Shave Mob Stocking Stuffer!

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The holidays are fast approaching, and I don’t know about you, but some of the hardest to shop for people on my list are the men in my life!  Sure, there’s always the crazy holiday themed ties, kids art projects, or socks that you can give the special man in your life, but what about giving him something he can actually use?!  Crazy, right?

Enter ShaveMob, with an awesome new kit for the men, or women, who are hard to shop for or are just special enough to receive the gift of baby soft, ultra smooth, hair free skin, just in time for Christmas!

Have you not heard of ShaveMob before?  Refresh your memory with my original review found HERE.  And for those to lazy to click, let me remind you of ShaveMob’s awesomeness.

Imagine the luxury of a super smooth shave from a high end razor, but with the price tag of the cheap throwaways that you know not to trust.  And, these amazing razors are delivered right to your door, no need to fight your way through the busy stores and stare at the gobs of overpriced options.  There are NO MEMBERSHIP FEES and SHIPPING IS FREE!  And, you are saving up to 70% off premium shaving razors!  Just choose your handle, pick your package, reorder when you run low.  The blades are amazing, and they last a long time!!  The only difference between these blades and the super overpriced ones found in stores, is the awesome savings and convenience of having them shipped straight to you!

We are huge fans of ShaveMob here, I haven’t been suckered into overpaying for razors since my review last year!  Why go back to that craziness?  There is a better way, my friends!

Join the mob by clicking HERE.

“Like” the ShaveMob Facebook page by clicking HERE.

Follow ShaveMob on Twitter by clicking HERE.

Whether it’s a last minute holiday gift, or just a smart investment anytime of year, ShaveMob is just smart!  Join the mob!

 

The awesome folks at ShaveMob provided products for review purposes, but all opinions are my own and I really do think ShaveMob is awesome!

 

 

Little Box Play Things

As we are oh so quickly approaching the holidays, it seems to always bring on the panic of gift hunting.  We are constantly bombarded by ads for the latest, greatest technology, or this fad toy, or this awesome gadget, it’s easy to overlook the beauty in simplicity.  This is where my awesomely talented cousin comes in and I tell you about her gorgeous gifts that can be custom tailored for any kid, big or small!

Please meet Little Box Play Things, artfully crafted by my cousin, Ashley.

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She creates these amazing, personalized treasure boxes, perfect for keeping all kinds of goodies in!  You have the ability to choose colors, names, themes, whatever your little heart desires!  Princesses, Mickey Mouse, Avengers, Game of Thrones even! If you have an idea, I guarantee you that she can run with it and leave you amazed. What a great gift idea for the hard to shop for guy!  Or girl!  She has lots of themes to choose from, and an amazing knack for really getting even the tiniest details in.  My girls keep all sorts of fun things in their boxes, anything from jewelry, lip gloss, pretty rocks, you name it!

After you pick out your amazing treasure boxes, how about fill it with imagination building toys?  She also custom makes gorgeous magnet play sets with lots of fun themes including big Disney favorites!  My kids have had hours of fun with the magnet sets, playing out favorite stories or episodes or even making up their very own stories to go along with their favorite characters!  So cute, so fun, and no batteries required!!

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To round out the fun themes, you can even have a mini bowling set created to match everything and provide lots of fun and giggles with the little ones.  Everything is gorgeous, and made with love!

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So many cute things to choose from!  Make sure you stop by and say hi and tell her what kinds of fun themes would make the perfect gift for your loved ones this holiday season or any time at all!  Nothing beats handmade with love!

Check out Little Box Play Things Etsy shop by clicking HERE.

Check out Little Shop Play Things Theme Ideas by clicking HERE.

Follow Little Shop Play Things on Facebook by clicking HERE.

Fifth’s Disease: Easy peasy for kids, massive pita for adults

Have you heard of Fifth’s Disease?  It sounds scary, doesn’t it?!  Throw “disease” into any sentence, and it has an uncanny way of stirring up immense fear, especially when it’s your child’s pediatrician, diagnosing your sweet angel with it!  That’s exactly what happened to us last month.

