Fashion & Beauty · Pregnancy

Maternity Photos

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Maternity Gown (wearing the unlined version – with a slip! – in S)

Today is the big day! Soon we’ll be settled down into our hospital room, getting induced. All things considered we are excited and nervous at the same time and as I prepare for an intense ride ahead of me, I figured the post for today should be light and fun. 🙂

We had our maternity photos done about two weeks ago by Kelly Williams of Kelly Williams Photography and we could not be more thrilled with the results! We’ll be seeing her again very soon for newborn photos after our little one arrives. 🙂

Enjoy!

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Fashion & Beauty · Pregnancy

Pregnancy Update: 38 Weeks!

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“Always Hungry” Crop Top / Stripe Pajama Bottoms similar here

It has been a very hectic few weeks around here. Since my last post, our oven blew up (total overstatement), our fish came down with fin rot and we got some very unexpected baby news. All in all, we’re taking it as it comes and have successfully installed a new oven, are medicating Patronus (please get better, little guy!) and are eagerly awaiting our new addition. Oh, and we had our maternity photos done and they turned out sooooooo beautifully!

baby size: a leek – in length, not girth
bump size: still really big to me, apparently not so big to everyone else

symptoms: bending over is…over, contractions (literally having them during these photos!)
cravings: pizza, chocolate

worst part so far: being told we’re getting induced
best part so far: finishing up the nursery

Funny how a small change in plans affects so much, especially when you’re pregnant. After all of our absolutely perfect prenatal appointments and signing paperwork for the new low intervention suite at our hospital – where they allow low risk women to have low intervention births (like a home birth in a hospital setting) – we were hit with what I feel like was a bomb.

We were told last week that the baby is not as heavy as they’d like it to be and that there is a chance that the placenta is not functioning as well as it should. Because the doctors are erring on the side of caution, I am not being allowed to go to my due date. I am being induced in three days. THREE DAYS. It’s only one week and a day earlier than my original due date, but that’s one week and one day less than we thought we had! Cue panic.

As upset as I originally was, I have accepted the terms that this baby is coming on and am even looking forward to meeting our mystery baby (and being not pregnant) a week early. 🙂 As far as the baby’s health is concerned all my tests are still coming back perfectly – my blood work, non stress and doppler ultrasounds look beautiful – and the doctor has informed us that once the baby is born tests can be run on the placenta if they’re needed. More so, it’s possible that the baby comes out at a higher weight than they estimated or that I simply make small, yet otherwise perfectly healthy babies.

Oh, and that low intervention room? Yeah. Totally out the window thanks to being induced. :/

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Pregnancy

Friday Favorites: Pregnancy Gear

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We’ve all heard about favorite baby gear, but there’s a long road ahead of each baby’s arrival and there are just some things that I could not have lived through this pregnancy without.

Belly Band
The very first thing I purchased after finding out I was pregnant was a belly band. Within a month or two, you’ll already be so bloated that your normal pants will not button and nobody really wants to be buying maternity clothes that early, if at all. I ordered a size small and they still fit really well.

Bio Oil
Pregnancy changes your body. The one change I really didn’t want to have to deal with was stretch marked, sagging skin after the fact. I have been using Bio Oil religiously since I found out (once a day during the first trimester and then twice a day beginning in my second) and I have not gotten a single stretch mark and am currently 38 weeks along. I’m not saying that it’s all to do with the Bio Oil – I have been diligent about not gaining weight too rapidly – but I do believe the Bio Oil is helping my skin stay moist and elastic.

Underwire Free Bra
Back up to before I lost 36 pounds – my boobs were large. After losing 36 pounds, guess what? They were still big. My band size stayed the same (although I went from the biggest setting on the hook to the smallest) and I only lost a cup size. Fast forward to getting pregnant and within three months my cups were overflowing…in my old bra size. Although I could get away with loosening my band, it quickly became uncomfortable especially for lounging around the house.

