what do you do about moms who always brag about their child? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 53 Old 08-29-2009, 06:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I believe that just about every parent thinks their own child is very smart, brilliant, etc. But I've always thought that it's stupid to brag to other parents about your kid, not to mention that it's just annoying to other parents and are going to put them off... who's going to want to hang out with you if you're always talking about how great your child is?

Unfortunately, my SIL fits the bragging category, and it drives me crazy. First of all, her child was born with special needs, but is progressing very nicely. But her bragging about this, that, and the other thing is SO ANNOYING! Maybe it's worse because we have kids that are the same age.

Do I just have to grin and bear it? What do you do about moms who brag? I want to stay nice to her and keep our relationship friendly. But frankly, it drives me up a tree! any ideas are most welcome!

Mama to dd born 7/2005, dd born 12/2007 and dd born 11/2009.
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#2 of 53 Old 08-29-2009, 06:42 PM
 
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Well, I can't imagine what you could possibly "do" about it that wouldn't be incredibly rude.

I personally would just decide to not be annoyed, and instead share in the joy of her child and all their accomplishments, no matter how mundane. I guess if you really care about someone, you rejoice when they rejoice.

Why does it bother you so much? Do you feel like she's trying to make you feel bad about your own child?
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#3 of 53 Old 08-29-2009, 06:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have no idea what goes on in her mind, of course. But over the years she has said some pretty rude things to me about various things with the message that her way of doing things is better than my way. So when she brags about her child, it seems like one more way of her trying to "one-up" me. I have no idea why. DH thinks that she feels very insecure, perhaps. I don't know.

There are many things my husband and I share between ourselves regarding our pride for our children... for example, isn't it great that dd can do this already, etc., or wow, she figured that out already, etc. I think all parents do that. But in my mind, what is the point in sharing that with others? To make others feel bad about their kids if they weren't doing that at that stage? I mean, really. Of course a mom should feel proud of her child. Every mom should. I take issue with the bragging component. I do feel that part of it is to make me feel bad.

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#4 of 53 Old 08-29-2009, 06:53 PM
 
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You wait for them to grow out of it. I had a friend whose DD is a few months older than mine, and bless her, she told me every detail of that girl's life, from the first banana to the first roll, the first step, the cute story about eating cat poop, the works.

I don't call it bragging, though. I call it being a baby bore: because they're not trying to show off (generally), they're sharing the details of their life with you. She'll get her non-mummy brain back soon enough, I promise, and be able to talk about the stuff that normally interests her again. In the meantime, there's always earplugs.
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#5 of 53 Old 08-29-2009, 07:17 PM
 
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Why do you have to do anything? Just nod politely and smile along.

It's annoying, sure, but she's probably just A) proud and B) insecure. I can imagine with a special needs child she might just want someone else to agree with her that her child is doing well, to set her heart at ease.
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#6 of 53 Old 08-29-2009, 07:31 PM
 
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I talk about my dd's accomplishments with our family members because I am proud of my dd and I assume that the other people in our loving family are also proud. I am happy to hear about what the other children in my family are doing and what my friends children are doing. I love to share being proud with them. I have never had a friend or family member who didn't spend the first several minutes of our time together updating me on their child. When your SIL shares, I think you should try to share in her joy and make a comment about how great her child's accomplishments are. I have heard that parents with special needs children feel especially isolated and it may be that she is reaching out to share with you because you are her family and she assumes she can reach out to you.

When I am in a no kid mood though I will get together with other people without my dd and I make it clear that I am tired of all things related to children.
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#7 of 53 Old 08-29-2009, 07:38 PM
 
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I think you do have to grin and bear it.

Honestly, it wouldn't bother me -- even if it seemed to be a competition of sorts.

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#8 of 53 Old 08-29-2009, 09:21 PM
 
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Smile, nod and try to change the subject politely.

