Birthday invite with "please no plastic" included...wdyt? - Mothering Forums

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Old 04-08-2008, 03:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What do you think? I'm about to send out my DD's birthday invites - probably to just family, however I really do NOT want any plastic toys. Period. I have my reasons. In recent years I've put things like "no presents necessary, you're presence is a present enough " to which people just laugh at and bring presents anyway. They think I'm a mean mom to not want presents for the kids (like they DO NOT have enough as it is!?!?!)

anyway, I thought I'd try something different. If they are going to bring something, how about things I want. Instead of registering somewhere (doesn't work, most folks are too lazy to look). So I thought I would include in the invite the following:

"If you would like to get DD a gift, she is looking forward to reading some new books and wearing spring dresses. And she loves any music she can dance to Please no plastic toys."

Does that sound horrible? Could it be improved upon? WWYD?
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Old 04-08-2008, 03:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I forgot to mention that in the past I have spoken to people one-on-one about no plastic toys and for Christmas my brother and his wife purposely bought my DC all plastic toys. "These toys were made with SAFE plastic." as if there is such a thing?!??! and even so, I said 'no plastic'. They love 'making a point' with children's gifts (don't ask me why...it must be a control issue)...anyway!!....how can I word it so that there is no confusion and no hurt feelings?

thanks again!!
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Old 04-08-2008, 04:11 PM
 
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My dd just celebrated her 2nd birthday, and I too did not want any plastic (or any toys for that matter). I wrote in the invitation: "Amelia's toy box is full, so no gifts please" or something to that effect. Of course everyone brought presents but only books and clothes. I was very happy with that outcome.
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Old 04-08-2008, 04:15 PM
 
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I wonder if you could put something like "we appreciate natural fibered toys" or something like that....or would that confuse people?

I know, it's SO hard to get the point across sometimes. At least for us, friends and family know that we are extremely partial to toys Made in USA! LOL

Carrin Mama to Sawyer 4/06 and TTC #2 I am a WAHM!
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Old 04-08-2008, 04:16 PM
 
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Personally, I think it's rude to tell people what they can and cannot buy on an invitation. I wish it weren't so, since I too would want to minimize the unacceptable gifts given to my child at a party for her, but where I live it's very poor form to tell people what they can and cannot buy on an invitation. The exception being shower invitations, where I think it's okay for registry information (the store name) to be included.

I wish there were a way to put a creative comment on the invitation about the types of presents you prefer for your child, but I'm just not sure that's possible without coming off as greedy or offending people. UNLESS you made it a themed party. Like a "Bookfest" or something, in which case you'd hopefully get just books. Something like, "Come celebrate our birthday with a bookfest! Because we're turning (whatever age) and we love you and we love books! So bring yourself, bring a book, bring a book about yourself!" or something silly like that?

I would NOT put a restriction on things for them to bring, nor a disclaimer on what's not allowed. But I think having a definite theme to the party could help steer people in the right direction.

Bottom line, people will buy what they want to buy. Your ILs (and mine) are a classic example of this. The big problem as I see it is that at a party, your daughter will be opening the presents and you won't get a chance to censor some things out ahead of time. So having a theme that strongly hints at the type of presents you're wanting them to bring, might be the best way to approach it without offending people.

Good luck!

ETA: I like the "Toybox is full, no toys please" suggestion.

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Old 04-08-2008, 04:19 PM
 
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I agree with Renee. I have family that are the perfect examples of buying cheap plastic stuff, but ya know what? The kids play with them for about a week or so, and then I give them to Goodwill when they've been pushed aside.

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Old 04-08-2008, 04:26 PM
 
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To me the themed party is the only acceptable way to steer gift giving, anything else will come across as rude. I struggled a lot with this issue for dd's birthday and Christmas so I understand how you feel. Even with obvious preferences stated in one-on-one conversations people got dd what they wanted to give. I say just expect to donate what does not suit your family, it will make some other kid super happy when their dp finds the latest gizmo at the thrift store

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Old 04-08-2008, 04:27 PM
 
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You could also consider doing what my sister does-she opened a 529 for my ds when he was born and for each holiday/birthday they contribute an amount to it.

