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In the memoir “Angels” and Pawprints, Jeanette Gardner continues the rest of her life story, detailing how she managed to survive all the adventures, hardships, and mishaps that accompanied raising five children born in rapid succession with a mere six years separating all of them.

Gardner, the author of Dirty Feet and Hungry Hearts, begins by sharing details of the day she left Greybull, Montana, for Billings, met the love of her life, married him after a five-week courtship, and began what she calls “the great adventure into marriage and motherhood.” As she relays her poignant and humorous experiences, Gardner divulges the entertaining antics of her five children as they grew from toddlers to teens. From eating Drano, to starting fires in the chimney, to falling from trees, and swallowing pins, Gardner’s anecdotes highlight one mother’s sometimes hilarious—sometimes tearful—struggle to survive the challenges of raising a large family where the daily goal was often to just keep everyone alive.

Gardner’s look back at the craziness of motherhood filled with gray hair, laughter, tears, heart-stopping emergencies, and a heart overflowing with love prove that the absolute best job in the world is to be a mother.

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