It started after dance class one day, when I noticed Bella had what looked like a heat rash on her legs and arms.  She had just spent several hours dancing in a warm studio with tights and a leotard on, I brushed it off pretty quickly.  The next day, however, it looked worse and covered even more of her skin.  She said it was mildly itchy, but had no other aches or pains or any signs of illness at all.  I decided to keep an eye on it, but wasn’t worried it would be anything at all.

The next morning, she complained of an upset tummy, and her rash looked angry.  I kept her home from school and made a pediatrician’s appointment.  I was expecting strep throat, as she has gotten the rash, fever and upset tummy before with no sign of sore throat but a positive strep test.  The nurses at the office agreed with me and we had her diagnosed before the doctor ever came in.  They did a rapid strep test just in case, but when the pediatrician came in, she seemed completely confident that she knew exactly what it was, and it wasn’t strep.  Fifth’s Disease.

I tried not to look terrified, as she continued to explain that it is a super common virus with kids that is very mild and by the time the rash shows up, they are no longer contagious.  She mentioned that it seemed to be going around a lot right now, but assured me it was no big deal.  That didn’t keep me from Googling it the minute we got home, but it did in fact look pretty non scary.

Fifth’s Disease is a human parvo virus, not related to the parvo virus in dogs.  It was the fifth illness related to fever and rashes in children, which is how it got it’s not so clever name.  It is also known as slapped cheek disease, because a common symptom is the appearance of what looks like freshly slapped cheeks on children.  There is no treatment, other than possible pain meds if the child isn’t feeling well, and as I said before, Bella never acted ill in any way, so it truly was a no big deal illness.  For her.

Fast forward a few weeks.  Fifth’s Disease can incubate and remain unnoticed for several weeks before any symptoms show up.  It is at this time when you are contagious, but are not showing any symptoms, so you have no clue what is coming.  Remember when I said Fifth’s Disease is easy peasy and no big deal for kids?  Well, if you are an adult, it’s a whole other story.

Most people have had fifths at some point in their childhood and so their bodies build up immunity to further infection from it.  It is not very common for adults to get it, but when they do, the symptoms are far more severe.

It started on a Saturday evening, when I starting feeling yucky.  Kind of nauseated, slight headache, and I could not get warm.  I did not sleep well at all that night, so when I felt fatigued and icky the next day, I attributed it to my poor night’s sleep.  The next night, I went to bed shivering, absolutely freezing, despite being under multiple layers of blankets, and having a very warm puppy snuggled up next to me.  I tossed and turned, I put on extra layers, a thick fuzzy robe, socks!!  This, from a person that leaves her ceiling fan on 365 days a year!  I was miserable, my muscles sore from the shivers!  It wasn’t until I started feeling itchy, and noticed that lacy rash show up that I realized I had Fifth’s Disease.

Checking my temperature showed a fever of 102.  I felt sore and achy all over, my joints screamed, I couldn’t stay warm, despite the nice weather and warm temperatures.  Yes, Fifth’s Disease as an adult BLOWS!

Today, I am almost 2 weeks in and I still have such horrible joint pain, I can barely move in the morning.  I’m suffering severe carpal tunnel symptoms from the swelling, and even had to start wearing braces on my wrists at night to attempt to lessen the intense pain I feel in the morning.  It is frightening how badly it affects the joints!  I have woken up completely unable to even close my hands, making a fist an impossible task.  Taking NSAIDS helps, as does heat therapy, but my goodness, is it miserable!  I haven’t been able to do any fancy hairstyles on Bella in the mornings for school, I can’t even make my hands work to manage a ponytail until the meds kick in and dull the pain.

I *think* I am slowly improving as the days go by, but in severe cases, the symptoms have been known to last months, years or even lead to permanent arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus, MS, the list goes on.  I am hopeful that I am not a severe case, the pain has truly brought me to tears more than once.  It’s scary, it really is.

