Christmas Eve

From December 24….

Christmas Eve fell on a Sunday and our church closed its services with a candlelight ceremony.  They had candles for the kids that had the wax guard, so both Abbi and Lilli grabbed one heading into the auditorium.  We lit them by passing the flame down the aisle, and mostly I was just holding my breathe hoping Abbi didn’t decide she was done with hers and light the whole place on fire.  I held mine and helped her with hers, and Lilli never took an eye off her candle and was so glad when it was time to blow them out.  She said it made her so nervous.  Ha!

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Matching sisters.  I realized I didn’t have anything new for them for Christmas so I grabbed these at Target really quickly the day before!

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That afternoon it was time to make cookies! Lilli is an old pro and really didn’t need a bit of help.

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Abbi didn’t need much help, either.  She got in there and was using the rolling pin and really only needed help NOT using a ton of flour.

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Baking pros.

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I’m basically out of sprinkles after all of this.

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She had even managed to die her hands “rainbow” from all the sprinkle usage!

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The finished product turned out really tasty and not half bad to look at!

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We watched Polar Express and they got to each open one present before bed.  Then they picked out cookies for Santa and Mrs Claus and carrots for the reindeer.  They were wearing their new PJs from their elf, Flower.

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One last holiday pose……

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Holiday letter to Santa with instructions….

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They watched their annual Santa video and checked his location on NORAD before deciding they needed to get in bed.

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And of course we had to read The Night Before Christmas.

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I’m pretty sure he’s making up some words!

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Once the house was quiet and everyone was still…..Santa came!

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Christmas Celebrations

From December 22-23…..

The best way to kick off Christmas break – a little house cleaning! We turned some music on, everyone cleaned for an hour, and we got a lot done – which is usually how we clean the house.  Everyone likes using the Swiffer Wet Jet – and while I’m not sure how much cleaning is really done, everything is REALLY wet.  If you haven’t seen a Swiffer Pad completely dripping and unable to hold any additional liquid, you’ve never had Abbi clean your floors!

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After chores were done we all headed to Target together for the last of our shopping.  We split up and traded off, letting Abbi get something for Lilli and vice versa, and letting each of them pick out something for Brent and I.  As soon as we met back up Abbi immediately told Lilli what she’d picked out for her.  It didn’t even take 30 seconds for the secret to be up.

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That evening we had the last of our season tickets for the Symphony – tickets to see the orchestra along with Home Alone, the movie.  Home Alone is a family favorite that we ALL love and somehow haven’t worn out yet.  We didn’t think Abbi would really sit still through it so we just got two tickets and let Lilli pick one of us to go with her as a special “big kid only” outing.  Since she was my last minute date to Jennifer Nettles, she and Brent went to this one.

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Since they ate at home before going he treated her to a Coke at the symphony hall and they had great balcony seats for the show.  The orchestra played along with all of the score pieces – you don’t realize how much music is in it until you attend something like this!

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They had a great time, and that’s a tradition I can see the four of us picking up next year as Abbi gets older – and needs less potty breaks.  They got drenched walking back over the pedestrian bridge afterwards – we have had the most insanely wet winter.

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Meanwhile, I let Abbi pick something fun for the two of us to do and she wanted Sweet Cece’s ice cream.  I got a Starbucks soy vanilla latte from next door and she got candy with a side of ice cream.

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We also did a little shopping across the street at Nordstroms and Rack.  She definitely had a good time being the solo kid on our errands.

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The next morning we had tickets to Cheekwood’s Breakfast with Santa.  I’d always heard good things about their event but never had a chance to go, and it does sell out early every year.  With our membership it was really affordable, and so well done that it will for sure be something we do every year.

Our free library picture this year was Santa was terrible so we didn’t have a ton of hope that Abbi wouldn’t cry this time, too.  We waited outside for them to open the doors, then you go in and pick your table, and you can either go through the breakfast buffet or go ahead and do your Santa picture.  We went ahead and did our Santa picture since Abbi + waffle syrup would definitely equal a sticky picture! Lilli saw Santa come in and was blown away – she typically tells Abbi that the Santa’s they pose with are just his helpers because he’s so busy.  When she saw him she asked us if this was the real Santa.  I don’t know but he looks REALLY good.  And then miracles happened and Abbi walked right up and smiled!