After many failed attempts at finding an underwire free bra that fits a 28 band size and supports a large cup, I did find some relief. The Bali Comfort Revolution Wirefree Bra with Smart Sizes has been my saving grace. Because my rib cage is so tiny, I decided to go with the smallest size – the XS. It still rides up a bit because the band is still a little large but the cups are so forgiving and definitely accommodate more than the size chart says they do. I plan on wearing this around the house before and after delivery while the ladies are large and sore.

Maxi Dresses
After we got back from China, I swore off jeans. Well, I swore off jeans mostly. 🙂 After a certain point, even when people say you’re not that big, you most certainly are bigger than you were. Add in swelling and the fact that you wake up in the morning and your comfort baseline is already uncomfortable because, well you’re carrying around a tiny human, jeans are not on your radar.

I have been utilizing the maxi dresses in my closet almost every time I have to get “dressed up” – the other times, it’s leggings and a tunic. Here are some of my favorite maxi dresses that have gotten me thus far: Floral Maxi, Casual T Shirt Maxi, V Neck Maxi.

Medication
There are some women who are scared to take anything during pregnancy. Go this route and you will have a miserable nine months. Stock up on a few safe medications and keep yourself comfortable: Unisom (for sleep trouble), Tyelnol (or acetaminophen because things WILL hurt during pregnancy), Gas-X (no shame, ladies) and some Robitussin (I can’t remember exactly which types are safe, so make sure to check with your doctor and read the label). Oh, and yes, the seven day version of Monistat is safe so feel free to use as needed.

Pregnancy is hard on your body, don’t make it harder when you don’t have to.

What are some of your favorite items that helped you through pregnancy?

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Fashion & Beauty · Food & Parties · Pregnancy

Baby Shower Details!

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In case you haven’t heard…I. LOVE. PARTIES. The decorations, the company, the FOOD. What makes a party even more fun? When it’s your party! A few weekends ago my mom and sister hosted my baby shower and they did such a fantastic job!

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Outfit
Easter was literally a week before my shower and the dress I chose totally hid my belly. I had people all day saying “aren’t you supposed to be pregnant”. :/ Because people keep saying I’m small and I don’t show from behind I decided that I was going to make sure to show off my baby bump for the shower. The kicker? You still can’t even see my bump in most of my baby shower photos – the photo above is the best shot of my belly. LOL.

The ruching of the dress definitely helps conceal any less than perfect parts but you’ll still definitely want a nude slip to keep the white from being see through and to help smooth out any bumps. Bonus: this dress will fit after pregnancy – I was able to fit into an XS at 33 weeks pregnant. This dress also comes in a bunch of other colors as well as a long sleeve option.

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Decorations
Because we still don’t know what we’re having we went with a combo of mint, coral, yellow and gray. My mom and youngest sister painted baby blocks for the centerpieces, made a banner for behind the gift and game table and used tissue poms to alleviate some empty wall space.

I believe my mom made the jeopardy board using a tri fold display and I typed up some simple signs to use on the game table. (If you have never been to DaFont, I HIGHLY recommend it – I love being able to download free fonts to use on invites and decor!)

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 Food
The food was exactly what you need for a shower – simple and tasty. Mom and my sister did funeral sandwiches, crockpot meatballs, a fruit and veggie tray and a cheese and cracker tray. The cake was my favorite – chocolate Costco cake! – and my mother even showed me the order sheet she basically murdered. She spent a lot of time explaining to the bakery EXACTLY what she wanted – complete with stapled on samples of the shower colors. Definitely keeping that order form forever. 🙂

Games
I picked out the games I wanted to play at my shower because I have a burning hate for horrible shower games. The games were split into two categories – actual games and not-so-actual games. The difference? To me, games that are similar to “how many blanks are in this jar” are not real games, they’re toss ups. Real games are games that can be played to win and require some skill on the participants’ part.

We did two faux games. Everyone who brought a book for the baby was entered in a raffle. We also did my variation on “how many blanks in the jar”, changing it to “how many diapers does mommy have in her stockpile”. We took a picture of my diaper stockpile, put it in a frame and let people write down their guess as they came in.

