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1 Year Baby Update

Wow. 1 year! How did that happen?!

Saturday was Riese’s 1st birthday! We had a low key little family birthday party at my parent’s house, which felt perfect. Just me, Matt, both sets of our parents, and my brother and his fiancee. It was so special to have all of us there together to celebrate the past year!

I had big plans to make a homemade banana cake (well, muffins, since I figured Riese could eat one and then we’d get to enjoy the rest), but unsurprisingly time got away from me and in the end we ended up just using Simple Mills brand banana muffin mix and calling it a day. Riese tried their pumpkin muffins recently and loved them, and she’s really into banana, so I figured it would be a hit, and I like that they aren’t total sugar bombs. The “frosting” was plain Greek yogurt, another of Riese’s favorites. :)

It was a big success – she loved it and took down the entire muffin!

Trying to put the past year, our first as parents, into words, is very difficult. I think the most accurate description is that it has been a year of both highs and lows. One of my best friends told me that the big difference for her after having kids was that highs were higher – but lows were lower, too, and I think that’s very true. We’ve had some truly magical and amazing moments as a family – like when Riese smiled at us for the first time, or giggled for the first time, or started crawling, or when we were cuddled in bed with her sleeping next to us, or now when we are chasing her around the room and she’s cackling madly… those are the moments that make you feel like your heart might explode and like nothing you’ve done has been as incredible as being a parent. But then there are of course some serious lows, too, because in addition to being incredibly worthwhile and special, being a parent can also be exhausting and frustrating. Sometimes it’s hard to not snap or be rude to your partner because you’re tired or your patience has worn out, or because you have a need that you wish they would notice but they haven’t because obviously they can’t read your mind, and because they are tired too. Sometimes you are bored and feel isolated and miss being able to be selfish and just go and do whatever you want, whenever you want.

MY OTHER RECIPES
 

Before I was a parent it was honestly kind of hard to understand why everyone said it was worth it to have kids when there were clearly a lot of drawbacks, at least to me as an outside observer. Well, of course now I understand. When Riese smiles and laughs it’s like the whole world lights up. And sometimes still when she falls asleep in my arms and I’m tired or have stuff to do and know I could easily transfer her to her crib, I still just sit there and hold her for a little longer and think about how special these moments are, and how lucky we are to have her. I’ve done my best to soak up this year and be present, even though obviously not every moment is sunshine and rainbows, because I know just how quickly the time does go by.

I asked on Instagram stories what questions you all wanted me to address in this post, and one of the common themes was whether being a parent was how I thought it would be or not. The main thing that has surprised me is probably how much I enjoy being a mom. I mean I thought I would enjoy it and want to spend a lot of time with Riese, but I didn’t anticipate that I would end up compressing my work schedule so that I could be home two full days a week with her. (I know, I’m so fortunate to have the ability to do this.) I knew I’d want to spend time with her and that having a flexible schedule and working for myself would be an incredible blessing, but I think I envisioned that I’d call it quits early on work a few days a week vs. taking two full days off. I do enjoy still working (and it’s very helpful for us financially of course, too), but my priorities have definitely changed. I find it hard mentally to switch back and forth between mom-ing and working, though, and I struggle a bit with motivation and being excited about work, and with guilt when I am working, although hopefully that will continue to improve now that we are moving out of her first year. It’s also kind of weird identity-wise because I’m not a full time stay at home mom, but I’m also not a full time work outside the home mom either. So I’m in this kind of a weird in between in that I can’t fully relate to either situation. I think I’m rambling now… does any of this make sense?

Anyway. Here are answers to the other questions I received:

“What was one thing you thought you knew but ended up having to research more?”

Hmmm. I’d say probably related to breastfeeding! I mean I didn’t think I knew everything obviously, but I don’t think I realized just how hard and complicated it would feel. I did soooo much research and talked to so many people for advice in the early days, especially when I ended up struggling with low milk supply and when we ended up doing a procedure to release Riese’s lip tie. I also spent a lot of time researching pumping and the logistics of traveling while breastfeeding! (For my tips on that, check out this post: pumping on a plane.)

“What would you tell your pre/early pregnant self that you know now?”

Great question! Probably: trust me, it will be worth it. :) Also: research lactation consultants just in case and take your pump out of the box and try to figure it out before you are totally overwhelmed with a brand new baby at home.