So how can Fifth’s Disease be prevented?  We are pretty diligent about hand washing here, and covering sneezes, keeping surfaces wiped down and disinfected.  During the contagious stage of Fifth’s, there are no symptoms!  Despite our diligence, it happened.  There is no treatment, no cure, it just is.  It’s a very common illness in children, and to repeat, Bella suffered no joint pain, no prolonged illness, and is 100% well to this day.  Most people have had it as a child and don’t even know it, making them immune.  For other, poor unfortunate souls, (yes, I am totally singing Ursula’s song in my head right now and I am not even sorry) you get it and you deal because there is nothing else that can be done.  NSAIDS for pain, but other than that, grin and bear it.

My heartfelt condolences if you suffer through this as an adult.

 

 

Citrus Lane September 2014 Review!

We just got our September Citrus Lane box and I am happy to share with you all the fun little goodies we received!!  Let’s jump in!

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This month’s box was quite heavy, and no wonder, because it has a big, chunky, wodden Melissa and Doug item included!!  This month’s box contained:

Red Shape Sorting Clock from Melissa and Doug

This is an awesome addition to the box, I am always so excited to get Melissa and Doug anything!!  This is a very substantial toy, serving double duty as a tool to learn shapes when the little ones are smaller, and to help establish time telling skills when they are a bit older!  I love the bright colors and am very excited to add this to our daily home school routine for my two little ones!

Pieces Foam Bath Puzzle from Boon

A bath toy that doesn’t squirt or hold icky water, woo hoo!!  This will be a very welcome addition to splash time, a fun, bright jellyfish design in a puzzle that sticks directly to the tub wall for bathtime problem solving!  This is very cool and Sara is huge into puzzles right now, so I know she will definitely enjoy this toy!

Little Red Hen Book & CD Set from Barefoot Books

We are book hoarders in our house, so I am always super excited when we receive a book in our box!  This one is no exception, and has the fun bonus of a story cd read by Debra Messing and even a bread recipe to add a super fun activity to go along with the well loved children’s classic!  Love, love, love!

Cinnamon Crunch from Somersault Snacks

Snack time!  This month’s box included a new treat I had never heard of, a healthy new snack that is nut free and made from sunflower and sesame seeds.  Crunchy, sweet, yummy….was I supposed to share these with my kids?  Oops!!  Hehe!  They are a very yummy addition to snack time, and definitely something I am looking forward to having again!

Free Box for a Friend!

We also got a coupon to receive a free box for a friend, a nice way to introduce someone to the awesomeness of Citrus Lane!

 

So ends another awesome month of Citrus Lane!  If you are totally jelly and wishing you had your very own box of goodies delivered right to your door each month, carefully curated just for your child, then click HERE and give Citrus Lane a try!  Shipping is always free, and you get an awesome array of goodies each month specifically for your child’s age.

 

There is also a great promotion going on right now, but ending soon!  Click HERE and be sure to enter code HALFOFF to get 50% off your first box!!

Walgreens Well Beginnings Products Review!

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As a mom, we are always out on the hunt, looking for the best deals and products for our families, and that is never more true than when searching for wellness items, like diapers, wipes, and other nursery staples for our precious little ones!  Luckily for us, these items are easily found nearby, at your friendly neighborhood Walgreens store!

Have you seen the awesome Walgreens Well Beginnings Product line yet?  If not, be ready to be wowed and stop your search for convenience and quality just a short drive away, no more hunting, the search is over!

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Diapers, wipes, baby wash, electrolyte solution, Walgreens Well Beginnings line has got you covered for all of your growing baby’s ages and stages.  The diapers have super soft elastic waist and side panels, making for a super comfy fit for baby, and you can count on the plush inner liner, which features natural botanicals like vitamin E and aloe, for soothing baby’s bottom.  Diaper sizes range from newborn to size 6, and they are truly a steal, compared to the big name brand prices!

The sensitive wipes are made from a unique 3 layer fabric, specially designed with two quilted layers for superior cleansing on baby’s skin, but also strength, not tearing and leaving you with messy hands.  They are also hypoallergenic, alcohol free and dermatologist approved, not to mention, another great steal, compared to the big name brands!

Well Beginnings baby wash is 100% soap free, dye free and ph balanced.  It is gentle and safe to use all over your baby’s sensitive skin, and won’t dry out or cause tears.  It is also 100% paraben and phthalate free!  Definitely an amazing deal and a no brainer, when it comes to washing and protecting baby’s skin!

