ran the group. Each new mom would introduce herself, her baby, and discuss the issues she was having. All the moms were suffering from some sort of breastfeeding issue; nursing pain, latch issues, thrush, low supply, oversupply, over active letdowns, nursing twins, etc…When my turn came around I opened up about my issue, which ended up being classified as “low milk supply.” So after Cari observed Tanner’s latch, which was determined to be good, I was left with a monster list of tips to increase my milk supply…

  1. Pump after every nursing session to try to tell your body it needs to create more milk. (EVERY NURSING SESSION. I felt like a cow. I literally didn’t wear a shirt for weeks).
  2. Bake lactation cookies (thanks, mom!)
  3. Drink Gatorade for electrolytes; some women swear by the red or blue. (Who knows! At least it’s a change from water.)
  4. Drink 90oz of water per day. (Some days I thought I was drowning! PS – never drink all your ounces per day at once; that can be dangerous).
  5.  Eat 2,000 calories full of healthy fats, protein, dairy, and fiber. (Because we totally have time to go grocery shopping and cook. Hopefully your better halves, parents, or friends can help you in the kitchen – it’s for the baby!)
  6. Start taking Goat’s Rue and More Milk Plus by Mother’s Love. Also used Dairy Diva. (You can find them at Whole Foods or online).
  7. Continue to nurse on demand. (If baby is ever sucking their hands the first few months, it’s probably not for comfort; it usually means they are hungry.)
  8. If baby still seems hungry after breastfeeding, supplement with an ounce or two of formula, then pump after for 10 minutes. (This was the most exhausting process!)
  9. Don’t exercise yet- you can lose what supply you do have burning too many calories too quickly. (Be gentle on yourself and your post-partum body. I started working out at 8 months post-baby because I felt confident with my supply, my eating habits, and my water intake. DO NOT DIET while trying to keep your supply up. I know many women who wanted to lose “those last 15 pounds” and they all lost their milk around 5 months because they were limiting their calories. If you’re eating healthy foods, you can still reach the calorie intake you need).
  10. Try power pumping – (keep your pump hooked up to you for an hour. Pump ten minutes on, ten minutes off, for 60 minutes. Obviously try to time when baby doesn’t need to breastfeed).
  11. Try to get some sleep (seriously?)
  12. Your milk is “best” from about 11pm until you wake up, so pump before the last feeding of the evening, the middle of the night feeding, and the first feeding of the morning to boost your supply the most. Your supply is worst from around 4pm-10pm, so pump to stimulate then. (Eek…this mom thing is definitely a full time job!)
  13. Drink More Milk Tea (Sold at Target or Whole Foods. You literally have to drink like a gallon a day, so pre-make a big batch and mix with honey or lemon because it’s GROSS. PS – From the herbs & tea, your sweat and body will start to give off an herby smell, be ready for that 😉 
  14. Try Milky (an herbal blend of milk boosters; it tastes way better than the tea but I’m not sure if it really helps or not).

I tried all of these things for months. It became my life. I was literally obsessed with the fact that I wasn’t going to give up. I was determined to exclusively breastfeed. When I would have to supplement I felt so guilty, like I had failed. And I was becoming mentally and physically exhausted. At night it was the most brutal; Tanner would nurse for literally an hour, then I’d have to supplement, then I’d pump for ten minutes. By the time I was done with that cycle, I had to start it over. My husband was also traveling for work 2-3 weeks out of the month, and that started when Tanner was two weeks old, so the bottle & pump cleaning was a nightmare and so hard to keep up with. When my in-laws would come over to see Tanner, I would secretly wish they were cleaning & doing my laundry instead! I was super grateful they brought me meals a couple times, I would’ve probably starved to death when Kyle was gone.

About two months in of these crazy supply tricks, I was still going nowhere. We’d weigh Tanner before and after feedings at class and he was still only getting an ounce after nursing for nearly an hour. And on top of that, my nipples were still totally scabbed, so I was now referred to the nipple shield. The nipple shield is a soft piece of plastic that goes on top of your nipple so the baby’s mouth sucks on that instead of direct contact with your skin, causing less pain and allowing the scabs to heal (like putting a bottle nipple over yours). It helped a little, but Tanner had gotten so used to using it, that he was soon refusing to nurse without it. Ugh, a new battle. Once my boobs felt a little better, It took me two full weeks to completely wean him of using the shield. And then the scabs returned…

We were creeping up on three months post partum (still supplement after some feedings, still dealing with scabs, still pumping after each feeding to stimulate a supply increase, taking goat’s rue and more milk plus three times a day and eating BF cookies like it was my job) when a speech therapist came to our support group to observe infants for the first time. She was there to look for upper lip and tongue-tie issues. I had overheard chitter chatter about this mysterious tongue tie thing from a mom I got close with in support group; her baby, Charlie, had just had both her upper lip and tongue tie removed with a laser. But, no one had ever mentioned that diagnosis to me, so I just thought it was some rare thing.