“Do you want another baby?”

You guys aren’t shy, huh? ;) We would love to have another child if we are able to, but not quite yet. I feel like my body needs a minute still… I don’t feel fully recovered from the C section, and I’d also love at least a bit of time when I’m no longer nursing/my body is fully my own before starting all over again. I’d also love to have a VBAC, and my doctor said there should be at least 24 months between deliveries if I want to attempt one. That said, we are both 36 years old, so we don’t want to wait TOO long! I do feel really overwhelmed thinking about going through pregnancy and the immediate postpartum period again though – physically, mentally, AND logistically. But I know it will be worth it. :)

“How does your body feel postpartum now at 1 year out?”

In a lot of ways, I feel normal/like myself, but I do still have a bit of tenderness and numbness at my C section incision area, and I definitely don’t have my normal energy in terms of workouts (I think related to still breastfeeding – more on the plan with that in a minute). I’m not as strong (especially my core/lower back) or as limber as I was pre-baby, either, but I’m working on that. Recently I’ve been having some carpal tunnel-esque pain in my hands and wrists, though, which isn’t super fun. Google seems to tell me this is normal because I’m carrying a heavy baby around all the time and using my hands/wrists a lot more than I used to… hoping as they get stronger it will go away, but we’ll see. Did anyone else experience this?

“What do you wish you had known in the early days?”

I think just reminding myself that everything is a phase! Sometimes in the really early days it feels so overwhelming and like that stage will last forever (especially when they aren’t sleeping). It gets so much easier! You will also get a lot more confident as a parent, and your baby will become much more predictable, so it becomes a lot easier to go out and do stuff with them. So… hang in there and enjoy the cuddles, and things will get easier every day (in some ways, anyway – I know they get harder in some ways, too, because once they are mobile you can’t just set them down for a minute and turn away… and I’m sure the defiant phase is going to be a doozy)!

“What are your plans for weaning from breastfeeding/transitioning to milk or something else?”

Lots of people asked variations of this question! As you guys know, we’ve been doing a combination of breastfeeding and a bit of formula before bed (we started this at 6 months because I never had enough milk for Riese at that time of day and wasn’t always able to pump enough to make up a whole bottle).

A few weeks ago, I dropped the one pump I was doing – usually around 9/10 p.m. – and we just did 100% formula in her evening bottle because I was totally over pumping and decided to give myself permission to not pump before bed anymore. We were almost out of our recent box of formula last week a few days before her birthday, so we decided to go ahead and do the switch to whole milk. We usually offer her a 6 ounce bottle before bed, so we started by doing 1 ounce of organic whole milk mixed with 5 ounces of formula. The next day we did 2 ounces of whole milk + 4 ounces formula, and so forth until on her birthday she was at 6 ounces of regular milk. The formula we were using was dairy-based, so I didn’t think we’d have any problems making the switch, and thankfully we haven’t. She also never minded cold milk (we gave her cold breastmilk from the fridge a lot and she was fine with it), so that hasn’t been a big change either. It’s pretty nice to be able to just open the fridge and pour some milk into a bottle vs. dealing with powder, hot water, etc.

Our next switch is going to be going from a bottle to more of a sippy cup/open cup. We have our 1 year appointment with the pediatrician on Friday so I’m going to ask him more about that, but if you have any tips on how/when to transition away from bottles, I’m open to hearing them! We give her a straw cup with water during meals, and have had her practice with an open cup (usually a shot glass, ha) filled with water a bit, but we are still doing bottles for her milk and haven’t tried a sippy cup yet.

In terms of breastfeeding, I’m still nursing her throughout the rest of the day (usually 4 times a day now – first thing in the morning, then late morning before lunch, mid-afternoon, and before her bottle at bedtime). I’m not sure when/how to wean from nursing (although recently we shifted to 4 feeds vs. 5 as they are spreading out naturally), but she doesn’t seem quite ready to fully wean yet and I’m not sure I am either – it would be nice logistically but I think I will really miss that special time, even though she’s pretty squirmy when she nurses now. So, we’ll continue to keep it going for now, but I’m going to consider dropping one of the daytime nursing sessions soon and replacing that with milk instead. She does seem to naturally be eating more and more real food and drinking less milk/needing to nurse less often, so we are definitely headed towards weaning at some point. I could see us keeping up just the first thing in the morning and right before bed (along with the bottle) nursing sessions and dropping the daytime ones (and replacing them with milk at mealtime), but we’ll see – I’ll keep you guys updated on this! Especially with cold and flu season in the mix, I figure it’s not a bad thing to keep the nursing going for a bit longer since I’m able to.