The Electrolyte solution is something that every mama should have on hand because when you need it, you won’t want to be without it!  This is such a great bargain compared to the big name brand, and it works just as well!  Now that the kids are all heading back to school, you can bet that all of the nasty little bugs and viruses will be coming home with them.  Little ones are especially prone to picking up these yucky bugs and they tend to dehydrate very easily with the tummy bugs.  Having electrolyte solution on hand, and especially dye free, is an amazing tool to helping your baby feel better soon!

Best of all, all of these items and more are all available at Walgreens, your trusted one stop shop, and all are made in the USA!

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Check out the extensive line of Well Beginnings products on Walgreens website by clicking HERE.

“Like” Walgreens and stay up to date with their amazing brand on Facebook by clicking HERE.

Follow Walgreens on Twitter by clicking HERE.

Check out more amazing products, reviews, advice, etc, by heading over to Moms Meet.  Click HERE.

 

I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meets blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my opinon on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of the product.

 

Poison

It all started with a silly dream.

I have been restless lately, battling insomnia and having vivid nightmares the last several nights.  This morning, I was startled awake by my dream, when in it, I was bitten by a baby cobra snake.  It was very dramatic, and thinking of it now, I can still feel the stinging pain that ultimately woke me from the dream world.

I filed that away to Google later, and went about my morning routine.

When I did find the time to search for the hidden meaning, the relevance of the serpentine rude awakening, I found that dreaming of snakes, and especially of bites and fear with them, can be brought on on the verge of an emotional breakthrough.  Working through something that has subconciously been eating away at you, stumbling upon an “aha moment”.  I thought on that for a few minutes before being called away to let the dogs out, brush Sara’s hair, feed the fish, etc.

The next time I found myself at the keyboard, I stumbled upon an article about toxic family members, and the lasting effects those relationships can have on a person.  As I read on, several light bulbs went off in my head, shining light on something I have been guilty of and hiding in the shadows for as long as I can remember.

When you grow up in a toxic environment, you are learning how to be toxic yourself.  The poison seeps into your veins through the constant years of marinating, learning to hate, distrust, hold grudges, be abusive, anxious, fearful and having unhealthy relationships.   You end up being programmed for misery.

Look at the people who have lived on toxic land, radiation in their soil, leeching through and poisoning them, causing illness and cancers, even death.  Living in an emotionally toxic environment is the same!  And it is highly contagious!

All of the poison, all of the bitterness and anger, the distrust and low self esteem had been leeching off of me for years, in some ways more pronounced than others.  I have essentially been teaching my children through my poor examples, to have all of the horrible, miserable traits that have only caused me pain and agony since being exposed to them in my early childhood.

This revelation has reduced me to tears.

I have been very, very careful over the years to parent in a way that was very different than my upbringing, but the potent venom has still slithered around and found hiding spots in my home.  I have seen it and I know that I brought it in.

This is not a death sentence, the cycle can be broken, the damage reversed.

Protect yourself from toxic people!!  Family members especially, the damage is real and whether you see it or not, it will bleed from your very existence and taint your loved ones and your home.  Distancing yourself from the offenders is the only way to truly heal yourself.  It’s hard, and not guilt free, but I know with my heart that it is the only way to be sincerely free from the disease.  I can love them from a distance, but my harmony with myself and my husband and my children trump any feelings of guilt they may try to bestow upon me, blemishing my recovery and blissful existence in a  toxin free environment.

So dreaming of snakes can be evidence of an emotional breakthrough.  Once I got off my knees and dried the tears, I couldn’t help but laugh at how insanely true that simple little sentence has proven to be.

Cutting The Cord

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This has been an idea stewing in the back of my brain for years and years, but finally, it has been brought to fruition!  Today, we have officially cut the cable tv cord!!  Not only will this save us over $100 a month, but it will also remove the hypnotic feeling that having over 200 channels to choose from tends to give us!

