Tough Mama

“Something very beautiful happens to people when their world has fallen apart: a humility, a nobility, a higher intelligence emerges at just the point when our knees hit the floor.” ~Marianne Williamson 

One small phrase, so much impact. This phrase has gotten me through some rather tough life moments. “Tough.” The word itself is loaded with meaning and in itself denotes a story to be told. “Tough” is not a word thrown around our home loosely. Tough has two somewhat contradictory meanings. Tough can mean something that is physically or emotionally damning or it can be used in the context of a result of overcoming insurmountable odds. It just depends on whether “tough” is used as a “what is/was” or a “whom is/was.” 

Driving my daughter home from school the other day, we were deep in conversation. One thing I love about my daughter is her level of perception and ability to understand and relate. I don’t hide things from her. I believe in truth above all in our family. Some truths are stated more bluntly than others, others delivered in an age appropriate manner but, truth is delivered daily, above all. 

I was explaining to her an encounter that I had that day with the parent of a child who had spent a good amount of time “trying” to bully my daughter at one point or another for an extended period of time. It broke down to me allowing this individual enough slack in order to either prove to me that they were in fact a good person or they were someone who would remain inconsequential to myself and my family. I explained to my daughter that these individuals had become inconsequential and it was put to the other party in a very calm but firm manner that the future would be one of personal separation and solitude. The separation of our family from such an uncomplimentary force and solitude from further defamation of our character for whatever reason put forth by these individuals. My daughters response after our conversation was, “You’re one tough mama!” 

I nearly winced when she said that. I was thankful that she could not see my face, as I was driving. The last thing I ever want my child to believe is that asserting yourself is to be considered “tough.” Asserting yourself is merely just that. It is matter of fact and just a way of life I want our child to know and live by. I want her to always stand up for herself but in no way does that deserve the monicker “tough.” It’s a slippery slope into the school of thought that being outspoken, aggressive and just a plain asshole is to be considered “tough.” Ego driven behavior is not tough. In fact, it is seen as more of a weakness in my eyes. Those who run around beating their chests, claiming they can beat up the world are weak in mind, confidence and are stunted in their perception of what “tough” really is. 

What does “tough” really look like then? 

“Tough” has many different faces and varies from mother to mother, but in my mind tough looks like: 

~a 24 year old young mother of two losing the love of her life at the hands of western medicine, 1 month before their first born’s birthday, and 4 months before the arrival of their second born. “Tough” does her best with what she has, works non-stop to provide for her children the best way she knows how, even if it is to her own detriment and she goes through their childhood’s having to miss out on so many sweet moments and memories. 

Or 

~ a mother of two, battling cancer. Waking up everyday just glad to have been given the gift of breath and eyes that still open. Not knowing from day to day whether she will make it to watch her children graduate school or see either of them walk down the aisle. Thanking God for every moment of nausea or blinding pain, because at least that means they are still here, as long as they can feel it, they are still here. 

Or

~ a mother, devoted her life to her husband, home and children who one day finds herself with the short straw because husband has a midlife crisis or change of heart. Leaving “tough” to fend for herself with her children when all she knows is just her husband, home and children. 

Or

~a mother, who finds herself in every mother’s nightmare just to pinch herself and realize that it’s not a nightmare but reality. It’s every mothers worst nightmare to fathom having to bury your own child before you take your last breath but this is the epitome of “tough.” 

You see, to me, “tough” when used to describe a person or an action is the behavior or act of being at a crossroads at one of life’s gnarliest intersections where you would be completely justified for taking “Easy Street” but you take “Less Traveled Road” because you know that your decision affects more than just you and the outcome of your street choice may impact your child(ren) more greatly than you in the long run. So you choose “Less Traveled Road” because your child(ren) are at the forefront of your decision. THAT is a “tough mama.” That is the definition of “tough” that I want my daughter to know in and out as it is not what happens in our lives that defines us, it is how we react to it that does. 

-Much love to my “Tough Mama’s.” You know who you are, although one lost her battle with Cancer not too long ago, her memory lives on and inspires others, including me, to live “the good life and keep fighting the good fight.” 


The Lasting Marks of Underachiever Parenting

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“10 Reasons Why Living in Filth is A-ok.” “Why being an alcoholic parent is character building for your child.” “Who needs emotional intelligence, when you can deny, blame & scapegoat your way out of everything.”

