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Hoda Kotb is trying to savor every little moment with her daughters during her maternity leave.
Whether it's blowing bubbles in the backyard in the morning or a simple trip to the grocery store, the TODAY anchor has been cherishing every minute with Haley Joy, 2, and baby Hope Catherine since adopting Hope in April.
"I feel like I've lived 54 years and I've loved every minute of it, but if there's a window or a moment in my life that has mattered more than anything, it's right now,'' Hoda said on TODAY Friday.
"I know it's sort of weird that I'm taking this much time, but I just feel like sometimes in life you don't know how much of your kids' lives you're gonna be able to see. But I would say to myself, 'I'm not gonna miss right now.'"
It's only been a few months, but Haley has quickly embraced being a big sister to Hope.
"Haley when she opens her eyes, her first thing that she says to me is 'I want to kiss baby Hope,''' Hoda said. "And whenever Hope's crying, she's like, 'Don't worry Hope, I'm coming!' Like she's the cavalry and wants to run up the stairs and take care of her."
Hoda has learned to find joy in her simple daily routine with the girls as she watches them bond.
"Every day, we do the same thing, and it's so dumb,'' she said. "We have morning bubbles outside, we go to the muffin store to get a muffin, we burp Hope. It's the same day, but it's awesome."
The time away has also impressed upon Hoda the importance of shutting out the distractions of work or being on the phone to spend some quality time with her children and her boyfriend of six years, Joel Schiffman.
"This is a moment in time that I'm trying to freeze — I'm trying to remember everything,'' she said. "I feel like we miss so much of our kids' lives and I feel like I will again in a little bit. We all do, and that's life. But sometimes you get a window where you don't miss. This is my tiny kind of moment."
"I think what this time has taught me is ... to really have a 'be here now' moment, no matter what. I'm gonna try really, really hard when I get back to work to kind of have the two hours that are just for us."
Hoda has also found time to write her newest book, called "I Really Needed This Today: Words to Live By," which comes out on Oct. 15 and features 365 inspirational quotes and stories. She based it on the feedback she has received from regularly posting uplifting quotes on her Instagram.
"I think it's to give you a boost when you head out for your day so maybe you can start your day and say, 'You know what, I think today's gonna be OK,''' she said.
Hoda also expressed how much she has missed her TODAY family. She might even bring one of her daily habits from maternity leave to work when she returns.
"Could you bring the bubbles?'' Savannah Guthrie said. "I think we'd enjoy morning bubbles when you come back."
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