There are two camps of people… when they hear about the “Oprah thing”

16 days ago – March 1st, 2011, I launched my social media campaign designed to get the attention of Oprah and her team with the goal to get two tickets to her show.

I created a Facebook page, a YouTube page and a Twitter hashtag #SaveMeASeatOprah.

As some of you may or may not know, social media is what I live and breathe day in and day out. Part of my job is to manage, create and implement a successful social media strategy. It is a central core to our company. It’s because of my experience and belief in social media that I know if implemented correctly it can work!

I have to admit, I was hesitant to actually do this campaign. I spent some time really thinking about if I should actually do this – to put myself out there – to risk looking silly – to deal with what people would say or what people would think of me. In just 16 days it has been a really interesting journey. When I tell people about my dream and my social media campaign I find that people fall into one of two camps.

Camp #1. These people areย totally onboard, so excited that I am doing this, some even slightly jealous that they didn’t have the guts to do it too! These people have been awesome. At first it was just friends and family but now I have people reaching out to me who I don’t know except somehow through the power of social media, have heard about me and my dream, and are totally onboard for cheering me on and spreading the word. These are the people that are constantly retweeting my posts, sharing my link on Facebook, even writing blog posts about me!ย These people ROCK!

Here is a good example below – I have never met Lynda or Audeliz (see below) but we have met through social media:

Camp #2. The second camp of people are the people that smile politetly, ask a question or two and then change the subject. These are the people that make little sarcastic jabs about what I’m doing as if to imply, “THIS, this is your ‘dream’?” Granted, I’m not talking about curing cancer or climbing Mt. Everest, and yes this is not my ONLY dream in life (LOL!), but it something that has been on my Bucket List for a very long time.

In any event, this whole experience has been really eye-opening about what happens when you put yourself out there, when you dare to look silly, when you dare to do something that other people haven’t done.

Going to see Oprah may not be everyone’s dream, but it’s my dream.

Doesn’t every dream, big or small, deserve validation?

On a side note – as many of you know, there was a two-hour window open yesterday on Oprah’s site to get tickets to her show for April. I filled out a reservation request for every date she had available. Sadly, I received an email from her team this morning that they were “unable to accommodate my reservation request.” My first response was “ARGH!!! THAT SUCKS!” ๐Ÿ™‚

Yes, this is really what I looked like!

But then I re-read their email, took their advice, and clicked on the “last minute reservation request” and filled it out one more time. I am not giving up… every dream is worth working for, right?!

On top of it, I’ve been a little behind on my video blogs – I’ve been so sick these last few days, I don’t think anyone wants to see me on video!! But, I am working on a plan for my video for:

 

I would love your feedback and ideas for my video – here are what a few people have already suggested:

Do you have any other ideas? Please leave me a comment below – I am open to just about anything!

Thanks again everyone… especially if you are in Camp #1. And if you in Camp #2… can you just pretend to be in Camp #1? ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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Oprah, I need a Harpo Hook-Up!

The support for my social media campaign to get tickets to the Oprah show has been amazing! In two short weeks, I have 235 Facebook fans and my message has been tweeted out literally thousands of times. I am getting emails, tweets and Facebook messages of encouragement.

So what is the latest? Below is an email I just sent off to the Oprah Winfrey show – they put a request on their site: “Last Call for Harpo Hook-Ups!”

Hi Oprah and Team! I definitely need a HARPO HOOK-UP! What kind of hook-up you ask? Well this one is a SIMPLE one for you guys! It is a lifelong dream of mine to get tickets to the Oprah show. I have called, emailed, tweeted, asked friends, checked your website and for years have tried to get tickets to no avail. So I decided two weeks ago to really “go for it!” I launched a social media campaign where I post video blogs everyday to Oprah and you guys (her team) asking for tickets and talking about WHY it would mean so much to me! You can check out my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/SaveMeASeatOprah, all the video blogs are on www.youtube.com/SaveMeASeatOprah and I’m tweeting about it with my handle @katielance and using the hashtag #SaveMeASeatOprah.