You could set something up and ask everyone to either contribute on their own (you can give them the info maybe?) or ask that in lieu of a toy gift you would like that the money/check be given so that it can go into a college fund that was set up.

Or could you suggest that if they choose to give to dd, maybe they can give a gift card so that she can choose toys on her own? I've let my family know (especially due to the fact they live 2000 miles away) that gift cards are much better since ds likes to pick his own toys (not all a fib, but not all true either )

This is the first birthday ds has had where we have NO BATTERY OPERATED TOYS!! Yahoo! He got a hula hoop, a wooden music set and money.
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Old 04-08-2008, 05:40 PM
 
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I agree with Renee, it's rude to tell people what to buy. Actually according to Miss Manners, ANY mention of a gift on an invitation is a no-no (I violate this all the time for my family!) AND you've already tried the "no plastic please" and it backfired, right? It sounds as if your family is contrary enough to start buying her Barbies if you keep that up!

My family does gift lists, and so it's OK for us to send out specific suggestions (in fact I've got a thread right now in Childhood Years asking for game suggestions for our ds' up-coming birthday). If your family would be OK with this, then I would send specific suggestions in addition to the books and spring dresses. Maybe add a few things like puzzles, markers, art supplies.

Does your family have a sense of humor? Would they respond to something like "If you bring a toy, be prepared to take a different one home with you, as our house is bursting at the seams!"

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Old 04-08-2008, 05:42 PM
 
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We did a "book party" for both our daughters first birthdays and that really worked well...

Quote:
This is the first birthday ds has had where we have NO BATTERY OPERATED TOYS
What a great idea!!! Did you ask guests to do that, was it a theme?

At home mommy to Paige 2004, Sydney 2006 and Cole 2009 :
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Old 04-08-2008, 05:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think it's rude too, but I thought I had put a cute/nice spin on it...maybe not enough I think the "Bookfest" thing is a good idea. I was thinking to on the invite that she's excited to fill up her new bookshelf Is that rude? I pride myself on being couthful, but it seems I've offended :
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Old 04-08-2008, 05:47 PM
 
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I don't think you can do this without offending. You'd do best to speak to each person and tell them what you do want.

Then later you can donate any plastic toys you receive. I think that no matter what you do you will upset people.

Mom of a 7 yr old, 4 yr old, and 1 yr old. Wow. How did that happen?
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Old 04-08-2008, 05:49 PM
 
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what about leaving this out of the actual invite but soon after sending out an email to everyone saying that someone asked what dd wants (assuming someone actually does and they probably will) and.........fill in the rest.

Mama to two kiddos on the go!
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Old 04-08-2008, 05:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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either MDC or my computer is messing up...
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Old 04-08-2008, 06:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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either MDC or my computer is messing up...
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Old 04-08-2008, 06:17 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MommyHawk View Post
I think it's rude too, but I thought I had put a cute/nice spin on it...maybe not enough I think the "Bookfest" thing is a good idea. I was thinking to on the invite that she's excited to fill up her new bookshelf Is that rude? I pride myself on being couthful, but it seems I've offended :
I think mentioning specifically that she needs books or wants books is a faux pas. I think focusing on a book theme would be enough of a hint for people, hopefully. And put little pictures of books on the invitation, that sort of thing.

I would not say anything about filling up a bookshelf, because to me, that's no better than saying filling up a toybox. Or a closet. Or anything else, honestly. There's a very fine line between suggesting what a welcome gift could be, and telling people what to buy. I'm afraid anything on an invitation outside of a theme would be crass and offensive.

I am not at all opposed to responding to people's inquiries about specific gifts ahead of time, though I've learned they don't always listen (hello, in-laws, I'm talking to you! Why do you bother asking for suggestions if you're going to buy plastic cheap stuff regardless?!?) Ahem. Hehe. I know where you're coming from, I really do. But I think anything beyond mentioning books as the THEME will be seen as gift-grabbing and people will take offense.