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The staff directing everyone was great and you got as many pictures as you wanted with no rush.  We asked for a Selfie.

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And they took one of us – I like the selfie better.  The backdrop isn’t that great and we were so spread out that the selfie just turned out cuter.  I wish we’d been able to go to the event earlier in the month because these would’ve been great Christmas card photos!

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And Santa took plenty of time asking them what they wanted and asking if they’d been good.  Abbi wouldn’t talk to him, but Lilli did represent for her.

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And the breakfast was SO good! Waffles, sausage, eggs, fruit and of course cocoa, orange juice and coffee.  When you’re done eating they had cookies to decorate.

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You got to put all kinds of toppings on them – the girls dove right in but we were stuffed.

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Afterwards we walked around outside and admired the fake trees they had up for Lights, their holiday display.  We thought it was existing trees wrapped in lights, but the entire thing was fake.

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And we had to stop in and see the reindeer they bring in for the season.

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It was cold.  It was raining.  Basically the same as every other day from Dec-Feb this year!

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They crack each other up.  I prefer this one million times to the days when all they do is bicker!

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A little creative packaging.

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Show time!

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We had the Godbys over for a holiday dinner of chili and potatoes, and pizza for the kids.  The kids table was more than happy to pose! I’m not sure why they all sat on the same side since we eat in another room!

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Friends will always help you look your best.

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Last Day of School!

From December 21…..

The last day of school before Winter Break is always the best, and this year Lilli had her big Chorus performance!

This year she had wanted to do Chorus – it’s only open to 3rd-5th graders, so all semester one morning a week before school she goes to Chorus with a bunch of her friends.  The Dance group is open to 4th and 5th graders, and Stage is only for 5th graders. She wants to try Dance next year and Stage in 5th, or at least that’s her current plan.

We’d heard her practicing the songs all semester and now it was time to finally see them on stage!

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She’s on the front left side, 8th kid from the left (as you look at the stage.)

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A little more of a close up during one of the songs…..

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During some of the songs the dance team danced while they sang, sometimes it was just dance, and sometime chorus.  Even though she’s been in gymnastics since she was 4, I was always a little worried she might not be seasoned enough for Dance team next year.  After the performance I no longer have that worry.  It’s very low key and definitely open to all……

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The full Chorus.  It was a cute performance with songs, a video storyline and just a fun little Winter Break message.

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Her favorite and mine – a song from Hamilton.  Complete with Chorus “moves”.

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Their performance was at 9 and then their Christmas party at 11 so I worked from home that day and came back for their holiday party since they were getting out a half day.  She invited her friend Emerson to come home with us and play for the afternoon.  They gave Ms Smart big hugs and told her they’d see her next year.  She is literally the sweetest teacher ever and I hope Abbi has her in a few years!

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Meanwhile……Abbi was having a big day, too! They had PJ and Polar Express Day.  Miss Rachel sent me this sweet picture.  Abbi has the best teachers, they are all so sweet and cuddly to her and are so fun to be around.

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They got to watch Polar Express and even had a conductor and hobo come to class.  They all got Golden Tickets and had so much fun.  This is her class and the class of 3/4s that she was in last year.  Abbi’s class is standing while the younger ones are sitting.  Her teachers are in the back left – Miss Allison, Mr Collin, and then Miss Rachel is next to the hobo (her boyfriend.) Miss Rachel is leaning on Miss Barb, who was one of Abbi’s teacher’s last year.  Abbi’s on the left side in front of the Conductor – next to her bestie Stella and behind her boyfriend Isaac.

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That night we decided to head out for some holiday light viewing.  Abbi decided to move back to the third row and she’s still there.  It somehow keeps the peace so much better.

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We waited 45 minutes to see the Sunnyside lights.  It was just nuts and we were frazzled by the time we got up there.  It’s really fantastic and this was the last year he’s doing all these lights to honor his son who passed away several years ago.  But the crowds this year were insane and by the time we got up to it we were ready to call it a night!

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He decorates several houses on the block and is still going to do a small display next year, but this was the last of his big over the top displays.  We’re pretty sure the neighbors on his street won’t be mad since traffic is INSANE and it would be a nightmare if you lived on the street.

