Category Archives for "Self Care"

Oct 05

20 Minutes I Never Regret.

Adventures in Motherhood , Boss Mom , Canadian Made , Childbirth , East Coast Living , Gift Ideas , Life of a Mompreneur , Self Care , Small Business , Sneak Peek , Support Local , Womens' Health , Yoga

This fall season has been complete madness for me. I’m not complaining. I love running Oh Mother and it allows me to work from home and be a full time momma to my tot. However, sometimes, it’s a lot to juggle and I get overwhelmed.

The one thing that I’ve always fallen back on when I’m at peak self-destruction/burnout (at least for the passed twelve years) is a yoga practice. It saves me, every time. I’m only human and believe me, I can run the gamut of excuses on why I don’t have time for yoga but eventually, there is voice of rationale thought in there that shakes some sense into me, prompting me to “smarten up, and do this for myself! It’s 20 minutes!” Then, I find myself back on my mat, and it feels good.

Me and yoga didn’t exactly have the fairytale, love at first sight beginning. I hated my first yoga class back in university. Maybe it was just the phase of life I was in but I think it had a lot to do with finding the right teacher. I did try other classes but I couldn’t seem to find one that felt really good.

Several years later, I was working in a research centre and was introduced to yoga in the workplace, lead by Katrina. She came in once a week, on our lunch hour to lead a small group of us in a yoga class. Katrina changed my entire view of yoga and my body. Her style was gentle and welcoming. She provided excellent guidance but emphasized the importance of moving my body in a way that felt right for me. The point was not to do the yoga poses to perfection but rather to the tune of my body’s needs. This revolutionized yoga for me.

Since then, I’ve attended many more of Katrina’s classes as well as other yoga classes with different instructors. The thing is, having worked with Katrina, I feel more empowered to do what is right for me and go at my own pace because she invited me to consider myself in every yoga movement I do. It was a simple invitation but profoundly impactful. I now seek out teachers who allow for this type of self-awareness in yoga.

Over the years, I’ve worked with some amazing instructors who have helped me to expand my practice and support me through big transitions like pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum healing and motherhood.

My love of yoga and my passion for supporting women is what prompted, Oh Yoga Cards.

Working in collaboration with two incredibly wonderful and talented local (to me) women, Katrina Crowson (yes, the very same Katrina!) and Jill Jackson (Illustrator at Jill + Jack Paper), we have created the ultimate home-yoga practice companion!

For any of you who received a Fall Care Kit, you’ll be familiar with this project. 🙂

For the rest of you, let me tell you a little more about Oh Yoga Cards.

Oh Yoga Cards is a deck of 20 hand-drawn yoga pose 4″ x 6″ flashcards. Each card includes a visual (hand-drawn by the talented Jill Jackson), provides simple instructions on how to get into the pose (front) and then on the backside of each card, you will find Benefits, Considerations and Options listed. The deck allows you to mix and match your cards to create your own yoga flow by following our suggested PreForm and PostForm  postures to do before or after the card in hand.

The vision for this project was to create fun and friendly yoga visuals that reflect real women and real bodies. The cards support women in a home yoga practice that is accessible and easy to integrate into your everyday life and routine.

I know there are other women like me who struggle to put their own needs on the map. Yoga is such a fabulous way to take some time for yourself. Committing to a class outside the home is great if you can swing it but having a basis for a simple home practice that can be done whenever, wherever is pretty rad!

These cards can be pinned up on a wall or spread out on the floor in front of you. No need to boot up an ipad, computer or YouTube video. All you need is right there on the cards.

I’ve been craving cards like these for a long time. The yoga cards I’ve seen on the market are super boring, drab and intimidating because the figure illustrating the pose is usually ridiculously fit and flexible or doing the posture to perfection. Let’s face it, most of us are not at that level. I want yoga cards that reflect my yoga goals, which are to stretch my body in a way that feels right and good for me (and usually this means I’m surrounded by toys and mess and clutter but as the Oh Yoga Card illustrations show, we all need to do what works for us!)

We created these cards because we want women to want to practice yoga, because you like it, and it benefits you. When you are well taken care of, you are a better caretaker and all around happier human.

Currently, we are finalizing the cards and sending them to print in the next couple of weeks. Because this is a small, passion project (albeit, we hope it will grow momentum and popularity), we’ll only be producing a short-run of these to start.

