Friday, 29 March 2013

The Fight for Flight & Ebony's Love of Animals

At the interview for my previous role as a campaigner at an animal rights organisation, I was asked what I’d say if one of my friends invited me to an aquarium. It was a difficult question to answer because I couldn’t really imagine any of my friends inviting me to an aquarium. Firstly, not many twenty somethings hang out at aquariums, and more importantly, if my friends were going to an aquarium, I’m pretty sure they’d know not to invite me.

Not only would I not go, I’d probably give them shit eye for asking. I’d then go all weird, mutter something about animal cruelty and call them a knobhead. It’s just my way. And, although many of my friends probably don’t care about whether the fish in aquariums deserve to be in the ocean and not a tiny tank, they probably don’t want to get told off about it. So they don’t ask.

This has changed since becoming a mum, though. Now, I am constantly invited to animal-related day trips. There are toddler groups on farms, visits to the aquarium, zoo trips, feeding the lambs and so many more besides. The list of activities combining children with animals is endless, and it’s obvious why, kids love animals.

If Ebony sees a dog walking down the street, she will practically throw herself out of the baby-carrier so she can get close enough to shout “DOG! RUFF RUFF,” at it. If the rabbit hops past the french doors while Ebony is in her highchair, she will drop her food so she can squeal in delight. She loves nothing more than a David Attenborough documentary on the TV, especially if it has elephants in.

Ebony hanging out with the rabbits
But, Ebony’s love of animals doesn’t mean I have to take her aquariums, zoos and petting farms so she can interact with animals. If anything, it means I shouldn’t. I want to develop Ebony’s love of animals into a lifelong respect for all living things. I want her to understand that we do not own animals, and they are not ours to exploit, and we must interact with them in a respectful way. I don’t ever want her to run at the pigeons because it’s funny when they fly away, and I don’t want her to pick up a scared rabbit for her own amusement, I want her to empathise with and understand the needs of the animals around her.

So we avoid zoos and aquariums where animals are kept in small enclosures that don’t come close to their natural worlds. I don’t believe that the limited conservational value of zoos justifies the captive existence of millions of animals. I don’t want my money to go towards a system that keeps animals in captivity.

Avoiding these places as a mum can be tricky, because so many attractions for kids have jumped on the ‘kids love animals’ bandwagon. Huge tourist attractions that would make for a great day out are avoided because of their insistence on providing lamb feeding experiences for children. Quaint tea rooms are avoided for lunches out because they also offer a petting farm for kids. Yesterday we even had to avoid a museum that has a zoo license for keeping live frogs and snakes on the premises. I’m sure that I seem completely insane when I say to my mum friends that I can’t visit certain places because they keep live animals, and it probably sounds like I hate animals and want to avoid them at all cost, but it’s their exploitation I want to avoid.

I would be contradicting myself if I told Ebony about respect for animals, and then took her to a zoo that bred monkeys who would live their entire lives behind bars for human entertainment. Whenever we see animals when we’re out, be it sheep in a field, dogs on a lead, or ducks in a park, we always stop and talk to Ebony about the animals and let her see them.

When I was a little girl, my Mum used to take us to a local WWT attraction to see the birds. We probably went a few times a year. You paid to go in, bought some seeds, and then fed the birds as you went round. My mum could relax knowing we would be entertained, and we all thought the birds stayed at the sanctuary because they loved the seeds so much. The birds were seemingly free to leave at any time because the ‘sanctuary’ was wide open spaces with huge lakes.

It now turns out this was not quite the case. These birds, who stay at attractions like the WWT one up and down the country, have their wings cut at a few days old. One wing is deliberately severed on each bird to prevent flight. That means these birds will never fly. They will never be released into the wild. And why? So that children up and down the country can “love animals”. For a fee, of course.

I love animals. I avoid these places like the plague, because I love animals, and because I want Ebony to love them too. And because I don’t want any animals to be physically maimed so that I can gush about what an animal lover my daughter is.

You can sign the petition calling for an end to zoos mutilating birds here.

Please share the petition on Facebook and Twitter, and ask your friends and family to support the campaign too.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

A Guilt-Free Easter

Ebony is fourteen months old now, and she knows. She knows where the TV remote is hidden, she knows where she’s not meant to be - and how to get there, and she knows when I’m eating something I shouldn’t be.

