Sunday, July 29, 2012

4 Months

Will officially turned four months old onTuesday, the 24th, the same day his Great-Grandpa Bob turned 97 years old.  Grandpa Bob loves being with Will, so we made sure to go over to my parents' house for Gpa's favorites: spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, and carrot cake for dessert.  Grandpa gave Will lots of kisses, and Will got lots of attention (as always).  I'd say it was a very successful "birthday" for both!

Development:  We went to the pediatrician on Thursday (whom, by the way, I absolutely love.  We actually see the PA in our office most of the time, and she is just incredible.  The doctor that is technically ours was also my childhood pediatrician, but as she is super in-charge of the whole medical group, she doesn't work too many days a week and is harder to schedule) for Will's four-month Well-Child Check. 

Will weighed in at 13.5 pounds, three more than his two-month check up.  He's still in the 30% for weight, but that's okay, because he's been consistent in his growth all along.  His height moved up to the 35% percentile as he has officially reached two-feet tall, being exactly 24 inches long.  No wonder he doesn't fit as cozily anymore!

In other developmental areas, this was a big month for Will.  He's learned to roll onto his side, so I bet to his tummy isn't too far away.  He can see you from across the room and smile at you.  He discovered his voice - the first few days of that were non-stop cooing.  And, in the last week, he's started reaching for toys and is fascinated by their bright colors and fun textures.  We didn't really have many toys, just a clip on elephant for his carseat, but a friend sent a package that had some fun little squishy blocks that crinkle, so we're set.  His little legs are in constant motion - we have no idea where he thinks he's going, but he's apparently going to be a sprinter, cyclist, or swimmer based on his movement.  And he's working really hard at taking the pacifier out of his mouth and putting it back in on his own.  After a while of not quite being able to get it, he usually sticks his fingers right in, which brings me to the drooling.  Yes, we've started the slobber-fest that apparently indicates pre-teething.... but no signs of any actual teeth yet.  Thank. Goodness.

Personality: This little boy wants to be a happy little boy, he truly does.  Sometimes, when he's starting to get unhappy about something, he'll still smile at you even in the midst of his tears, before he gives in.  He is a very smiley baby and is content much of the time.  He likes to be social and visit with others, and he drinks in the world around him.

But when he's unhappy, well, he is unhappy.  As in screaming.  Usually it's because he has a problem of some sort and thinks we should be able to fix it instantly, and when we can't, he tells us about it.  He tells us all about it.

Sleep: Right after our three-month update, Will moved from our room to his own room.  We'd been sleeping in the basement, due to the fact that the smoke from the Waldo Canyon fire kept us from being able to open the windows and cool off our near-90 degree house, and when we moved back upstairs, it seemed silly to re-set up the pack'n'play.  So to his room he went.  He's really adjusted quite well, I think.

The other big change, and again, this only in the last week, is that we've stopped swaddling him.  He was too big for the swaddle we had and was continuously "busting out" of a blanket swaddle and waking himself up.  A friend gave us a Woombie, which we love and would still be using, except for the fact that it's been so hot in his room when he goes to bed that I didn't feel right about it.  He was sweating and crying and just seemed miserable, so we decided to tough it out and let him learn to fall asleep unswaddled, as well as to put himself back to sleep if he wakes up.

It's going.  There have been some rough moments, some "this is breaking my heart" moments, and a couple of "I should just go get him" moments.  But overall, he's been doing really well.  In the big scheme of things, he doesn't cry as long as I have heard many babies do, and he definitely is getting it.

The first night time sleep lasts anywhere from four to six hours before I feed him, and then the second one has been getting longer, also.  I'm hoping we're getting to a place where he's going to be on a good schedule for the school year.  Naptimes are less regular - he still is only a cat-napper, so he takes several little naps throughout the day.  The pediatrician said that might be in his favor when he starts day care - many babies who are long nappers have trouble taking their regular naps in that setting and get over-tired, so he might be in like already being a cat-napper.  We'll see.

Overall, I feel pretty good about where we are sleep-wise.