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Christmas Personalities

From Dec 17 – 20…..

These two cracking themselves up while seeing if they can have apple slice mouths.  And mostly Olli is just hoping something lands on the floor for him to eat.

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It’s sad how Abbi just has zero personality.

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I think if this was cheaper we would have bought it!

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Brent and I had some extra time off left we needed to take, so we took a day off and headed out to wrap up the rest of our holiday shopping.  We got the rest of what we needed for the kids, had lunch at a Mexican restaurant, relaxed a little at home, and then both went to Abbi’s Christmas party.  She thought it was the coolest thing ever that we both came, since typically only one of us (or neither) come.  The preschool parties are…..basically just a snack.  They don’t play games or really do anything, so most of the time we don’t attend.  Her teachers did a great job with their Grinch theme and everything looked cute.

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There’s 19 kids in her class and they all enjoyed their fun Grinch themed snacks while the movie played in the background.  Abbi has 3 teachers and she really likes all of them.

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Abbi loved the punch – I tried a little and it was great! One of her teachers is very artsy and creative and does a great job with the decor and their crafts.

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After we got home we headed out to do a little shopping for their teachers.  Paper Source was a big hit with them, it’s such a cute store.

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We also went to the library for their Finals week festivities.  They were having pizza and all kinds of things for the older kids to help celebrate finals week and help them relax.  They had a “puppy” event where they brought in dogs for the teens to play with and help as a study break.  I think Lilli had envisioned a room with hundreds of puppies just running free, so she was a little disappointed to see 3 dogs on leashes you could pet.

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I had told her she could invite a friend home from their half day of school to play with while I worked.  She invited her friend Emerson and that week they worked on a to-do list to make sure they squeezed as much fun as possible in before the end of the day.

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May the Force Be With You

From Dec 11 – 16…..

Not a lot of exciting pictures from this part of December.   Abbi got over her stomach bug and was able to go back to school.  Lilli had a ton of projects, tests, and assignments due during her last few days.  They had to do a book presentation, time line, and costume of a biography chapter book.  She picked Abigail Adams and we all learned a lot about one of the former first ladies and one of the first feminists.  She ended up wearing my same old Easter dress – it’s come in quite handy for all her “old time” dress up days at school.  Sadly I’m not entirely sure I grew up in the “old times”.

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Abbi helped make some cookies for her teachers at school.

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Just a regular library visit with Miss Fancy pants.  The stroller actually comes in handy at the library for helping us cart books.  When it isn’t full of multiple babies.  She wants to have one baby and one boy when she grows up.  The concept that babies don’t always stay babies is still lost on her.

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The new Star Wars came out so we had to go out and see it opening weekend.  We dropped the little sisters off at Parents Night Out at LIS so we could triple date again.

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Of course the three of us had to dress us! I got a new Carrie Fisher shirt for myself since this would sadly be her last time to be Leia.

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Of course Lilli had to do lots of cute and fancy posing afterwards.  She really liked the movie.  Brent and I thought it started slow but then picked up the last half.  The theater was so crowded and they now do assigned seats.  That part was nice because we were running late getting through concessions after the girls got dropped off, but on the flip side I was stuck next to a really strange guy who brought in a burger and chomped ice the entire time.  Last year I went to a total of two movies, and that’s pretty much why.

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Lilli and Serif.  I think he was less than impressed with her fancy moves.

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The move crew! I’m sure we’ll do it all again when the new one comes out in May! It took about 10 shots to get this since Lilli kept doing peace signs and all kinds of other random gestures.

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Did the little sisters miss us a bit or feel bad they didn’t get to go to the movies? Um, no.  I think they had plenty of fun on their own.

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Unexpected Date

From December 6-10…..

For a few days Abbi had been complaining of her stomach hurting.  We really thought maybe she was just constipated, and it seemed to come and go – mostly coming when she didn’t want to do something and going when she did want to do something.

On this particular day, I got a call near the end of the day that she was complaining of her stomach really hurting.  Brent was already on his way and I had just left work, too.  When he got to her she kept saying she was going to throw up and we were trying to figure out what was going on.   All of this was about 15 minutes before our babysitter was coming for our Date Night to go see a holiday show at the Symphony.