I don’t want to tell Ebony she can’t eat something I’m eating, because it seems unfair and she’s too young to understand that I care about her health, teeth and weight much more than I care about my own.

The problem with this is, I either have to stop eating things I like, or allow Ebony to eat them. Unfortunately, this means Ebony has now eaten chips. Not many, well, ok many. But not salted. If I get chips when we’re out, I give her one to keep her quiet. And then another one to make her be quiet longer... and, well, you get the picture. I’m a terrible mother.

When Ebony was a baby, I ate a lot of biscuits. A lot of biscuits. Probably a mountain of biscuits every week. I had to have secret biscuits because if my husband knew how many biscuits I was eating, he would divorce me. When she reached about 10 months old, if I decided to binge on some biscuits, Ebony would hold her hand out for one. I realised that I would have to stop hanging out with Ebony, but that didn’t seem doable, so instead I decided to stop eating biscuits. Now we have an afternoon snack together, something healthy that we can share. I eat mine from the plate, and she throws her on the floor, stamps on it, spills water on it, coughs on it, and then eats it. But essentially, our eating habits are the same now.

With Easter around the corner, I decided I’d need to find some way of us eating differently without Ebony getting frustrated. I didn’t want to have to miss out on having an Easter egg, because that would be a violation of my basic human rights, and I didn’t want Ebony to have chocolate because it seems a little early for her to be heading down the path of toothless obesity.


Then I came across a Carob Easter egg. Carob is extracted from carob beans. You may have seen it in health food stores. It’s often used as a chocolate substitute and can be eaten raw. I’ve tried it, and I wasn’t too keen, but I think that’s because I was expecting chocolate. It’s not chocolate, but it is a lot better for you.

Some carob facts for you:

  • Carob doesn’t contain caffeine or theobromine - these mood altering chemicals are best avoided
  • Carob is naturally sweet unlike cocoa which is bitter. Chocolate is often filled with sugar and milk to try to hide the bitter taste, but carob doesn’t need any of these extra fatty ingredients adding
  • Carob is three times richer in calcium than chocolate
  • Carob is packed full of potassium, B vitamins and other nutrients

The Easter egg I found doesn’t have any sugar added to it, and is wrapped in shiny foil so will look much like the one I will have too. So, hopefully Ebony will think we’re all enjoying carob eggs. Except of course, I’ll be gorging myself on sugar and fat. Don’t tell Ebony.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Every Day Brings New Adventures

I keep flitting between calling Ebony a baby, and calling her a toddler. At the moment, she doesn’t quite feel like either. She’s definitely not a baby anymore. She’s too formed, somehow. She’s strong willed and independent, unlike a baby. But when I look at the toddlers crashing around church halls in their red and yellow cars, or storming around after a football, I realise she’s not yet one of them either. She does not yet have the self assured walk or the confidence of a toddler. She’s in developmental limbo somewhere between the two.


She wants to play where the toddlers play now. She stands at the bottom of the slide, looking up hopefully. But the fact she is stood right in the way of the approaching shoes flying fast down the slide, prove that she is not yet one of them. She does not yet know the rules of the toddler. Slide etiquette, playing mummies and daddies, and pretend cooking are not yet in her realm of understanding. She watches the toddlers, and she mimics their behaviour. She sees the two friends playing cooking in the kitchen, and so she stands at the empty kitchen next to them and repeatedly slams the fridge door.

Twat.

But she’s not a baby anymore either. She’s too big, and too dangerous for the baby area. She falls over, she throws toys, and she loves to poke people on the nose. She can’t do these things in the baby area, because the babies are too small and precious. She looks big and clumsy as she moves about in the cushioned area of the church hall. She stops momentarily to pick up a toy, she inspects it and realises it is of no interest, she puts it down and moves away. That toy would have captivated her for twenty minutes not so long ago, but not anymore. That is how I know she’s no longer a baby.

And so she is my toddler in training. When she was a baby, she would spend time concentrating on how to move her body. Her face would crumple in concentration as she reached out to grab a toy. Now these things are second nature. She studies not herself, but us now. She studies me as I get ready to leave the house, and she reaches out to touch my makeup brushes as I put them down. She stares at the little girl playing with a doll, and when the girl moves on, Ebony goes over to push the pram for a bit. She watches her Daddy tapping away on his laptop, and she wants to push the buttons too.

