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SUSAN & LAUREN & ALEXIS

Susan is mother to Lauren, 28, Alexis, 8, and their brother, Dylan, 17. She has been married to her husband, Eric, for close to 22 years. Living in San Luis Obispo, California, Susan set roots down in the area in the early 70s, after college. She embraced civil rights, human rights and appreciation of diversity at an early age. Susan established her career in higher education with deep interest and focus on First Generation college, low-income, underrepresented students, as well as the development of academic achievement programs. Her interests also include her family, both immediate and extended, woodworking (thanks to a very creative family growing up), gardening and reading.  Lauren is a graduate of California State San Francisco and is married to her husband Patrick. She manages a local hotel and has side businesses in event planning and consulting for a jewelry company. Susan’s son, Dylan, she says, is gifted artistically and an absolute eccentric in his own right, always “marching to his own drummer”, with exciting plans to study art or creative writing in college. Alexis plans to study to become a veterinarian.

Additionally, as a consequence of her infertility and miscarriage experiences, Susan takes great interest in the adoption community, which has become an important aspect of her life. 
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“I feel forever connected to my children and family, appreciating the focus and spiritual journey which brought my children to my heart and life.” – Susan

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“She’s an amazingly creative and organized young woman with an impressive work ethic.” – Susan

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“Alexis is my “pushy princess” who speaks her own mind and loves to laugh…” – Susan

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A sister’s love and guidance shows up in the little things…the smallest moments…

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“I’ve always felt very maternal towards my siblings…” – Lauren

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“When you raise your children hoping that they’ll have opinions, they will.” – Susan

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“…You can allow your children to talk and have their way, but still guide them…” – Susan

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Thank you so much to Susan, Lauren and Alexis. It was a pleasure to sit down with you and thank you for welcoming me to San Luis Obispo! Susan, your wisdom and life experiences are so inspiring and I am sure that there are women out there in the world who will see this and be given that extra hope they need to keep pursuing the dreams they have. Thank you for being open…

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KAREN & SYDNEY & RILEY

Karen of West Hills is a working mother of two amazing and beautiful little girls, Riley, four, and Sydney, two and a half. Riley loves to watch Disney movies, play with friends, participate in gymnastics, ride her bike, do arts and crafts, help in the kitchen and go to the mall. Sydney loves playing with her sister and their beagle Molly, riding her bike, going to the park  and playing with her mother’s high heel shoes.  

I am so blessed to have these healthy, happy and fun-loving girls in my life.” – Karen

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“Being a mom…the amount of love that you have for your kids, you’ll do anything [...] for them…” – Karen

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“I want them to be proud of me…as I am so proud of them…” – Karen

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“Riley…when I think of her, the word rainbow comes to mind…[...] she’s so full of life…” – Karen

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“When she walks into a room, the warmth she has for people and for her friends it’s just absolutely incredible…” – Karen, on Riley

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“Sydney is the epitome of happiness…[...] Sydney could be in a box and have a great time!” – Karen

“Yeeaaaah!” – Sydney, in response to her mom

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“They’re my life…” – Karen

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“They keep me strong. They keep me going.” – Karen

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Thank you, Karen, Sydney and Riley. Karen, you are doing an incredible job and thank you for sharing your story. So many mothers share in your loving thoughts and wishes for your daughters and for your role in their lives. I know that your daughters feel the love and care you have for them…and always will. I say this from my own heart and experiences…

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ROBYN & FAITH

Robyn was born and raised in California, the majority of that time residing in Los Angeles with her husband Andy. Their daughter Faith, 3,  was also born in Los Angeles and was adopted at birth. Together, they love being silly, reading, baking, being very active and they love to laugh.  Faith has brought insurmountable love, joy and happiness to her heart. The highlights of Robyn’s day are when Faith says ” I need you Mommy!”, “I want to cuddle,” or, simply, ” I love you!” While Robyn does also teach Pilates part time while Faith is in pre-school, her main job is being Faith’s mom – the greatest job she will ever have, she says.
We concur!

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“Faith is a true gift, she is loving, compassionate, smart, funny and beautiful inside and out.” – Robyn

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“Being a mother is the greatest job in the world! I love every moment of every day with Faith…” – Robyn

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High five for Mommy!