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#9 of 53 Old 08-29-2009, 09:23 PM
 
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Smile, nod and try to change the subject politely.
Maybe she has trouble at home that you can't/don't know about. Maybe this is her way of putting a "good spin" on her families' life.
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#10 of 53 Old 08-29-2009, 09:27 PM
 
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It would depend on the mother whether or not it would bother me. For instance, I knew a mom once at a church I used to attend that acted as if her kids were perfect, could do no wrong, they lived in the perfect big house, perfect neighborhood, had the perfect life. That's how the mother projected herself on the outside at all times. She even went as far as to lie about her five yr old child's shoe size one time and said it was about three sizes bigger than it was and I knew because I babysat her a few times and saw her shoe size when I put her shoes on her. What was the point in lying? It drove me crazy.

But there are also the moms I've known that genuinely have smart kids and live a life similar to my own that I know are not bragging in a way that is rude. There's a difference there and I can usually tell based on the person doing the bragging.

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#11 of 53 Old 08-29-2009, 11:58 PM
 
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I do it all the time heck But not in the rude way really, I just enjoy talking to my friends and family aobut DD and her accomplishments. My sister does the same and my BILS and SILS.

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#12 of 53 Old 08-30-2009, 12:40 AM
 
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It would depend on the mother whether or not it would bother me. For instance, I knew a mom once at a church I used to attend that acted as if her kids were perfect, could do no wrong, they lived in the perfect big house, perfect neighborhood, had the perfect life. That's how the mother projected herself on the outside at all times. She even went as far as to lie about her five yr old child's shoe size one time and said it was about three sizes bigger than it was and I knew because I babysat her a few times and saw her shoe size when I put her shoes on her. What was the point in lying? It drove me crazy.

But there are also the moms I've known that genuinely have smart kids and live a life similar to my own that I know are not bragging in a way that is rude. There's a difference there and I can usually tell based on the person doing the bragging.
I have a friend that has done this exact same thing (with the shoe size even!!). And it drives me CRAZY!! She never is interested to hear what my kids are doing, but she will make stuff up just to make it seem liker her children are superior. She will put them in clothes that are too big so she can say they are wearing 'X' size now...even though the clothes are falling off!!
It makes me feel like I can't have an honest conversation with her. Whenever she talks about her kids I wonder if she is lying or not.

OP, I feel your pain. I think people do this out of insecurity. The only way I can deal is to not feed into it...when my friend tells me her 4 year old is doing calculus I just say 'oooh, that is such a neat age, isn't it?'
It discourages the bragging/making sh*t up.
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#13 of 53 Old 08-30-2009, 12:47 AM
 
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You know, I really love to hear parents saying wonderful things about their children... could listen to it all day long, quite honestly. I hear far too many parents saying awful things.

I get all warm and fuzzy inside when I think about how much my dad praised even the most simple things I've done over the years. I hope my dds feel the same way someday. They're incredible and I want them to know it. If that makes someone think I'm "bragging"... so be it!
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#14 of 53 Old 08-30-2009, 02:11 AM
 
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You know, I really love to hear parents saying wonderful things about their children... could listen to it all day long, quite honestly. I hear far too many parents saying awful things.
Totally. I love hearing this.
I probably brag too much about dd2. She's the most incredible gift life could have ever given me after Aaron. I just wanted a living, preferably healthy child. I got a healthy, happy, easy, snuggly, wonderful little bundle of sheer love. I don't really mean to brag exactly...I'm just constantly overwhelmed by how wonderful she is. It doesn't mean I think she's better than anyone else's kids, though.

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#15 of 53 Old 08-30-2009, 02:32 AM
 
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I don't know a lot of moms like that but I guess I also wouldn't notice because if people brag about their kids I just start to brag about mine and we get into a conversation about how our kids are the greatest kids in the whole world and how wonderful they are and how proud we are of them blah blah blah and it's just a love-fest, really.

And then I walk away and I know that we had a fun talk but that all kids are wonderful, and my kid spits in my shoes or whatever, and it's okay, because her kids do, too.

See if you can have fun with it.
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#16 of 53 Old 08-30-2009, 05:48 AM
 
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You know, I really love to hear parents saying wonderful things about their children... could listen to it all day long, quite honestly. I hear far too many parents saying awful things.