She soaks everything up, she wants to learn about all the things she sees. She surprises me with the things she knows, things I haven’t taken the time to teach her. I said ‘head’ the other day, and as I said it she reached up and patted hers. I tried a few other body parts, and she showed me those too. I haven’t taught her most of them, she must have picked them up through everyday life. It’s amazing how much these little people pick up.

She is learning new words all the time now. She rehearses each word over and over, until she feels she has it right. She throws her toys to the ground so she can hear herself exclaim “dropped”. She repeats sounds and words. I don’t need to sit in front of her saying the same word until she picks it up, she will pick it up from conversation. I learned this the hard way when she called her soft toy rabbit a twat. So now I watch my tongue, and be careful what I say because her little ears are always listening.

Dolly & Roger asleep.
She has some favourite soft toys. Dolly, Roger, monkey and bunny, who she plays with throughout the day. If she has raisins, they have raisins. If she is thirsty, they get water. If she is tired, she tucks them all up in bed and lies next to them. And, yesterday, she sat monkey on the potty because she wanted to use it herself. I love seeing her look after her toys, and care for them the way we care for her. She kisses them lots and makes them kiss each other. She gives them cuddles and dances with them.

Every day reveals a new skill, a new word or a new game that we can play. On Monday, she walked across the kitchen all by herself. Her first real walk. She’s slow and unsteady, a little uncertain of how to walk long distances, but she perseveres. My little toddler in training.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Ignorance Isn't Bliss


I keep expecting Dave & Nick to hold a press conference to announce “Haha, got you! We’re not really the Government. This is a reality show. looool.” Because, quite simply, this just can’t be happening, can it? It seems like every new policy they wheel out is more ridiculous than the last. The cuts, the tuition fees, the caps... It’s like we’re moving back in time to a darker, less caring place.

Education Secretary, Michael Gove, has obviously decided the past is the new future. If, as a society, we’re moving back to a more Victorian way of doing things, then let’s apply that to education too. No, I’m not talking about corporal punishment, although give him time - he is a defender of the right to smack. This week, it has transpired that climate change has been, in the most part, cut from the school curriculum. Well, they didn’t have climate change back in the good old days, why do we need it now?

Michael, Michael, Michael. Do you never tire of being politically castrated by good people? Unsurprisingly, there has been a tirade of media coverage of charities and campaigning organisations exclaiming how ridiculous this move is. And they’re right.

I’m not going to argue that climate change is happening, because I’m going to assume that you believe it is. Otherwise you’d probably be too busy penning a letter to Mr Gove telling him it’s about time someone took that nonsense off the agenda, and it’s about time we reinstated that section 28 whatnot, or something equally awful.

Image credit: Ivan Prole
The idea of taking climate change off the school curriculum is terrifying. Young people need to be aware about climate change, because they need to be inspired to force change. They need to be the ones getting angry about what we’ve done to their planet. They need to be learning about the recklessness of future generations - mine included- and the impact this has had on the planet. They need to learn that 300,000 people a year are already dying as a direct result of climate change. Sure, it’s not people in Gove’s constituency of Surrey Heath, but this is still an issue that he should feels affects him as a decision maker.

300,000 people a year are dying from drought and floods and forest fires as a direct result of climate change. So can we all stop pretending this is a problem we can stick a pin in for a few years. Climate change is happening, and young people need to be taught about it.

Young people need to learn about the importance of recycling, so that they can go home and insist their parents recycle. Young people need to learn about the carbon footprint of their dinner, so they can implement meat-free Mondays at home. Young people need to know that climate change is a global problem, and that we are part of the solution.

The media often paints young people as apathetic, uninterested and idle. Well, I’ve worked with young people, and this isn’t true. I’ve visited schools and spoken to young people about the causes of climate change, I’ve spoken with young people about actions they can do politically and personally to try and prevent climate change, and I’ve been inspired by the passion young people have to protect their world, and themselves, from this disaster.

We need to keep educating, inspiring and supporting students to tackle this issue.

If, like me, you feel we need to keep talking about climate change in schools, please tell Michael Gove that ignorance isn’t bliss. This automated email does all the work - although feel free to add to/change it - and it will only take a minute.