Preordering a deck means that you will save $10 and ensure that you get one! The decks will be ready to ship by mid-November (just in time for the holidays). And need I say, how great of a stocking stuffer these will make! The PreOrder sale of $19.95 will run until October 27th.

Click here to Preorder your OH YOGA CARD deck! 

Apr 20

A Momma’s First Night Away…

Adventures in Motherhood , Business as usual , East Coast Living , Life of a Mompreneur , Mom Boss , Mom friends , Mom Self Care 101 , Navigating Motherhood , Self Care , Solidarity , Truth-telling , Womens' Health

Six hundred and forty-four days…Fragmented sleep. Night wakings. Sickness. Teething. Developmental leaps. More sickness. More teething. And so and so forth.

I can’t recall what a “full night’s sleep” feels like, nor do I remember what I use to do with all my “free time”.

I’m bloody friggin’ tired, and despite feeling like “how the F am I going to keep doing this?”, somehow, I do…even as a new series of shit storms emerge on the horizon. I handle it.

Sure, I’ll admit, some of this exhaustion is self-inflicted. I set impossibly high standards for myself and always choose the non-path, path when embarking on new adventures.

To be real though, striving to create a successful small business while also being a super present and engaged momma to boot has been met with resistance. I can tell ya, these two gigs are in direct opposition to one another A LOT. And burnout happens easy enough when you’re burning the candle at every damn end.

I know I preach a good game on the momma self care front. But there’s also no naivety here about how difficult it is to make time for yourself. I have the occasional bath, with candles and salts. I meditate. I journal. I drink tea. I attend a weekly yoga class. I try to do the things to fill up my cup whenever I can. My self care, like everything else in my life, ebbs and flows.

Lately though, I’ve been craving a complete overhaul of my self-care regimen. A reprieve from it all. An escape from reality, even if just for one night.

On top of this, I’ve also been desperately craving community and connection. Being a momma is lonely work and it’s doubly lonely when you’re running a home-based/e-commerce business.

It’s a beautiful thing when the universe conspires to give you exactly what you need at exactly the right time. It also helps when you’re a “make things happen” kinda person, like I am.

Not only did I feel ready to leave my son for the first time, but I knew it was necessary.

Immediately, I knew where I wanted to go. The ultimate retreat location just 45 minutes from downtown Halifax. Oceanstone Seaside Resort in Indian Harbour, Nova Scotia.

I’d been there once, years ago with some girlfriends and we had such an amazing stay. We still reminisce about it. There may have been a stupidly, scandalous dip in the ocean in November.

Oceanstone has luxury without being pretentious and provides serenity and calm without stifling.

After connecting with Lizzie from Oceanstone (who is completely lovely) and putting feelers out to some of the rad boss moms I know locally, we found our group of six, booked a reservation and fortunately, only had to wait a couple of weeks for our getaway.

It was hard to leave my son. Like the actual act of packing a bag and walking out the door, knowing I wouldn’t be back for 24 hours. I knew he would be more than okay with his dad for the night. I knew the world would not implode but it pained a little all the same.

Once we arrived at Oceanstone, I barely thought about how it was going back home. No guilt. No worry.

I mean, c’mon…when your back door steps right out onto the ocean shore – how do you not get lost in that?

Admittedly, it felt amazingly self-indulgent to be sitting in this beautiful cottage, overlooking the ocean, sipping drinks and connecting and conversing about motherhood and entrepreneurship with five other inspiring business women/mommas.

My blissful ignorance about how things were going back home continued into the evening and into our dinner at Rhubarb (a delightful restaurant that is literally steps away from the cottages). And get this, Rhubarb agreed to stay open just for us because normally they are only open for lunch on Tuesdays this time of the year. How sweet is that, right?! Yay to not having to cook for ourselves!

Oh, and when you come stay at Oceanstone (because you will) and eat at Rhubarb, be sure to order the fish and chickpea salad folks – AMAZING!

Being so wrapped up in the company and conversation of smart and powerful women was just so good for this here momma. It was exactly the perfect distraction and distance I was needing. It also helped to locate and name the common struggles we have as moms and business women. There is an inherent loneliness in this work. That is for certain. At times, it’s crippling and destructive. This is when we must gather and band together because even in the smallest and most unlikely of groups, we will find solace in our many similarities and differences. We will discover that while we are lonely, we are definitely never alone.