In terms of how our little lady is doing developmentally, she has 6 teeth still (4 on top, 2 on bottom – they basically all came in at once a few months ago), and is a FAST crawler. She’s very curious and loves to explore, and has a lot of energy/loves to be on the go. She is not walking yet, but loves practicing walking with us holding her hands, pulls up and stands and walks sideways while holding onto furniture, and she loves climbing and going down stairs with our help, too. She is really adventurous and loves our baby gymnastics classes and when daddy tosses her around in the air. She loves playing chase with us, and has started chasing us now too vs. us just chasing her. She also recently started putting toys and books INTO things (boxes, bookshelves, etc.) vs. just taking them out. She’s a pretty happy and social little one, and it has been fun getting out and going to playgroups and little baby gym classes and such now that she can more fully “play” with other kids (aka swap toys with other kids while basically playing independently/climbing on each other).

Happy first birthday, little Riese! We love you so much and are so lucky you are ours. <3

Flashback posts:

Comments

  1. 1

    Great post ! I am a long time reader and new mom to twins ( now 7 months old!!). I appreciate your perspective and honesty. I couldn’t agree more with parenting having it’s highs and lows. It is definitely the greatest thing to be a mom ! Anna :)

  2. 3

    This is such a sweet update! I have a 6 month old and feel pretty much the same way on a lot of these things. I often stop myself when I am super tired (and sassy) and have to imagine my husband feels the same way. Nice to know we are not in it alone!

    I was also feeling disappointed not being back 100% physically, both from a c-section (to a frank breech baby!) and breastfeeding. I totally forgot that breastfeeding takes more of a toll on your body then you realize.

    Have a great day!

    • 4

      Breastfeeding really does take a physical toll – I feel like I should be back to normal, but I have to remind myself that as long as I’m nursing I can’t expect to be out there crushing workouts and feeling totally like myself because my body is expending a lot of energy making milk! And yeah, C section recovery takes forever… no way around that unfortunately. Thanks for reading and congrats on your little one :)

  3. 5

    Love your honesty in this post. It IS hard but it is worth it. My kids are 9 and almost 7 and there are still those highs and lows but in a slightly different way.

    Those wish I’d known things were totally relatable for me. Breastfeeding was so much harder than I ever anticipated!

    Being a mom can be hard and pretty isolating in that first year as you find your way. Congrats to you momma!

  4. 7

    Happy birthday Riese! Also, second the comment about maybe taking the pump out of the box earlier. Oh well!

    • 8

      Lol. It was soooo overwhelming! Thankful for friends that came over and basically set the thing up for me and sat there and watched me while I pumped for the first time to help me figure it out!

  5. 9

    Thank you for this post! I am a few years younger than you, also living in the DC area, and my husband and I have been talking about trying for a baby next year. It’s so helpful to read someone’s real experience!

  6. 11

    I totally relate to the second baby thoughts! I had a few friends who had babies close together (got pregnant around the 1-year mark) and I remember thinking when mine was 1, “There’s no way I can do that again!” Like you, I was still nursing 3-4 times a day at that point and also had a really restricted diet because of my little one’s food intolerances. I needed some time to just be me. I weaned him completely at 17 months and I started getting flutters of baby fever a few months later. Now he’s 2.5 and I’m actually looking forward to being pregnant again in the (hopefully near) future. I told my husband that and he said, “WHAT?! You hated being pregnant!” Haha I guess some of us forget more than others ;)

    • 12

      Haha how quickly we forget, right?! That’s good to hear that having some time to just be you helped you to feel more ready – hoping that’s the case for me too!

