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The End of Maternity Leave

My maternity leave is coming to a close, and in the morning my stint as a stay at home mother will be over. I’ll begin my new role as a full time working mom.

As the night lingers on I begin to wonder about sleep deprivation. It’s no big deal when I’m at home and napping through the day, but when I’m operating heavy machinery, conducting interviews and anchoring the news to thousands of people, there’s slightly more pressure to ummm–Function.

Instead I’m picturing periodic meltdowns and tear streaks across my makeup.

It’s almost hilarious when I think back to before having her, when I was worried about a project I wanted to work on, and debated going back early to pursue it. After she was born and here for a few weeks I could have cared less about it. I was taking the full 12 weeks, there was no mistake about that.

I’ve packed my bags. My pump, and PumpEase are in the bag. My laptop and blackberry are charged. Fresh milk is in the fridge, my suits are at the cleaners and my schedule is mapped out for my first week back. It’s like preparing for the first day of school–Except not as fun.

My daughter and I went shopping today, but this time for me. It was a much-needed dose of retail therapy to get me excited about going back. New clothes to go with my new, fuller, motherly figure.

I held her longer today and kissed her an extra thousand times. I inhaled the smell of her hair and tickled her tiny toes.

I hope I can do this.

I know I can do this. But it won’t be easy.

I’m trying to count my blessings. It could be so much worse. I’m grateful have a job. Grateful I had twelve weeks to spend with her–Even if half of that time was unpaid. And best of all my daughter will be in the best hands next to my own–Her daddy’s. Granted, there was a time I contemplated whether that was a fact, or if a daycare worker or nanny had more experience with tending small babies. But regardless of his learning curve, no one would love her more.

Everything’s packed and ready to go. But this time when I drive to work, I’ll be leaving behind my heart.

If you’ve been where I’m going and have words of advice I’d love to hear it!

***

Winner of the $75 CSN Giveaway: #222 Mama b. Congrats! I’ll email you soon and you’ll have 48 hours to respond!


Truer words were never written, “But this time when I drive to work, I’ll be leaving behind my heart.” Oh I remember that feeling so much.

It’s not easy at all, it’s the hardest thing I ever did. Felt torn so badly – if gave 100% of me to work, then worried home/family suffered. But if gave 100% of me to them, work definitely noticed. But not in me to give less than 100% to either…

Try to find whatever balance works for you. Lots of pictures helps too, and I used to visit daycare at lunch to nurse. Two 4-hour stints away were easier than one long 9-hour one.

Good luck!!

OffTh3W8ll says:

Leave behind something of yours that has your scent, she might need a little extra comfort, its a big change for her too.

Jenna says:

I remember going back to school in January after Audrey was born just 3 months prior. I cried a couple times that day. It was so overwhelming. Not gonna lie. It was hard to go to “work” (that was the semester I took 385 and a few other classes), come home to do homework and studying and take care of a baby. Hubby was working full-time, too, until 8 pm every night. Man, those days were hard. I missed my little baby so much, but I knew she was in good hands and I really had to train myself to get into the right frame of mind for whatever hat I was wearing at the time.

Best wishes to you, girl. It’s not easy, but soon you’ll learn how to change your hats with ease.

Stam House says:

never been in your situation and have a hard time picture myself with sleep deprivation in the work place LOL

I think if I was working outside our home my boos would pay me to stay home LOL Lets just say that I’m not really functional without sleep (I found a milk carton in my dryer just the other day!!!)

But yes I do know that I have 3 little one 3 and under and NEVER sleep.

Praying that the transition goes well and that baby J sleeps good for you

Nichole says:

when i went back to work FT, the bug stayed with his dad 2 days a week and with his grandparents the other 3 days a week. you’ll be conflicted: grateful that the arrangement is not FT daycare, but so sad you’ll not be the one with her. it will get easier and you’ll adapt and adjust, but might always daydream of the time you get to just be home with her again. almost every day i tell myself (and my husband) “we’ll get there”!

Mrs. K says:

I’ve never been there but I really do wish you all the best 🙂

Wendy says:

Being from Canada where we get a year’s paid maternity leave (not full wages, but hey, who’s complaining?), I cannot relate to what you ladies go through down in the states. Even going back to work when baby was one was hard…

However, I do know that with each passing day, things will get easier with your new routine.