So far I have 235 fans (in about 2 weeks) and my story has been tweeted out thousands of times! I’m hoping by emailing you here also, I will finally get my dream to come true and that is to see Oprah before her show ends this season. Oprah is a true inspiration to me. I DVR her show every day and the Season 25 show every week. The type of person she is – her passion for excellence, her professionalism, her compassion… these are reasons why I truly admire Oprah. She is an amazing woman and a true inspiration. You can read a blog post I wrote about Oprah here: https://mommyhoodandmarketing.wordpress.com/2011/03/06/inspiring-the-world/

I watch her show every day with a box of kleenex because the type of programming you guys put together day in and day out is so amazing. So…. will you please give me a HARPO HOOK-UP and hook up this lifelong Oprah fan with 2 tickets? Thank you so, so much!! ๐Ÿ™‚ – Katie

Here’s hoping that her staff sees this and sees the campaign I have launched! Do you need a Harpo hook-up? Or would you like to nominate me? ๐Ÿ™‚ Then make sure you click on this link and submit it to Oprah’s team ASAP!

Thanks everyone for your support and for spreading the word!

Posted in Oprah | 3 Comments

Inspiring the world

This last week has been a journey for me. Pretty much everyone who knows me knows that I admire Oprah Winfrey and would love to get tickets to her show. I know a lot of people say they’d love to go to her show, kind of like people say they’d like to go to Disneyland or Europe one day – they would love to do it “one day” but aren’t particularly moved to do anything about it right now.

For me, going to the Oprah show has been on my “Bucket List” for some time now. Not that I plan on kicking the bucket anytime soon – but it’s definitely on my top 10 list!

Why?

I really admire Oprah as I know millions of people do. There are very few people in the world like her. I love that she stands in a league of her own. She is so much more than a talk show host, magazine creator, network founder – although she is all those things.

To me she represents the part in all of us that wishes we could DO more and BE more. The part that wishes we had the resources to help the poor, empower children, invigorate young entrepreneurs, make a difference on a grand scale, and to do something bigger than we can imagine.

She represents women in a very profound way. She came from a very poor upbringing and has endured many painful hurts and tragedies in her life. She is a real reminder that no matter how much money or fame you have, it doesn’t erase the past. However, as Oprah proves day in and day out, regardless of where you began – that is no indication for where you can be headed.

Oprah inspires me every day. I watch her and see how polished and poised she is and how confident she is. She is the consummate professional – always prepared, not afraid to ask the tough questions, but not afraid to be emotional and to let her emotions show.

I’ll never forget when her staff surprised her many years back, and Oprah’s 4th grade teacher Mrs. Duncan came on the show. Oprah was so moved and touched, she cried what she calls “the ugly cry” ๐Ÿ™‚ – we’ve all been there, right? But why was she so moved? Because Mrs. Duncan inspired her, she told her she was pretty, and was a mentor to her from when she was just a little girl. We all have people like that, that inspire us to be better and to do better.

Mrs. Duncan surprises Oprah!

I also love the standard Oprah has set – some people call it the “gold standard.” For lack of a better word, she doesn’t have crap on her show! Her and her team truly rise above each and every episode. My new favorite show is Season 25: Oprah Behind the Scenes because it gives a birds-eye view to the amazingly talented people who make the Oprah Winfrey show work the way it does. There is an extremely high bar set – where the words “good enough” just don’t exist.

Oprah, you truly inspire me. If you or anyone from your team is reading this, I want more than anything to sit in your audience before your final season ends. It would be a true honor to be chosen.

Instead of just wishing I could attend your show, I’ve created a Facebook page to show you how much it would mean to me to attend. In just 6 days, I’ve already acquired over 180 fans who are rooting me on and helping me to spread the word. My message has been retweeted on Twitter dozens of times – we even have a hashtag #SaveMeASeatOprah.

I’ve also been posting videos on YouTube as well, in hopes that you will get to know me and my heart and understand why it would mean so much to me.

Thank you for inspiring not just me – but the world.

Posted in Oprah | 3 Comments

Oprah…. save a seat for one of your biggest fans!

Anyone who knows me knows that it is a DREAM of mine to get ticket to the OPRAH show!! Now that it is her 25th season, it is really crunch time. I have tried everything to get tickets – called, emailed, tweeted – you name it. So, now I decided to do something a little more creative… and drastic!