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Those boots…

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“I can’t wait to see the woman that she’s going to become, later on in life…” – Robyn

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“Obviously I’m very overcome with pure love and emotion for this child.[...] We may not share any DNA but she has 100% of my heart…” – Robyn

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“There’s not a minute that doesn’t go by that she doesn’t make me smile or laugh…” – Robyn

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“I just want her to live her dreams, whatever they are…” – Robyn

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“She’s just a really sweet, sweet, loving, caring human being…” – Robyn

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“I really feel so blessed every day to have her as my daughter…” – Robyn

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A big thank you to Robyn and Faith (and Andy!) for sharing their story! The love during our meeting and photo session was palpable and Faith definitely lights up a room! In fact, she lights up an already sunny day! I am sure you are right, Robyn…she will certainly affect a lot of other people in a positive way!

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LIESL & MIA

Born in Philadelphia and raised in Pittsburgh, Liesl resides in Los Angeles where she is a freelance journalist covering arts, books and entertainment. She is the mother of two, 12 year old Mia and 10 year old Sonny.

Liesl’s mother died when she was 12 years old from a sudden brain aneurysm on the day before her brother’s 14th birthday. Her younger sister was only 7 at the time. Although she’s had three subsequent stepmothers it wasn’t until her daughter Mia was born that the mother/daughter connection she thought she lost was reignited.

Liesl said she sees her mother’s kindness and sweetness reflected in her daughter and is incredibly grateful for all the joy and love she brings her every day.

 

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“She showed me how much fun it was to be a girl again.”  - Liesl, on daughter Mia

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“[Mia] taught ME how to be a girl!” – Liesl

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“She always says I remind her of her mom…” – Mia, on her mom Liesl

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“I truly feel that God stepped in and gave me exactly what he knew I needed…” – Liesl

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“She’s helped me so much in ways that she doesn’t know, that I’m able to help her…” – Liesl

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“I still have that hole there, but [Mia] has filled it so immensely…” – Liesl

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Thank you to Liesl and Mia. Liesl, this is your moment, to present your mom to the world. In loving memory…

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THREE GENERATIONS: Ronda, Dalia, Tova & Naomi

Dalia, 34, of West Hills, California, is mother to Naomi, just shy of 6 years old, and Tova, just shy of 3. Dalia’s mother, Ronda, 64, joined in on the fun as we captured some tender moments and filled the beautiful afternoon air with sounds of laughter and love! Married to Jason, Dalia is also a rabbi and educator. She finds joy in helping others find meaning in their journeys through life. Among her favorite things to do are baking, connecting with friends and traveling. One of the top things on her list is her love of being a mom and loving her girls! Dalia’s mom, Ronda, is a retired special education teacher. She devoted her career to helping children better their lives and finding value in what they had to offer. She now spends her time being “Mom-Mom” to the girls (and their first cousins), volunteering at their schools, helping with after-school care, spoiling them with love and kisses, and also teaching them values and responsibility. 

Naomi and Tova are such kind hearts. You can tell that the overflow of love they are surrounded  by is reciprocated by them. Dalia describes Naomi as a sweet, bright and caring child. She says Tova is smart, strong and always on the run! 

Dalia hopes that they will grow up to be strong, passionate, thoughtful and caring individuals. Dalia, I have no doubt that they will…

“One of my favorite things is when the girls go to one end of the hall, I sit at the other end, and they give me a “running hug” and knock me over!” – Dalia

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“We are all lucky to have her in our lives.” – Dalia, talking about her mother Ronda

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“I hope that they remain close to one another and are a support to each other throughout their lives.” – Dalia

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Surrounded by love…

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Fun with bubbles…

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Fun with “Mom-Mom”…

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“She knows what she likes (and doesn’t like) and she is not afraid to share that with people…” – Dalia, talking about Tova

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“Naomi is a Mommy’s girl. She loves to play with my hair and cuddle.” – Dalia

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Quality time is the best time…

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“I am proud of the young lady [Naomi] is becoming – caring for her friends, trying hard in school, and being an amazing big sister to Tova.” – Dalia

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Simple moments…

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“[Tova] LOVES gymnastics!” – Dalia

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“They also love being silly – anytime, anywhere…” – Dalia

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Thank you to Dalia, Ronda, Naomi and Tova! Such a pleasure meeting you and being surrounded by the love you share. Dalia and Ronda, it makes me happy to know that you are living the example of the values and morals you are passing on to your girls. They are the same foundation building blocks I was brought up with…thank you.  

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DEBORAH & LAUREN

Deborah of West Hills, California is a working mom to daughter Lauren, 3 years old, and son Aaron, 1 1/2. They love to go to the park, solve puzzles, play in the backyard, and blow bubbles (as you will see below)!  Deborah tries to juggle working full time with caring for Lauren and Aaron, spending time with her husband Steve, family obligations, friends, and fitting in time for herself to do antigravity yoga!