Chin up Jenn!

And thanks for the shout-out!

Wendy

Oh sweetie,
I feel for you! It is SO hard! It made me cry just thinking about it again and thinking about it for you! I have now been back to work since April and for the most part it gets easier. However there are those days when I still just yearn to be home with him. Pumping will definitely give you a little therapy for the heart. Also if you can call and talk to her while you’re pumping it should help too (and give you more milk even).

Someone told me “They won’t ever remember you’re gone.” I thought that doesn’t make it better but in a sense it does. It’s just difficult because nobody can replace mom.

Also, it makes those moments at home and in the middle of the night just that more special because you are working. Hang in there and don’t be afraid to cry. I did every day for a couple weeks and then it tapered off.

Thanks for sharing your feelings. Good luck!

Veronika says:

It’s going to be super hard but you will have the comfort in knowing she’s with her daddy & they are bonding! When my first son was 4 1/2 months old, I went back to work FT, after staying home with him since he was born. The only thing that got me through it were quick phone calls to hear his little giggles & knowing he was being completly pampered by my grandmother & that they were bonding! Lil J will be in good hands! (: I hope your first day back to work goes great!

Glam-O-Mommy says:

It’s really hard Jenn. I cried when my husband and I left her at school the first day. So, just expect it to be hard and be kind to yourself. Call and check in if you need to. My daughter’s school was three blocks from my office and I went and fed her lunch every day for the first nine months I was back at work, which was probably the only thing that made it okay for me!

Juicytots says:

So glad I live in the UK we get 9 months maternity pay and can take a year off on mat leave. Best of luck with your return:)

Vanessa says:

Jenn, I sit here with tears welling in my eyes as I read this entry. I feel for you. I have never had to go back to work, but that’s because we had chosen well before we had children that I would stay home and raise our babies. I can’t offer you direct advice for that reason, but I can concur that leaving Lil J with her Daddy is the very best option to you being with her all day.
Enjoy your first day back, as hard as it might be. Lil J knows you love her beyond all else and you’ll make this work the best way how for your little family.
God Bless & good luck for tomorrow x

Emily says:

I don’t have experience with this, but know I will be thinking of you and praying for you. You can do it!

~Em~

Aw man. Can I tell you this is something I worry about, and we’re not even TTC yet. (T minus 14 months lol)

I honestly can give you no advice, but I can give you (((BIIIG HUUGGGS))) because I felt your heart wrenching in that post.

I’m grateful your hubby will be watching her, at least you know she’s in loving hands.

Tractor Mom says:

Just consintrate on work while your at work! Remember you have the best babysitter ever!! Don’t bring work home so that you can reconnect when you get back to her. She will be the best stress releif you’ve ever known!!

Come by when you get that first day over with….

Oh, by the way…wear water proof makeup because you are going to cry most of the day!

Ro Ro says:

This brings back a flood of memories. I had to go back to work at 6 weeks (I KNOW)- after being home for 8 months (I had moved from NY to Miami after finding out I was pregnant and didnt work for the majority of my pregnancy) My Advice is this: Lots of waterproof mascara. As a matter of fact if you can avoid putting on makeup before you get to work- those first few days will be tough. Bring pictures to work- show her off. Talking about her (w/out being too extra about it lol) and the awesome things she does will help. Ask your hubby to text you pics from time to time during the day. Go home for lunch whenever you can..

For many of us, dual income dictates that working is a must. Draw strength in knowing that your helping to provide her with the best possible future. (diapers/clothing/college) Dont feel guilty if it gets less hard as you find your rythym. At the end of the day when she lights up when she see’s you- your gonna live for that. Value the time you have with her. Weekends will be golden. Balance will come. and if you feel that being a working Mom is not for you-dont be afraid to admit it and work towards a plan B.

xoxox

RoRo

Jen,
You’ll do fine. Working is a part of your life; you may feel melancholy about it now, because you’re in a stay-at-home-with-baby routine right now, but in a few weeks, once you & baby & husband have worked out your working routine, THAT will feel normal & right.
If there’s a reason you chose your job in the first place, and were excited to work right up ’til baby was born, try to remember that reason & use that to motivate you.