From now until the end of Oprah’s season I am going to leave video messages for Oprah in HOPES that her or her staff see the effort and creativity (hint, hint) ๐Ÿ™‚ that I am putting forth and will SAVE ME A SEAT!

So Oprah or anyone on Oprah’s team – please check out my Facebook page and YouTube page dedicated to this cause!

Why do I want to go to the Oprah show? Well, I have many reasons but one of the main reasons is the inspiration she has been to me and so many girls and women across the world. It is amazing to me the impact Oprah has had on people of every race, color, age and background.

So stay tuned…… and psssst Oprah…. SAVE ME A SEAT!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Posted in Oprah | 2 Comments

Right here right now – is the best place to be

I figure it is definitely time to update this blog! I spend so much time writing and blogging at work that this blog has gotten a little neglected! Thank to my friend Cynthia Long for inspiring me to write more on this blog and Marisa Cox whose real estate mommy blog cracks me up and makes me feel NORMAL!!

So what is new in our household? Well Luke is now 5 months old – can you believe it? Wasn’t I just pregnant and counting the days until his arrival? Having 2 kids is awesome, tiring, crazy, fun, silly, messy, and so much more. I looked at my husband tonight and asked, “How did we lose control of our house?!” LOL!! It’s not that our house is that bad… just a little messy. There seems to always be dishes to wash, laundry to fold, kids artwork piled up, toys on the floor, my stuff everywhere, etc.

I have absolutely loved having two kids. It is so awesome to see Luke grow and change and develop into his own personality. He is so happy and mellow. I fall more and more in love with him every day. I cherish this time even more so because I know how fleeting it is. My husband said to me tonight, “You’re really cuddly with him tonight!” Which I know I was… because this time goes by so fast. In a couple months he’ll be crawling and then walking and then running! He’s still small and I can kiss and cuddle him all I want!

Owen, our three year old makes me smile every day. He has become such a great big brother and I am so proud of him. I make sure he knows every day how much I love him and how proud I am of him. He recently discovered my iPhone and the kids apps on it. This makes mommy a little nervous with this $200 “toy!” He has also become fascinated with puzzles. I love to just watch him and watch his brain work – I can almost hear him thinking and working out how to do things. I know every parent says this, but he is so smart and kind. I watch him with other kids and he is such a sweet boy. He also says the cutest things, his latest phrase is: “mommy, the sun is waking up!” (or “the sun is sleeping”) – so sweet and innocent.

I feel so very blessed. On the days where I’m stressed out, had no sleep, don’t feel well, or are cranky – I just remember that this time – this sliver of time will go by so quickly. So I don’t worry about the tropical week long vacations I’m missing out on, or the crumbs in my car.

I know that right here, right now is exactly where I want to be and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

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My oh-so-ridiculously frustrating experience with 1-800-FLOWERS

There are a few things that really, really frustrate me. At the top of the list are people or companies who say they are going to do something but do not.

I had a very frustrating experience this week with 1-800-FLOWERS. I don’t recall ever using their service before, but I saw the CEO on the T.V. show “Undercover Boss” and was really impressed with the brand and the service they provide.

So when the need came up this past week to order flowers, I contacted them first.

One of my oldest and dearest friends had a very serious operation. She lives a few states away, and I wanted nothing but to be there for her as much as possible. Once she was out of surgery, her husband called me to give me an update and told me her room number and hospital they were at. I knew she would only be there one day and discharged the next, so I decided to see if I could order flowers for same day delivery.

I went onto the 1-800-FLOWERS web site and had trouble navigating the site. It clearly said on their site that if I placed an order by 2 PM they would guarantee same day delivery. It was barely 1 PM so I figured it would be no problem. After a few frustrating minutes on their site, I decided to call. This is where the fun began (insert sarcasrm.) ๐Ÿ™‚

I called and someone with a thick accent answered. About the 3rd question in, he asked for my credit card info – before I even told him what I was going to order! Odd, but I went with it. After about 7-9 minutes of re-spelling everything multiple times, I had placed my order. The wringer was when he asked me about the gift card. To make it simple, I asked for it to say: “Hope you have a speedy recovery. Love, Katie and Family.” The word “speedy” totally threw him off and asked me 4 times how to spell it.