Now, don’t get me wrong, mama loves her some television!!  It is how I unwind at night, watching the ridiculous housewives, or the rapidly multiplying Duggars, or even the annual Walking Dead Fourth of July marathon.  (Yes, I have seen every Walking Dead episode multiple times, and yet, can’t seem to help myself from binge watching them again every year!)

But, with free antenna tv, which just so happens to play the vast majority of television shows that we watch, and the addition of Roku and Netflix, honestly, paying over $100 a month for tv just did not make sense!

I’m looking forward to having more time to just appreciate being together as a family!  No more endless tv choices for us and the kids, keeping us from spending more time outside or out doing things together.  No more constant begging from the kids to own every single toy that is blasted in their faces during the insane amount of commercial breaks on the many 24 hour kids networks.

I’ll have to let you know if we are all still as blissful a week or so from now!  Haha!  I know my biggest hurdle was convincing Abe, what with his MLB obsession.  Once I got him on board, I knew it was time to take the plunge!

Have you cut the cable tv cord?  Did it feel this amazing and freeing to you when you slashed your bill?  It’s wicked awesome, in my humble opinion!  ;)

Brain cells, where art thou?

Still have only one running car at the moment, and that totally blows!  Whatever, we will get by.  I need to stop making plans, expensive obstacles keep popping up and ruining them!

My baby cousins both have birthdays this month, and with it being so close to Easter, we had *hoped* to make a road trip to Indiana to go visit them with Easter goodies and birthday goodies.  Then all the car drama, boo!  And apparently, not having many brain cells left in my head after having four babies and perhaps inhaling too much E-6000 during all my crafting, it never occurred to me that the giant over sized gifts I got for them would be ridiculously expensive to ship, since we weren’t going to be there in person.

I didn’t even realize this until it was too late to ship on time for one birthday, and meanwhile, have been scrambling to find replacements that are more easily shipped.  Why does shipping have to be so expensive, by the way?  They don’t live across the world!

I feel awful about it, but it is what it is.  I miss having them all so close to us, Saraphina is only 6 weeks younger than her one little cousin, so it has been so fun watching them grow up together.

Wah, wah, wah, woe is me.  :P

Meanwhile, it is already the end of the school year!!  When did that happen?  And as always, May is insane here for us, with end of year school activities, scout outings, band concerts and dance recital!  I am trying desperately to stay on top of everything, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a wee bit panicked.  Bella has 8 costume changes in one of her performances this year, and being on the dance team, she doesn’t do just one of the two recitals, she does them both.  o.O

I splurged a bit and invested in a Dream Duffel.  I am in the process of blinging it all out, but in the mean time, I will tell you that it’s awesomeness is neverending!  It has a collapsible garment rack, for hanging and organizing all of her costumes, loads of room for shoes and accessories and even a stool to have Bella sit on while we do the hairstyle changes!!  No more sitting on the floor!!!  Gosh, I am way too excited about this thing!  Haha!

Another big change coming up, Abe has finally agreed to change scout troops!!!  Thank goodness!!  The commute was insane, and more often than not, they cancelled meetings with zero notice, after already driving the half hour it took to get there!  Ugh!!!  This will help immensely with calming down the hectic schedule and crazy commuting.  Yay!  Plus, Matt has made friends with some scouts in his new school, so he knows he will have some buddies in the new troop.

Matt’s birthday is at the end of May!!  My baby will be 12 years old!  What?!  Huh?!  Craziness!!!  Although, he is starting to get the attitude of a 12 year old, not yay.

Once all the craziness of May comes to an end, I will buckle down and commit to fully potty training Sara.  There is just too much going on right now, it’s not fair to throw something so big right in the middle of it all when I don’t have all the time needed to completely devote myself to the process.  I know she will catch on quickly though, she has shown lots of very promising signs!  Yay!

I am hoping in the very near future, maybe this weekend, we will be able to start digging into the Lancer and seeing if we can get our hands dirty and get it fixed ourselves.  I love the sense of accomplishing things on our own, and honestly, we just don’t have the money to take it to a shop that will charge way more than it would cost for us to do it ourselves.

I am feeling stretched very thin right now, I feel like I am letting people down, taking too much on, stressing about the cars, etc.  I love the fun activities in May, but I am always so relieved when June comes around and I can take a big breath before the next birthday!  Whew!