Your baby is with her father at home, drinking your milk – and that’s a wonderful thing. No worries.

Mrs. B.P. says:

You can do it! you are a wonderful and strong woman, mother and wife! There are millions of us out here, we support you! 🙂

Chantel says:

Wishing you luck on your first day back! It will probably be hard, but you’ll get through it! Good luck!

jennie w. says:

I worked when I had my first and my husband stayed home with her. It was hard but she and my husband built such strong bonds. It will really help them build a close relationship.

Mrs. D says:

I have done it, my dear, and it is not easy. But I have found it is best to be PRESENT, in the moment. When you are at work, focus on work. When you are at home, don’t think about work. I have found that since I love both being at home and working, it is much easier to enjoy myself that way, and you are not left with a bunch of regrets. This is a special time in your life, and I always try to remember its not going to be like this forever, since come baby #2, 3, etc, working is going to be less of an option. We are both SUPER lucky that our hubbies can stay home with the baby, and like you said, constantly count your blessings. Having a job that pays AND a family is quite a blessing and is becoming more and more rare. Good luck!! I am rooting for you!

Mrs. R says:

I am sorry you have to even experience this! One thing I will say (as a mom to be), the best decision you could have made was for Lil J to be with her father. Think of it this way, she had her mommy bonding time, but now she will have her daddy bonding time which is SO important for girls.

Just remember, it is only a couple of hours and soon you will be able to see her and spend the weekend with her as well. Remember, you didn’t leave her with a stranger, you left her with her daddy who loves her just as much as you.

Jacqueline says:

Oh Jenn, you can do it mama! =) Like you said she is in great hands! =) Her daddy is going to take care of her, have tons of fun! I know from experience when I had to leave my Sonny to my mother earlier in March! Sonny is now close to 9 months and it still hurts but not as much! When you get home, you drop everything and you hug her and she will have the biggest smile on her face because she will know mama is back!

One thing that was good that my husband did was set up a Skype Account with a webcam and that way I saw Sonny and he saw me! =) Try that! 😉

Are are a strong woman, wife, and now mother! Show the world you can do this =)

You’re a great mom! Keep that in mind as you transition back to work. Lil J is in great hands while you’re away, and will certainly be waiting for you with those beautiful bright eyes and cute little smile when you return each day.

God bless you in your transition!!!

YUMMama says:

Just take comfort in knowing that she’ll be well taken care of in the comforts and secuirty of her own home. I’m sure this is a huge adjustment for the both of you, but just think how much more excited she will be to see you and you to see her at the end of the day!!

sareece says:

I know this comment is late, and you’re already at work. I remember my first day back at work so vividly and remember the emotional roller coaster of frustration, satisfaction, disappointment while pumping because I wasn’t with my sweet baby. I hope your day goes well. Dwell on the positives, the gift of a good job and work you love, the knowledge your baby has the best care in the world, that working moms are role models for their children, and that there is a time and a season for everything. Praying for emotional strength and a quick return to a happy routine for you. Know you’re in my thoughts all week!

I’ve been following your journey, but rarely ever comment due to your popularity.

I have a toddler daughter and two years ago I was in the exact same spot you were, except I had to take my daughter to a daycare provider at the 6 week mark.

To help me ease my way back into the workforce I took her half days. Those days gave me the courage to feel good about her being with the provider, and good about me easing back into work. I don’t know if that is an option for you, but it helped.

The real truth of the matter is that your life changes. Work seems less important, family seems more important. You will start to enjoy your family life even more than work, and that is ok. It is as it should be.

It never gets easy. Even now at two years I feel guilty taking her to daycare, but know it is the best arrangement for our family. I love watching her play with the other kids and get that interaction that I could not always give her myself.

You just have to take it one day at a time, and as far as the sleep goes.. it will get better. I promise! It took us about 3-4 months to get our daughter sleeping through the months. Each baby is different. It will suck until you find that pattern, but I promise it will come.

Hang in there. Thanks for your inspiring blog. I’ve always enjoyed it! 🙂 – Tanya

Jessica says:

It will be hard. My advise: don’t make any big decisions for at least a month. Give it some time. My first day back I was ready to quit my job to stay home – damn the consequences. It will get easier. It’s ok to cry and be unhappy for the moment. Hang in there!