I specifically asked “will this be delivered today?” and explained that it was imperative it be delivered the same day because she would be discharged tomorrow. He emphatically said “yes, no problem.”

I get off the phone, and checked my email for the confirmaion. I received the confirmation with a copy of the card to be attached. This is what the card said:

Argh! Not that hard, right? So I call back and speak to someone else. I ask to correct the card – fix the spelling of my name and add the missing “a” to the sentence. Again, I confirm that this will be delivered today not tomorrow. She says “yes.”

By the way this was all on December 23rd.

Flash forward to December 24th at approximately 12 NOON. We get a call from 1-800-FLOWERS. The lady proceeds to tell my husband that they attempted to deliver the flowers but she had already been discharged. My husband asks multiple times, “when did they try to deliver them – today or yesterday?” First she says I don’t know, then she says yesterday, then she finally admits it was today (the day AFTER they were supposed to).

ARGH. Pardon my french, but I was SO pissed.

I specifically asked (and paid) for them to be delivered on the 23rd because I knew she would be discharged on the 24th. Not only that, but they waited until the day was half over to call me!

My husband was very irritated at this point because she would not give him a straight answer about what happened to the order. He asked multiple times to talk to a manager. After “transferring him” he realized they had been “disconnected” (I’m sure she hung up on him.) So we call back, talk to a 4th person at this point. And, we start ALL over again from the beginning about my friend, what day they were supposed to be delivered – yada, yada yada. She asks if we’d like them delivered to her home and offers a credit of 50% (I think they should have been FREE at this point). So we give her the address and she says she’ll “try” to see if they can get delivered to her home because now this is in a different area than the hospital.

We leave to head to our Christmas Eve plans. About 20 minutes into the drive I get a call on my cell from guess who – yep, customer service person #5. She calls to tell me the same thing – that they flowers were attempted to be delivered to the hospital and should we deliver them to a home address. I say “YES!!! I already talked to someone and gave them the address!” I get off the phone and my husband looks at me and says, “should we call back one more time to make sure it’s really going to happen?”

I shake my head and say “sure, why not.” So he calls back, now this is the 6th person we’ve spoken to. Again, he starts ALL over again with our story. They have no record of any of these phone calls because “they haven’t updated their system yet.”

Are you kidding me??? Don’t you take notes on our account when we call? She reassures him that they “should” be able to deliver the flowers today.

Flash forward, Christmas Eve 4 PM. We get home and I have 2 voicemails on my home machine from 1-800-FLOWERS from 2 different people – I’ll call them #7 and #8 who proceed to tell me on the voicemail the same song and dance – they attempted delivery to the hospital and can they deliver to a home address. On top of that, I have an email asking me the same thing.

By now I was H-O-T. I called back and spoke to person #9 – re-explained my whole damn story and by now – guess what – TOO LATE to deliver on Christmas Eve. ARGH!!!! I could not believe the insantity of this order. So now, apparatnly they are going to deliver the order on Monday 12/27 – 5 days after I originally called.

Needless to say I have no faith that these will actually be delivered tomorrow (Monday).

So why am I writing this blog? I hope someone from 1-800-FLOWERS reads this and takes action – not just for me, but their system is obviously very seriosuly flawed.

How do I think they are failing? Better yet – how could all of this been avoided?

  • Hiring customer service agents with poor English skills and thick accents. I’m sorry, but if your job is to communicate with me an order on the phone, then we need to understand each other clearly. Almost everyone my husband and I spoke to had a thick accent or was difficult to understand.
  • Not updating their system. Every time I called I had to re-explain the situation. When I would explain how many people I had spoken to – they seemed surprised. This was beyond irritating! Their system should allow the ability to document conversations and actions taken.
  • Understand the importance of a promised service and deliver as promised. I was promised SAME day service. I paid for it and instead, I am getting something 5 days late.
  • Failure to communicate. This exisited on so many levels – but there was a total breakdown from the 1st call all the way through to the last.

I am honestly expecting a call tomorrow from #10 saying that they tried to deliver to the hospital. I think if that happened I might actually and completely lose it!