Our time together as women is sacred and forever impactful. It can easily be utilized for vent sessions and unloading our demons (a necessary thing sometimes) but we must not take it for granted. After all, its greatest outcome is in cultivating support, advocacy, accountability and friendship. I’m so grateful to these five women for helping me get back to this place and perspective. I’m slowing feeling more grounded in myself again and it is good.

Of course, this sunset also helped. [sigh]

Alas, my temporary lapse in mom worry/separation anxiety ended just as the conversation winded down around midnight and we all parted ways for bed.

Even though I had a giant king bed, all to myself, I wasn’t feeling very optimistic about sleep. This retreat had the promise of sweet slumber that I had been fantasizing about for nearly two years. I would be free and clear of toddler limbs jabbing me in the eye sockets, jugular or ribs. No early 6:00 am wake up. It was a gift that I didn’t want to squander and yet, it felt all wrong. I lay on my back staring at the ceiling. I could hear my heart thumping in my throat and I felt a heavy lump in the pit of my stomach. I turned from one side to the other and then onto my back again. I wasn’t even worried about anything. This was the frustrating part. I just wasn’t accustomed to this sort of alone time. It felt awkward and uncomfortable. I took a deep breath and then another and another, until I heard it…

Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh.

The gentle movement of ocean waves just outside my window.

Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh. Gawd. Talk about a show stopper. Forget the sound machine folks, this is the real deal!

Once I focused in on those gently crashing waves, I was out like a light in less than 5 minutes.

Being an East Coaster, I have always appreciated the ocean. Her proximity eases my mood and soothes the soul. But this. Yeah, this was something extra special because let’s face it, she totally saved my ass and transformed a senseless threat of insomnia into a really successful and rejuvenating first night away from my child.

And hey, it helps that the beds at Oceanstone Seaside Resort are hella comfy!

And…I woke to this!

I’m completely bias here but I believe any visit to Nova Scotia or any resident of this province, needs to experience Oceanstone Resort. It would make an ideal getaway for any scenario (e.g. babymoon, anniversary or family vacation). Personally, I’m quite partial to the momma’s first night away/women’s retreat myself but hey, you make it whatever it needs to be. Just get here.

Mar 23

Gifts To Get A Rad Baby Momma (To-Be!) That Don’t Suck [Pregnancy Edition]

Gift Ideas , Helpful Lists , Oh Mother Care Kits , Pregnancy , Reproductive Health , Self Care , The kits , Uncategorized , Womens' Health

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Growing a human is superhero-level amazingness. For serious. The human body does some incredible things and pregnancy is a time when we can celebrate the women behind this magic.

So often we don’t though. We buy adorable, teeny tiny things for this teeny tiny beings that isn’t even here yet and whose ETA is measured in weeks! Talk about build up. Meanwhile, the expectant momma is experiencing an assorted mess of symptoms and side effects courtesy of the extraordinary physical, emotional and hormonal transformations happening in her body that leave her feeling sick, anxious, sore, exhausted, and “coo coo for cocoa puffs”.

For the love of everything fair and good – Somebody spoil her with some love and attention, will ya?!

Good thing there’s this handy-dandy list of beautiful, handcrafted goodies (from Canadian makers) that offers all the inspiration you need for this quest. Here goes.

Love Buds Jewelry (Charlottetown, PE)

“You’ve got this” Embroidery Hoop $35 CAD + $4 shipping

This. Yeah. This totally cliche, overused saying is EVERYTHING. It matters and it gets you through. Pregnancy is littered with things to be anxious and fearful of. The what-ifs can be crippling. We all need to be reminded, “you’ve got this.” They are magic words and they will continue to serve her well beyond the pregnancy days.

It also helps that it’s pretty, and pretty things make fabulous gifts.

Poison Pear (Halifax, NS)

Tally Print Leggings $62 CAD + shipping & tax

Leggings are to mom life what flowers are to bees. Sweet harmony. Case in point, I have lived in tights for the past 2.5 years, during my pregnancy and then now as a mom and entrepreneur. When I wear anything else, my husband playfully asks “hmmm, where are you going?”