Deborah, you are doing a wonderful job at it!

“She loves to color, and play tea party and just do a lot of things that little girls like to do…” – Deborah

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“Her personality really helps me learn about myself too.” – Deborah

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A mother’s admiration…a mother’s touch…

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Moms are inspired by their little girls to find that little girl within themselves…

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Together…

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“Being a mom to a girl is a special bond, which we have…” – Deborah

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Thank you Deborah and Lauren! Spending time with you not only was inspiring but Lauren’s imagination allowed me to escape, if only for a moment, to help seek out the “princess and all of the sparkles” on the other side of the backyard…thank you for that…

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SHOSHANNA & KARA

Shoshanna is proud mom to son Jonah, 6 and daughter Kara, 3. She strives to balance a career in public health with being a present and active mom. Her happiest moments are spent playing with her family and watching as her children grow into two strong, respectful, loving individuals who she admires and adores. 

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“She’s a perfect fit for me…we’re like puzzle pieces…” – Shoshanna

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Playtime with Mommy, including…a spot of “tea”…

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“She said, ‘Mommy, you’re so beautiful!’ ” – Shoshanna

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There is a mutual admiration and care between this mother-daughter team. They really are a special duo…Thank you to Shoshanna and to the dynamic Kara! 

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GENERATIONS: KERRI & PAT & DAPHNE VIOLA & DAPHNE MARIA & ANNIE

Kerri is a married mother of three living in Woodland Hills, California.  Daphne, 8, excels at soccer and math, Luke, 6, loves baseball and video games, and Annie, 2, has the job of just being cute all the time! Kerri works as a Financial Operations Manager for a software company and enjoys meeting with her book club, baking, and having girlfriends over for tea and treats.

Kerri enjoys the gift of spending regular time with her mother and grandmother. At any given time, there are four generations of women in her household. Her mother, Pat Gloria Jean, 71, was born in Jamaica, lived in New York and settled in California. Pat’s mother, Daphne Viola, 92, was also born in Jamaica, has lived in New York, New York, Ocala, Florida, and now Woodland Hills as well. 

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A daughter’s touch…

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Unspoken words…so much being said…with just a glance…

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Kerri shares some tender moments with Daphne…

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…and Annie…

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“Motherhood, I think, really opens your eyes to things you would never notice otherwise…” – Kerri

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“I’m so glad to have my mother, and I’m so glad to be a mother, and have my children…It’s something very, very special.” – Kerri

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Annie reaches out for her great-grandmother, “Gammy”…

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All of the first borns gather…

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This mother, daughter, granddaughter, great-granddaughter story began right here…

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Their special video not only includes the meaning of being a mother and a daughter, but a heartfelt remembrance of my mom, Anita Claire…

Thank you Kerri, Pat, Daphne Viola, Daphne Maria and Little Annie, for supporting my tribute project and, well, for always being so caring and supportive of me. Thank you for…you.

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ELANA & OLIVIA

Elana, 42, from Los Angeles, California, is a working mother to Olivia, 2. Some of Olivia’s favorite activities include playing outdoors, swinging on her swing set, swimming in the pool and dance party time with Mommy, of course!

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Stealing moments of laughter…

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Taking time out to play…

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“She’s giving me everything…and I hope that she has everything in life…” – Elana

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Sunshine…

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“I hope that my daughter knows [...] how much love she’s surrounded by…” – Elana

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Thank you Elana and Olivia! Your story is an inspiration and Olivia is truly a blessing…

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JULIE & SEENA

Julie, born in Oklahoma, lives in Los Angeles and is the mother of two, son Holden, 13, daughter Seena, 10, and has been married for 15 years. She is a writer and producer and has authored 8 books. Julie lost her mother Freda when she was 27 years old (her mother was 52), to tonsil cancer. She took care of her for 10 months before she passed away.

Julie has a very close relationship with her own daughter, and keeps her mother’s memory alive by sharing that piece of her heart with Seena.

“I was really excited to have a daughter because of the bond I shared with my mom.” – Julie

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“For me, in some ways, every day is Mother’s Day because I really just value my relationship with my kids…I think because my mom has passed, it makes me focus so much more on making memories with my kids.” – Julie

Seena looks up to her mom, feels taken care of and shares laughs with her on a regular basis…

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Case in point…I loved the silly faces they gave me!

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Julie and I were able to relate about losing our moms. Thank you so much for your encouraging words and sincere gestures. I really appreciate you! Thank you to you and Seena for being a part of my project and tribute!

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