Lucky Week 17- June 17th

Dear Friends and Family,
I can’t wait until Sunday to share the news!
After after being in the hospital for 118 days, we are overwhelmed with joy to finally have our sweet little baby home with us. He is a Miracle, he his a Fighter, and he is the sweetest, most lovable little being we could ever imagine. 😍👼🏼😌

Here we are on Wed, the moment we dreamed of for so long. BRINGING our baby home!

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But first we got to do an overnight with him in the hospital for practice. We’re just so giddy he’s out of the NICU in this pic! No cords attached!

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And the next day- I survived the night!… on 2 hours of sleep..(I sent Kirky home for Zzzz since um, that hospital bed wasn’t going to sleep two)

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Hospital snuggles..

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As for Charlie, he has already been the best big brother. It’s as if he’s known and loved AC all this time we’ve been visiting him the hospital.

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And here’s the growth from the end of Month 1 to almost Month 4…

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Thank YOU,  family and friends, old and new, for sharing this journey with us. It has been cathartic and meaningful for me to write these weekly recaps, and I will compile them into a book for Alden someday.
Your support, love, care packages, messages, and simply being there on the other end of these emails has uplifted us more than you will ever know. Really, I can’t thank you enough. 😪🙏🏼😌

Love from,

The Spaldens

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Week 16- June 11th

Week SIXTEEEEEEN…

Well the good news is, we made a pretty cute munchkin who is more alert, interactive, and amazing by the day..👍🏼

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In  other news.. We are. STILL. IN. The HOSPITAL 🏥

It seems that falling asleep while feeding isn’t the only problem..

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Alden has a lot of discomfort into his feeding, and has even showered us in some pretty impressive projectile vomiting..🌋

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Some theories are:
-Acid Reflux, -Pyloric Stenosis, -irritation from the feeding tube, -food sensitivity
Results from the Acid Reflux and Pyloric Stenosis tests were inconclusive, so he’s getting another ultrasound on Monday to check. Fingers crossed it’s not PS, because that would mean a little stomach surgery…!

When Alden‘s not dreaming of coming home..

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He’s working on his tennis game. Needs to keep his eye on the ball.. 🎾

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He still enjoys Kangaroo Care-

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But is much more awake during it and prefers to gaze at his book collection than sleep.

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(Sorry that pic doesn’t feature more of Kirk’s chest for you 😉

In case you’re wondering, my plan is to stop peppering your Sunday in-boxes with these updates once he comes home. Then I will transfer them to a family blog where you can check in to see his progress if you like 🙂
So here’s to having next weekend be The. LAST. email update… ! Or else- we might get the Alden Stink-Eye, which is just as scary as Ice Cube’s..

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(Kirk wonders, does this make our kid.. Vanilla Ice?)

Love Always,
The Spaldens.. aka the brilliant artists behind this tennis platter and dog dish
#We❤️ColorMeMine!

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Week 15- June 4th

Dear Friends and Family,

Yes- we’re still in the hospital. But all is well. AC hasn’t had a Brady (heart event 💙) in over a week now (🙌) and the only thing left for him to do is finish his bottles.
But as you can see- he has a problem staying awake for his feedings..

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Kirk’s been dubbed the Baby Whisperer as he’s the only who consistently gets Alden to finish whole bottles. He swears by John Denver and handholding 🎵

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The doctor said that because Alden‘s so great otherwise, we forget he’s a 26 weeker and that if not eating is the only thing he’s doing like a normal preemie, she’s just fine with that.
In the meantime Alden‘s been enjoying visitors.. like Megha Tolia 🙂

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And Nirav Tolia too!

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And Cousin Shelley!

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On Memorial Day Kirk and I took a quick trip to our favorite spot, the Bodega Bay Lodge🤗

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And while Kirk was in LA for his school’s graduation, we celebrated my niece Ashley’s 5th birthday by doing her favorite thing- biking from their home to the Menlo Grill for dinner 😋 🚲🎂

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When we’re not passed out with AldenABBBDB88-C19F-42CC-ABE4-DBD78E51EF22.jpg

We have fun family Gazing parties

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Again- We wish the camera could capture how our sweet pea really looks. For example, it’s impossible to see from the pics that he actually has blue eyes (for now at least 👀) and his hair continues to come in very blonde..