My Hail Mary

The next group meeting, the speech therapist was there again to observe. I introduced myself and told her that everyone says Tanner has a great latch, but my nipples were still raw going on three months post partum, and I’m still only able to get about an ounce per feeding, so I was still having to supplement. I told her she was literally my Hail Mary, and asked her to observe tanner’s nursing. She watched him eat for thirty minutes and…wait for it…said she was pretty sure he had both upper lip and tongue tie. (There’s a fancy frenulum name for it). Ummm..wait, frenulum what??

As frustrated as I was that it took three months for someone to throw this new diagnosis at me that could be causing my low supply and soreness issues, I was actually excited that there could be a reason for all the madness and my low supply wasn’t going unexplained. Charlie’s mom, Stephanie, referred me to the dentist she went to that specialized in tongue and upper lip tie removal via laser (which is considered to be far more accurate at removing these ties than it being snipped, and is supposed to heal quicker as well). I called the office that day and they scheduled Tanner an appointment the next morning.

When I got to the dentist, I was really nervous and didn’t know what to expect. The one thing I did know right off the bat was that the staff was incredibly warm and friendly, and the office was decorated so cute for fall, smelling and looking like home. I had great vibes from the moment I walked in and was greeted by the receptionists. They took us in like we were their family. (And this was South Florida!) Once we were called back, we met the dentist and other staff, and they were all incredibly friendly as well. They took one look in Tanner’s mouth and said he had one of the thickest, longest upper lip ties and tongue tie they had ever seen, and couldn’t believe I was even still nursing. After they explained everything thoroughly they asked if I wanted to move forward with the procedure. They went over everything in full detail until I felt full informed; like how lip & tongue tie can lead to tooth decay, speech issues, latch issues, and other problems later on in life. And that is cost $1000, which is due upfront, but insurance may cover it partially. The answer was obvious to me – YES. PLEASE HELP US! When children get older, they have to be sedated and have sutures to close the removal of the ties, but when they’re infants, laser is fast, virtually pain free, and the recovery is only a few days. Tanner just made the cut by a week. After three months, they have to be monitored in an outside facility. They put Tanner in the most funny, teeny tiny glasses I’ve ever seen to protect his eyes. I gave him lots of love and snugs, then I left the room so I didn’t have to watch. They preformed the laser on both ties then and there. I was sent home with recovery instructions, and they had him latch immediately after the procedure to see if I could feel a difference. I’m not sure if I was so desperate for an improvement, or if I really felt an immediate change in his lap, but I was convinced I could. (Update: our insurance is 80/20 so they covered 80%, which was incredible! Although, it ended up being priceless to me).

Could this mean he was finally getting more milk from me?

After each time Tanner nursed for a week I had to rub under his upper lip and under his tongue. They have you do this because the mouth is the fastest healing place on our body, so they don’t want the ties to grow back. You have to keep disrupting the tissue growth. That was by far the saddest and most painful part to watch after the removals, because he was in a lot of pain when I rubbed them (obviously, ouch!). I had to give him Tylenol the first two days for discomfort, but after a week, he was completely pain-free, and the wounds were healing greatly. I was so relieved because we were flying to California the next week to spend Thanksgiving with my family. I was actually able to supplement with the tiny amount of milk I was collecting from pumping after feedings that week, rather than formula. And he was only taking about one ounce. Could this mean he was finally getting more milk from me? Could this really have been the culprit for my supply issues all along?

We got to California for vacation a girl I went to high school with (who was also nursing her son the same age as Tanner) dropped of bags of donor milk for me to supplement with in case I was still having issues. When I was supplementing with organic formula, Tanner wasn’t pooping and would wake up screaming all night from gas pain. (I had been SO fortunate with breastfeeding mamas around me. At first I was using a mix of organic formula & donor milk from a friend of the family in Florida, but didn’t want to risk bringing the frozen stash I had in case it thawed & went bad). I was in awe how generous other mamas were. Once you’re a breastfeeding mom you have this instant bond with other breastfeeding mamas.

I don’t know if the California Gods were with me, if it was finally getting to relax with my family & holiday cheer, or if it was just the perfect timing (2 weeks) after Tanner’s tongue tie procedure, but my milk came in the second day I was home. I could cry just writing this and reliving that day. I woke up and my boobs were HUGE. Like full for the first time EVER. He nursed like “normal” that day & I was literally in shock when he wasn’t crying for more milk after nursing. And he was feeding for an efficient half hour rather than dragging feedings on for an hour+. I continued to pump after feedings that week just to be safe, but after a week of that, I no longer had to anymore. My supply issues were finally over. I couldn’t believe it…His tongue-tie was fixed. It was his latch all along. Three of the longest months of my life were finally behind me.

I feel like it’s my mini calling to help other moms suffering from low supply issues or supply issues related to tongue-tie now. It robbed me of enjoying the first three months with Tanner because I was so focused on being able to breastfeed and all the struggles along our way, that it was literally my 24/7 job.

I’m actually thrilled to announce that eleven months later I am still exclusively breastfeeding, and even happier to report I have just donated around 80 ounces of my beloved freezer stash I had at home (from the whole time I was pumping during my Thanksgiving & Christmas visits) to a mama in the area who was unable to breastfeed due to IGT. Talk about my breastfeeding journey coming full circle! If you have breast milk you won’t be using, please don’t toss it! There are so many moms looking for donors, and you can pay it forward here – https://m.facebook.com/profile.php?id=180419095335971&tsid=0.2959478737320751&source=typeahead

Use my journey as an outlet to educate yourself, find support and gather advice

If you’re reading this and struggling with low supply, I hope you can use my journey as an outlet to educate yourself, find support in me, and gather advice. Most of all I hope you know you are doing the best you can. You are an incredible mama.