Eating:  Still doing the pump-to-bottle thing most of the day and nursing at night, with some nursing or formula during the day, depending on the situation.  We're trying to stock up on frozen breast milk for day care.  He's slowly starting to spread out his eating times.  By that I mean he can now wait two and a half or three hours to eat, instead of every two.  None of those four of five hour periods for us.  I was afraid he might be eating too much as a result, but since his weight gain was consistent and good, I'm not worried anymore.  He'll eat as he needs it, I think.  We're not quite ready for solid foods yet - maybe in a month or so.  Husband did let Will lick a banana though; my-oh-my was his facial expression hilarious.  Total disgust.  His mama agrees.

Likes/Dislikes: Will likes his scrunchy-crinkly blocks.  The elephant on his car-seat.  His Graet-Grandma Harriett, who got him to giggle a lot while she was here last week.  Doggies (his new fav!).  Apparently, watching the Olympics. 

Actually, there isn't much he actually doesn't like, except being hungry, being tired, and having tummy troubles.  Really, who can blame him?

Milestones: His first "road-trip" up to Estes Park.  Many of the aforementioned developmental things, like noticing toys, sleeping in his own room, more and more control of his head, and even pulling himself up almost towards a sitting position.  Noticing his first baby, his cousin Henry.  His first hike, his first trip to the pool, his first rodeo (all chronicled in this post).


Mommy Update: I'm doing pretty well.  Gearing up to go back to work, and mostly excited about it.  I know leaving him is going to be hard, though, so I'm trying to prepare myself for that.  Weight and health-wise, I'm not doing too much better, but I'm also not doing too much worse.  Getting into meal-planning and grocery shopping to assist my eating habits and hoping to get to do some exercise a couple times a week once we establish good bedtime routines with the new school schedule.

My, How We've Grown

Coming soon, an update on Will at four-months, which he turned the same day as his Great-Grandpa Bob turned 97.  For now, a quick visual on how he's grown!

Here's my little man (as confirmed by his shirt) sometime in April.  Didn't capture his feet, but they were right at the edge of this picture.

And here he is a couple of weeks ago, in early July.  Check out those long legs dangling off the Boppy!  Regardless of his size, it's still one of his favorite places to chill out.

A hint of what's to come in his four-month update: He's grown 5 inches since birth and is now 24 inches long - that's right - he's two feet tall!  (In case you were wondering, which you probably weren't, Charles Stratton, aka "General Tom Thumb," only grew to be 25 inches tall and stayed that way his entire life.) 

He's also started to do a few more fun things than before, like reach out for toys and talk talk talk. 

I'll tell you about sleeping and what I'm thinking about going back to work (which I do next Monday).  Tomorrow I have my first experience with leaving him with someone other than Dad or Nonna, as I have Jury Duty.... it makes me cry just thinking about it!  I'm hoping that "nursing mother" gets me sent home right away.

Anyway, stay tuned for the update within the next few days!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Catching Up: On Husband

This is the perfect day to catch up on what's going on in Husband's life, because this day is about us.

Today, in case you are wondering, is our 4th anniversary.  For years ago we said, "I do," and promised to walk with each other through each day of our lives, through the ups and the downs, the goods and the bads, the beautiful and the ugly.  I'm so proud to be married to this man, to be going through life together, to be learning each day how to be a man and woman who love the Lord, love each other, love our son, and to do life well.

I'm ready for four more years, and then forty more after that, and forever even after that.

A while back I posted these two posts (He Answers and What He's Listening To) that had to do with Husband's job.  After four years with the same company, he was no longer going to be employed there, and we were completely unsure of what was in store for him and for us.  Much time was spent discussing what he wanted to do, what he thought would be satisfying, where he could go to grow.  He'd known for a while that he didn't want to be doing manual labor his entire life, but without a college degree, being an electrician was about it.  And, just for the record, we were really proud of his accomplishments as an electrician so far, too.  He'd gone through a four-year trade school program and graduated with honors.  He'd tested for and received his Journeyman's License.  He'd really pushed himself to do well in that field, and continues to do so.  But it isn't what he wants to do with his life.

After much prayer, consideration, and lots of talking about all the difficulties we would potentially face, Husband decided it was time for him to give college another try, and this time, hopefully, to walk away with a Bachelor's in Electrical Engineering.  He did a ton of research about the program, meeting with academic advisors and the Dean of Engineering.  He found out about financial aid and was awarded a Pell Grant for this year.  And, at the beginning of July, he started his first three classes.  For this term, two of them are online and one is in-building, on Monday and Wednesday nights.  So far, he's doing pretty well, although we've definitely seen already the effects of the change in our evening schedule.  The nights he is home, he has homework.  The nights he has class, he has homework to do when he gets back.  It's been a blessing that I haven't been in school yet, so we can sort of deveop a routine for him that works before I added my schedule requirements to the mix. 