Since becoming a parent, I get drawn into these catchy headlines in regard to child rearing. You know how some people sit and watch daytime TV smut and eat bon-bons? Well…perhaps this is my own personal form of “entertainment” in between house cleaning/organizing, cooking, shuttling to private school, practices, play dates, taking care of my husband and running a multi-million dollar real estate business. I’m allowed a weakness right?!

A lot of the stuff published out there these days are merely the opinions of others and I see them as that, just like what I write is my opinion but why the need to draw conclusions that any one methodology is better than another, especially when it downright bashes another traditional ideology that for a lot of folks, works? Why do we romanticize lazy? So many folks are shy to a little hard work and elbow grease, it’s much easier to sit around a point at others who are “killing it” and try to rationalize everything about them to make you feel better about your downright laziness.

The “underachiever” mom models these days spend their time bashing parents who are highly involved, meticulous in their organization, grooming and manners and their children that follow suit.

They put it out there for the masses that “It’s okay” to be the parent who slides into school screaming at their children, (Possibly hung over from whatever last nights binge was), the children sloppily put together, no doubt attributed to the parent’s lack of pride in their own presentation. Their child suffers, whether they choose to see it or not and it is ultimately the parent’s lack of planning or ability to get out of bed that creates the tardiness.

These same parents are too lazy and self centered to be excited about birthday parties, school events, extracurricular activities. We get it…you’re pissed off that you drive a mini van, that you even have to deal with these “annoying little lives” that were possibly a result of a drunken night with their cheating husband whom they were desperately trying to keep from leaving, maybe it was a one night stand, maybe you just had a kid because all the cool kids were doing it. Either way, we get it, we get it. You’re edgy, and not giving a f*ck is the perceived “new cool.” You even brag about “yelling” at your children when in reality it just shows your own lack of authority in your family if the only way you can reach your child is by yelling. But guess what?

While you spend your time defending your actions/inaction and complaining about all those “pretentious perfect parents out there” and how “you’re never going to be like them” your kids are neglected and lashing out because 1.) They see you do it and think that it is a way of life, “complain until you get what you want or just sit around feeling sorry for yourself until someone takes pity on you 2.) They need attention, plain and simple, children thrive on whatever kind of attention they get and their temperament goes the direction of that “attention” either positive or negative 3.) Make excuses for their behavior instead of acknowledging or changing it. You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge even exists as a problem.

These are the folks being featured in “Parenting” magazines/blogs/you name it? Like we need any more reason to believe being a lazy/disillusioned parent is “A-0k?” Have you seen some of the miscreant children out there these days? It’s time for a keep-it-real intervention or in some cases, sterilization.

Funnily enough, overachiever parents don’t waste their time trying to call you out on your self perceived ineptitude as a parent or human being for that matter. Chances are, we don’t even notice or if we do…We’re all too busy focusing on the little lives that we’ve lovingly created with the spouses we love (albeit want to murder sometimes, but would miss too much) and actually enjoy taking care of, providing for and making traditions and memories with.

Your nasty attitude towards parents like us comes from a feeling of negative self worth and lack of emotional intelligence. If you’re aware of your feelings towards others, perhaps you need to take a little more time to find out why you even care?

Why does what Jane does or how Jane dresses or how blessed their family is even register with you on a level where you are bitter about it? Some folks don’t lead the perfect lives that you’ve built up in your own head. But they also aren’t going to go around bringing people down with their hardships. Everyone you meet is fighting their own battles. Chances are, most of us overachievers, learned to grin a bear hardships and they don’t affect us on the daily because we know that they are a part of life and bring us personal growth. We’re looking for the silver lining, as there always is one, even if it comes in the form on a lesson.

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Sadly, no amount of bashing loving, traditional parents (much less anyone) will bring you any satisfaction or peace. If you cannot afford the big birthday parties, vacations, extracurricular activities, a frank conversation with your children about your family’s financial restrictions at an age appropriate level probably needs to take place or guess what? Get a job, create a business, do whatever you need to do to feel better about yourself! Children need honesty from you, just like they need set boundaries, otherwise the sense of entitlement and over inflated ego’s run rampant.