Hope your first day back went ok!

Jennifer says:

We had decided I would stay home when we had children…it just didn’t work out that way. It is SO hard. With #1 I was so jealous of her 1st sitter. She got to see a lot of her firsts (12 weeks also) and she’d get so excited and tell me everything.

This time Grandma is watching #1 (almost 3yrs old)and #2 (was 12 weeks now 4months). It’s easier with Grandma coming to our house, but still SO hard. I’m not as jealous either. With her Daddy watching Lil J it will be a great bonding experience.

Just remember you can’t do it all. I try so hard to keep up with work, but my family comes 1st. It seems like work comes 1st sometimes but I have to keep my priorities straight…it’s a tough balance. I also don’t do much extra without the family at least. I often feel like I’m slacking in my calling too, but everyone is understanding. The first year is difficult with pumping because of the extra time, but it does get easier.

No matter who watches Lil J you will still be her Mommy and the bond doesn’t change. I stayed home sick today and Grandma (MIL) still came over to help for most of the day and my little man still prefers me. Probably just for my boobs, but I’ll take what I can get. LOL Seriously though, he is happy with Grandma, but still loves his Momma! It was the same with my daughter…now she’s a Daddy’s girl. 🙂

Remember that you have even more to look forward to when you get done. Best wishes

Rixa says:

I can’t add anything from personal experience, since I’ve had the luxury of being able to stay home with my two kids, but I wanted to send you a big hug and tell you I hope that you can make it through your day! I can’t imagine how hard it would be to leave my baby all day…But I agree with the other commenters–she’s in the best possible hands, besides your own.

And speaking of work & babies, I think you’ll love the Parenting in the Workplace Institute (workingwithkids.org), which helps employers start babies at work programs. Babies come to work with their moms or dads until about 9 months. Companies who start pilot programs end up adopting them permanently, since they find so many benefits for them & their employees when parents can bring their babies to work. Pretty cool, and perhaps a story you’d like to feature at some point…

Wow – this reminded me so much of where I was before my first day of work. I had six months off also so it was super hard to return. I cried for a week straight but it really did get easier. I knew I was doing to right and only option for my family. good luck!! You have a lot of support here so you will be fine.

Ana B says:

I can’t imagine how hard that is! I haven’t been away from my girl for more than a few hours at a time, I am so grateful I can work from home part time. At least she’s with daddy, that is great! Leaving her at daycare with strangers, I imagine, would be a lot harder. The US is so far behind all other developed countries on maternity leave, such a disgrace.

You’ll be ok. I worked full time all the while my kids were young, only taking two or three weeks off with each. Once you are back at work, that part of you will “kick in” again and it’ll be ok. I really believe that I was a better mother because I had a career. I probably would have been one of those overbearing women who lived through their children if I didn’t have something else in my life to distract me. By the way, my kids, who are all grown up with kids of their own, agree with me!

Alicia says:

Thanks for writing this post. I’ve been googling “returning to work after baby” because I’m struggling with the idea of going back (I started yesterday!). And I’m in Canada so I’ve been off 9 months with my son, so I can’t even imagine only having 12 weeks. We can’t afford for me not to go back to work though. At 9 months my son most definitely knows I’ve left (although his reaction after leaving him with the sitter when I get home is the most amazing part of my whole day). I feel like I’m in mourning, like I’ve lost a limb! Leaving my heart at home is a good way of putting it. I’m relieved other moms find it difficult too and that I’m not alone.

Sweet blog! I found it while browsing on Yahoo News.
Do you have any tips on how to get listed in
Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there!