  7. 13

    Thanks for being so candid about motherhood. My baby is 6 weeks and I’m still slogging through the sleep deprivation, I really needed a reminder to appreciate each day with the little bub. But I gotta say, the thought of having a second kid right now gives me the shudders hahah

    • 14

      Haha I feel you! And yes, the 6 week point is sooo tough… things will get so much easier! Hang in there and appreciate the little things (while also acknowledging that sometimes it’s hard and you just want a break and to not appreciate everything, and that’s okay too). :)

  8. 15

    Congratulations on making through the first year! Riese is adorable and has the best smile.
    I had wrist numbness and pain between my thumb and fingers too and I believe it was because of the way I was picking up my kids and just using my hands and wrists to support too much weight. I tried to use more of my arm to pick them up (like wrap my arm around their back instead of picking them up under their arms) and it did get better and go away. I hope yours heals quickly too!

  9. 17

    Loved how honest you were with sharing your experience- Riese is so lucky to have you as her mom and congrats on making it through year 1!

  10. 19
    Roadrunner says:

    Thanks for a wonderful, open, and forthright post — and one that is hugely interesting. Very kind of you to share all that you did. Congratulations on one year!

  11. 21

    Thanks so much for opening up about the highs and the lows! I am a new mom of a two-month old, and it’s comforting to hear your perspective. Breastfeeding has been a painful struggle for me – my daughter also had a lip tie but the fix hasn’t been fast or simple for us. I took a breastfeeding class before giving birth and thought I’d be informed and as ready as I could be, but breastfeeding has been really tough. One of the things I love about your blog is following another new mom who is a few months ahead of where I am. You talk about yoga classes and runs and trips, and it gives me hope that I’ll get to that point too :) And I love hearing about the milestones. My daughter just started smiling which definitely melts my heart. Anyway, thanks again!

    • 22

      It’s the BEST when they start smiling! The 2 month point is tough – things will get so much easier, I promise. I’m sorry to hear you’ve been struggling with breastfeeding and a lip tie situation too… so tough logistically and emotionally. Hang in there! <3

  12. 23

    Aww yay! Happy First Birthday to little Riese! Thanks for the recap on everything you’ve been going through and your reflections at the 1 year mark- as a non-Mom it’s interesting to hear!

  13. 25

    In terms of a sippy–if she already uses a straw cup, you probably don’t need to use a traditional sippy cup. But if you’re interested, the first sippy our son took was a Nuk (http://a.co/d/0x8IFd5). We started putting all his milk in that after a year. We just chopped the bottles and he didn’t mind, but all kids are different. He’s almost 2 now and still drinks from a Nuk before bed, because it’s a comfort for him (it has a picture of Pooh on it and he really loves it, haha). Otherwise he totally transitioned to a Munchkin 360 cup (http://a.co/d/ahnLEby) at maybe 15-16 months, to get him ready for an open cup. He can drink out of an open cup now but we still almost always use the 360, because he likes to toss his cups around and I prefer not to have messes all over the house!

  14. 27

    I love this post! My daughter, Olivia, was born on the same day as Riese. It has been really fun to follow your blog and follow along on social media over the last year with you. I think I am going to steal this Q&A for my own blog. I am in Canada so was extremely fortunate to have a 12 month maternity leave. I went back to work November 6 and have also been super fortunate that I’m able to transition back part-time, and I’m only working 3 days per week until January when I will go back to 5 days per week. I actually LOVE working 3 days per week, it has felt like an amazing balance for me. And I felt really ready to go back to work after a year off. But 5 days per week still sounds daunting!

    Riese is still nursing a lot! Right now Olivia is only nursing twice a day. First thing in the morning and right before bed. And I think we’re getting close to dropping the evening feed. But I also need to chat with her doctor as she refuses to drink milk!! So I need to figure out a game plan for that before we fully finish nursing.

    Thanks for your honesty and I’m glad to hear you had a great birthday with your girl! We also just did a family party and it was perfect.

    • 28

      Awww happy birthday to Olivia, too! That’s so fun they are birthday twins. :) Everyone in the US is very envious of the Canadian maternity leave! I’m fortunate I’ve been able to work from home and also just go back part time, but it was really hard emotionally to have to start working again so soon after she was born since I’m self employed and don’t get any real paid leave or anything. But, certainly there are tons of pros to being self employed with kids, too, and I’m grateful!

  15. 29

    Re: the carpal tunnel pain, try googling “mommy thumb” or “mommy wrist”, or the actual term De Quervain’s syndrome. :) I had that and have gotten cortisone shots in both wrists, which definitely helped, but also it’s just gotten better as my daughter’s gotten older (she’s 5 now) and I don’t carry her around as much.