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Alden continues to have a very sweet and mellow disposition, and we are so so ready to bring this snuggle bug home with us. We are too in 💗😍💖
Love from,
The Spaldens
Ps: I know you’re dying to see our ColorMeMine master-pieces, but we haven’t picked them up yet- so until next time 😉
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Week 14- May 31

Happy Memorial Day Weekend! A salute to all the women and men who’ve died in service of our country 🇺🇸
On the Spalden front we are now officially past my due date, and Alden is the age of a term baby.
Just look at that hunk of love.
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Sadly, photos can’t seem to capture how cute he is in person, but ya’ll will just have to see for yourself someday- hopefully soon!!!
Bottle feeding seems to be the hold up. There are 2 problems:
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1-He still has the occasional Brady towards the end of feeding
2- he doesn’t like the taste of thawed frozen milk (accordingly, nurses are calling him Anthony Bourdain)
Well I’m so glad I have 7 bins of the stuff stashed in our freezer
One can’t be too upset when you have a husband awesome enough to take you to ColorMeMine to paint pottery.
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OMG I love Kirk Spahn!! #BestHubbyEver
 In the meantime, here’s Alden on the scale-
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…weighing in at 8lbs, 9 oz!! Wowie- remember when 4 lb babies could eat him!?
POP QUIZ:
This baby is smiling because
a)He just heard his mama’s voice on FaceTime? Or
b)He’s nestled into his dad’s furry chest?
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BOTH, obviously. #FurryFaceTimeFun
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Dhani Jones paid us a visit- he’s great for a good pep talk.👍
And dear Charlie’s still getting red light treatments for his various ailments..
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Awe-  love both our Boos so much! 💞💗
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Hopefully the next time I write you it will be to share that Alden is coming home soon!!
Love and Best,
The Spaldens 👪

Week 13- May 21

Dear Friends and Family,

Well week 13 doesn’t sound so auspicious, does it?
We had a little setback as Alden had a few bradies (heart events 💙) while feeding.
This is not surprising as the combined actions of Suck, Swallow, Breath can be a big task for a little peenut, so he’s returned to the feeding tube.
Also, every Brady holds him back 5 days. Doctors estimate he’ll come home in 7-10 days now. 🏡
This is how he feels about his setback..

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But a visit from “Auntie” Alex cheered him up!

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While Alden worked on feeding, my mom whisked Kirk off to Rome to cheer on Tommy Haas in the Italian open. 🇮🇹🎾

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Kirk sent me lots of Food photos..

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Awe! Don’t they look cute 😋
In the meantime, I stayed back to Kangaroo Care our little nugget.

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This week is International Kangaroo Care week, so for every hour we ‘roo the Boo, we get a sticker- Woo

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BOOYAH!
22 hrs so far (with Kirk’s help, because another 4 hrs of my day is dedicated to pumping 😝🍼)

Mom also came in to help with some bottle feeding..

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As for Charlie, he’s now limping from aggressive ball activity (he thinks he’s a pro like Tommy), so I had to take him to the vet for red light therapy.

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As of today, Alden weighs 7lbs, 12 oz! He is due in 3 days, which I think means I was going to birth an 8lb baby!? 😬 Um, thank god I had a preemie?!
So long unlucky week 13– looking for ward to a more favorable week 14!

Love from,
The Spaldens

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Week 12- 3 Month Update! May 14

Dear Friends and Family,
Happy Mother’s Day to all you amazing moms out there! 💐 A special shoutout to Kathie Alden and Connie Spahn for being the best moms ever, and teaching us by example with your love, patience, and endless support. We ❤️ you!!
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Our little boy is growing up and getting cheeky..
Here’s the face he makes when he thinks your’e telling a fib..
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Which is not so different from his “Whachyou Talkin ‘Bout Willis” face
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He has smiles for his Grandpa Spahn
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And bath time smiles too
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And since I may have traumatized my mother-in-law with that Star Wars composite from a few weeks back, I found this photo of Alden looking strikingly like Luke Skywalker.. 😏
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That’s Alden wondering if Kirk is his Father..
Alas, yes- there is no better Father, as you can see by the look of sheer bliss on A.C’s face here.
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(And there’s your token bare chest pic)
Fun fact..
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..babies don’t have strong chins to help them get through the birthing canal
(this info may or may not have been researched by a mom worried her son had a weak chin),
We’ve been learning baby massage..unnamed.jpg
..which  is powerful for all babies, but it’s especially important for premies since they miss out on having the firm muscles of the uterus massage their limbs. Thus, they get stiff limbs which can hinder their ability to learn to walk normally.
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Alden now weights 7lbs and 3 oz! (5lbs of which are clearly in his cheeks)
Just look at the progress next to the Sneetch!
Which, btw, serves as a fantastic neck pillow..
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Alden has been out in the world for 12 weeks and has a 3 month birthday on the 19th.
He ripped out his feeding tube yesterday, which means he’ll be taking only bottles if he can tolerate it. 🍼  He has to do well with the bottle, gain at least 1 oz a day, and keep breathing steadily (minor detail) before he can come home.
That said he’s looking like a “rock star” (doctor’s words) and may be released before his due date on the 24th, which is pretty unheard of for a 26 week-er. 🤘
This is how excited Charlie is to have a new brother hog our attention.
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(You can just see him contemplate his fate as he gets his bath in that kitchen sink)
Don’t worry Charlie, You will Always be our First- We Love You!! 💗
If you’ve made this far, I want to thank you again for your continued support throughout this journey. Sharing it with you has been a privilege and a pleasure, and A.C cannot wait to meet you when he’s out and about in the big, beautiful world!
Love from
The Spaldens
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Week 11- May 7th

