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This is my neice Carol Jean, or "C.J." as we call her. She is almost 5 years old. Although she can be a handful most of the time, I enjoy spending time with her. It's a good feeling having this little person looking up to me, calling me "Auntie Laura."

Here is my brother Chris. He's 29-years-old and going to school in Tennessee right now, so it's hard not seeing him much at all. He's always been successful at everything he's tried - skiing, playing guitar, martial arts. I'm very proud of him and am glad that I have him around to protect me and to keep me out of trouble.

This is my dad in this photo with me. I moved in with him when I was 15, after my mom passed away. We began to get along a lot better once I moved to Gainesville. I think we learned to appreciate each other a lot more. He's always there when I need him, and he always offers his advice when I need it.

This is a photo of me and my sister, Tiffany. She's 31 years old and one of my best friends. We get in arguments like all sisters do, but they never last for long. We have so much fun together and love doing the same things - shopping, going to the beach, watching movies and talking online. I admire her for going back to school to get a degree and for being such a great mother to my niece.

This is a photo of my mom and I taken in 1995, I believe. She passed away in July of 1996 from ovarian cancer. Losing my mother was the most difficult experience I have ever faced, an experience that will forever be a part of who I am and the way I see the world. Even though she can no longer physically be here with me, I thank God everyday that he gave me a mother that showed me the kind of person I could be, who loved me and the rest of her family unconditionally, and who showed such courage and strength fighting an illness when most would have just given up. I miss my mother everyday, but I know in my heart that she is always with me.

Here I am with my boyfriend, Shane, at his cousin's wedding. Shane and I have been together since September of 2001. I love spending time with him - whether it be watching a movie or hanging out at the beach. Even though it hasn't always been easy, there is no one I would rather be with. I love him more than anything and I think our relationship with only grow stronger with time.

Here I am with two of my best friends, Kim and Alison. I have known Alison since 8th grade - we have continued to be friends through the years, and now we are roommates. Kim and I met our freshman year here at UF when we were random roommates. We became good friends fast, and many of my favorite college memories involve crazy things we've done together.

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