  16. 31

    Stay away from sippy type cups. Straw cups or the munchkin 360 cup (or even an open cup) are much better for development.

  17. 33

    Best advice I was ever given was never but milk in a bottle. I know a ton of babies that refuse milk in the sipph cup and will only take it in a bottle and now they are over 2.5/3 (my daughter is 2.5). If your going to drop a nursing session and replace with whole milk I wouldn’t put it in a bottle. She should have it in a cup after her lunch. :-)

  18. 35

    I have a 13 month old son and he has transitioned to the munchkin 360 cup really well! I’d say give that one a try!

    We are in a similar breastfeeding situation. I work full time so I am pumping just once at lunch and sending frozen milk to daycare. When I’m with him I nurse on demand and am planning on just doing morning and night soon. Thanks for sharing your journey!

  19. 37

    Those banana muffins/cupcakes sound delicious!! I looked at their mixes…love how they use just a few ingredients! The plain Greek yogurt as frosting is a creative idea too…although I’d prefer a little more sweetness!

    • 38

      Yeah, they have really high quality products! And yeah, I figure Riese loves plain yogurt and doesn’t know the difference yet in terms of sugary icing, so might as well keep it simple until she does ;)

  20. 39

    Happy birthday to Riese! My little guy is 13 months and we recently weaned and transitioned to whole milk. I think I was more concerned about the whole process than he was :) Have you tried the Munchkin 360 cups? They are my favorite by far. At the times that he would usually nurse/have a pumped bottle, I started giving him a sippy cup and then over a week or two stopped giving it at a nursing “time” and started giving him the milk in his cup with a meal (I’m not sure if that makes sense – ha!).

  21. 41

    Loved this so so much!!! How did this year go by so fast? I swear we were just in Albuquerque and you telling me you were pregnant with Riese! Riese is so lucky to have you two as parents!

  22. 43

    A beautiful post, Anne. This one absolutely deserves to be printed out and saved in the baby book. Xx

  23. 45

    Happy birthday, Riese! I just had a successful vbac with my second two months ago (my first was breach, requiring a c-section). My girls are almost 3 years apart. I’d be happy to answer any question if the time comes for you.

    I also got carpal tunnel after my first pregnancy. I wore braces on both wrists most night. The symptoms got much worse with my second pregnancy – lots of excess fluid in the body made the swelling worse. However, 2 months out from delivery and it is almost non-existent.

    My weird pregnancy thing the second time around was having my feet grow, not just swell, but grow length-wise. None of my winter boots fit!

  24. 48

    Yes to the wrist pain. If you google “mother’s thumb” or De Quevarian Tendenosis you can find lots of into. I was in SO much pain postpartum with my first, I got to the point where i couldn’t bear weight on my wrist (like, always had to modify planks/pushups). I talked to my OB, the Pedi and a GP and all three sort of brushed it off. I finally saw an ortho and got a cortisone injection and it was shocking how fast I felt better. I was kicking myself for putting it off and living in pain for so long.

    It actually came back when I was in my first trimester with my second but the ortho didn’t want to do another injection when I was pregnant. The pain that time when away eventually, which makes me think that some of it may be hormone related (as opposed to just from picking up a baby all the time). My second is now 9 months old and I haven’t had any pain this time around, which is so interesting to me.

    If you’re in pain, get it taken care of! You’ll be so glad you did.

    • 49

      Thank you, Amy! I appreciate this. I’m wondering it’s maybe hormones, too. It’s weird because it comes and goes – some days it really bothers me and other days it’s totally fine. I can’t really figure out any correlation in terms of timing, either (meaning, it’s not always bad the day after my mommy days where I carry her around a lot more or anything… just seems random).

  25. 50

    My 16 month old still LOVES his bottles. Even though they are mostly for comfort now. He will tolerate sippy cups at meals and during the day. But as soon as I get home from work, he gets his favorite blanket and book and stands pointing to the bottle rack. He does the same at bedtime. I figure we will transition completely when he is more ready.

