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The way I know Tess is different from other clients. I met Tess during her senior year in high school since I was her English 12 teacher. She immediately became friendly with me, probably because she saw how comfortable her other two friends, Simone and Sasha, were since I had the two of them during their sophomore year. The three of them, along with many in their class (Shout out to Shanna and Wilson!), made not only that particular class fun, but the entire school year memorable. So what did I learn about Tess from that one year? She’s a smart, straight-forward, no nonsense but fun kind of girl. I met Tess’ mom during Back-to-School night and we immediately hit it off. I could see where Tess got her spunk and personality from and I really loved how the two of them interacted as mother and daughter and could see how they are really close. Even after Tess graduated, we kept in touch and Tess was awesome enough to get me and my older daughter into Disneyland! She helped me countless times and that is just a small sliver to show what kind of person Tess is.

So when Tess told me she was getting married, I was more than happy to be there to capture her special day! It was not only a pleasure meeting Mark for the first time, but also capturing the love Tess and Mark share. From capturing their first dance together as husband and wife to their synchronized dance on the dance floor, it was a day dedicated to celebrating their love. In addition, I loved seeing Tess’ mom watch her daughter grow up, listening to Tess’ sister speak fondly of her, capture the maid of honor’s love for her friend and tear up as she reflected on their friendship and how important it is, and hear how special mothers are from Mark’s father. Friends and family joined together to celebrate this union to make Valentine’s Day Tess and Mark’s special day.

Congratulations, Tess and Mark! I wish the two of you a long and healthy marriage filled with laughter, love, fun, and friendship. I cannot wait to see your family grow in the near future!

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I love Emi with all my heart, but people were not joking about the terrible threes. Emi is opinionated, wants things her way, is very particular about where things go and belong (Don’t even get me started about having to clean up her toys at 4:45 a.m.!), and is testing the boundaries and limits with almost everyone (Okay, just really me, Taro, and Grandmama). One day Emi will ask me about the craziness with her three-year-old and I can just say, been there and did it all with you! But even amongst the craziness, Emi still is sweet, empathetic, and a silly goofball. Since she is still infiltrating my bed, Emi wakes up in the morning and gives me a kiss. When I got upset, she offered her sleeve to wipe away my tears (I wiped her tears with my sleeve when she was feeling sad.)…but now uses my sweater, back, sleeve, practically any part of my shirt to dry her eyes. So when Emi asks, I will tell her that the insanity of a three-year-old is balanced with the love and fun, especially if that particular three-year-old sings Uptown Funk or Play That Funky Music in the car seat. When it gets to Emi’s part she always says, “Ready?” and then we boogie down! Plus Emi’s cheesy smile wins us over or her “Give me a hug.”

So Emi is now in the three-year-old class at school and oh my, was…is that a difficult transition! Since I am home with Abby, I was worried she wouldn’t want to go to school, but Emi was fine leaving until she moved up. Now she has resorted back to, “Go back to sleep! I’m still tired!” However, Emi enjoys school once she is there, but it just isn’t the same (for now). She is learning a lot, though, and is starting to write with a pencil (tracing highlighted letters and lines) and doing work that requires matching. I’m sure the class will grow on her. Emi just doesn’t like change (or things to be out of place) so it will just be a matter of time and adjustment.

Emi’s former teachers, who we absolutely love!

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Emi in her current class with her new teacher at the Valentine’s Day party. Emi likes her new teachers and the love will grow!

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So since I promised to take Emi to Disneyland if she pooped in the potty, I followed through with getting a 3-day pass to Disneyland since they brought back the Southern California deal. We were able to go play in the snow at California Adventure (although Emi didn’t care for getting her hands wet), watch the Frozen show, go on Dumbo twice, go on the carousel, rocket ships, The Little Mermaid (twice and it is now Emi’s favorite ride), It’s a Small World, the rollercoaster at Toon Town, and Luigi’s Flying Tires. Emi has met Aurora and Cinderella, but was extremely frightened of characters like Pluto or Doc McStuffins. I don’t think she liked the non-human aspect to them. It was a lot of fun taking Emi, but we are unsure of when to go again. I am actually scared to bring Abby because of the whole measles thing and I cannot leave Abby at home since Disneyland is a whole day thing and Abby does not take the bottle at all right now.

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In addition to all of this, Emi was given her first camera from Grandmama and Grandpapa. She loves taking pictures, especially the ones that have silly frames or decorations on them. What is cool about the camera is that it is digital and I can load the photos on to my computer and share them with everyone.

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So even though Emi is going through the test-you-to-see-what-I-can-get-away-with-and-act-like-a-crazy-monkey-stomping-feet-fake-cry-and-it-has-to-be-my-way stage, she is still my #1 girl and I know…this stage will pass.

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At four months, Abby weighs 16 pounds, 10.5 ounces. I was amazed when I found this out at her doctor’s appointment. I mean, she is my chunky lil’ monkey, but in comparison to Emi, she outweighs her by a lot! Emi weighed 15 pounds at her six month appointment so Abby definitely has way more love! I love it, though, especially because she has these thighs that you just want to squeeze and munch on and continues to sit in the tub like a Buddha. Abby is in the 92 percentile in weight and it just amazes me how different she is from Emi, who was in the single digits in percentile with her weight. As far as length and head size, though, Abby is pretty much on point with Emi. The only difference is size and because of that, Abby is already in 6 month clothes and has not worn a lot of hand-me-downs only because she has quickly outgrown them.

Abby continues to talk a lot and has now started blowing bubbles/raspberries. She enjoys lying on her mat and swatting at toys. Her favorite thing to do is look up at the mirror to see her reflection. Abby twists her body and her head when she is lying down, which is the starting motion of trying to roll, but she hasn’t done that yet. The doctor said she might take longer to do that since she weighs more, but Abby is definitely trying. She especially likes to try to do it when I change her diaper in addition to kicking her feet like a rabbit. Recently, when I wake up in the morning, her blankets are off. Thunder feet. Speaking of which, she has slept through the night, although she goes to sleep a bit late. But I will take 10:30/10:45 to 7:30. To sleep seven hours straight feels heavenly.

Abby has definitely become much more attached and starts to cry if I walk out of the room. She feels reassured when I stick my face on hers and it will actually calm her down instantaneously. I like it because then I can smell her – that wonderful baby smell.

Abby seriously has the best laugh (along with Emi’s, of course) and laughs so hard if you tickle her. I love that she smiles with her mouth open and enjoys kicking her feet against my hands. I pretend to have her run by moving her legs back and forth and it always makes her laugh. These little things make me glad that I get to stay home and see her grow and develop. I cannot imagine missing out on this and on those nights when I get less sleep, it is a relief that I can catch up during group nap! I still have to figure out the whole bedtime thing, but for now, I’m playing it by ear. Abby is still sleeping in our room and I don’t want her to leave quite yet…especially since she is sleeping through the night and I find comfort that she isn’t too far away.

I look forward to Abby’s development in the next month! I’m just glad this lil’ lady is in my life and this year, I had two little valentines to hold close to me. Until March…

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