Turns out, there are many different reasons for low milk supply. For example, IGT, chronic low supply, thyroid issues, hereditary issues, breast reduction surgeries, etc. This was my personal experience with low supply related to upper lip and tongue-tie. If you need more support, there are some wonderful groups on Facebook:

Tongue-Tie:

Low Supply:

General Breastfeeding Support:

What is Tongue Tie?

If you are struggling from low supply and want to continue breastfeeding rather than switch to formula, first and foremost, find a lactation consultant in your area. Go to a breast-feeding support group. Actually, find a few LCs and go to a couple support groups. 1. You’ll need all the love and encouragement you can get. You are not in this alone, and there are other mamas struggling just like you. 2. You’ll sometimes need a second (or even a third) opinion to really pinpoint your issue like I did.

To find an LC near you, visit the following:

 

Breastfeeding is hard. Being a mom is hard. But they are both two of the most rewarding experiences I have ever experienced. Happy International Breastfeeding Week, and I’m sending all the positive milk- making vibes possible to you!

 

 

Fab Moms: Nicole Gomez of Hiring Done Right

I’m excited to introduce you to my next guest blogger, Nicole Gomez of Hiring Done Right. Nicole and I actually go way back, having attended the same Elementary and Middle School in Sacramento and playing in the same softball league growing up. We’ve recently reconnected as we’re on similar life paths, both as new mothers and starting our own consulting businesses. Nicole is the ultimate Fab Mom because she’s the mother to two beautiful TWIN girls (they’re absolutely gorgeous!) Nicole also recently launched her own HR Consulting Business: Hiring Done Right.



Here is Nicole’s Fab Mom Spotlight:

Hiring Done Right

  1. Who calls you mom and what’s his/her/their age?
    Layla Rossi Golfieri, 13 months (June 1st) and Emelia Grace Golfieri, 13 months (June 1st).
  2. What do you do? (SAHM, business owner, blogger, full-time/part-time employee, etc.)
    Business Owner – When I became pregnant with my twins I knew that corporate america was no longer going to fit into the lifestyle I wanted for my family. 3 amazing things came from 4 months of bed rest: Layla, Emelia and the launch of my business, Hiring Done Right.
  3. What does a typical day look like for you? (And the word typical should be taken with a grain of salt – I know they’re hardly ever typical)
    In addition to building a business I am also planning my wedding. Of course, losing the baby weight to get into my wedding dress has proven to be a big challenge. Before the family wakes up I try to run to the gym or a spin class. I get the coffee brewing and straighten up the house from the disaster it was the night before, return emails and of course, check social media. The twins and their daddy wake up around 7. We play for a bit, have breakfast, get dressed and ready for our day. On Tuesdays and Thursdays the nanny comes to the house, and I work from my home office or go out and meet with clients. Mon, Wed and Fri I am home with my sweet girls. After their morning nap, we usually try to do 1 fun activity outside the house everyday. From swinging on the swings at the park, to spending time at the beach or going on a play date with our friends, it’s always a great time. By the time afternoon nap time rolls around, I usually try to get some work done. When the girls wake up from their naps, we play and wait patiently for daddy to come home from work. My fiancé and I usually cook dinner together while the girls sit in their high chairs and eat “appetizers”. After we all eat dinner together at the table, the girls take a bath, we read some books and cuddle up until bed time – which is about 8:30.
  4. Any advice on how to “juggle it all”?
    I certainly don’t have it all figure out but I must say communication with my partner is key. It took some time, but we have learned how to be excellent communicators. From our daily schedules, to our daughters eating habits, to how many more pounds I need to lose before I can fit in my wedding dress, we talk about everything . Because we are so open about what we want and need, I feel like we are willing to make sacrifices to make sure our each others needs are being met. We are more of a team than ever before. There is no way I could do any of this without my fiance, he is willing to bend over backwards to accommodate my needs and the needs of our girls. If your husband, wife, baby daddy or life partner knows what you need help with, they just may surprise you and step it up to support you in ways you never imagined. All mommies are super stars, but we cannot always do it alone.
    The other way I have learned to “juggle it all” is to put one of the “balls” down. Less to juggle makes life a lot easier. For example, I have learned to lower my standards when it comes to keeping up the house. There are toys everywhere, the dirty laundry has overflown out of the hamper and onto to the bathroom floor, there are tiny handprints and lick marks all over my mirrors and windows. To learn to let go of what used to be an immaculate and adorable house took some time, but I have learned that it’s just not as important in the grand scheme of things. My kids are never going to look back and say, “Mom, those chipped walls from us banging the stroller around the living room has had a huge impact on who we’ve become as adults”.
  5. When was the first time you really felt like a mother?
    A lot of women say they feel like a mother the moment they find out they’re pregnant. That wasn’t the case for me. I didn’t even feel like a mother when I held my babies in my arms for the first time. The first time I felt like a mother was when my own mother (who stayed with us for the first two weeks) flew home to Northern California and my fiancé went back to work for the very first time. The girls were two weeks old and we were laying in bed, alone for the very first time since they were brought into this world. All of a sudden I was overwhelmed with emotion, I felt a deep and unexplainable love that I never could have imagined and I just cried. I was theirs and they were mine.
  6. What’s the hardest thing about being a mom?
    I constantly worry about making the right decisions for my girls. I worry about society, the community, and keeping them safe. I stay up at night and worry about the “mean girls” in middle school. For me, that is by far the hardest part of being a mother. I want the absolute best for them and I second guess myself and the decisions I make at least a dozen times a day.
  7. What’s the most rewarding thing about being a mom?
    The most rewarding thing for me as a mother is seeing how happy my girls are. When I see their genuine smiles and hearing their laughter give me a sense of security in knowing I must be doing something right. The girls have also started showing affection. They are now giving me big hugs and kisses, it melts my heart. Those little actions of love my girls show make up for the sleepless nights 100 times over.
  8. What’s the funniest/most shocking thing that has happened to you since you’ve become a mom?
    I can’t remember the single “funniest” moment that has happened since I’ve become a mom, there are just so many. I can tell you that I am the most shocked by how unaffected I have become by bodily fluids. I used to gag when people would spit in front of me, now I go out in public with throw up in my hair and pee-pee on my yoga pants.
  9. I wrote a post about “mental snapshots” that I’ll always remember, even without a photo. I know it’s hard to choose one, but what is your favorite moment, or “mental snapshot”, with your little one(s) so far?
    My favorite mental snapshot is when my girls were just about 6 months old, they were in their high chairs looking at each other smiling and laughing. All of a sudden, they both reached out for each other and held hands. They sat there quietly smiling at each other holding hands for about 15 seconds. I literally cried watching that beautiful moment. I LOVE how much they love each other.
  10. What has been your best baby product purchase so far and why? What age is it appropriate for?
    Dr. Browns Natural Flow Bottles – they have been a life saver. The girls have had the same bottles since they were born and absolutely LOVE them – we just switch out the nipples for faster flow as they get older. (newborn – present day).
  11. What’s something new you have learned about yourself after becoming a mother?
    Since becoming a mother I am more confident with who I am and what my priorities are. I’m not consumed with what other people think about me, my outfit, my hair or my car, my whatever. My family is my number 1 priority and I will do what is best for them 100% of the time. I like this strong and secure version of myself. Also, I have such limited time, I have really been able to evaluate relationships in my life, the people who are important in my life are still there, while I’ve learned to let go of others.
  12. What do you do to unwind/relax when you have some rare time to yourself?
    I love being able to workout in the morning, it gets my day started on the right foot. Once a month I like to schedule a night with girlfriends. After the babies go to bed, I have dinner and cocktails with some of the fabulous women in my life. On the occasional Saturday morning, I love to sneak away for a massage.
  13. What is your favorite outing, to date, with your little one?
    My most favorite outing was a recent trip to Grandma and Grandpa’s house. My brother and sister-in-law recently had a baby boy, Colton. We took our girls up to visit our family and meet Colton for the first time. I absolutely loved sitting in the back yard with my fiance, daughters, parents, siblings, nieces and nephews and watching all the kids play. It was a magical day seeing the whole family together for the 1st time.



  14. I have a running list of Whine & Dine Restaurants that are family friendly in San Diego. What’s your favorite restaurant that you frequent with your baby/kids/family and in what city? Why do you dine out there?
    Pitfire Pizza in Marina del Rey is incredible. The staff is warm and inviting, the food is delicious and they have the best sangria. There are always a ton of kids around so I don’t get dirty looks thrown my way if one of my girls has a melt down.
  15. Pretend your best friend is pregnant and about to have a baby. What’s the most important piece of advice you would share about “motherhood” (and assuming she is willing to hear it :))?
    Follow your gut. There are so many different opinions and ideas out there about how to raise children. You have to ignore all of it, listen to what your gut is telling you and do what is best for your family.

If you know a #FabMom who would be perfect to spotlight in this series (or if you are a Fab Mom yourself) please email: mommyprojectsd@gmail.com – we’d love to feature you!

 



Fab Moms: Heather Gibbs Flett of Rookie Moms

I’m so incredibly excited to introduce you to my next Fab Mom – Heather Gibbs Flett of Rookie Moms. If you’re not familiar with Rookie Moms, please allow me to digress for a moment about how this site has changed my life as a new mom.

If it wasn’t for Heather and her business partner, Whitney, Blake and I would probably still be hiding in our house, too scared to go out and face the real world! Ok, I know, dramatic – but seriously, finding the Rookie Moms 52 weeks of challenges was the best thing I could have stumbled across as a new mom. It gave me small little goals to accomplish with my little one and the gentle push I needed to get out of the house. Without Rookie Moms, I wouldn’t have joined a Mom’s Group, which has led to so many wonderful memories and friendships, and I wouldn’t have planned a mom’s night out, which led to me now writing for the local site, San Diego Mom’s Night Out. Plus, there have been so many other fun moments as Blake and I completed, and continue to complete, exciting adventures together.