As for the real games, we played three – Baby Bingo, The Name Game and Baby Jeopardy. Baby Bingo is a fun way to keep guests entertained while you’re opening presents; they fill in a bingo card with their guesses as to what you will receive and mark them off as you open matching presents. The Name Game is a fun, fast game that requires guests to make as many names as they can from the parents’ names in 5 minutes – the one with the most wins! As for Baby Jeopardy, we play it as a team game and it essentially works just like regular jeopardy. The categories we used were “Laura’s Pregnancy” (details about my pregnancy like who found out first and what my symptoms were), “All About Baby” (facts about our baby like how many cousins he or she will have when they’re born and the babys’ due date), “Mommy’s Cravings” (all about what I was craving during pregnancy), “Disney Babies” (matching Disney moms to their kids) and “Old Wives’ Gender Tales” (the folklore people use to tell if you’re having a boy or a girl).

As for the prizes, we opt for giant candy bars. (Soap and candles are nice, but a huge hunk of chocolate? No contest.) Not the king size bars or the XL bars, but the really big bars you find back with bagged candy; they’re about $2 -$3 each and we typically get a few of each flavor and have winners pick one from the pile.

The Result
One of the major reasons we opted to not find out the baby’s gender is because we knew that if we found out, we’d likely end up with a load of clothes and not much in the way of baby gear. I’m still not 100% clear on why women with kids always seem to follow that same pattern, but it’s like “do you not remember that you didn’t want all those clothes either”.

Luckily, our plan worked out and we ended up getting most of the large items off our registry with a grand total of about half our registry bought. We ended up only needing to purchase the baby monitor, baby carrier, drawer organizers and the small odds and ends that I really thought would have been bought first (nail clippers, brush, nasal aspirator, etc). The turnout really could not have been better and we are so blessed to have such wonderful family and friends. 🙂

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Pregnancy

What’s On My Baby Registry

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We are in the home stretch, folks! My baby shower is just around the corner and will soon be followed by our first baby. 🙂

First, let me say that by my own admission I am a very picky person. I am NOT and will never be someone who buys something because it’s cheap and will work for now. The same rules applied when I created my baby registry; I took a lot of time to research what we truly needed for our baby, what would provide us with function and the ability to last multiple children.

If you’re unsure about which places to register with, let me give you one piece of advice – do your research and register with the ones that give you the best deals, even if that means more than one registry.

For example, if you are a Prime member (or sign up to be one) the Amazon baby registry will give you a 15% off completion discount for eligible items before a month or so before your due date. The discount can be used in two transactions up to two months after your due date! Prime members are also eligible for Baby Bucks earnings on participating baby items. Baby Bucks is a $100 credit towards diapers and wipes when items purchased from your registry (either by others or yourself) adds up to $1000. For reference: I totally thought this was way out of our range, but we’re already up to $830 of the $1000 just from people who have bought from our registry, so we will absolutely hit that mark after we finish up buying first year necessities.

Graco 4Ever 4 in 1 Convertible Car Seat
Holy crap! That’s a lot of money for a car seat! Yes. It is on the expensive side, but since I have added it, there have been tons of sales making this car seat anywhere from $199 to as low as $149, depending on the finish you choose. This car seat is designed to last your baby from newborn up to 120 pounds, going from rear facing infant all the way to backless booster. (For reference, my pre pregnancy weight was 113 pounds, so I think this has you covered for as long as your child needs a booster. 🙂 ) One and done.

Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 Infant Car Seat
Wait. Didn’t I just say “one and done”? You caught me. The reason I registered for the infant seat and the convertible seat is because of function. Convertible car seats are designed to stay in the car – they don’t come with a carrying handle and they don’t lock onto the strollers designed for infant seats. We purchased a double Sit ‘n Stand stroller from Craigslist after I found out we were pregnant (in excellent condition for only $60!), but we have no infant seat for those first months that the baby won’t be able to sit on its’ own. And the last thing I want to do is try to wiggle my wobbly headed infant out of the car seat while its’ still in the back of my car. In conclusion, the first couple of months our baby will ride in an infant seat and then we’ll transition to the convertible.