We're excited, but also apprehensive.  School is hard for Husband.  Somewhere along the line of his education, he began to believe the lie that a person who has trouble learning quickly is stupid, the lie that a person who has trouble in math is stupid, that a person whose brain doesn't organize information easily is stupid.

In essence, he began to believe the lie that he is stupid. 

So school, and this degree in particular, holds a lot of scary things for him.  A lot of math, a lot of complicated things to study, to learn.  I am confident that he can do it, but I know it's going to be hard.  He is learning how to be organized, how to study, how to not give in and quit when the going gets rough.  I'm learning how to not be a know-it-all (school is my forte), how to be supportive and enouraging, how and when to turn teacher-mode off and when to turn it on.

And, of, course, Husband doesn't just get to go to school.  He also has a full-time job.  At the beginning of June, he found a job at a company located on the southern end of the city.  After two days of working there, Husband was completely discouraged.  Without going into a bunch of details about an electrical company, I will just say this: it was not the right fit for him.  We thought for a while that maybe if he stuck it out, it would get better, but day after day, he came home exhausted, mentally, physically, and emotionally.  The pace was frantic, the hours demanding (60+ a week, including every Saturday, and he was leaving the house before 5 am to get to work), and the organization of the company somewhat lacking.  The potential pay, while really good, didn't appear to be worth it, at least not for us.  Not with Husband starting school, me going back to work, and a four-month old son at home.  We just didn't see how he could stay there; it seemed like the job was sucking every bit of joy right out of him.

God, thankfully, allowed Husband to leave that job.  A man from church works for another company in town, one pretty close to where we live, and after an interview there, Husband was hired.  Four days on the job and he already seems so much happier.  He's got a spring in his step again, even though they asked if he could work this Saturday.  Working Saturday at this place means overtime, whereas before it didn't.  My favorite part?  The owners of the company and at least one of the other higher-ups are Christians, and they get together once a month to pray for the company.  Husband has never worked at a place with Christians before.  While the company doesn't appear to be labeled as "Christian," he will have the opportunity to work with and for people who believe the same as he does, who, in a field with pretty low moral standards, will hold themselves and him to higher ones.   It's awesome.  You can just see the weight lifted off his shoulders.

We know that we're entering a stage of life that has the potential to be very difficult, but we're ready to take it on.  My man, my husband, is tackling something huge, something he wants, something he's excited about.  He's doing it while working a full-time job, being a dad, a husband, a son, a brother, a friend, a worship-team member, and, most of all, a Jesus-follower.  I am so glad to be able to be the wife that believes in him, that supports him.

These next four (or more likely five) years will probably holdsome of the downs, the bads, and the ugly I mentioned earlier, but they will also be full of the ups, the downs, and the beautiful as we continue to do life together.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Catching Up: A Mountain Trip

My family has never been the "family vacation" type.  It's not really that we didn't want to, but rather that, given the chance, we'd rather go see our extended family, the same mentioned in this post yesterday.

We have, however, taken family trips to this place for more than twenty years.

Welcome to Rams Horn Village, nestled near the town of Estes Park and at the base of Rocky Mountain National Park, one of my family's favorite places to be.  My grandma found Rams Horn many years ago, and we've stayed there nearly every summer for practically forever.  It's tradition now.  We go hiking in the park (we have several favorite trails), we walk the town and do a little light shopping, we eat good food, we go to the pool if the weather is cooperative, and we rest.  It's awesome, and one of the things we most look forward to each summer.  Some of our favorite memories come from our trips here, especially those with my grandparents.