If you are a new mom and looking for fun activities to do with (and without) your new bambino – GO CHECK OUT ROOKIEMOMS.COM immediately. It’s a life changer. You can also find them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Additionally, they run 510 Families for all of the Bay Area mamas.

Now that I’ve gotten that off of my chest, here is Heather’s Fab Moms spotlight:

Heather Flett

  1. Who calls you mom and what’s his/her/their age?
    I have three sons: Holden (9), Milo (7), and Sawyer (2 ½)
  2. What do you do? (SAHM, business owner, blogger, full-time/part-time employee, etc.)
    I’m a WAHM as a full-time blogger these days
  3. What does a typical day look like for you? (And the word typical should be taken with a grain of salt – I know they’re hardly ever typical)
    On a school-day, I wake up at 6:00 to shower and get dressed before waking the boys up at 6:30. We all eat breakfast and do our morning jobs before the “shoe time music” goes off at 7:35 to tell us to get out the door. My husband usually walks the older two to elementary school and I drive the littleone off to preschool. I’m home by 8:30 to begin work of writing, social media amplification, and dodging my emails. Around 4:20, I sign off everything to begin my rounds of picking up children. We’re usually back home around 5:45 to watch a show (them, based on a schedule of who gets to pick on which day) and make dinner (me!). Bedtime for the kids is around 7:30, at which time my husband and I collapse in front of the television.
  4. Any advice on how to “juggle it all”?
    Lots of deep breaths.
  5. When was the first time you really felt like a mother?
    Of all the memories that flash through my mind when you ask that question, various medical emergencies all fight for attention. Being responsible for taking care of my oldest son during little and big medical events made me feel very parental like, “OMG, I’m really in charge here.”
  6. What’s the hardest thing about being a mom?
    It can feel very thankless at times.
  7. What’s the most rewarding thing about being a mom?
    The snuggles and giggles… and I love looking at them when they are peacefully asleep.
  8. I wrote a post about “mental snapshots” that I’ll always remember, even without a photo. I know it’s hard to choose one, but what is your favorite moment, or “mental snapshot”, with your little one(s) so far?
    I love the morning pile-on when the little ones wake up not-too-early and climb into our bed. The moment right before the kicking and poking gets to be too much is just precious.
  9. What has been your best baby product purchase so far and why? What age is it appropriate for?
    I think the Stokke Tripp Trapp high chair is fantastic. It works for ages 6 months to 16 years because it is fully adjustable as a chair. I sit in ours sometimes, too.
  10. What’s something new you have learned about yourself after becoming a mother?
    I see all of my anxiety and self-doubt reflected back in my children’s personalities and behavior. It makes me want to be a better person… or at least accept myself for the person I am. Not easy!
  11. What do you do to unwind/relax when you have some rare time to yourself?
    I run, watch movies, eat dark chocolate, have meals out with friends.
  12. What is your favorite outing, to date, with your little one?
    I love to visit the children’s museum with a curious toddler. In Berkeley, we have Habitot and Studio Grow. In Sausalito, The Bay Area Discovery Museum is paradise.
  13. I have a running list of Whine & Dine Restaurants that are family friendly in San Diego. What’s your favorite restaurant that you frequent with your baby/kids/family and in what city? Why do you dine out there?
    Picante in Berkeley is terrific. The food is excellent for all ages AND they offer curbside pickup so it is also a busy mom’s saving grace.
  14. Pretend your best friend is pregnant and about to have a baby. What’s the most important piece of advice you would share about “motherhood” (and assuming she is willing to hear it :))?
    I love how you say “assuming she is willing to hear it” because I no longer make that assumption! I would suggest that she say, “yes, thank you” to all offers of help!

If you know a #FabMom who would be perfect to spotlight in this series (or if you are a Fab Mom yourself) please email: mommyprojectsd@gmail.com 

Fab Moms: Joelle Khannakhjavani of Mother Earth Brew Co.

Today I’m so excited to introduce you to my next Fabulous Mom in the series, FabMoms! Meet Joelle Khannakhjavani, one of the owners of Mother Earth Brew Co. here in San Diego, California! Mother Earth Brew Co. is an awesome brewery with a tap house located in Vista. Their tasting room is family friendly and offers some of the best San Diego beers on tap. Joelle also happens to be one of my good friends who I met in college and an all-around great person and rad new mama! You can follow Mother Earth Brew Co. on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, too!

Mother Earth Brew Co.