<snip>
Yes.
I think that we all enjoy that.
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#17 of 53 Old 08-30-2009, 08:31 AM
 
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I nod and smile and TRY to be happy for them. My mother has twins (Sisters of mine) who are a few months younger than DS, and we are BOTH guilty of saying things to upset the other without realising. For example, she was telling me how the twins have just started rolling over and I blurted without thinking "Wow, only just? DS was doing it before then!" and, coming from the other side, her saying "I'm so glad the twins have teeth now. It always kind of creeps me out when babies get past 6 months without them!" and I hung up on her, hahah! I think with us, it just comes from being so open and so used to speaking without really thinking about what we're saying.. So it's kind of a good thing, despite it hurting feelings occasionally.

That's a ramble. My point is, I try to be happy that these parents want to share things with me.
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#18 of 53 Old 08-30-2009, 08:51 AM
 
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I don't know a lot of moms like that but I guess I also wouldn't notice because if people brag about their kids I just start to brag about mine and we get into a conversation about how our kids are the greatest kids in the whole world and how wonderful they are and how proud we are of them blah blah blah and it's just a love-fest, really.

And then I walk away and I know that we had a fun talk but that all kids are wonderful, and my kid spits in my shoes or whatever, and it's okay, because her kids do, too.
Yeah, pretty much this. How sad if we have to watch what we say to other mothers - especially in our own families - so that they don't think we think our kids are all that great.

The OP's SIL has a child born with special needs who is developing really well. Is it wrong for the mom to feel joy and relief about that, and to assume that her family would share her joy? If so, that's really sad to me.

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#19 of 53 Old 08-30-2009, 09:02 AM
 
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I don't know a lot of moms like that but I guess I also wouldn't notice because if people brag about their kids I just start to brag about mine and we get into a conversation about how our kids are the greatest kids in the whole world and how wonderful they are and how proud we are of them blah blah blah and it's just a love-fest, really.
But see, that is what is missing in a real bragger. There is no conversation about how ALL the kids are so great. It is all about HER child. There is no love-fest.

My SIL is like this and it does get annoying. Of course I'm happy that my niece and nephews are doing well. But when I mentioned something about how my 3 yo was potty training, do I really have to hear how my nephew (who was in 7th grade at that point) was potty trained by 2.5 yo? When one of my babies started walking, was it really necessary to hear how my niece (who was either jr high or high school) started walking at 11 months, earlier than my children? There's no interplay of "Wow, that is so cool he's using the potty now!" and then filling me in on how my nephew is in the marching band or something.

And she's like this with other stuff. Like I mentioned we got new countertops and she had to go on about how she just loves her granite countertops (we couldn't afford granite).

The constant bragging and one-upsmanship gets tiring. And I think if anyone doesn't see that, it's because you haven't been around a true, totally inward focused bragger.

What do I do about it? Well, I don't see my SIL too often. We generally communicate by email. I've also given up saying much of anything about my kids because I can't stand hearing anymore how my niece (who is away at college now) did something better than my kids when she was in kindergarten.
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#20 of 53 Old 08-30-2009, 11:19 AM
 
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I have a SIL like this, except her children are 18, 20, and 24. Luckily, most of the updates are via email--I swear, SIL sends out a all-family email if someone takes a crap! Because it's the greatest crap ever, natch. If I'm forced to hear it in person, I just smile and go to my happy place.

And I have to agree w/ a PP, for my SIL, it isn't about all kids, it's her kids. She's the only one in the family w/ older kids (she got started way early) and the only interest she has in other family member kids is to compare them to her own. "Oh, I had it so much harder, let me tell you about it! Oh, my girls did that too, but a year early! Oh, blah blah blah!"

I also agree w/ a pp that there's really nothing you can do w/o seeming rude. Like I said, I try to smile and zone out and say inane things like "Wow, that's great, isn't it?" Also, I've also learned that w/ this particular SIL that trying to add my own updates leads to frustration b/c she will relentlessly one-up me, even though her child is 14 yrs older! I'll update if she asks, b/c then she's fairly attentive, but IME to try to have a give-and-take conversation about our kids leads to me being frustrated so I don't even try.