I would not send out an email to people with suggestions unless they ask first. Otherwise it's rude.

I'm sorry -- I truly wish it weren't this way, but unfortunately it is. My in-laws vacillate between totally ignoring our suggestions (when they ask for them), and making an effort to pay attention. My MIL won't buy made in China clothes, but won't think twice about a plastic crappy toy made in China. Which is nuts. But there you have it. Thankfully we just return things to the store, or donate stuff. But I would never dream of telling someone what they should or should not give as a gift (that negates the whole notion of gift-giving) unless they specifically asked.

SAHM to Guinevere (04/05/06) and Eowyn (02/13/09)
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Old 04-08-2008, 06:19 PM
 
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I think you should omit it, people will feel it is rude. It is technically very poor etiquette. It will also put pressure on people who won't know where to shop.

I think you can be more creative. Like:
"Instead of gifts, please bring your favorite childhood story/game/recipe/poem/book" or something like that.

And then just plan on donating the plastic toys that will probably show up.
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Old 04-08-2008, 06:19 PM
 
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I think your wording is very civil and reasonable. However, if they didn't respect your wishes before, I doubt they will now.

Nealy
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Old 04-08-2008, 06:23 PM
 
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Just a question, because I come across this a lot...why exactly is it rude?

Is it not rude for others to tell you what will come in and out of your house?
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Old 04-08-2008, 06:24 PM
 
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I don't honestly know if this would work: BUT I would try having invitations decorated with pictures of classic toys, or childrens literary characters, stuff like that.

Helen mum to five and mistress of mess and mayhem, making merry and mischief til the sun goes down.
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Old 04-08-2008, 06:33 PM
 
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Just a question, because I come across this a lot...why exactly is it rude?

Is it not rude for others to tell you what will come in and out of your house?
It is rude because any mention of a gift on an invite is to convey a presumption that your guests will bring a gift, and conveys that expectation. Your invitation is an invitation to the event and should itself not insinuate the the invitee needs to bring a gift. To further state what that gift should be is incredibly offensive IMO: "we would love to have you celebrate this special occasion with us. Bring a wooden dumptruck" is just rude. Even if not stating a specific item, stating a type of item is just as rude IMO.

I have also decided that I no longer will write "no gifts please" on the invite, because it is up to the invitee whether or not she would like to bring a gift, and for some people this is an important tradition. We accept gifts graciously, however if individual people do ask our preferences we state them. One of dd's friend's parents called to RSVP and asked what Disney characters dd likes, and I stated she really isn't 'into' Disney characters, and that they don't need to bring a gift at all in fact. They really want to bring one, the child wants to give a gift to her friend, so I made appropriate suggestions.

Some stuff will be undesirable I'm sure, as we live in middle-class suburbia and it's all school friends coming to dd's 7th birthday party, but there is not much we can do about it. We ARE offering appropriate party favours however.

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Old 04-08-2008, 06:37 PM
 
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Just a question, because I come across this a lot...why exactly is it rude?

Is it not rude for others to tell you what will come in and out of your house?
It is rude because they are buying a gift for your child. They are not required to buy a gift, so that in and of itself is a courtesy and kindness they are extending towards the child. If they were giving him cigarettes or something, then yeah, I think it would be absolutely appropriate to say, No, thank you, we don't allow our toddler to smoke.

But if it's something that is given in the spirit of kindness and generosity, then it is rude to tell someone they should or should not limit their gift to a specific thing. It irks me to no end that my ILs buy crap for my child sometimes. But that's just who they are, and we're stuck with them, for good or ill, so I try to accept their gifts graciously, and offer them suggestions when they ask. But I don't expect them to honor those suggestions, even. Because ultimately they are the ones giving the gift. It is their choice what to buy.