  1. Who calls you mom and what’s his/her/their age?
    My little Valentine, Zane, born 2/14/14.
  2. What do you do? (SAHM, business owner, blogger, full-time/part-time employee, etc.)
    I work part-time for our family business, a MicroBrewery in Vista, Ca called Mother Earth Brew Co.  I do a little bit of everything; right now I mostly manage our Homebrew Store but soon I will be working closer with our sales team.
  3. What does a typical day look like for you? (And the word typical should be taken with a grain of salt – I know they’re hardly ever typical)
    On a day off, I like to meet up with a mommy group or other friends around the area, hit the park, the pool or go for a walk.  If my husband is home we do an outing to the store or maybe even the driving range.  On a work day, fortunately I am blessed with lots of family that lives close by so Zane is watched by my Mom twice a week and either his GiGi (my mother in law) or my aunt the other day.
  4. Any advice on how to “juggle it all”?
    Take help when it’s offered! Whether it’s a friend bringing dinner, your brother offering to babysit or your mom coming over to vacuum, take it.  Also, a little bit of normalcy goes a long way.  Have a glass of wine or a pint once the little one goes to bed, or go out on a date with the hubby as much as you can.  A glimpse back at the “pre-baby” you can re-set you after a long week, and that can do wonders.
  5. When was the first time you really felt like a mother?
    When I overheard my husband asking Zane “Are you ready for Mommy to give you breakfast?” after Zane was a few days old.  Hearing someone else refer to me as “Mommy” made it hit home.
  6. What’s the hardest thing about being a mom?
    Finding time for me, my husband and me, AND my son, my husband and me.  It’s all a balancing/juggling/scheduling act that is endless but exciting and necessary too.
  7. What’s the most rewarding thing about being a mom?
    The first time I heard Zane laugh, it felt like I was actually doing a good job.  It meant he was happy, and I was the one keeping him that way.
  8. What’s the funniest/most shocking thing that has happened to you since you’ve become a mom?
    My husband was changing Zane’s diaper early in the morning.  The way the room was situated, Zane was pointed directly at the head of our bed.  We happen to have a Temperpedic Ergo and I was raising the head of the bed to nurse him.  Right when the bed was at the right height, Zane EXPLODED and poo shot out exactly in the spot my head would have been had I not raised the bed.  We about died laughing, and quickly cleaned up the mess.
  9. I wrote a post about “mental snapshots” that I’ll always remember, even without a photo. I know it’s hard to choose one, but what is your favorite moment, or “mental snapshot”, with your little one(s) so far?
    Again, that first laugh.  I’m not a super emotional person but I about broke into tears the first time I heard that raspy belly laugh.  I was sitting on my brother’s couch, and I was holding Zane so he was sitting up facing me.  I would lean toward him and say “HIIIIiiiiiIII” and he just broke out into his first ever giggle.  It was so amazing.  My husband wasn’t there but luckily my mom, brother and sister-in-law got to hear it too!
  10. What has been your best baby product purchase so far and why? What age is it appropriate for?
    Oh my there are soooo many life savers, but I have to go with the Baby Einstein Neptune Play Gym.  Not only is it a great distraction so I can get some dishes and laundry done, but you are actually able to watch a lot of their developmental stages.  From newborn and just trying to focus on the objects, to seeing themselves in the mirror, to grabbing the toys, now pulling and chewing on the hanging objects.  It’s also great for Tummy Time and has a portable music player that lights up that you can move to the car or crib.
  11. What’s something new you have learned about yourself after becoming a mother?
    I’m a lot more patient now.  I used to always feel like I was in a rush so things could be done, but now I’ve learned to relax a little more, not fully, but more than before 😉 Mostly because there are just some days you can’t do it all, and that is OK.
  12. What do you do to unwind/relax when you have some rare time to yourself?
    Mani/pedi or drinks with my Hubby or the girls. Resets the soul.
  13. What is your favorite outing, to date, with your little one?
    Well, there have been many since I was never one to stay at home, but one of my favorites had to be the beach.  We were staying with my mom in San Clemente and went to the Pier for a few hours.  We took sandwiches and laid out on a big quilt under an umbrella.  Then I dunked his feet in the water and took the stroller to the end of the Pier.  It was a beautiful day and he was all smiles the whole time.
  14. I have a running list of Whine & Dine Restaurants that are family friendly in San Diego. What’s your favorite restaurant that you frequent with your baby/kids/family and in what city? Why do you dine out there?
    Well this might come off a bit biased but of course our top place is Mother Earth Brew Co.  We are family (and pet) friendly and have lots of space for strollers or carriers.  I’m one of the lucky ones and Zane LOVES background noise so he usually passes out when we get there.  We don’t serve food but usually order a pizza or Mexican food from the neighboring restaurants, and relax for an hour or two while the little one either sleeps, or gets passed around by friends.  It’s great for big groups or just the three of you.
  15. Pretend your best friend is pregnant and about to have a baby. What’s the most important piece of advice you would share about “motherhood” (and assuming she is willing to hear it :))?
    I would have to say it goes back to #4.  Take help when it’s offered, in any form, and find any normalcy that helps you get through those tough days.  EVERYONE has a bad day, or 16, but it always gets better.  That, and anything that vibrates will help with naps 😉 (that’s not supposed to sound dirty haha).