Family, what can you do?
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#21 of 53 Old 08-30-2009, 11:37 AM
 
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I agree with a pp who said that, in this case where the child has special needs, the mother may be expressing her extreme relief and joy that the child is progressing well-- at least I think that's how I might feel if I was her. I have a friend with a child who has Downs Syndrome, and I think that a lot of us (friends) are genuinely interested as to how the little girl is doing-- we just have no experience with Downs and we don't know what is "good" progress and we don't want to ask any questions about her development that might seem rude. So I'm always very glad that the mom is so open about coming out and telling us how she's doing- I don't feel like it's "bragging" in a negative, competitive way at all- she's our friend and we all care about this little girl and are delighted to learn about her achievements and excited for the whole family when she exceeds their expectations.
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#22 of 53 Old 08-30-2009, 12:59 PM
 
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I just smile and say "that's great!"

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#23 of 53 Old 08-30-2009, 01:47 PM
 
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The constant bragging and one-upsmanship gets tiring. And I think if anyone doesn't see that, it's because you haven't been around a true, totally inward focused bragger.
I've been around several. I have two in my immediate family. And, honestly...the more I'm exposed to them, the less they bother me. If someone's kid is in junior high, and they still feel a need to brag about when he was potty-trained, I think they're probably not very happy, and I'm inclined to feel sorry for them. I live in the now with my kids as much as I can, and I enjoy that. I enjoy all the things they're doing now. I honestly couldn't tell you when dd1 potty-trained (she's 6), let alone when ds1 did. I know he was at least three, just because we moved right around his third birthday, and I remember putting diapers on him in the new place. That's about it. If one of his friends had a parent who was still going on about how young he/she potty trained, I'd really feel bad for her, because I'd think she was missing all the fun.

I do get what you mean. That stuff used to grate on my nerves. It just doesn't bother me, anymore. I actually came close to having a giggle fit the last time I was on the listening end of it, because it's just so ridiculous.

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#24 of 53 Old 08-30-2009, 01:57 PM
 
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You know, I really love to hear parents saying wonderful things about their children... could listen to it all day long, quite honestly. I hear far too many parents saying awful things.

I get all warm and fuzzy inside when I think about how much my dad praised even the most simple things I've done over the years. I hope my dds feel the same way someday. They're incredible and I want them to know it. If that makes someone think I'm "bragging"... so be it!
Aww, I love this!! And OP, as the Mom of a special needs child, let me tell you that it really is exciting when they hit milestones and are doing well. Just smile and let her brag. I always thought family was the safe place to do that! I mean, I wont go tell other Mom's in ds's class how all of his teachers are blown away by his intelligence - but you can sure bet I'll tell my Mom, Dad, sisters, etc. And thank goodness for me, they love to hear me brag.

I'd let this one go, big time.

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#25 of 53 Old 08-30-2009, 03:00 PM
 
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I have an aunt like this. Her daughter's child is a month younger than my daughter, and she's CONSTANTLY comparing the two of them. And it gets OLD fast. I usually just gently tease with something along the lines of "Walking at 11 months...really? I'll make sure I jot that down in the baby book I'm keeping for her child!"

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#26 of 53 Old 08-30-2009, 04:03 PM
 
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Uggg. Bragging is such a difficult thing to live with. I do think that the "nod and smile" is the best means of dealing with it- and offering support and praise over the high needs kiddo, but you might try to use the bean dip method too- after a while of bragging. "Wow, I'm so happy the kids are doing so well. Would you like some tea?" and keep offering something to change the atmosphere in the room. I've had to let a person in my life just ramble on and on and then finally say "I'm so happy things are going well! Enough about all the kids- did you see that there is a concert in the park this week? Are you going?" and just change it yourself.