So, 1-800-FLOWERS, if you are reading this – do something about it! Fix your systems!!! Oh, and DELIVER MY FLOWERS!! ๐Ÿ™‚


 

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[VIDEO] Why we have too few women leaders

I watched this video twice last night. Sheryl Sandberg, COO at Facebook (2nd in command) gave a TED talk recently about women in leadership, and did a fabulous job. See her 14 minute video below – it is definitely worth the time to watch!

Sheryl does a great job of simply talking about why she feels there aren’t more women leaders – even in 2010 when women have made leaps and bounds professionally – even just one generation away from their mothers.

The observations about women versus men are very eye-opening. She talks about what happens when a women starts thinking about having children, and the path that leads her on because she “takes her foot off the pedal.”

โ€œWomen systematically underestimate their own abilities,โ€ Sandberg stated. “For example, men tend to cite themselves as the primary reason for success, while women tend to cite external factors. And 57% of men negotiate their first salary out of college, while only 7% of women do the same.”

She also had three pieces of advice for women if they want to become the next generationโ€™s leaders:

  1. Sit at the table.
  2. Make your partner a real partner.
  3. Donโ€™t leave before you leave.

 

I’ve heard a lot of people talk about “women breaking the glass ceiling” or “getting more women CEO’s” but I’ve never heard it talked about as succinctly as Sheryl. I also really like how “real” she is – she’s a mom – she has mommy guilt – but she’s also a polished professional and very good at what she does.

Please watch the video and then leave me a comment – I’d love to get your opinion on this (male or female!) (can’t see the video? click here to view)

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Top 10 things I really want for Christmas!

In no particular order, this is what I really want for Christmas:

  1. A maid to do the 10 pounds of laundry that always seems to be in our house. Seriously, how can 4 people create so much laundry?
  2. A dinner fairy who magically creates wonderful, healthy meals for our family every night that even my 3 year old loves.
  3. A vacuum fairy that mysteriously comes in every other day and vacumns. Maybe she has a sister or friend that will steam clean once a month too.
  4. An assistant to help me weed through my email, clean out my files, organize my ‘to do’ list and help me focus on the real work that needs to get done!
  5. A magic pill that will prevent my 3 year old from having any meltdowns for no particular reason.
  6. A potty fairy that will help prevent my 3 year old from wetting the bed at 1 AM. As a bonus, this fairy will also instill a love of going to the potty when needed without any bribing!
  7. 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep. No snoring. No crying. No monitors. No noises. Enough said. ๐Ÿ™‚
  8. A night out to dinner and or a movie with my husband. Alone. Mom – are you reading this? ๐Ÿ™‚
  9. A money tree. This should be at the top of the list. This money tree would also balance the checkbook, pay the bills, and invest in the best funds!
  10. An iPad. A Christmas list could not be complete without adding this to the list. A girl can dream, right? ๐Ÿ™‚

Merry Christmas everyone. Thank you to everyone who has been reading my blog and encouraging me to keep writing! I wish you and yours the best Christmas ever!

Posted in Just for Fun | 2 Comments

Wherever you are at – just begin

Tonight I caught the last half of the movie “Julie and Julia” – starring Amy Adams and Meryl Streep.

If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend it. First of all, almost anything Meryl Streep is in is always worth watching, but beyond that it is a wonderful film about food, relationships, and of course my favorite subject blogging!

For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, without spoiling anything, the premise is that Amy Adams’ character, Julie decides to start a blog. She will cook her way through Julia Child’s cookbook one day at a time and blog about it every day. The movie has a wonderful way of flashing between Julie and Julia’s lives and I got a real taste (no pun intended :)) of what Julia Child was like and the pioneer she really was.

I love the idea of a blog like the one Julie (in the movie) created. In fact I think I watched this movie for the first time shortly before starting this blog. I think it resonates with me because like Julie, I am often self consiouse about my writing. I think any blogger at some point in time thinks, “does anyone care what I’m writing?”, “is anyone really reading this?” (besides my mom!), or “am I a good enough writer?”

There is a part in the movie where Julie’s blog becomes very popular and she starts getting phone calls with book requests, calls from literary agents and she exclaims, “I am going to become a writer!” and her husband lovingly says, “you already are.”

I think that for a lot of us, we think if we can just get that one thing that is holding us back we can attain it.