If you know a #FabMom who would be perfect to spotlight in this series (or if you are a Fab Mom yourself) please email: mommyprojectsd@gmail.com 

Fab Moms: Lindsay Eidahl of My Creative Days

Happy Friday! I’m excited to introduce you to the next guest blogger in my series, #FabMoms – Lindsay Eidahl of My Creative Days. Lindsay loves finding frugal and creative ways to decorate her home, and create fun crafts or activities to do with her kids. And seriously, how cute are her kids? You can also find My Creative Days on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

My Creative Days

  1. Who calls you mom and what’s his/her/their age?
    Landen (10) and Gabrielle (8)
  2. What do you do? (SAHM, business owner, blogger, full-time/part-time employee, etc.)
    I am a blogger at mycreativedays.com and I also watch children in my home.
  3. What does a typical day look like for you? (And the word typical should be taken with a grain of salt – I know they’re hardly ever typical)
    Run, work, after-school activities, write, read, bed. This sounds so simple and straightforward – they are not always like that, but sometimes they are.
  4. Any advice on how to “juggle it all”?
    You just have to do what you can do. Make your priorities and stick with those. Right now, our schedule is more hectic than it has ever been and I really don’t like having something planned every night, but we are getting through it. Don’t try and keep up with anybody else. You need to do what works best for your family. I like to keep things organized and scheduled which really helps me juggle everything. If I didn’t, everything would be a hot mess!
  5. When was the first time you really felt like a mother?
    From the very first time I held them.
  6. What’s the hardest thing about being a mom?
    Letting go. At every stage they go through, I have a hard time letting go and letting them do more on their own. It is sad when they don’t need mom for certain things anymore.
  7. What’s the most rewarding thing about being a mom?
    The laughter, the hugs, the fingerprints on the wall, the homemade gifts and cards, the kisses, snuggle time…… the list could go on and on.
  8. What’s the funniest/most shocking thing that has happened to you since you’ve become a mom?
    I can’t believe how much I say and do things that my mom did!!!
  9. I wrote a post about “mental snapshots” that I’ll always remember, even without a photo. I know it’s hard to choose one, but what is your favorite moment, or “mental snapshot”, with your little one(s) so far?
    Our family vacation to Disney World a few years ago. We still talk about it today.
  10. What has been your best baby product purchase so far and why? What age is it appropriate for?
    I still use baby wipes for a lot of things. They are great for getting stains out of clothes, taking make-up off in a pinch and for wiping off sticky hands in the car.
  11. What’s something new you have learned about yourself after becoming a mother?
    That I need to work on patience and letting my kids do more for themselves.
  12. What do you do to unwind/relax when you have some rare time to yourself?
    I like to run in the morning when no one else is up. It is the only alone time I get in the day.
  13. What is your favorite outing, to date, with your little one?
    My daughter and I like to get pedicures and my son will ride his bike while I run sometimes in the summer.
  14. I have a running list of Whine & Dine Restaurants that are family friendly in San Diego. What’s your favorite restaurant that you frequent with your baby/kids/family and in what city? Why do you dine out there?
    We don’t dine out that often, but when we do, we keep it simple with places like Panera and a couple of local restaurants in Cedar Rapids, Iowa where we live.
  15. Pretend your best friend is pregnant and about to have a baby. What’s the most important piece of advice you would share about “motherhood” (and assuming she is willing to hear it :))?
    Don’t compare you, your child or your husband to anybody’s elses. Everyone has a different situation and nobody is exactly alike so trying to compare them is like comparing apples to oranges – they just aren’t comparable.

If you know a #FabMom who would be perfect to spotlight in this series (or if you are a Fab Mom yourself) please email: mommyprojectsd@gmail.com – 

Mental Snapshots, Vol. 1

I’m the first one to admit that I take way too many photos of my daughter. When I start to think that I should print them all out and make some sort of photo album, I begin to hyperventilate because there are just SO.MANY.PHOTOS! For now, I have them safely stored on my computer. But even with all of the photos, I miss capturing most of the good stuff…the stuff that melts you to your core and happens when you least expect it. It’s these moments that are the most dear to my heart, so I’ve started taking “mental snapshots” – hoping I can call on these memories after Blake is grown.

Here are 10 of my favorite “Mental Snapshots” so far:

  1. The moment the doctor put Blake on my chest after she was born. I have one image in my mind where she turned her little cone-head upwards and looked right into my eyes. At that moment, the last 19 hours of labor were forgotten, everyone else in the room faded away and I just saw her perfect little face. The first thought that ran through my mind when she looked at me? Worth it.
  2. The moment I picked Blake up from her crib and I felt like she really saw me  – the newborn “fog” had lifted and she just studied my face.
  3. The time I walked into our family room and saw Mike fast asleep with his mouth wide open, with Blake sleeping on his chest and her mouth wide open too – they had never looked more alike.
  4. The first time Blake smiled at me because she thought I was funny (not because of gas or an accidental smile) and that moment when I realized, I can make her smile! Oh, the triumph I felt.
  5. The first time Blake giggled which was really the first time I heard her little voice – precious and surprisingly loud! At this moment I began to look at Blake in a new light – she wasn’t really a newborn anymore – she was a bouncing, laughing baby girl!
  6. The moment when Blake was crying in her monkey bouncer and Tucker beat me to her, licked her face then laid down right beside her – the first time I realized he loves her.
  7. The first time Blake watched Tucker walk into the room and smiled so big – the first time I realized she loves him.
  8. The moment Blake discovered her hands – she stared at them so intensely, opening and shutting her little fists, that her eyes turned cross-eyed.
  9. The first time Blake rolled over – she scared me, her Auntie Jaclyn (who was also in the room), and herself – it was hilarious.
  10. The moment when Blake began her jibber-jabber. I was changing her diaper when all of a sudden, she just couldn’t hold it in any longer – she had things to say! We must have had a 30 minute conversation back and forth that first time on the changing table.