Let me put it this way. If you received an invitation that said, "Please come to my child's party. Please do not bring anything that cost less than $100" how would you feel? Wouldn't that be a bit offensive? Of course the OP isn't suggesting that at all, but the key is it brings up a similar feeling people will get, if they're told specifically what they should or should not give as a gift, on an invitation.

Does that make sense?

It's the whole "don't look a gift horse in the mouth" thing, really. It's hard to be gracious and accept a gift when you feel it is not appropriate or healthy for your child, but the key here is to accept the gift in the spirit in which it was given, then afterwards you are free to do whatever you wish with the gift, and the giver never need know.

But telling someone beforehand in an invitation what is and is not allowed runs the risk of alienating and offending those people you're inviting to share in the joy of your child's birthday celebration. I don't want to negatively affect the relationship my child will have with her grandmother (my MIL) so I try to avoid outright telling her what she can and cannot get.

I did send out an email last year in the family update, making mention of a toy we had that was recalled, and how we were just going to avoid all made in China toys if possible. That was borderline rude of me, but it was not connected to a particular gift-giving occasion. Had it been (like in the OP about a party invitation) I would not have said a word. As it was, I felt it was okay to include in the middle of a update type email, sort of barely mentioning it (like Oh the baby is running now! And by the way, we had this toy, blah blah, doesn't that stink? No more made in China stuff for us! And her molars are coming in....). That way it wasn't heavy-handed. But if we're talking about an invitation to party, then no way would I deign to tell people what they should or should not bring.

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Old 04-08-2008, 06:44 PM
 
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It's probably a little heavy handed. BUT I do think that you can let your family know (not on the invites) that any plastic toys WILL be donated to underprivileged children in your child's name. And then do it. That MAY get your point across because they probably DO want to give the child toys they can play with and if you consistently give away the plastic toys maybe they will get the idea!
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Old 04-08-2008, 06:48 PM
 
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I would just include/pass along that it's a "book party." That makes it simple. People do this for baby showers all the time, and it's lovely.

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Old 04-08-2008, 06:54 PM
 
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I'm in the camp that says you can't tell other people what kind of gift to give. It's the thought that counts, right? And although I think it is wonderful (no, vital) to have a college fund set up for your child, IMHO, asking people to contribute is even worse that telling them what kind of gift to give. My BIL did that one xmas... asking us to give money to his kids' college funds rather than gifts. Both my DH (his brother) and I were extremely put off. We wanted to give something to the kids to make them happy... right then. No doubt the college fund is important, but it's not my responsibility to fund it. (I know, harsh, but I've got three college to funds to put money into, I don't want to do it for other kids, too.)

Even though I don't always like what my kids get as gifts, I'm appreciative that others love them enough to celebrate their birthday with a gift.
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Old 04-08-2008, 07:32 PM
 
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What do you think? I'm about to send out my DD's birthday invites - probably to just family, however I really do NOT want any plastic toys. Period. I have my reasons. In recent years I've put things like "no presents necessary, you're presence is a present enough " to which people just laugh at and bring presents anyway. They think I'm a mean mom to not want presents for the kids (like they DO NOT have enough as it is!?!?!)

anyway, I thought I'd try something different. If they are going to bring something, how about things I want. Instead of registering somewhere (doesn't work, most folks are too lazy to look). So I thought I would include in the invite the following:

"If you would like to get DD a gift, she is looking forward to reading some new books and wearing spring dresses. And she loves any music she can dance to Please no plastic toys."

Does that sound horrible? Could it be improved upon? WWYD?