*sigh*

Last night, as I was driving Bella to dance class, my phone rang.  Now, I don’t answer my phone when I am driving.  Ever.  I have to be 100% focused on the road, I figure whatever it is, the person can wait.  I did tell Bella she could answer it for me though.  She tried to, but it rang just enough times to go to voice mail.   We could see that it was Abe calling, and I knew he was stopping at the store before going home after work, so I assumed he was going to ask me a silly question, something that could wait.

Meanwhile, Bella is explaining to me that she’s just not very good at using cellphones.  I tell her she is eight years old, there is no reason for her to be good at using cellphones.  Of course, all of her friends have them, she adds.  To which I reply, “Well that’s silly.  You don’t need a cellphone until you are old enough to drive and have an actual reason to use it.”  She agrees, and starts excitedly telling me what they are working on in dance class when the phone rings again.  It’s Abe.

“Go ahead and try answering it again,” I tell her.  This time she is able to catch it in time and happily greets her daddy over the phone.

“Daddy says it’s very important,” she says.  I laugh and tell her to relay the message to me, I can’t talk, I’m driving.  I’m expecting it to still be some silly question about which cat litter to buy, or if he should get milk while he’s out.

“He says he was in an accident.”

My heart stops.

I know I have to stay calm.

“Is he okay?”  I have nowhere to pull over, my hands won’t loosen their grip from the wheel.  I am hyper aware of every car around me, suddenly focused nearly to the point of paranoia.

“Yes, he says he’s okay.”

Breathe.

“Is the car okay?”

Breathe.

“No, he says the car is not okay.”

Breathe.

“Okay.  Tell him we love him, to stay safe, and I will call him back in just a few minutes when I can pull over.”

I can’t freak out, my baby is sitting right next to me, watching me, reading my expression, my body language, trying to gauge how she should react.

“I’m sure he is just fine, and that’s what’s important.  Cars are nice, but they’re just things, you know?,” I glance at her face as I try to reassure her.  She nods in agreement.  “At least we still have your car, Mommy!”

The closer we get to the studio, the more uncomfortable I get.  I am anxious to hear Abe’s voice, to hear what happened, to be reassured myself.  I’m also stressed, worried about the car, worried what we will do, how bad it is.

Once Bella is in class, I sit in the car and dial Abe’s number.

He answers quickly, assures me he’s okay, but tells me the car is undrivable.  The only thing that honestly matters is his safety, but I won’t lie.  The thought of a totaled car was a heavy weight on an already tired back.  I know he is far more stressed than I am, he is very much a pessimist.  I can hear the stress in his voice.  We decide he needs to have the car towed to the house, that we will just figure it out from there.  He tells me the tow truck will give him a ride home and so I hang up the phone and try to digest what happened.

The weather was gloomy.  Dark, cloudy, smelling like rain.  It was too warm to sit in the car with the windows up, so I rolled them down, closing my eyes and letting the breeze cool my flushed face.  As the first tears began to fall, the sky opened up, spilling raindrops into the car window, disguising the sadness and washing it all away.  I saw my reflection in the rear view mirror and laughed.  You couldn’t tell a single tear was shed, it simply looked like I was caught in a quick spring storm.  And before I could reflect further on my sadness, using the gloomy, dark weather as a crutch, the rain stopped, cut by brilliant sunshine.  Another look in the rear view mirror revealed a gorgeous rainbow behind me.

You can’t have a rainbow without rain.

I was drunk in the symbolism of it all, how perfectly it was all timed.

My husband is safe.  He was not injured.  We are so blessed, every single day and in so many ways.  This too shall pass.  It sucks, don’t get me wrong, but it could have been so much worse.

On an optimistic note, while the car does not look good by any means, I am hoping that it is possible to repair it.  I have been doing some research, (I’m a Google Queen, remember), and it sounds like there is at least some possibility that it can be salvaged.  Not right now, not right away, but hopefully soon.  I refuse to be pessimistic about it until proven wrong, so, you know, I got that going for me.  :)

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