If none of these options seems attractive to you, your self hatred is going to keep fueling your own nastiness and continue to plague your children and make them incredibly bitter later in life when they have to drag their hung-over-selves out of bed, put on whatever doesn’t smell like B.O. and is covered with pet hair and is lying on the floor and show up to work for the children of the “overachiever” parents that you hate so dearly.


Homeless Doesn’t = Heartless

Souls Instead of Bodies

Souls Instead of Bodies

“If home is where the heart is, does that mean that homeless people have no heart?” A mean tweet read by a homeless person on a segment of Huff Post Impact X. Homeless Read Mean Tweets <—–click link for video.

Meant to bring social awareness to the stigmatization of “homelessness” in our country. Heart crushing to see the looks on the faces of the homeless folks reading these mean tweets but even then, my heart goes out to those sick souls who feel the need to lash out at an already struggling demographic to assert that they are somehow better? My mind goes to, “wow, that person really must be struggling with something terrible internally to spit so much venom at someone who has no other recourse.”

I grew up, in an area that I commonly refer to as “The Bubble.” Discovery Bay/Brentwood California, back in the early 80’s. At that time it was small, like only 1 stoplight in Brentwood small. Definitely no real presence of homelessness.

Growing up in a highly conservative home in a very small town, homelessness was something that was only seen on television. It wasn’t until my freshman year of college in our “rebellious-piercing obsessed” trips to Berkeley was homelessness really experienced in real life. Then, it was somewhat of a novelty. There were “famous/notorious bums” strategically placed around the Telegraph area of Berkeley. There was the infamous “joke guy” who hung outside of Fat Slice. There was the guy who wore women’s clothing and ran after cars barking like a dog. In San Francisco, there was the bush man who hid behind branches and scared the living heck out of people.

I look back now ashamed that I even entertained this idea that these folks were here for the amusement of others. But then again, I hadn’t really been taught to see it any other way. I hadn’t been taught to look at homelessness from a place of understanding. That something monumental had to have happened to land these folks on the street. It wasn’t until my move to Honolulu in 2003 that I really became “aware” of the implications of homelessness.

Moving to Downtown Honolulu from “The Bubble” was both the most terrifying and amazing experience of my life. I learned so much about life that I feel I wouldn’t have otherwise learned. My first apartment was in Chinatown, on the corner of Smith and Nimitz Hwy. To walk to school, work, the gym I passed the same homeless people day after day, night after night. To be incredibly honest, I was scared shitless to walk home or to class by myself for the first few weeks. Especially when I realized that at night time Bishop Street, which I walked down each night after the gym was the place where most of the transsexual prostitutes would hang out waiting for a trick.

It didn’t take me long to realize that I wasn’t really in harms way. The homeless usually just slept and the prostitutes were all about their business. It didn’t stop me from silently judging though. Usual thoughts of, “These people must have really screwed up their lives to be where they are in life” or rationalizing that they had to have been terrible people to end up living this sort of life. They had to be right?! Bad things just don’t happen to good people, right? Damn…was I naïve.

It wasn’t until a couple months later, that I was out scouring Chinatown, for Vietnamese coffee presses with my manager at my job (The rRed Elephant) that I got the wake up call of my life. I remember walking past these homeless folks, lying on the sidewalk. I watched my manager’s eyes dart at them lying about, and I was thinking to myself, “Good grief, get a job,” thinking that my manager had to be thinking the same thing when she said, “You just have to wonder where their families are and what could have happened so drastic that would put them in such a position.”

She may as well have slapped me. That’s how I felt when I heard her response. I was sure that she was thinking the same thing as I was. I have never been more glad that I didn’t open my mouth and say what I was thinking because instantaneously I was humbled and ashamed for my overall negative way of thinking on this topic. Why had I never stopped to consider that these people could be suffering in some way that created this situation for them? That they might be in poor mental health, have survived a financial crisis, lost a job, their family, their health. I never looked at a homeless person again with the same tenacity to jump to negative conclusions.

I get that a lot of people are homeless due to a drug addiction. That is the typical stereotype. According to an article written by Daphne Chen, a writer at the “Daily Californian” an independent Berkeley Student Publishing Company, http://homelessness.dailycal.org/causes/ about “40 percent of the homeless population suffers from chronic substance abuse, 41 percent are severely mentally ill and 20 percent are veterans.”