What mental snapshots do you have stored away? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

mother daughter

10 Signs You Are a First Time Mom

Do you ever catch yourself doing something and think, wow – I’m going to look  back at this moment later down the road and laugh about it. I find myself thinking this a  lot as a first time mom (we are a crazy bunch), so I’ve compiled a list of 10 tell-tale signs that you are truly a first time mom.

 You Know You’re a First Time Mom When…

  1. You stick your finger under your baby’s nose while she’s napping to make sure she’s still breathing…on the regular.
  2. You’re an absolute freak about other people washing their hands before they even think twice about holding your baby. And I’m not talking about a “quick rinse” – I better see soap suds while you sing the alphabet to ensure there is not one single germ left.
  3. You have to download all of your photos (all of the baby) off of your phone and onto your computer at least once per month because you keep exceeding your phone’s storage limit. That moment when the “No more storage” message appears on your iPhone and you freak out because what if your baby does something cute between now and the download process? HOW WILL I CAPTURE THE MEMORIES???
  4. You cry with happiness the first time your baby laughs. OK, maybe this was just me…but it was just so darn cute!
  5. You document the most obscure milestones (i.e. She raised her right eyebrow for the first time on February 2, 2014 at 5:34PM)
  6. You Google every possible symptom your baby has and either feel relieved or even more terrified after reading the experiences from other moms with babies with the same symptoms in the Babcenter forum.
  7. You call the Pediatrician every other day with a new question, “just to be sure”. Nurse on the line: Oh hi, Blake’s mom…nice to talk to you AGAIN!
  8. On a Baby App or in a journal, you record every feeding, poop and pee, religiously!
  9. You celebrate her birthday every month by conducting your own photo shoot and then posting it to Instagram or Facebook where all of your friends and family wish her a “Happy x month birthday”! Thank you to everyone who wishes Blake a happy birthday every.single.month. You all are gems!
  10. You get together with friends (who also have children), and it’s like a study session – comparing notes on the latest baby developments, product must-haves and whose doctor told them what at the last check-up.

What else would you add to this list? Let me know in the comments below! :)

first time mom

Rookie Mom Challenge #1: Pretend You’re in Europe

I’m excited to announce that I am partnering with the site Rookie Moms and will be documenting some of the “52 Weekly Challenges for Rookie Moms”. I must say I’ve been a little hesitant terrified to leave the house and go out into the world on my own with Blake. What if she started screaming in public and everyone started looking, judging (look at the baby, look at the baby)?! When I came across Rookie Mom’s 52 Weekly Challenges for new moms to complete, I thought what better way to get Blake and me out of the house and push me out of my comfort zone just a bit. Plus, I always love a good challenge. :)

So, my lovely partner in crime, Miss Blake, and I will be completing some of these weekly challenges and I will be sure to share the good, the bad and the ugly. I’m happy to report that we’re starting out on the right foot because this first challenge was a great one!

Rookie Mom Challenge #1: Pretend You’re in Europe

Getting out of the house…

This first activity challenged Blake and I to go to a local cafe and leisurely drink coffee and people watch, as if we were in Europe. Sounds simple enough, so we began our excursion. As with any outing, I have to mentally plan out how I’m going to get Blake in her car seat and into the car, pack the diaper bag, fold up the stroller and put it in the trunk of the car, and lure the dog out into the backyard (with a bone of course), all within a 2 minute time frame before Blake starts crying and realizes she is in her car seat. (If only there was a hidden camera watching this debacle every time). Thankfully, today’s execution was smooth and we successfully left the house all in tact. Blake only cried for a few minutes before the movement of the car put her to sleep: success!

Rookie Mom

Vanilla Latte, s’il vous plaît…

I chose Cafe Ipe to act as our “European Cafe” since they have tables outside and a great breakfast and lunch menu. I was also extremely happy to learn that they offer almond milk in their lattes – this fact alone will keep me coming back here on a weekly basis! I successfully ordered my latte and a turkey sandwich (in a to-go container and cup just in case Blake stared wailing and we had to abort the mission FAST) and we sat outside on the patio with Blake in her stroller.  Miss Blake slept through the entire thing, leaving me time to people watch and enjoy my almond milk vanilla latte and the best turkey sandwich I’ve had in a long time.

Mommy Project San Diego   Mommy Project San Diego

Ocean Views…

Half way through my sandwich I had a great idea to push my luck a little further and walk up the hill behind the coffee shop to take in some views of the ocean that just happened to be about 2 blocks away.

Luck was on my side today because she slept through the little walk as well and we hung out at the lookout point enjoying the views of the beautiful Pacific. It was one of those moments I’ll always remember – the first day I successfully took Blake to see the ocean, just the two of us.

Rookie Moms

Thank you, Rookie Moms for getting us out of the house – if it hadn’t been for you, we might have missed this view today…

Rookie Moms

– See more at: http://www.rookiemoms.com/badges-and-buttons/#sthash.6HucLCYZ.dpuf

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