  26. 52

    I really enjoyed this post! Our little guy will be 9 months this weekend. The return to work was so much harder than I imagined. Our mornings are so rushed and chaotic. My husband has to walk out the door by 6:55 am to drop him at daycare and get to work on time (we both need to be at work at 7:30 am). He loves daycare which helps but I have had a hard time seeing so little of him. He doesn’t nap well at daycare so we only get 1-1.5 hours with him when we get home. :( I’ve always been pretty career driven so it’s weird to feel sort of ‘meh’ about work. I’m hoping it’s a phase. The biggest surprise to me is how hard it is to fit in workouts. It just isn’t happening for me between working full time + soaking up time with him + pumping. I try to go for walks on the weekends but that’s even hard between laundry, cleaning, spending time with Paul, etc. I think if I had an alternative work schedule, like working from home, it might be more feasible. Or if I wasn’t pumping? Pumping is just such a HUGE time suck. I’m close to having enough frozen and should be able to start the process of weaning at the end of December. I. Can’t. Wait. I took a class on breastfeeding and we had so many lactation consultant appointments but I had to accept that breastfeeding wasn’t going to work for us. The LC is actually the person who pushed me to realize that BF’ing wasn’t going to work. I tried and tried and tried but our son had a very weak suck and had a hard time drinking bottles so he just couldn’t suck well enough to BF and he wasn’t putting weight on well. If our next child can’t BF, I think I will just switch to formula. I don’t necessarily regret pumping but I can’t see myself doing it again as it’s just such a huge time suck and there’s nothing special/precious about it. It’s just very mechanical and I kind of feel like a cow when I hook up to the pump. ;)

    Happy first birthday to your sweet girl! She sure is a doll!

    • 53

      It sounds like you have a lot on your plate right now, Lisa! Hang in there. <3 And just a reminder that if you want to supplement and dial down the pumping now (vs. waiting until end of December), that's perfect okay. A happy mama is important, and it sounds like that would free up quite a bit of much-needed time for you. Just a thought. Be gentle with yourself! <3

      • 54

        We tried giving him some formula last month as I thought about cutting back on pumps and supplementing but he refused to drink the formula. :( So I think I will just stick it out for the next 20 days or so versus trying to find a formula he will drink. The end is in sight! And now I’ll know what to do when/if we have a next child!

  27. 56

    Happy one year Riese!! Love following this journey since Camryn is a few months behind her :) I”m especially interested in learning about the breastfeeding weaning and how that will go too. We are loving BLW too!

  28. 58

    Hey Anne, I have a 5 week old and have a low milk supply, even with very frequent nursing and pumping. Did anything work for you in terms of getting a more robust supply?

    • 59

      Not really, unfortunately – I tried some of the supplements and stuff and it didn’t seem to do much. The main things I’ve read are to make sure you are eating enough (especially carbs) and drinking enough water. But… I think some of it is just some people make more milk than others! I would encourage you to do what you can but be gentle with yourself – it makes sense to supplement, that’s okay! Fed is best… and a happy mama that isn’t spending all day/night pumping is important, too. <3

    • 60

      I suffered this same problem. Motilium (domperidone) and pumping after each feed helped, but what turned it around for me was acupuncture. I was totally sceptical and it made a huge difference.

      • 61

        Interesting! I never would have thought to try acupuncture for low milk supply!

        • 62

          A friend suggested it to me and I figured I had nothing to lose! Also, I was told by a midwife that if you had a somewhat traumatic birth and lost quite a lot of blood, your milk can take up to six weeks to come in properly. Mine took about 6.5 weeks. Hang in there Leigh, we had to supplement with formula for a couple of months but we’re now into our seventh month of breastfeeding :)

  29. 63

    I definitely feel you – it’s a lot of hard work and high reward! :) You’re doing great, mama and happy birthday to your little one!

  30. 65

    I am a new mom to a 4 month old- had a c-section for a breech baby girl just like you. I loved this post SO much- probably one of my favorites of your blog ever, and I’m a longtime reader. I find it so refreshing how candid you are about how difficult motherhood is. I wish more people were! It’s so difficult and so isolating, and it can feel even harder when other people make it seem so easy. Thank you so much for that.

  31. 67

    Oh my goodness this post was the sweetest and made me so happy!! Just reading the genuine love and light radiating off every word made my whole day. Thank you for sharing this special part of your world with us :)

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  1. […] a baby girl the exact same day as Olivia! Then I started following her religiously 🙂 She did a 1 year update on her blog Q&A style for her readers and I thought her questions were great and probably things people who read my blog […]

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