A large part of the homeless population in Honolulu were Veterans as well. That breaks my heart. These are the men and women who put their lives on the line for our country’s freedom and liberties. We are quick to celebrate them come Memorial Day or Veteran’s Day but apparently forget about them shortly thereafter. There was one man who came in to my work place every single day, paid for his cup of coffee and would hang out there all day. He was an amazingly sweet man. A veteran. Someone who had body tremors and was repetitive in his conversations and actions. To the average passerby’er he was just another weirdo on the street. To those who knew him, he was John, a veteran of the U.S. armed services who dealt with post traumatic stress and other physical ailments from serving our country. Who was lucky enough to have a roof over his head at a local shelter, and lived on a meager paycheck from the U.S. government. A pay check that would be gone shortly after its monthly issuance because John would buy all of his buddies, who didn’t receive a monthly payout, food. He wasn’t so concerned with himself. He would have given the shirt off of his back to help anyone else in need.

Those who have little, have the most to give.

Those who have little, have the most to give.

We need more “John’s” in the world. In a world where being charitable/philanthropic/hospitable comes but one time a year (The Holidays) and where these acts are done to illicit “likes,” “shares,” and “affirmative commentary.” What are we teaching our younger generations? That kindness is universal…”universal” meaning only due to those who fit into your ideal mold of what is deserving of “kindness?” People just like you, right? Or people who are only nominally less well off than you?

I get that most people are only capable of so much. You are only capable of what you allow your mind to accept. It’s the “cool” thing to do these days to “appear” philanthropic. Teach our children to be kind to others. Just the others we deem “worthy” so that we have a heartwarming story to tell at our next social gathering, something to post on social media, something to keep us warm at night when we tell ourselves that we are making a difference in the world. As Les Brown said, “If you put yourself in a position where you have to stretch outside your comfort zone, then you are forced to expand your consciousness.”

I thank god for the experiences, trials and tribulations I have had in my short life. They haven’t been overwhelmingly damning but they have been enough to stretch me out of my comfort zone and force me to expand my own consciousness. I can only wish that others have the courage to do the same. We might find the world we live in a much brighter place.


F*CK LUCK

What's Luck Got to Do with it?

What’s Luck Got to Do with it?

There is no such thing as luck. I honestly have the belief that Santa is going to come bounding down my chimney in 34 days (that I don’t actually have) before I ever believe that the concept of “Luck” is anything more than just a cop-out.

Profile of a person who fully believes in “luck” looks something like this: Does not feel that they have control of their lives. May have once had ambition but failed on the first try and then gave up. Implosive. Tries to appear happy-go-lucky on the outside but actually spew negativity in somewhat inconspicuous ways. Complaining on the daily that others are negative and ruining their day. Are powerless over their emotions. Being happy or positive is directly controlled by an exterior source, aka anything other than themselves. Play and believe in the lottery. Are either employed and forever complaining or gainfully unemployed claiming to be an “entrepreneur.” Believe that life happens to them and that ones own inaction/actions are not directly related to their own outcomes. They are most commonly seen as silent/backhanded people full of resentment.

There are more traits but you should get the idea by now.

People who believe in Luck look at those who are successful in life with resentment. They could be your best friend, by your side pretending to happy for your successes but then interject once in awhile with back handed negativity. They downplay your successes, claim they had a better/more efficient way of doing it, but the ultimate hater phrase is…”you’re so/just Lucky.”

When good things happen to you, it is a sum of efforts being put together to achieve your goal. For some it is blood, sweat, tears and a lot of failing forward. So when someone says…”Oh your so lucky, it truly minimizes the sum of your efforts and gives your achievement to a nameless, faceless bullshit concept. When someone who is successful chalks their success up to luck, they are just being coy. They know damn well it didn’t have anything to do with luck, but with a general audience of admirers some time it is just easier and more romantic to plainly say, “I was just lucky.”

When bad things happen, people who believe in luck chalk it up to, “I am just unlucky.” Well, this can be explained with two different phenomena. 1.) You caused you to be “unlucky” by your actions or lack thereof 2.) Shit happens…no seriously it does. There are just some things that are out of our control, like health issues, death, etc. That is life.