A funky and comfy pair of tights is a pretty sweet gift to receive when you’re growing a human and they will surely get A LOT of use once baby arrives too!

These tally leggings from Poison Pear are hand-printed, hand-made and certainly all that!

Mathilde Cinq-Mars Illustration (Trois-Rivières, QC)

Floral Uterus Print $20 CAD + $3.50 shipping

Alright, this might seem like an odd gift idea but hear me out. I didn’t have enough appreciation for my uterus until I was pregnant and whoa, the work it did and the job it held. Holy. I’m indebted to it really. So much love. Perhaps, this isn’t a gift for everyone but I can say with full assurance that I would hang it in my house and feel a great deal of pride every time I looked at it. And how many gift items can you honestly say would do that?

Sea Star Pottery (Seaforth, NS)

Custom Belly Bowl $325 (price will vary with different ceramists/potters)

This particular studio is located in Nova Scotia but there are ceramists across the country that provide this service and it’s an amazing one! I have two gorgeous pottery mugs from Sea Star Pottery (featuring imprints of my son’s newborn feet) and I love them (the feet and the mugs)!

These belly casts made into beautiful bowls are such a cool way to honour a momma-to-be and the pregnant body. They also serve as a fabulous prop for a newborn photoshoot and as a gorgeous centrepiece/keepsake for years to come.

Oh Mother Care Kits (Dartmouth, NS)

Soon-To-Be Momma Kit $109 + $9.95 shipping

Growing a human is exhausting and while every pregnancy is unique – one thing is certain, expectant mommas need as much care, rest and relaxation as they can get.

The Soon-To-Be Momma Care Kit contains all the specialty items an expectant momma needs during pregnancy; with a focus on preparing her body and mind for childbirth. And guess what? All the products included are made by Canadian artisan makers with all natural ingredients (so no harsh chemicals, additives or toxins).

Hands down, this is the perfect gift for a soon-to-be momma. From the moment the pregnancy is announced to months after the baby has arrived, there will be a flood of baby-related gifts and offerings. But how many packages will arrive for the expectant momma herself? Probably not many, if any. Be the person whose thinks of her. She will wholeheartedly appreciate and LOVE that you did!

Curious what’s in this genius care package? Check it out here!

La Loreley Bijoux (Montreal, QC)

Bola Pregnancy Necklace $113.59 CAD + shipping

These are so lovely and the sentiment behind them is equally lovely. The idea behind the bola necklace is that the pendant hangs low, resting on the belly and resonates a soft chime noise as the momma-to-be moves or walks. It offers a soothing, familiar sound for baby when wore after birth as well.

607 by Davie & Chiyo (Vancouver, BC)

Gold Bar Stud Earrings $76.19 – $131.60 (depending on size, 0.5 cm, 1 cm or 1.5 cm) + shipping

I ALWAYS love receiving jewelry. I mean, jewelry always fits no matter how your belly grows, right?! And these earrings are a gift that will appease anyone woman who appreciates pretty things, not just “mom/pregnancy-related” things.

These gold bar stud earrings are oh-so-lovely and simple. And simple is everything when you’re a mom (I mean, pretty is nice but practical is a necessity). Available in gold, rose gold and white gold.

Made with Local (Dartmouth, NS)

Local Love Box (includes Loaded Instant Oats and Real Food Bars) $30 – $50 CAD (depending on box size) + shipping

Pregnancy hunger is real and vicious. When it hits, you need food in your face fast.

Made with Local real food bars are by far one of my favourite snacks to have on-hand and on-the-go. No weird ingredients here. Their instant oats are a staple in our household too. Breakfast is fast, easy and delicious, which is exactly what you need during pregnancy so you can sleep in for those extra minutes!

Order a sampler box of Made with Local Instant Oats and Real Food bars (they have 3 sizes to choose from) and have them delivered to an expectant momma in your life. Easy Peasy! You will be a hero!

Moving on…OKAY. Let’s talk aromatherapy for a second. Lavender, citrus or ginger tend to be the most favourable scents during pregnancy and can help a soon-to-be momma relieve feelings of queasiness or just help her chill and unwind.

Here are three awesome hand-poured, soy wax candles that will appeal to the very discerning pregnancy senses.