Cheers

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Either way, great {site|website|blog} and I look forward to seeing it {develop|improve|expand|grow} over time.|
{Hola|Hey there|Hi|Hello|Greetings}! I’ve been {following|reading} your {site|web site|website|weblog|blog} for {a long time|a while|some time} now and finally got the {bravery|courage} to go ahead and give you a shout out from {New Caney|Kingwood|Huffman|Porter|Houston|Dallas|Austin|Lubbock|Humble|Atascocita} {Tx|Texas}!
Just wanted to {tell you|mention|say} keep up the {fantastic|excellent|great|good} {job|work}!|
Greetings from {Idaho|Carolina|Ohio|Colorado|Florida|Los angeles|California}!
I’m {bored to tears|bored to death|bored} at work so I decided
to {check out|browse} your {site|website|blog} on my iphone during lunch break.
I {enjoy|really like|love} the {knowledge|info|information} you {present|provide} here and can’t wait
to take a look when I get home. I’m {shocked|amazed|surprised} at how
{quick|fast} your blog loaded on my {mobile|cell phone|phone}
.. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. {Anyhow|Anyways}, {awesome|amazing|very good|superb|good|wonderful|fantastic|excellent|great} {site|blog}!|
Its {like you|such as you} {read|learn} my {mind|thoughts}!
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{I think|I feel|I believe} {that you|that you simply|that you just} {could|can} do with {some|a few}
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{A great|An excellent|A fantastic} read. {I’ll|I will} {definitely|certainly} be back.|
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this {website|web site|site|web page} is {really|actually|in fact|truly|genuinely}
{marvelous|wonderful|excellent|fabulous|superb}.|
{Howdy|Hi there|Hi|Hello}, i read your blog {occasionally|from time to time} and i own a similar one and i was just
{wondering|curious} if you get a lot of spam {comments|responses|feedback|remarks}?
If so how do you {prevent|reduce|stop|protect against} it, any plugin or anything you can {advise|suggest|recommend}?
I get so much lately it’s driving me {mad|insane|crazy} so
any {assistance|help|support} is very much appreciated.|
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{article|post}! {It is the|It’s the} little changes {that make|which will make|that produce|that will make} {the biggest|the largest|the greatest|the most important|the most significant} changes.
{Thanks a lot|Thanks|Many thanks} for sharing!|
{I really|I truly|I seriously|I absolutely} love {your blog|your site|your
website}.. {Very nice|Excellent|Pleasant|Great} colors & theme.
Did you {create|develop|make|build} {this website|this site|this web site|this amazing site} yourself?
Please reply back as I’m {looking to|trying to|planning to|wanting to|hoping to|attempting to}
create {my own|my very own|my own personal} {blog|website|site} and {would like to|want to|would love to}
{know|learn|find out} where you got this from or {what the|exactly what the|just what
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{Hi there|Hello there|Howdy}! This {post|article|blog post} {couldn’t|could not}
be written {any better|much better}! {Reading through|Looking at|Going through|Looking through} this {post|article} reminds me of my
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to|I most certainly will} {forward|send} {this article|this
information|this post} to him. {Pretty sure|Fairly certain} {he will|he’ll|he’s going to} {have a good|have a very good|have a
great} read. {Thank you for|Thanks for|Many thanks for|I appreciate you
for} sharing!|
{Wow|Whoa|Incredible|Amazing}! This blog looks
{exactly|just} like my old one! It’s on a {completely|entirely|totally} different {topic|subject} but it has pretty much the same {layout|page layout} and design.
{Excellent|Wonderful|Great|Outstanding|Superb} choice of colors!|
{There is|There’s} {definately|certainly} {a lot to|a great deal to} {know about|learn about|find out about} this {subject|topic|issue}.

{I like|I love|I really like} {all the|all of the} points {you made|you’ve made|you have
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{You made|You’ve made|You have made} some {decent|good|really good} points there.
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{Hi|Hello|Hi there|What’s up}, I {log on to|check|read} your
{new stuff|blogs|blog} {regularly|like every week|daily|on a
regular basis}. Your {story-telling|writing|humoristic} style is {awesome|witty}, keep {doing what you’re doing|up the
good work|it up}!|
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{check up on|check out|inspect|investigate cross-check} new posts|
{I wanted|I needed|I want to|I need to} to thank you for this {great|excellent|fantastic|wonderful|good|very good} read!!