A couple of weeks ago was Will's first trip to Estes Park to stay at Rams Horn.  He, his Nonna (my mom), Grandad (my dad), Tia (my sister), and I headed up midweek, but poor Daddy (Husband) had to wait until Friday night to join us, due to his job.  The weather was pretty much gorgeous, but unfortunately they are doing major roadwork in RMNP, cutting off access to most of the trails we usually hike (and the ones I felt I could do with Will strapped to my front).  Still, we were able to drive around the park, watch as a wedding party took pictures at the Illuvial Fan, and hike to Alberta Falls, one of our favorite easy hikes.  We even saw a huge herd of elk... a first for all of us!  We have only ever seen a few at a time before.

Not only did Will go on his first hike, but he also went to his first rodeo.  Estes Park is home of the Rooftop Rodeo, voted the PRCA's Best Small Rodeo.  We love the rodeo, and were pretty bummed when we discovered our Estes Park trip coincided with the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo, meaning we'd have to miss out.  Sister and I were pretty estatic to see that the Rooftop Rodeo was going on while we were there, though, so rodeo-ing we went.  On a whim I'd thrown this little outfit in the suitcase, so Will was the best-dressed in our family.  It was a great little rodeo, with some of the best bucking horses I have ever seen and an incredible view - Lake Estes and the Rocky Mountains as the backdrop.

Will's other first was a couple of trips to the pool.  He only spent a few minutes in the pool each time, and I'm not totally sure he liked it, but he didn't hate it, either.  What he did hate was getting out - he cried and cried - but he cries getting out of the bathtub, too.  He was pretty stinking cute in his little bathing outfit, though.

The rest of the time was spent hanging out, walking around town, and just being together as a family.  We did absolutely no work and were able to, I think, truly get some much needed rest before things get going again.  Wish we could have stayed a few more days!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Catching-Up: Family Visit

As I get ready to head back to work in a couple of weeks, I am working on getting us into some good and healthy routines, and getting back into the swing of things, including blogging.  Before I get into anything new, I have a few posts coming to catch you up on our summer.

 Tia and her favorite nephew.

First, we were so excited to have my Aunt Mary, Uncle Blair, cousin Caroline and her hubs Jake, and their baby boy Henry, come to visit at the beginning of July.

 Caroline, Jake, and Henry on the porch.

I've posted about Caroline before - she's been one of my bestest best friends since birth, literally.  Exactly five months older than I am and with best friend moms (sisters), she and I have spent countless hours playing, dreaming, swimming, walking, talking, growing up, and living life together.  Despite the distance between our homes, we've stayed close.  Her little boy is just over three months older than Will, so we are already planning their best-friendship, too.   Jake, Caroline's husband, is a welcome addition to our family, and we were really glad he was able to come on this visit, too!

My aunt and uncle come out a few times a year, since Mom and Aunt Mary's dad, my grandpa, is here and can't really travel.  We have always been pretty close, but I would say the last few years have been the best - being an adult-kid adds a new level to the relationship.  Since they've been here often, they have also gotten to know Husband.  He loves being around them, too.  We're just comfortable and happy together.

 The two Nonnas and their grandsons.

This visit was different than those of the past - two babies really does change everything.  We still, however, made sure the best part of our family time still happened: breakfast and coffee at the kitchen counter and time on the front porch.  Will and I made sure to leave our house early enough that we wouldn't miss that oh-so-important time.  From pancakes to scones to Mom's incredible biscuits and many, many cups of coffee, we indulged and enjoyed. 

The men got to play golf and catch a couple of movies, while the ladies did a little shopping, a lot of chit-chatting, and, of course, a ton of baby snuggling and smiling. 

Henry and his Nonna, and Will with Caroline... he was having a rough day, but he still loved her!

Will and Henry definitely took notice of each other, and Will even picked up a few tips from Hen over their few days together (read: Will discovered his voice and started coo-ing non-stop after hearing Henry babble and laugh all the time.  He also began drooling, in apparent effort to mimic his cousin's "drool bombs."  Makes sense he would want to copy his cousin, as I always wanted to copy mine.)  We can't wait to see how the interact the next time they are together, when both are a little older!

Henry also got to meet his great-grandpa Bob, who turns 97 tomorrow.  (I'll be posting on him, don't worry.)  Grandpa loved seeing Henry and Will - we think the babies give him a new lease on life.

Henry and his Great-Grandpa Bob

Family is definitely one of the most important things to me, and this particular family some of my favorite people in the world.  So glad we got to spend a little time together and have our two baby boys meet and begin what we hope is a lifelong friendship, just like ours!