Baby Car Mirror
I cannot explain the terror I had when my nephew would make funny sounds in his rear facing seat and I was doing 75 on the interstate, unable to see what was going on. I immediately knew that this product would be on my registry. It hangs in front of a rear facing seat so you can see your baby while driving.

Infant Optics Video Monitor
My mother tells us all the time that even when we didn’t cry during our naps she would constantly come in and lay her hand on our chests to make sure we were breathing. Kicker? I did the same thing to my nephew when I babysat. To me, a monitor with only sound is useless. How many times has a silent baby meant a sleeping baby? Maybe 50% of the time. The other 50%? Crayon on the wall, poop smeared everywhere and a slew of other things. I want to be able to see my baby.

Diaper Backpack
Think of all the things you carry now. Add a baby, in or out of a car seat, and a diaper bag. Think you can do it? Think again. The first day I babysat, I went online to see if they made diaper backpacks. Bingo. Do yourself a favor and get a diaper backpack instead of a traditional tote bag. And do your man a favor and get it in a unisex pattern and color – no man, I don’t care what he says, wants to carry around a baby pink floral diaper bag. Then do yourself one more favor and stock that bag with a changing pad (you don’t know what’s on those public changing tables!) and a couple clear organizer bags. You may think those organizer bags are overkill, but wait until your baby poops out the side of their outfit and you have nowhere to put the dirty clothes except in your diaper bag. Ew.

Infantino Squeeze Station and Reusable Pouches
I have always wanted to make my own baby food. It’s cheaper, it’s healthier and I have control over what kinds of foods and flavors my baby is exposed to. This squeeze station makes it easy to fill squeeze pouches and the reusable pouches themselves can be safely used up to 12 times each – so much cheaper than the disposables or buying squeeze pouches from the store! I’ve also heard that the squeeze pouches are easier to organize in the freezer and perform better than those baby food cube trays.

Shopping Cart Cover
This is another thing I knew I needed when I was babysitting my nephew. First, he looked so uncomfortable sitting in the cold, hard seat and then started touching everything and putting his hands in his mouth. Now, I don’t sanitize my shopping carts because I’m older and the chances of me getting sick from that are slim and even if I do get sick it’s an annoying cold and then it’s over. With a baby, any small cold is a nightmare, so this immediately went on my list.

Ergobaby 360 Carrier
Another splurge item that will be worth its’ weight in gold. This carrier allows you to carry your baby in all positions – back carry, front carry, hip carry, all facing in or out. We are an active couple that are out and about a lot, including hiking so I figure this carrier will get plenty of use. Again, pick a neutral color that your partner is comfortable wearing.

Joovy Playard
Baby needs a safe place to play and sleep either at home or on the go. Mommy needs an attractive pack and play that isn’t covered in obnoxious prints or animals. Enter Joovy Playard and we have a winner. Bonus points for having about double the space of a traditional pack and play.

Graco Glider Elite Baby Swing
I like space saving products. This swing is a glider and bouncer in one, plus its space saving design takes up 40% less space than other swings. Score!

Bumbo Multi Seat
The first time I saw a Bumbo seat, my reaction was a little less than positive – what a waste of money. Within a week of babysitting my nephew, I was begging my sister to buy him a Bumbo. He constantly wanted to be sitting up and playing or looking around at his surroundings and I just could not hold him in that position for 8 hours. Luckily, she caved and my babysitting world changed. I registered for a slightly different type of Bumbo – the multi seat – which has the floor seat nestled into a removable booster seat and comes with a play tray. Here we are again with multiple uses in one item: bumbo floor seat for babies who can’t quite sit up on their own yet, a booster seat for older children and a high chair for feedings. You know I love it!