Thank you x

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Cosy Teas Review & Giveaway

Tea bag in. One level spoon of unrefined cane sugar. Boiling water fresh from the kettle. Little stir. Dollop of soya milk in. Not too much, or the tea will be ruined. Not too little, or the tea will be too strong. Remove tea bag. Couple more stirs. Satisfying tap of the spoon on the cup rim, and you’re done.

That’s how I like my tea. Not that it matters, these days I mostly just sit next to the tea as it goes cold, while trying to distract a toddler who so desperately wants to touch the tea cup just so she can proudly announce that it’s “hot!”.

In spite of my now pour-away-whilst-crying-into-the-sink relationship with England’s favourite drink, I was still excited when Cosy Tea asked if I would like to review their teas. I mean, I’m sure the world is filled with people desperate to read my review comparing how fast certain teas go cold, right?




A few days later, the postman knocked on my door. I did my usual trick or answering it in my pyjamas at what is considered a very late stage in the day to be wearing pyjamas. The postman pretends not to judge me, while I try to give off the air of a person who has either won the lottery (and chosen to live on a run down street because of my eccentric personality) or who owns a niche fashion business specialising in all day night wear. After the usual awkward conversation where neither of us mention the pyjamas, the postman left me with a big box.
I was expecting a small box of breakfast tea, what I got was a huge box of EVERY tea. I had been sent breakfast, decaf, earl grey, rooibos, chamomile, blueberry, lemon green, jasmine green and peppermint tea. That’s a lot of tea. 


It was at this point during my career as a product reviewer, that I realised I should perhaps have mentioned that I don’t drink fruit teas. Oops. I don’t like the taste, and I’ve tried quite a few varieties, brands and flavours. They’re just not for me.
So, I invited my family round. They love teas of all kinds. I sat them all down with a variety of teas, I got myself a pen and paper to record all of their comments featuring beautiful imagery depicting the tastes and smells of these wonderful teas. And this is what I got:

From my sister, a keen fruit tea drinker, I got: “Oooh, very blueberry-y.”

That’s not even a word.

And my Dad didn’t do much better. He tried the Jasmine green tea, and he said “Oooh yes. Some Jasmine teas can leave you with a … hmmm, how to describe it, it’s not quite dry, well anyway, some teas leave you with that, but not this one. Yes, very nice.”

It soon became apparent that I could not rely on my family to review the tea for me, so I decided to review it myself. And, you’ll never bloody believe it. I now actually like fruit tea! Well, blueberry tea anyway. The Cosy Tea smells and tastes amazing. I never thought I would be a fruit tea drinker, but here I sit. Just a girl, sitting in front of a laptop, asking for a fruit tea please.

Cosy Teas are vegan certified, organic and some of the range is Fairtrade certified too. Basically, even when I just let them go cold and then pour them away, I still get to feel good about it.
“Well, I may not have had the chance to enjoy that tea,” I think to myself, glaring at the toddler, “But I’ll bet the tea farmer who was paid a living wage did.” 



The branding is great. I absolutely love the knitted design on the boxes - each flavour has its own stitch - and I love the bright colours. They look amazing in my tea cupboard. If you have a fetish over amazing cupboard set ups, these are the teas for you.

I think these teas would make a great gift for a friend. They’re fun, ethical and stylish. A box of tea and a couple of cute mugs would be such a lovely way to show you care. Plus, it’s a very polite way to invite yourself to someone’s house for tea.

Cosy Tea have very kindly offered to give two of you the chance to try their teas for free. All you have to do is do one, or all, of the below to be entered into the competition. Two winners will be selected at random to receive a selection of Cosy Teas. Good luck!




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Live Lambing Event? No Thanks

Having given birth, I can say that the one thing that would absolutely and totally have ruined that experience for me, would have been an audience. Holy crap. I can’t imagine anything I’d want less than a flock of total strangers staring at my nether regions while I embark on the momentous journey of childbirth.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

10 Things No One Tells You About Babywearing


Everyone talks about the benefits of babywearing - the bonding, the health benefits for you and baby, the ease of life without a pram to cart round. I’ve been wearing my daughter since she was about six weeks old, and I love it. I wish I’d started sooner. There are so many positives to babywearing, but I wanted to share a few of the not so positive things I’ve noticed too:

1.Eau de Bile. Having a poorly baby is horrible, and in many ways babywearing is great for comforting an unsettled baby. What’s not so great, however, is when you’re out and about and they throw up in the sling. This happened to me recently as I was heading to the doctor’s. I ended up with vomit mushed into my top and a lingering smell of bile for the rest of the day.