The concept of “luck” gives the weak minded person a crutch. If something bad happens it helps remove blame or accountability from a person who probably did not try their hardest, or plainly just failed. Who ever said that it was bad to fail? What is bad is not getting up 100 more times to try. But failing…not bad, not in my book. When you fail and say, “oh it’s just bad luck” you are giving yourself an excuse to say, “at least I can say I tried.” I call bullshit! If you want something that bad…you go get it! The concept of luck is a limiting belief masquerading as a limitless concept.

When you chalk something bad up to “luck” you are giving that situation power over you. You are giving yourself a pardon and excuse to sit around and feel bad for yourselves. No self respecting person likes a pity party. (Being sad/blindsided and taking time to come to terms with something is very different than a pity party.)

So with all this “Luck” bashing finally comes to what someone who doesn’t believe in luck looks like: Takes control of their life, owns their circumstances and is not reduced by them, take accountability and responsibility for their dreams, ambitions and failures, know how to stand and take criticism and turn it into something positive, life affirming and REAL to others (don’t just feed them bullshit that they think the other person wants to hear), Employed and love what they do or if they don’t, find ways to make their career better or find something new that does make them happy, business owners constantly in looking to build and grow, emotionally intelligent, believe that life is what you make of it. (I could go on forever on this list)

Bottom line. The word, “Luck” to me is like the word “try.” There is no try, there is only do or do not. There is no LUCK. There is either is or is not, do or do not. Period.


The 13 hottest real estate markets in America

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7 of these Metro’s our Real Estate Team Bay 2 Pacific Living services.

Originally posted on Fortune:

The real estate bubble that burst in 2006 took six additional years to entirely deflate, with home prices hitting rock bottom in 2012. But by 2014, home prices, on average, have returned to their pre-bubble norms.

And with the economy growing only modestly, and average incomes growing slowly, there isn’t a lot of reason to expect that home price appreciation will do much more than keep up with inflation in coming years. But that’s on a national level, and local markets behave much differently. In fact, there are several markets in America where analysts argue that–when compared to historical trends, incomes, and rents–current prices look overvalued.

Real estate data firm Trulia compiles statistics on both the amount of home price appreciation in each U.S. metro area as well as estimates of how overvalued homes are in those areas compared with historical trends. According to Trulia, even if many of these…

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Standards…Obviously Not One Size Fits All

Standards = Guidelines for your life

Standards = Guidelines for your life

Anytime that I have felt a lull or a dormancy in my life, after some intense reflection, I can always pin-point the degradation to a slip-up or relaxation of my personal standards. Standards are not a one-size-fits-all concept. There is no set of standards that works universally for everyone and no matter how much you want them to, some people may just plain not have them. Period.

In a world of “everyone should get a trophy for merely having a pulse,” the concept of standards sometimes feel all but lost. I personally have standards for myself in all facets of my life. Whether it be my business, wife & motherly, or personal I have standards for myself. I am also my own worst critic, something I consistently struggle with is to give myself some slack, as I tend to be my own drill sergeant. While being focused and regimented is good, too much of a good thing can be bad, so therefore I struggle daily with not crossing the line into an unhealthy balance.

In the past, my self imposed standards have been so prevalent and strong that they have alienated people. It’s a foreign thing to me, being raised by a U.S. Marine that other folks may not have set the bar very high for themselves or have chosen to not set one at all. It’s not really failing when you have not set any standard right? One of the hardest things as an adult was learning that being an adult does not necessarily mean that all other adults had standards of their own to live up to regarding behavior, grooming, relationships, parenting, etc.

I view standards as not something to necessarily “hit” or “attain.” More so, I see them as, at minimum, the ground floor of what you expect to achieve, or even the way you allow others to treat you. That is a BIG standard most struggle with implementing, myself included. Although, once that bar was set, I have to admit it pissed a lot of people off. Through natural selection a whole bunch of them were wiped clear out of my life and I would do it again, probably sooner because those who were here for the right reasons all lived up to the standard. Those who did not, faded into the abyss.