 All kinds of cousins!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Who Knew?

Who Knew That...

... some babies don't like to take naps for more than 30 minutes at a time, making it nearly imposisble to get anything of substance done?

... sneaking all sorts of bits of chocolate and other things here and there during pregnancy would indeed make it a little lot more challenging to lose the preggo-weight (read my plea for accountability here?

... a bedroom could seem so much bigger when you take the pack-and-play away and have the baby sleep in his own room?

... making a meal plan for the week and buying the groceries accordingly actually helps you stick to the budget and eat healthier?

... your house is never quite as picked up as you'd like it to be when you have a child, no matter how old they are, I'm guessing?

... you can memorize some of those children's books pretty quickly?  The sun has set not long ago, and everybody goes below... I don't even read that book anymore, I just recite it as we rock before bed.  (The Going to Bed Book, by Sandra Boynton)

... figuring out how to cut your spending to find a seemingly exorbitant amount of money to pay for daycare is quite challenging?

... coming up with creative, non-mommy things to blog is also challenging, since my day is mostly mommy-ish?

... that, even if I wanted to tell you about something non-mommy-ish, like the yummy homemade lettuce wraps with quinoa, chicken, and veggies I made yesterday, it would sort of be pointless because I didn't think to get a picture because I barely had time to make them?

...watching your baby's face light up in a huge smile when he sees you could so totally make your day?

... that Jesus still has a lot to say to you, if you'd just take the time to listen?

... and that He doesn't mind if your quiet time is interrupted frequently by attending to the baby; He still wants to talk?

... it is nearly impossible to grasp what life is going to be like when I go back to work and Husband starts school?

... how much I would miss Husband when he went back to work, even though I was (am) glad he was able to get a job?

... how freaking adorable it is to see my son sleeping in his crib, a little baby in a big bed, with his arms flung wide out of the blanket since he is apparently incapable of falling asleep without being swaddled but also incapable of not wiggling free?

... it's hard not to wish I had more followers or comments and wonder how I could grow my blog, while simultaenously stubbornly refusing to take the time to find, go to, read, and comment on others' blogs, which I think might be the trick?

... that I would be annoyed with myself for caring about something stupid like followers and comments?

... that the Bumbo may not be something our Peanut likes, even though you'd think he would?

... that DVR would be one of my almost favorite-ist things, especially upon discovery of some fun Food Network shows?

... that I end up staying awake way later than I should to grab some "me" time and put the house to sort-of-rights after Will goes to sleep, so I secretly sometimes wish his bedtime was a little earlier?

... that I could easily come up with a bunch more things I didn't apparently know?

You probably knew.... but I'm just learning them. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

3 Months and a Plea for Accountability

Note: I wrote this the day after Will's 3 Month Birthday, which was the 24th, but, due to the fires, I was distracted the rest of the week.  :)

Yesterday morning I sang "Happy Birthday" to Will to celebrate his 3 Month Birthday.  He smiled, laughed, clapped, and of course, I couldn't get it on camera.  The second he saw the little "picture about to be taken" focus light, he was wide-eyed and startled looking.  Still cute.

Development: I have no idea how much Will weighs or how long he is at this point.  I suppose I could try to weigh him and get out the tape measure, but I'm lazy.  He's bigger than he was before, that's what I know.  I'll tell you what the official result is at his 4 month check-up.  Let's just say that he fills in his car seat and your arm gets tired after holding him more than before.

He's able to hold his head up quite a bit without bobbing all over the place, and he's rolled over twice.  The first time, my friend Brooke and I were sitting and chatting while he had some tummy time and then both were like, "wait, did that just happen?!"  Actually, since I started this post, Will has proven that he officially has learned to roll over from his tummy to his back.  Put him down for tummy time, and within a minute, he'll roll over.  We've started having him sit propped up more, too, to take in a new world view.

He's alert a lot more of the time, and definitely taking in the world.  He's very verbal - he tells us about everything and I can't wait to hear more. 

Personality: Will's moods can change in the flash of an instant.  One minute, a piercing temper-tantrum throwing scream.  The next?  He's all smiles.  Really, he's wonderful.  I do think that, once he's old enough to get it, we quite possibly will be working on learning that having a fit is not the way to get something you need.