2. You might go hungry. I don’t know whether this is a widespread problem, or if I am unfortunate enough to have a selfish and greedy baby, but I am often forced to go hungry as a direct result of babywearing. Despite my daughter being fourteen months now, we’re still really crap at getting out of the house on time, especially first thing in the morning. I often have to skip breakfast so I have time to get my daughter dressed, fed and ready to go. If I’m starving, I’ll grab something to go - some toast or fruit - and stick it in my mouth temporarily to free up my hands while I leave the house. During this 30 second lapse, I quite often lose my breakfast. It is snatched from my jaws by chubby hands. Sometimes she eats it herself, other times she throws it straight to the ground while exclaiming, “Dropped!”.

3. You will go bald. Despite no longer being a baby, my daughter is still rocking the bald look. By rocking, I mean she’s bald. Anyway, I think she suffers early onset hair envy, which is totally understandable when you see how bald she is. I can’t wear her in a back carry, because the few times I tried it, she almost scalped me. It’s just not worth the risk, so I wear her on my front. But even then, if the wind blows my hair in her direction, she will clamp on for dear life and pull until she has at least a thick lock (and attached scalp) nestled safely in her grubby hand. With the hair pulling and the postnatal hair loss, I am pretty much bald these days.

4. You will look like a knob in shops. Not at first, sure, in the early days shopkeepers will swoon over the sight of the tiny baby nestled into your chest. But then they stop being a cute innocent baby, and they become about 15 per cent evil, and then you will look like a knob. My daughter likes to play it cool, she innocently smiles at other shoppers, giggles to herself, perhaps shows off with the odd “Quack quack” reference, but then as soon as it comes time to pay, she makes me look like a knob. While the card payment is being processed, she sticks her hand out of the carrier, and pulls my debit card out. Payment declined. She once did this three times in one shopping trip. I don’t go to that shop anymore. Because they hate me.

5. No more hot drinks. This applies to soup too. If, like me, you are crippled with the disproportionate fear that your baby will be scalded by hot drinks, you will find the carrier forces you to live a life without tea. I just can’t risk it. What if I start drinking the tea, and a goose appears from nowhere, I crap myself, spill the tea and my daughter is scalded for life. No thanks, I’ll just have water. And hope this bloody baby wakes up soon. 6. Cradle crumbs. My daughter suffered from cradle cap, as many babies do. But she also suffered from cradle crumbs. If I eat anything while using the carrier, she inevitably ends up sprinkled in crumbs. Over the past year, her cradle crumbs have included chocolate, samosa, toast and crisps. The chocolate somehow ended up smeared across her bald head and, I fear, made me look like a terrible mother.

7. Umbrella stand. As soon as she became old enough to wriggle her arms free of the carrier, my daughter wanted to help. If it is raining, she will stick her hand out of the carrier and ‘help’ me carry the umbrella. Except it’s not helpful, because her hands end up going blue from the cold and, once again, I look like a terrible mother.

8. Storage boobs. Since I started babywearing, my cleavage has become surprisingly similar to Aladdin’s treasure crave. I am never certain what weird and wonderful things I will find in there after a day of carrying my daughter. I am often forced to pick rice cakes, raisins and other snacks out of my cleavage. And when I say pick, I mean scrape off, because these things get stuck in good and proper. Once, after I’d be been for a while, I found a whole rubber duck down there. That was not a good day. I’ve also found rattles, dollies, and leaves in my cleavage.

9. Stranger Danger. Strangers love babies. Especially old ones - the strangers, not the babies. They want to come over and squeeze cheeks, hold hands and exclaim well thought out and hard hitting facts like “His eyes!” and “She’s small, isn’t she?”. If your baby is in a pram, you have the liberty of taking a step back to get out of the stranger’s way. If you’re babywearing, you can’t do this. That stranger will be breathing the same air as you, until they feel they have had their fill of unknown baby for the day.