Dear Friends and family,

Here’s your Funday-Sunday update! (If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been sending every Sunday for weeks now… ;))

Today is our 1 year wedding anniversary!!unnamed.jpg
Hard to believe that magical weekend was already a year ago-
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and what a year it has been! I am so grateful for the incredible man I married and the beautiful son he helped me make. 😌
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Look at da Boo! Notice- the Oxygen tube is gone!! Now Alden‘s just left with the feeding tube in his nose. That said, he’s getting better and better at bottle feeding..🍼
We’ve had a busy week that started with a trip to LA for the Milken Global Conference where Joon Yun spoke on Longevity and our work with the National Academy of Medicine.
Then we went out to celebrate Kirk’s 40th Birthday 🎉🍾🎈at the Pearl Lounge.
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Thank you to Stephanie Day and her company, Ographr for taking fantastic pics!
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To see the full gallery visit this link here.
Ographr is like Uber for photographers. If you ever have an event, small gathering, or need a photographer – you must check it out!

This week‘s visitors included Anne-Marie Keenan, who I’ve known since she was Alden‘s age (no joke).

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And Kirk’s parents flew out west for another visit..
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Grandma Connie fed him a whole bottle!
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We’re still doing skin to skin care for hours a day, which the nurses swear has made him the calm and sweet little boo that he is:  He trusts that the world is a good and safe place. unnamed-7.jpg
And there’s that hairy chest pic I promised 😏
Our chunky monkey now weights 6 lbs 8 oz- he’s like a real baby!
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In the above pic he’s staring at a black and white lion picture the nurses placed in his bed. 🦁 Since he can only see black and white contrast, he seems to love it.
Our goals for Alden are to get off the feeding tube, pass his eye exams, and go 5 straight days without an “event” (where his heart or breathing stops).
Go Go Alden– you can do it! ! 🎉
Love from,
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Week 10- April 30th

Dear Friends and family,

The peanut is coming along! Weighing in at 5lbs 12 ounces, he’s a little bruiser!unnamed.jpg

He’s really getting a hang for the passie
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And he loves story time. 📚Here’s a pic of him holding my hand while listening to daddy read him a book. 😌
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And here’s that same pic of him next to Mommy as a baby in the 20th century..
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He does Tummy Time on our chests when we ‘roo him, and the other day he got himself into this position..
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Here he is celebrating the comb-over look
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While it’s harder to have visitors in our small space here than our palatial pod in Denver, we’ve had some friends and family make the trip..
A.C got to meet his Grandpa,  Daddy Ellis! IMG_1540 (1).JPG
And Jesse Draper..
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And my cutie nieces fell in love with their new cousin..
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Derek and Kirk look like proud parents here..
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And Alden‘s loving the blondes with Aunt Lindsey and Helena!
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Thank you to the Powell family for having us over for Sunday Indian food and game night!
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And speaking of Yum, I discovered that if you ask- they’ll make you the most delicious Mint Chip milkshake at the Menlo Grill (Stanford Park Hotel)
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And finally, Charlie’s back to hogging my hubbyunnamed-12.jpg
According to “the Bump” ap I’m over 36 weeks pregnant and due to give birth in 3 weeks and 4 days!
Our goals for Alden are to keep breathing (ha), get off the gentle flow of oxygen, keep putting on weight steadily, drink from the bottle, breastfeed, and be the happiest little baby we can possibly raise 😊
XOXO
The Spaldens
PS!  We will be in LA for the Milken Global Conference where Joon Yun is speaking on Longevity. Tuesday, May 2nd, we’ll be celebrating Kirk’s 40th BIRTHDAY!!! If you’re in LA and want to join, please email me for details. 🍾🎂💥 🎉 🎈
PPS: I realize Kirk’s hairy chest is a popular feature of these updates. I’m sorry to not  have one this week, but worry not, there are surely more to come..