I have a SIL and Brother that I don't talk to. Anyway- When I moved into the area SIL was over and I said "Just so we are clear I am not into comparing kids. I don't like that, and I won't do that. All kids are different and special. So, please no comparing." She said of course not. Because "All kids are great, but mine are the greatest ever." or "I'm not comparing, because there is no comparing to DD" and they were serious! Yeah, that really set the tone for our relationship. After I wrote them out of my life permanetly (long story) I found out from dear friends that SIL and BRO are still bragging to anyone. They told life long friends that "DD is the smartest kid I've ever known. Smartest in her class, smartest in the grade.She's so super smart.Her teacher thinks she is the smartest PRESCHOOLER she's ever had" And dear friends were really hurt by this, they had kids the same age as well. Dear Friend ended up just leaving the room. It breaks my heart, because they hurt other people, but also because they have 2 kids, and their DD1 can do no wrong, and DD2 is a pain in the a**

I know that there is a time and place for bragging. I hope that OP makes special time to ASK about the kids and their lives. Then try to move on with the conversation. If you can't think "I'm a DUCK, I'm a DUCK. All of this rolls right off my back. I'm a DUCK." lol- it's what saved my sanity with MY SIL and BRO.

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#27 of 53 Old 08-30-2009, 04:38 PM
 
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She will put them in clothes that are too big so she can say they are wearing 'X' size now...even though the clothes are falling off!!
.
Good grief why do moms do this with stuff like clothing size and diapers????
Seriously, I know mothers with babies my sons age that are almost his same weight/height yet they are putting them in size 2T?! (my DS is almost 1). It's almost like they are pushing them out of sizes when they clearly do not need to go up. Me, I want my baby to STAY a baby for as long as possible

OP--I hear you. As a first time mom, I KNOW the possibility of being a complete bore to some. That is why I wait until being asked to speak of my son and while I do speak proudly, I try to tone down the whole "mommy competition" thing.

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#28 of 53 Old 08-30-2009, 04:47 PM
 
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I would just rejoice with her at her child's accomplishments and let the competitiveness slide off my back.

She may be insecure, unhappy, deeply worried about her child. And while it seems obnoxious to you, you have the choice to not let it bug you. And if you can't sincerely be happy with her (and I understand that it can get really old!) you can just smile and nod.
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#29 of 53 Old 08-30-2009, 04:52 PM
 
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Good grief why do moms do this with stuff like clothing size and diapers????
Seriously, I know mothers with babies my sons age that are almost his same weight/height yet they are putting them in size 2T?! (my DS is almost 1). It's almost like they are pushing them out of sizes when they clearly do not need to go up. Me, I want my baby to STAY a baby for as long as possible
I do this - not because I'm trying to push them into sizes that they don't need to go up to, but because they are able to get a lot more wear out of the clothes.
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#30 of 53 Old 08-30-2009, 04:53 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Latte Mama View Post
Good grief why do moms do this with stuff like clothing size and diapers????
Seriously, I know mothers with babies my sons age that are almost his same weight/height yet they are putting them in size 2T?! (my DS is almost 1). It's almost like they are pushing them out of sizes when they clearly do not need to go up. Me, I want my baby to STAY a baby for as long as possible
I'm using sposies right now, so I'm keeping dd2 in the smallest size I can. The size 1s give me 84 diapers, and I get 74 of the next size for the same price. No brainer, imo.

I did have someone once insist that her son couldn't borrow one of my cloth diapers, because there was "no way" it could fit him. She tried it on over his sposie and did it up, then took it off, saying, "see - it's just not big enough". She has a huge emotional investment in having big kids (they are big, too), but she also has a "thing" about cloth diapers. So, her boy had to go home in a dirty diaper, because she "couldn't" change him. I don't get that at all. I don't get any of it. I suspect dd1 will be the smallest of the kids in this generation of my family. Who the heck cares?

Lisa, lucky mama of Kelly (3/93) ribboncesarean.gif, Emma (5/03) ribboncesarean.gif, Evan (7/05) ribboncesarean.gif, & Jenna (6/09) ribboncesarean.gif
Loving my amazing dh, James & forever missing ribbonpb.gif Aaron Ambrose ribboncesarean.gif (11/07) ribbonpb.gif

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