10. Fake laughter. My daughter has the best fake laugh ever. She has been fake laughing since she was about seven months old. If I’m talking with friends and we laugh, my daughter laughs too. But in an obviously fake way, because she’s rude. I tried to work out where she has learnt to fake laugh, and I’ve decided it’s a direct result of babywearing. Because, at least three times every single day, as I walk round, stranger say to me: “That’s the way to travel, eh?” and then laugh heartily at their own merry joke. Is it actually a joke if it’s not funny? I don’t know. But I fake laugh three times a day to that comment, and so that is where my daughter has learned to fake laugh.

Are there any things you think are missing from this list?

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Mother's Day: 10 Tips For New Mums

Last year’s Mother’s Day post was soppy and emotional because I’d only been a Mummy for 10 weeks. This year, as the hardened mother of a fourteen month old, I thought I’d focus on the things I’ve learnt since last Mother’s Day. The breastfeeding hormones, the newborn smell and the exhaustion all serve to put you under your baby’s spell. You’re drugged up on them. Mother Nature is smart, she knows that without the druggy haze, you’d soon get tired of being covered in sick and accidentally getting poo on your hand. So, for those of you still under the spell, here are the cold hard facts from the other side:

Monday, 4 March 2013

Staying Home With Ebony

Today should be my first day back at work after maternity leave. I should have woken up really early today, dressed Ebony and myself, and organised breakfast. I should have kissed her goodbye before handing her over to her Nanny and Papa for her first full day away from me, and then I should have started my (hideous) commute to work.

I should have, but I didn’t. Because a few weeks ago, I decided not to return to work. I can honestly say, it was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. I loved my job, I can’t even write that in the past tense without feeling a bit sick. I’ve spoken to lots of Mums who didn’t want to return to work after having their first baby, but most of them didn’t speak fondly about their jobs. I raved about mine.

Choosing not to return was time consuming. I spent a long time toing and froing in my head. Maybe everyone was right, I would just get used to being apart from Ebony, and she would get used to being apart from me. But did I really want her to have to get used to it? Couldn’t I give her the luxury of waiting until she was old enough to understand that I’d be back, before I left her for the day?


I think it’s seen as quite unusual that I haven’t really left Ebony for very long yet. The longest I’ve managed was three and a half hours, and that was when her Dad was looking after her close by. I haven’t left her with anyone else for longer than 90 minutes. But that’s fine, because that’s how I want it. This way, she knows I’m always close by. My work wasn’t close by, it was about an hour and a half’s commute away and this definitely had a big part in helping me reach my decision. If something were to happen, anything, even Ebony being a bit sick and wanting me, I would always be an hour and a half away, and that just sounds awful.


The field I work in is very South-centric, so I was lucky to find a North-based campaigning job, and the prospect of giving that up seemed quite ridiculous. It’s very unlikely I’d ever be able to find a similar job near to where I live. While trying to decide whether to return to work, it kind of felt like I’d be turning my back on my career for life, and that made the whole thing even more complicated. Would I be happy in a few year’s time if I was working in a menial job, or working for profit rather than passion? Probably not.

Would I resent Ebony in the future, as so many stay at home parents seem to, just a little bit? Would I look back on this decision with regret in the future?

I spoke to everybody about it. Friends, family, my husband, the rabbits... The rabbits didn’t seem bothered either way. But my husband pointed out that there is no way to know if I’ll regret it in the future. All I can do, is base my decision on what I know now, and what I know now is that I don’t want to leave Ebony.



A wise man, my husband. He eased my worry, and his words convinced me that he was happy for me to stay home. Although my lowly charity wage didn’t really contribute much to the household income, we will notice it now it’s gone. 

And so a decision was made. I told work who were, as always, kind and understanding. Suddenly it was very real.
I still sometimes feel a wave of panic wash over me and find myself wondering if I’ve made the wrong decision. This is usually either when I find out about something amazing my old charity are working on and feel jealous I won’t be a part of, or it’s when Ebony projectile vomits into my hair. In those moments, I think it’s ok to question my decision, because deep down I know I’ve made the right one.

I would love to find my way back to my career path in the future, but for now I’m happy meandering along with Ebony. The weather is starting to pick up, and I’m looking forward to taking lots of country walks with Ebony. She is already developing into a real person with a strong personality, and I know this will accelerate in the coming months and am just really glad it will be me guiding her through that process.


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