“If I could just make more money I could be successful.”

“If I could just get some help I could be a better mom.”

“If there were just more hours in the day, them I could get it all done.”

Whatever it is, we have all said things like this.

I know I have – “one day when I am a really good writer then I’ll start a great blog.” But then I realized – why not start now.

Why not. Start right now – wherever you are. Don’t wait. Life is too short.

You want to be a writer? Then write. Want to be a designer? Then design. Want to be an actor? Take acting lessons! Make it happen.

In a few days we will all be sitting around making our yearly new years resolutions. Make this year the year you don’t wait for that one thing to happen to make you happy. Just start right where you are, and put one foot in front of the other.

Just begin.

You may surprise yourself!

Posted in Blogging/Writing | Leave a comment

My last day of maternity leave…

I guess I’ve been putting off writing this blog post.

I’ve thought about it all day today and now that Luke is sleeping for a little while, I have a few minutes to write. Today is the last day of my maternity leave. Technically, it’s not until this weekend, but today is my last day with just Luke and I. Any mother who has had children and is getting ready to go back to work feels the same way; excited to go back to work, to be around familiar faces, to get ‘back in the groove’, and to be challenged professionally. But, I would be lying if I didn’t say it was also really, really hard.

Staying at home is such a double-edge sword. On one had I absolutely love it – I love not having to get all dressed up, lazy afternoons snuggling with my baby, catching up with old friends on the phone or in person. No schedules, no meetings.

Of course there’s all the things that aren’t so fun like trying to figure out what’s for dinner (I definitely have not mastered that one), doing laundry all day, cleaning the house which never seems to end, etc. I give so much credit to anyone who is a full-time stay at home mom. I don’t know if I could do it.

But on the other hand – there is nothing like watching your baby fall asleep in your arms, or the sweet smell of their fuzzy little head, or the smile they give you when you make eye contact with them, or their little gurgling sounds, or the weight of their warm sweaty bodies after a long nap. Those are the things I’m going to miss. I’m going to miss the little nuances that only a mother would notice – like how he’s starting to suck on the blankie if his pacifier falls out, or that he doesn’t like the mobile on if he’s trying to fall asleep – that’s only for hanging out in the crib (while mommy does another load of laundry! :)), or how if you rub his head and talk to him in a certain way he will fall asleep, or the “just right” position for feeding him. There is definitely something to be said about how a mother knows her baby.

And it doesn’t happen right away – at least for me it didn’t. The same thing happened with Owen. When a baby is born, there is a bit of a ‘dance’ for the 1st few days or weeks as you get to know them and they get to know you. It’s almost like courtship. ย I remember the 1st few days with Luke ย – he would cry and I wouldn’t know what he wanted. I was tired, cranky, sore, hormonal, and kept calling him Owen. ๐Ÿ™‚

But now, 3 months into this gig, I’ve got it down. Most of the time I know what every fidget and fuss means, how to calm him down, and how to make him happy.

A mother knows.

And it feels like just as I’ve gotten in my groove, it’s time to change again – but that’s life right? The same can be said for raising our 3 year old Owen – just as we get into a comfortable routine, something changes and he grows up just a little bit more.

So how did I spend my “last day” with my baby? Just like any other day – my day revolved around him and his schedule, we did a lot of cuddle time, lots and lots of kisses, and of course the obligatory trip to Target. I think I’ve been to Target more in the last 3 months more than the last year! On a side note – I’m always amazed at the amount of people in Target on a Tuesday at 10 AM. Don’t people work? ๐Ÿ™‚ I guess that’s another topic, another day.

So today was just another ordinary day. I was finally inspired to put my thoughts down onto my blog after a very dear friend posted the most beautiful video on my Facebook page about “The gift of an ordinary day.”

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did – but make sure you have some tissue ready!

I also want to take this moment to thank all my wonderful friends and family for all the support and love they have given me – throughout my pregnancy and my maternity leave. Never underestimate the power of an email, a phone call, a text, a card in the mail, a Facebook message – it was so much appreciated. I also want to thank the amazing people I work with for their support, telling me to stop checking my email :), and giving me the time I needed. Everyone should be so lucky!

Here’s to the next chapter in my life…

Posted in Motherhood | 2 Comments