Week 9- April 23rd

Dear Friends and Family,
I was going to give you a break on the updates, but many are still checking in (very sweet 😌) , so here’s a quick one to show you his progress 🙂

Here’s our little guy right after Kirk fed him his very first bottle – I think he liked it! 🍼

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 He’s also rocking the binky. Awesome for a kiddo who’s still over a month away from his due date!
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And he’s sporting some pretty cool hats these days..
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and opening his eyes wider when he’s awake..
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Gearing up for Dartmouth, he follows the pages when we flip them as we read him books. (His favorite is Giraffe’s Cant’ Dance 💃 )
As of today, Alden weighs over 5lbs!! He’s almost 5 times bigger than his first week of life. With his due date being May 24th, we should be bringing home a real sized newborn! 🤗
XOXO
Spaldens

8 Weeks = 2 Months! April 19th, 2017

Dear Friends and Family,

Happy Easter and belated Passover!  🐰🐣🐥💐

Today our little boy is 34 weeks, and 2 months out of mama.
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It was a BIG week for the Spaldens! Here we are on our last day in the U of Colorado NICU, in cardinal red and Stanford gear- ready for the big move!

Mr. Alden Charles Spahn must have known exactly what was up, because he was very wide eyed and alert that day.

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Mama explained the trip ahead, and while he was excited to go to California, he knew he would miss all the wonderful caregivers in Colorado who lovingly tended to him during his first weeks of life.
As we took a last lap around the NICU, Kirk started crying, and then I did too…  So many feelings, and memories..!
An awesome team arrived to transport the peanut into a massive capsule for his flight out west.
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He fit in snug as a bug…

It was tricky trying to maneuver the capsule into the small jet..

But our team figured it out!

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We enjoyed scenic views out the window..
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And then we Arrived…!But then….
☠️😱😳💀😵😰👺😥😨😥😩😩😩DISASTER.

In the spirit of trying to stay positive, I will spare you the dissertation I could write on the horrors of the Stanford NICU, and simply say… it was like going from rolling green pastures, to a loud, bright, chaotic, metal farm factory surrounded by sick babies with no privacy, space, or quiet to kangaroo our child.
When I told Kirk on the phone, he thought I was exaggerating.. then he walked in, froze, and declared: “We need to get th F- out of here”

Thus began a 24 hr panic/sob fest where were wracked our brains to get back to the free range fields of our Colorado NICU. We would pay out of pocket if we had too..

WHEN…

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baby boy did something marvelous!With the help of sea level air, A.C got off of his hi-flow tube onto Low flow, which qualified him for a level 2 NICU. The very next day we got a transfer to Sequoia hospital, a much more peaceful space that serves as a satellite nursery for Stanford 🙌💃🍾

While Sequoia is still not as great as the U of Colorado- it is a zillion times better than Stanford, and we are relieved and Grateful to be there.

Seeing the Dr. Seuss quote there made made us feel at home..

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But WOW, guys.. How LUCKY were we to end up in Colorado in the first place!?! I was appreciative then, but even more so now that I know what’s out there. We must have angels.  👼🙏🌟

In the meantime, Great aunties Betsie and Barbie have visited our boo

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And we’re back on the Kangaroo program….
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While you may think this is a Sears catalogue shoot for discount pashminas, it’s actually my besties visiting me in Woodside enjoying the fresh, brisk air.
Thank you Julie, Janelle and Kristien for making the flight up north!
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Charlie too loves his walks in Woodside..

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On Saturday we had a family reunion in Atherton..
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And then another one in Woodside for Easter..
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Overall, Alden is doing great. He’s had few episodes (de-sats and bradies) due to the new low-flow, changes and adjustments.. but he’s our little champ.
Thank you all for letting us share this journey with you so far.. !
Xoxo
The Spladens 👪
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