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She was standing over the toilet when Miss Chelsey got to our house, so she went upstairs to visit with Lilli while we decided what to do.  Abbi promptly fell asleep in the floor, then threw up, then went back to sleep.  We were all sad – as Chelsey left Abbi asked why she was leaving.  Lilli was upset because she loves to spend time with Chelsey, and then of course Brent and I weren’t too thrilled to have our night out rearranged.

So, Lilli became my date for Jennifer Nettles holiday show at the Symphony.  Instead of a nice dinner out, we ate fish sticks at home before heading downtown.

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I didn’t expect I’d be taller than my date that night.

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I had gotten Brent and I really nice seats at the front of the middle section for the show.  We’re not huge Jennifer Nettles fans, but we have always enjoyed trying different holiday shows around town and had hoped she might bring some special guests.

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I had thought it would be all holiday songs, but she mixed her hits with Sugarland’s hits and also some holiday songs.  I felt bad for Lilli because she had no idea who this lady was and this will go down as her first real concert.

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Overall it was a good show, but I don’t think I’d see it again.  She’s a good singer but it was so few holiday songs that it didn’t seem like a Christmas show.

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One last shot with my date.

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Brent stayed home with Abbi the next day.  She woke up saying she felt good and it was Nacho day at school so they surprised Lilli to have lunch with her.

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Lilli picked Katelyn to eat with her.

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And then while they were eating she started feeling bad again.  Brent took her to the doctor and she tested negative for flu and strep, and they said it would just be a virus for a few days.

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I stayed home with her on Friday.  She woke up early and then went right back to sleep.

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And I spent most of the day working like this.

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The next day I went and got my hair cut and color updated.  It felt great to get out of the sick house and get spruced up!

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That night was luminary night in Brentwood.  It was so cold and windy they kept blowing out and over, including one of our neighbors across the street having one catch on fire!  We went out to look at lights later that night but Abbi was in a bad mood and kept telling us she wanted to throw up so we would go home.  A nice, fun night of holiday lights just wasn’t in our cards that night!

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Brentwood Traditions

From Dec 3 – 5….

Abbi has discovered tights through her ballet class that she started taking last fall – and surprisingly she LOVES tights.  I am constantly having to tell her that tights are not pants.  It’s a battle we fight multiple times per week.

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A pretty Sunday afternoon in December is the PERFECT time for practicing our archery.  I miss weather like this!! It’s been a long winter since we’ve gotten to practice.

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Abbi loves to wear ballet things all the time.  Bike riding in a tutu and tights? Why not?

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The State tree all decorated for Christmas.  It was so nice having a view of the tree the entire holiday season.

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We went to the annual Brentwood tree lighting and made sure to get tickets for the Polar Express reading again.  Several of Lilli’s friends were able to get tickets for the same reading so she sat with them.  It’s become a fun tradition to watch the tree being lit, eat some cookies, and then listen to the Conductor read the Polar Express.

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Thankfully she can still hear the bell, at least for this year.

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Afterwards we went back out to look at the tree – it’s a lot easier to do when the crowd has thinned out!

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Family tree photo for 2017!

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It was Awards night at gymnastics when the girls get their medals for the semester to reward their hard work.  Lilli got her Intermediate Cheer and Tumble medal.

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I have no idea how many medals she has! She’s been going there since Abbi was a newborn!  She’s done Pre-Rec, Advanced Pre-Rec, Shining Stars, Beginning Cheer and now Intermediate Cheer.  She also did the Ninja class for a while, too.

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And Abbi – she wanted to wear her ballet outfit, of course.

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And you also get trophies for the number of years you’ve been there, so Lilli added some trophies for years of service to her collection, too.

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Lilli with ALL her gymnastics medals.  The girl has cleaned house over the years between her participation medals each semester and also the ones from competitions.  I told her I’d get her a shelf for the trophies to add in the gym, too.  And Abbi does have several medals of her own now so we need to add a rod for her and frame one of her gymnastics pictures, too.  Both girls really enjoy gymnastics and the programs offered at LIS, so as long as they like it and we can get their classes at roughly the same time we’ll keep it up.

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