NoseFrieda Aspirator
Ever try using a traditional nasal aspirator on a sick baby? Bet you it was the last time you ever tried. Traditional aspirators just do not do their job well. Baby is snotty and grumpy and will just continue to get grumpier the longer it takes you to clear their boogers. This aspirator has amazing reviews and I can’t wait to try it out! Ok, I can, because I don’t want a sick baby, but just in case. 🙂

Labor Gown
There are not enough words in the English language for me to describe my absolute hatred toward hospital gowns. They’re scratchy, thin and expose your entire backside for the whole hospital to see. No. Not even a no, thank you. Just. No. As mundane as it may sound, I am not going to sit around in an uncomfortable, totally exposing gown for the entire time I’m in the hospital all the while multiple nurses and family members are in and out constantly.

Swivel Glider Recliner
Babies mean long nights for awhile. Long nights mean being as comfortable as possible. People have offered to get me wooden rockers and gliders. As sweet as the thought is, I can already imagine the frustration we would have in the middle of the night. I spent a lot of time thinking about what we need in a chair for our nursery and the top things I came up with were: rocking or gliding motion, being able to recline and comfortable enough to sleep in if we had to. (Bonus points for being an attractive, high quality chair that will get us through all our babies. 🙂 ) After a lot of searching and showing my husband our options, we both agreed that this was the chair for us. It does everything we need it to and has great ratings.
**Note: We registered for this before there was a bunch of talk that ToysRUs would be closing, so we when we heard the news we ended up biting the bullet early and purchasing it before we lost it forever – literally a week after we purchased it online, ToysRUs shut down their websites. Purchasing early was definitely a good call on our part. Similar chairs: Delta Recliner, Pulaski Recliner, DaVinci Piper Recliner, Pulaski Sutton Recliner

Misc
Obviously, these couple things weren’t the only items I registered for. I’ll finish off by giving a run down of a couple more noteworthy items we registered for. One of my most favorite baby clothing items we asked for: a “Snuggle this Muggle” outfit. Two more practical “clothing” items: pacifier clips and drool bibs. For feedings: white divided plates (do you know how long it took me to find white?!) and a silicone roll up bib. Quite possibly one of my favorite things on the registry: nursery drawer dividers. I also registered for a good number of children’s books – we’re doing a book raffle at the shower, so I figured I’d give some ideas. 🙂

I know I’ve disappeared for awhile, but we just have so much going on now that we’re down to our last seven weeks baby free. We’ve been replacing light fixtures and cleaning out the office to turn it into an office/nursery combo, building nursery furniture (I’m even tackling refinishing a thrifted dresser for the baby!) – there’s just so much to do and not enough time to do it! 🙂

For now, posts will be sporadic, but as I’m sorting my life out as a new mom I’m sure I’ll get back in the swing of things when we finally settle into a routine. Keep checking back! 🙂

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Pregnancy

Pregnancy Update: 30 Weeks!

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It’s the final countdown! I am officially into my third trimester and who would have thought I’d hit that marker while halfway around the world in China! Can we talk about the fact that this baby has been to Ireland and China before it has even been born?! Can we also talk about the fact that Mommy managed to make it through all that travelling while pregnant? Because we all know I travel like a moist sandwich – not well at all. 🙂

baby size: a large cabbage
bump size: I have FINALLY gotten to the stage where strangers ask if I’m pregnant – quickly followed by “you’re so tiny for 6 months” :/

symptoms: small bladder issues, swelling
cravings: none

worst part so far: constant nightmares
best part so far: feeling baby kick, getting ready for the baby shower

After my super hungry, super exhausting first trimester, things were starting to look up at the beginning of my second trimester – my appetite slowed, my fatigue almost completely went away and I was exercising again. And then things sort of went downhill a bit. I have been sick on and off almost my entire second trimester. Not morning sickness sick, just good ol’ sick.

If you have never been sick while pregnant, let me just tell you… pregnancy sick = man cold. The smallest sniffle makes you feel like your head is about to explode and just getting off the couch to use the bathroom is like breaking every bone in your body. Oh and the best part? Wait. That’s not quite the best part yet. The second best part is that a little cold that would’ve taken you two or three days to get over before you got pregnant now takes one or two weeks to get over. The absolute best part is every time you cough or sneeze you pee a little. Awesome.