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it. {I have|I’ve got|I have got} you {bookmarked|book marked|book-marked|saved as a
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I {enjoyed|liked|loved} this {article|post|blog post}. It was {inspiring|funny|practical|helpful}.
Keep on posting!|
{Hi there|Hello}, I enjoy reading {all of|through} your {article|post|article post}.
I {like|wanted} to write a little comment to support you.|
I {always|constantly|every time} spent my half an hour to
read this {blog|weblog|webpage|website|web site}’s {articles|posts|articles or reviews|content} {everyday|daily|every day|all the time} along with
a {cup|mug} of coffee.|
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page to all my {friends|associates|contacts}, {because|since|as|for
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My {coder|programmer|developer} is trying to {persuade|convince}
me to move to .net from PHP. I have always disliked the idea because of the {expenses|costs}.
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about a year and am {nervous|anxious|worried|concerned} about switching to another platform.
I have heard {fantastic|very good|excellent|great|good}
things about blogengine.net. Is there a way I can {transfer|import} all my wordpress {content|posts} into it?
{Any kind of|Any} help would be {really|greatly} appreciated!|
{Hello|Hi|Hello there|Hi there|Howdy|Good day}! I could have sworn I’ve {been to|visited} {this blog|this web site|this
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{I found|I discovered|I came across|I stumbled upon} it and
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{Disgrace|Shame} on {the {seek|search} engines|Google} for {now not|not|no longer} positioning this {post|submit|publish|put up} {upper|higher}!
Come on over and {talk over with|discuss with|seek advice from|visit|consult with}
my {site|web site|website} . {Thank you|Thanks} =)|
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{Hi|Hello|Hi there|Hello there|Howdy|Greetings}, {I think|I believe|I
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{blog|website|site}!|
{A person|Someone|Somebody} {necessarily|essentially} {lend a hand|help|assist} to
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{I would|I might|I’d} state. {This is|That is} the {first|very first} time I frequented
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{Great|Wonderful|Fantastic|Magnificent|Excellent} {task|process|activity|job}!|
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{Hello|Hi|Hello there|Hi there|Howdy|Good day|Hey there}!
{I just|I simply} {would like to|want to|wish to} {give you
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Your {way|method|means|mode} of {describing|explaining|telling} {everything|all|the whole thing} in this {article|post|piece of writing|paragraph} is
{really|actually|in fact|truly|genuinely} {nice|pleasant|good|fastidious}, {all|every one} {can|be
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{Hi|Hello} there, {I found|I discovered} your {blog|website|web site|site} {by means of|via|by the
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{I have|I’ve} bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

{Hello|Hi} there, {simply|just} {turned into|became|was|become|changed into} {aware of|alert to} your {blog|weblog} {thru|through|via}
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{I’m|I am} {gonna|going to} {watch out|be
careful} for brussels. {I will|I’ll} {appreciate|be grateful} {if
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happen to} {continue|proceed} this {in future}. {A lot of|Lots of|Many|Numerous}
{other folks|folks|other people|people} {will be|shall be|might
be|will probably be|can be|will likely be} benefited {from your|out of
your} writing. Cheers!|
{I am|I’m} curious to find out what blog {system|platform} {you have been|you happen to be|you are|you’re} {working with|utilizing|using}?
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Do you have any {solutions|suggestions|recommendations}?|
{I am|I’m} {extremely|really} impressed with your writing skills {and also|as well as} with the layout on your {blog|weblog}.
Is this a paid theme or did you {customize|modify} it yourself?
{Either way|Anyway} keep up the {nice|excellent} quality writing, {it’s|it is} rare to see a {nice|great}
blog like this one {these days|nowadays|today}.|
{I am|I’m} {extremely|really} {inspired|impressed} {with
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{Is this|Is that this} a paid {subject|topic|subject matter|theme} or did
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{Hi|Hello}, Neat post. {There is|There’s} {a problem|an issue} {with your|together with your|along with your} {site|web site|website} in {internet|web} explorer,
{may|might|could|would} {check|test} this? IE {still|nonetheless} is the {marketplace|market} {leader|chief} and {a large|a
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{I’m|I am} not sure where {you are|you’re} getting your {info|information}, but {good|great} topic.

I needs to spend some time learning {more|much more} or understanding more.

Thanks for {great|wonderful|fantastic|magnificent|excellent}
{information|info} I was looking for this {information|info} for my mission.|
{Hi|Hello}, i think that i saw you visited my {blog|weblog|website|web site|site} {so|thus} i came to “return the favor”.{I am|I’m} {trying to|attempting to} find things to {improve|enhance}
my {website|site|web site}!I suppose its ok to use {some of|a few of} your ideas!!\

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Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget

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I'm a former journalist, and lifelong creator striving to make the world a better place. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day by cherishing our individuality and celebrating our differences.



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