At the end of the day, I have learned that setting your own personal standards to an level slightly over attainable, and eventually increasing/decreasing them with ebb-and-flow of life, is a formula that works for me. Others may choose to not share the same level of standards I set for myself, and that is all fine. My standards only help mold and refine who I wish to become as a person. Only someone who is immature or lacks confidence will take my own personal standards and apply them as a reason to feel inferior or take issue with them. I do not hold others to my standards, that would be unreasonable.

I do, however, have set standards for those I let in my immediate circle, each year those standards seem to get tighter and more refined. It is not that I take issue with those who do not fit within those guidelines. I want to be immediately surrounded by those who inspire, support and challenge me to be better than I thought I could ever be, thus embracing & supporting the fact that I have self imposed standards. True friends want to see you attain goals and will be there to support, however they can.

Too many folks are intimidated by that sort of relationship, and that is fine. I choose to take part in only the best. This does not mean the Prettiest, The Richest, The Infamous…it means those who are the best for my soul.


Mean Girls

Mean Girls

Mean Girls

I am in the age of the question, “When are you having more kids?” The looks of horror I get when I tell them that my husband and I are not having more kids are quite funny to me. Our daughter is our greatest blessing but if we would have had a boy as a first born I would probably be more apt to try for one more child. We have plenty of other reasons as to why our family is perfect the way that it is, but one of the reasons is that I do not deal with girl drama.

Having a sweet, brilliant little girl has been amazing. It has been like dressing a real live doll. We bond over clothes shopping, nail appointments, girlie movies, and dance class. She is about to turn 5 and head into Kindergarten this fall and I already am dreading the drama. Girls in general are incredibly emotional, irrational, self-involved, insecure, jealous beings but couple that with the hands off, lazy, finger-pointing parenting these days and this generation has disaster written all over it.

Recently, my 4 year old has been getting acclimated to being with older kids at her new school, as when she goes into Kindergarten she will be grouped with the school age kids. She has been rather worried about being around the “big kids” and I work on reassuring her daily that they are no different, no smarter, no better than she is, that she can keep up with them, and truth be told she actually can. She has a better perception, emotional intelligence and self awareness than most kids much older than her. It is both a gift and downfall I had as a child as well.

Yesterday, finding out that one of the older girls called my 4 year old “Stupid,” after my mom had picked her up automatically increased my body temperature. We rarely use the word “stupid” in our house, and it is never used to describe a child. Adult behavior? Why yes, that is the best terminology I can use to describe some adults without using profanity. Anyways, I soon found out that I was more affected by it than my daughter. She merely brought it up as something that happened in her day, she was not affected by it or even felt that this “big girls” opinion had any bearing on her being.

All the while my mind was racing on what I would have told my daughter was affected by this little simpleton’s remark such as, “Oh she’s probably upset because she’s being raised by pigs/animals.” Yeah…that is the mean spirited mean girl of my own who comes flying out when someone messes with my child and while it is the first line that usually comes to my head out of anger, it is never conveyed to my child. These thoughts are just for me because I know nasty language is not the way to win a battle of wit.

Well Adjusted?

Well Adjusted?

In all actuality, my daughter “Won” this battle by merely looking at this child, smiling and walking away to play with other friends. She rendered me useless. She needed no words of wisdom from me, and believe me, I had them…nice ones too I promise. That act in itself reinforced that what my husband and I are teaching her is far greater than any snappy comebacks or as I have frequently used in my less enlightened days…verbal kill shots.

I have been known to mentally dismantle people, never for fun, but because I felt that anyone who wanted to start something better knew that they weren’t going to finish it, I was. When I did every ounce of dynamite I had in my being would be put towards demolishing this person. While I succeeded, despite the fact that they started it and I should feel vindicated, I never did. I felt like they still won because I let them get the best of me. I wasn’t secure enough to just laugh it off and let it go, because in true reality who were they and what did they matter anyways?

There are always going to be “mean girls.” For the sheer fact that all of those vices I listed before are ingrained in us and amplified by bad examples set by parents. Parents teach their kids to bully either directly or indirectly. That is not going to be my example.

I believe my husband and my examples truly align between what we tell our daughter and how our actions towards her, each other and outsiders are. Otherwise, we would have a rude, materialistic, entitled little brat on our hands. She is nothing of the sort. She is everything you would want a little girl to be and more. Not a mean girl, not a victim…just a sweet, happy, adjusted, smart little girl, and I am pretty proud of that.


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