Campy Home (Almonte, ON)

A Great Conversation Soy Candle 8 oz $22.16 CAD + shipping

TNT Candles (Halifax, NS)

Patchouli Lime 8oz Soy Candle $25 CAD + shipping

Fifteen Co. (Vancouver, BC)

Lavender Essential Oil Soy Wax Candle 8 oz $24 CAD + shipping

Oh Mother Care Kits (Dartmouth, NS)

Birth Affirmation Cards $24.95 CAD + shipping

When I was about half-way through my pregnancy, I had a complete panic that went a little something like this “OH GOOD GOD! This being has to come out of me!”

Needless to say, positive affirmations can be really helpful to combat some of this very real and very legitimate panic that expectant mommas can face. Even mommas who’ve been through childbirth before will experience the crippling effects of hormone-driven panic and worry.

These ‘Birth Affirmation Cards‘ were created to serve and support expectant mothers in their journey to childbirth and even beyond. These cards have a variety of positive affirmation statements that can be applied to many different birthing scenarios and circumstances. They also reflect the common fears we face and the encouragement we need in pregnancy and further, in the throes of labour and delivery.

This deck contains 18 positive affirmation statements + 3 blank cards to write-your-own affirmations. The cards are printed on high quality (16 pt) card stock with a beautiful matte finish and feature 6 different hand-illustrated, floral designs.

I can guarantee this is a super thoughtful, unique gift that no one else will have thought of it. Bonus points to you!

Pregnancy demands naps. Lots of ‘em. Therefore, cozy blankets are a great gift for a soon-to-be momma. They’re also great for post-baby, cuddling. Multipurpose.

Make it Cozy Crochet (Waldheim, SK)

Chunky Crocheted Blanket $140 CAD + shipping

This chunky crocheted blanket is all kinds of cozy and says “Go on…Take a nap” and any soon-to-be momma, especially those in their third trimester, will wholeheartedly appreciate this kind of nap-advocacy.

Sewn Natural (Ottawa, ON)

Organic Starry Night Throw $193.93 + shipping

I also LOVE this throw and want it in my life. It feels like one you’ll treasure for years to come. The blanket that you’ll take on family picnics and cozy up with for breakfast in bed. Give her that.

Mar 17

Gifts To Get A Rad NEW Baby Momma That Don’t Suck [Postpartum Edition]

Adventures in Motherhood , Gift Ideas , Helpful Lists , Mom friends , Mom Self Care 101 , Navigating Motherhood , Oh Mother Care Kits , Postpartum Care , Self Care

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Babies get all the good stuff. Serious. I mean, baby things are itty-bitty and thus, friggin’ adorable, yes but that’s besides the point. Where is the love for momma? After all, she’s the one that just grew and gave life to the lil’ fooshnicken, right?! And she’s the one that will carry the weight of care, worry and sacrifice. Okay, yes, Dads are great and important too. But let’s be real. Moms are the superheros here.

I’m all about advocating for the new momma and her needs because reality is, her needs have to and will come in second A LOT, especially in the early months.

So, in honour of new mommas (and all the incredible feats that they have and will have to endure), I’ve compiled a list of fabulous, hand-crafted gift ideas (from Canadian makers) that will make her the star attraction and you, her favourite person.

Made with Local (Dartmouth, NS)

Local Love Box (includes Real Food Bars & Loaded Instant Oats) $30 – 50 + shipping

New Mommas need fuel, and fast.

Made with Local Real Food bars are by far one of my favourite snacks to have on-hand and on-the-go. No weird ingredients here. Their Loaded Oats instant oats are also staple in our household. Breakfast is fast, easy and delicious, which is exactly what you need after having a baby! And even beyond the newborn stage, their oats and bars are super toddler and child friendly!

Food is one of the best gifts you can provide new parents. Order a sampler box of Made with Local Instant Oats and Real Food bars (they have 3 sizes to choose from) and have them delivered to a new momma in your life. Easy Peasy! You will be a hero!

Econica (Ottawa, ON)

Organic Handmade Wrap Shirt $131.49 + shipping

Comfy clothing is a must as a new mom but it’s also great to have comfy clothing that is versatile and can be worn lounging around the house or out and about.

This organic wrap shirt is all kinds of gorgeous. It’s breastfeeding friendly, loose-fitting for c-section mommas and comes in a variety of colours. Also, it’s a very flattering style for any body type, which is great for postpartum when your body is going through many changes and transformations after birth.