He's learning to contentedly spend time independently - in his crib, on his mat on the floor, in his swing, but he also really enjoys his "people time," too.  He really loves being held upright and checking things out.

Sleep:  Night time sleeping is going pretty well!  He's going to bed between 8 and 9 most nights, and usually wakes up between 1 and 3 to eat.  Lots of times he wakes up again between 4 and 5, depending on how early he woke up before, but if I bring him to cuddle in bed for a little while (don't judge), he goes right back to sleep until about 7. 

Nap time is the thing that's hard.  He really only will sleep for about 30 - 45 minutes max, no matter how sleepy he really is.  I'm hoping that he'll figure out the longer nap, soon.  He's certainly being awake for longer, so I think he needs to nap longer, too.  He just gets himself so tuckered out!  But he also hates falling asleep for naps - he's already not wanting to miss things.

Eating: No changes here.  Still eating every 2 to 3 hours during the day.  We do a mixture of breast-feeding and pumped bottle-feeding, with maybe a bottle of formula a day, too, depending.  He has a healthy appetite, for sure.

Likes/Dislikes:  Ceiling fans.  He loves ceiling fans.   Today he laid on the floor at my parents' house and just laughed and smiled as he watched the fan go round and round.  He likes his little ducky blanket, as you can clearly see here.  This little video makes me laugh and laugh and laugh.

He sincerely dislikes falling asleep for naps, as I mentioned, but there isn't much else he truly seems to dislike, aside from situational things.  He's really pretty good natured, except for when he isn't. :)

Baths are something that he sort of likes, like maybe.  He's pretty squirmy, and we might be moving to be a bigger baby bath soon, because he's filling up the little one pretty quickly.  The thing he doesn't like about baths is the cold air when he gets out, even though the house has been 80 degrees for the last week.  However, we've found that swaddled into this fun Lil' Husker towel, given to us by some friends, he doesn't mind it quite so much.

Milestones: I've pretty much already given these away!  He's taught himself to roll over, so that's huge.  I'm quite grateful he hasn't learned the back-to-tummy roll yet, though.  And he's a laugher, which to me is a milestone.  We've also narrowed daycare down to two places, and are leaning towards one, which may not be a milestone for him, but certainly is for me.

Mommy Update: Mommy is quite unhappy with her figure these days.  I'm going to just be totally honest and show you the two pictures that make me cringe.  And I mean C.R.I.N.G.E.   I don't want to be hung up on body image stuff, but the reality is, I don't feel good about myself, and if that doesn't change, going back to work is going to be really hard.  I need to feel healthy and feel like things are improving, so it's time to get my act together. 

And I'm asking you to help hold me accountable. 

There are a few things I really need to do to start to feel healthier and better about myself:

One: Develop a better eating schedule that I can take into the school year.  

I often don't eat breakfast, so my metabolism doesn't get going as it should.  And during school, sometimes I barely eat lunch, too.  As a result, I eat a ton in the afternoon and evening.  Recently I found out that this is how Sumo wrestlers gain weight.  Obviously that diet has clearly got to go.   I also tend to eat compulsively when doing "sitting" activities - grading papers, watching T.V., reading a book.  That needs to stop, too, unless I'm snacking on green beans!

Two: Eat better and in the right amounts.

I'm a salt and starch addict.  Give me cheese and crackers, nachos, bread and butter, and I'll be a happy girl.  Until I look at those pictures again, and realize I am starching my way into misery.  I'm mostly cutting out those types of things and loading up on the lean meats and fruits and veggies.  I'm limiting the sugar in my coffee and not drinking soda at all (except for when we go out for pizza).  I want to snack on things like grapes and almonds, but not look down and realize I've eaten the whole back of almonds in one sitting. 

Three: Exercise.

No matter how hot it is, or how much Will wants to be held, I know I can find 30 minutes to do a workout video, get on the treadmill, or go for a walk.  It's just about me getting off my lazy rear end and stopping making excuses.

That's the theme here - no more excuses.  It's time to just do it, because I need to feel good about me.  Will you help me?  Seriously, I would love to hear from you now and again asking me how I'm doing, and holding me accountable to posting periodically on my journey to better health.

Speaking of which, I'm going to go cut up the pineapple and watermelon sitting in my fridge so I can snack on those tomorrow.
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