My husband's family has everyone make a wish list(I think it crazy for the adults since the kids are starting to have children) I on the other hand I will only send one for our son. Since they insist on doing this last Christmas I made a list on the Step2 and Little Tikes websites, and emailed it to everyone. I choose Step2 and Little Tikes because I am very particular about the kinds of toys my son plays with(23 months) and both companies toys are Made in America(No Lead). The other option I gave them were books. The Aunts and Uncles complied but my husband's parents bought whatever they felt like, and when they buy stuff it's never age appropriate!
My son's b-day is coming up next month and we will be moving right after, so this year I think I'm going to give them a SPECIFIC list of books that would be appropriate to give as a gift. I'm hoping this will work out, maybe it will work for you.
Just a note: Since I am so picky, I never buy toys for other people's children either. I always buy a book!
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Old 04-08-2008, 07:39 PM
 
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Just a question, because I come across this a lot...why exactly is it rude?

Is it not rude for others to tell you what will come in and out of your house?

Why is it rude? Because it's a GIFT, not a requirement to attend the party. Not something that will be assumed to be coming along with the guest.

And no, it is not rude for someone to bring a gift to your home. Assuming it's not a donkey or something that will defecate in the middle of your dining room. They make the decision to give it, you may make the decision to keep it.
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Old 04-08-2008, 07:40 PM
 
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I think ppl might not misinterpret "no plastic toys" unless they know you are into natural parenting, which I'd assume most would. Because some people who don't think about stuff like that might just equate plastic with cheap, not toxic. And then they'd think you were asking for expensive wooden toys. Not that I'd think that, but I can think of a few ppl I know who would LOL.

Usually when ppl rsvp they ask me what the kids want. We are setting up 529s for them so we'll tell family donations when they ask.

If you do get plastic toys, hopefully at least some would come with gift receipts and you could exchange them for books or CDs.
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Old 04-08-2008, 08:08 PM
 
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I'm on the fence about how rude this is. I think some of it depends on who you are inviting.

Family and close friends, I don't see it as a problem. Get over it about it's their choice on what to give. It is a cultural norm that people will be bringing gifts. If these people have a history of giving your kid a gift and if you give them gifts, we all know gifts are going to happen. If they're not respecting you on the type of gifts to give, they're being rude to you and you're only trying to do self-defense.

If the invitation recipients are not close--say friends from pre-school, then I think it is rude.

Perhaps take off the "no plastic toys" part.

I like the book theme idea. I recently heard someone does a book exchange so that every child leaves with a new book.

Or, you could decide on a really big gift and ask everyone (that is close or asks) if they would be willing to pitch in. Our close friends told us they were taking up a collection for a laptop for their daughter's high school graduation. They told us via phone rather than on the invitation. We were delighted to give a (large for us) check to help with this. Another party everyone gave the kid a piece of a homemade puzzle. When he got all the puzzle pieces, he found he was getting an expensive electronics something or other.

Or, you can hold off on actually opening the gifts. "We're not playing with anything today because we don't want pieces to get lost in the party commotion." Then you return as much as you can. Or you donate it. Or you let things get played with then donate or throw it away.

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Old 04-08-2008, 10:24 PM
 
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Perhaps this depends partially on where you live. Where we live, it is quite common (I would even say it is the norm) for people to write "no gifts please " on invitations, and for that to be respected. The only type of "gift" parties that we've been to in the past year have been "exchange" parties (i.e. book exchange, plant exchange, seed exchange). I think the times are a changing, and at least in more progressive areas people are realizing that the tradition of showering children with gifts at birthday parties has to end.

I can see how it's rude to mention anything about gifts, but I think our planet has reached a state of crisis in which being rude is worth it. And I really don't think it's that rude considering that if you don't mention anything, chances are that people will feel obligated to bring a gift. I know that I always feel *relieved* to get a "no gifts, please" invitation.

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Another option, if you feel it's just too rude to say anything, is to forgo the party all together. That's what we did this year (with our five-year-olds). It wasn't so much the gift issue as it was just all the insanity of birthday parties, but it really was quite liberating to just not have a party. We had 3 of the grandparents over, and our very good friends and their two children. Each of my twins had a cake and I made each of their favorite dinners. They had a great time.

Lex

Mindfully mothering SIX kids (ages 5, 6, 8, 9, 11 & 11) in a small house with a lot of love.
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