Vancity Stitch Co. (Vancouver, BC)

Embroidered Floral Pendant Necklace $30 CAD + shipping

Do people even bring flowers to new moms? I dunno but if this was your line of thinking…Forget the flowers. This lovely little hand embroidered pendant is just the right gift to acknowledge the incredible feat of bringing a little human into the world. There are quite a few colour and style choices in Vancity Stitch Co’s etsy shop so have a little peek around.

MiNiTiPi (Gatineau, ON)

Black & White Bird Nursing Scarf $30 CAD + shipping

Breastfeeding or not, this scarf is so lovely and also, rad. Some women are more comfortable nursing from the get-go, others need time and practice. For me, there definitely was a hot mess phase where the latching was awkward and the milk let down was vigorous and shooting out in all directions. Needless to say, it took some time to perfect. So having a cover that can be used when you’re wanting more privacy in a more public setting can be wonderful. No shame either way.

Oh Mother Care Kits (Dartmouth, NS)

New Momma Care Kit $109 CAD + $9.95 shipping

Unfortunately, it happens easy enough, new moms will completely neglect themselves in their quest to meet their baby’s every need. In many instances, they have to hold their bladders, delay their showers and forgo brushing their teeth. It’s inevitable that self-care takes a pretty severe nose-dive as a new mom. However, some gentle care and attention is necessary and possible.

The Oh Mother New Momma Care Kit contains all the specialty items a new mom needs after giving birth.

Hands down, this is the perfect gift for a new mom (of course, being the curator of these little kits, I have some bias but my customers will confirm the awesomeness of my kits). And the reality is, new moms always have enough baby things. Be the person whose thinks of the new mom herself. She will wholeheartedly appreciate and LOVE that you’re looking out for her.

So, what’s in this genius care package you ask?! Click here to find out.

Replicca Clothing Co. (Hamilton, ON)

Bamboo Jersey Cowl Shirt $75 CAD + shipping

Again, comfy but still stylish clothes are fabulous when you’re a new mom. I LOVE LOVE Replicca Clothing Co. I have a few pieces from them and they are so well-made and are really flattering on many body types, especially curvy ones. Also, there are many fabric colour options. Make sure you order in plenty of time, handmade goodies take a little more time to create, largely because they’re injected with love and care.

Life i design by Nicki Traikos (Unionville, ON)

Coffee Mug $20.76 CAD + shipping

YEP! Let’s debunk this idea that mothers have to be perfect to be great moms. F-bombs will be dropped. It’s inevitable. Also, show your support for her soon-to-develop coffee dependency. Somedays, it’s the only thing keeping you upright.

Thief and Bandit (Halifax, NS)

Hand-printed Floral Leggings $117.74 + shipping

Leggings are a mom’s best friend. Serious. And these are incredibly awesome. That’s it.

607 By Davie and Chiyo (Vancouver, BC)

Name Bar Necklace $51.25 CAD + shipping

I love the idea of getting this for a new mom – with hers and babe’s name engraved. So adorable and yet, not tacky. Because, let’s face it. There is a LOT of tacky, cheesy, cheapo mom jewellery out there and don’t nobody need that. This double name bar necklace is really minimalist and tasteful. Also, it’s made from solid sterling silver, 14K gold fill and 14K rose gold fill for durability and longevity. Quality for the win!

Jessica Makes (Abbotsford, BC)

Hand Embroidery Hoop Art, Punch Today in the Face $75 CAD + shipping

Because there will be days when this messaging is needed. Motherhood is damn hard and some days you really have to rally to get through. This little nugget of hand-embroidered awesomeness speaks to this and inspires a deep, inner gusto to push through.

Mini Street (Edmonton, AB)

It Takes A Village Raglan Long Sleeve T-shirt $42 CAD + shipping

Remind her that she’s not alone. This is everything.

Moon and Sparrow (Montreal, QC)

Custom “Awesome Mom” Portrait $150 CAD + shipping

Custom gifts are so great. They definitely take more consideration and planning but they really up the ante on gift-giving. I love the artwork from Moon and Sparrow (Sandra Dumais, artist/illustrator). So fun and refreshing and something that a new momma will love and appreciate for a long time to come.

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