The next person to get me sick is dead. Honest.

Baby Size + Bump Size
The baby is now the size of a large head of cabbage and weighs about 3 pounds. We just had a growth ultrasound the Thursday before last – baby is perfectly normal and already head down. I am also proud to announce that our baby has hair! We were able to see it on the ultrasound and my husband is relieved that the baby “has my hair genes”. 🙂

A few weeks ago we went out to our favorite all you can eat sushi and hibachi place and after we got up to leave our waitress asked if I was pregnant and how many months along I was. Being me, I absolutely wanted to respond with a “no, this is just sushi” snip, but I refrained. All in all, she was obviously very excited for us. 🙂

One thing I quickly noticed being pregnant (especially as my due date grows nearer and my belly grows bigger), is that no matter how you look, how you or baby are doing or who you are, apparently you are NEVER the right size while pregnant. You’re either too big or too little for whatever stage pregnant you are. I have heard so many people comment over the years about “she can’t be seven months, she’s going to pop any moment” or “she’s already so big”, but in my case everyone is saying the exact opposite – “there’s no way you’re six months, you’re so little”.

First of all, I don’t feel little – I’m twentyish pounds heavier than I was, so I guess before getting pregnant I was miniscule – and secondly, maybe telling a first time mom that she’s “too little for her stage” is going to cause her some undue anxiety about if she really is too little and if her baby is ok. Luckily, I have a very supportive husband who completely agrees and understands that I do not need to pack on 40 pounds to give birth to a perfectly healthy baby. And furthermore, none of my doctors (of which I think I  have seen six in total because the office feels the need for me to meet every single doctor they have in case my regular doctor is not the doctor on call the day I go into labor) has said a single word about my weight gain. If they’re not concerned, I’m not concerned and neither should anyone else. 🙂

Symptoms + Cravings
My bladder has apparently gotten to the size where it can only hold about a tablespoon. Every twenty minutes it’s, “oh my god, I have to go NOW” and I only go a little bit. Literally the most frustrating thing ever.

Swelling hasn’t been a huge deal yet. I do swell occasionally; even in my compression socks, my feet were so swollen after our flights to and from Beijing that I couldn’t get my shoes back on. Worse yet, when I got off the plane from Chicago to Baltimore my calves literally felt like they were going to rip through my skin and they were very noticeably large. Nothing some elevated foot time couldn’t fix.

Cravings haven’t been a big thing at all lately. I have had a couple spurts of my pregnancy hunger coming back but nothing like the first couple weeks I was pregnant.

Worst + Best Parts
Although it has subsided a bit now, for a good two months or so I was having nightmares every single night. You know, the kind where you wake up and you’re covered in cold sweat and really don’t want to go back to sleep in case you slip right back in to the same nightmare. Yeah. Daily. No bueno.

The best part is still feeling the baby kick. It’s actually the point where I can feel the baby doing rolls in my tummy and it tickles, making me jump every now and then. 🙂 The second best part, is that invitations have gone out for my baby shower and that means we are getting close! Plans for the baby shower are well under way and I swear I feel like an eight year old waiting for Christmas morning – I’m stalking my registry to see what’s been bought and I can barely contain myself. Less than three weeks until I’m in baby bliss, hanging out with my family and friends, opening cute little baby gifts and chowing down on some well deserved Costco cake. 🙂

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Fashion & Beauty

Maternity Memorial Outfit

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABodycon Dress (wearing XS/S) / Derby Hat / Pearl Studs similar here / Heels similar here

This past Saturday was my grandmother’s memorial service. Her passing still doesn’t seem like reality to me; I keep wanting to pick up the phone and dial her number and it always takes me a minute or two to remember that she’s not there to pick up.

My outfit was well received – I was constantly being that so and so loved my hat and where did I get it and that I looked so good for being six months pregnant. The dress itself has been worn to so many functions since I bought it. For reference, I’m wearing an XS/S – the same size I was wearing before becoming pregnant – so I highly recommend it for your next staple piece.

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