Thursday, February 24, 2011


(Claire "smiling". I caught it halfway through, but it was there!)

There are a few things that are monopolizing my life.

1) Emily and Claire. However, I have learned how to cope with Emily so lets just say "Claire" here.

Claire doesn't have a set schedule yet. She is still in that newborn unpredictable stage where she sleeps, eats and poops at random times. So I never know when is a "good time" to run to the grocery store. She could poop, clear her insides, and be starving again even if I JUST fed her before I left. Last thing I need is a panic-y husband when I get home because Claire has been screaming for an hour and a half straight. Don't worry...that wouldn't happen. I have a supply of pumped milk in the freezer that I'm saving up for wedding season. Therefore Claire wouldn't not starve to death while I went out on the town...yes, I call grocery shopping "out on the town" now.

Remember how I said I was going to jump back on the bandwagon and be a parent to Emily too? I tried.

I'm traumatized.

Okay not completely. I know that million and MILLIONS of women have had more than one child...I'm still trying to figure it out. When we are home, it is the 3 year old that is hard. Claire is a peach and rarely makes a peep. If she does it's a simple fix; food, burp or dirty diaper. Emily always ALWAYS wants something. "I want a drink" "I want food" "I want you to come play with me" or even better....the "don't wants": "I don't want to clean my room" "I don't want to eat my food all gone" "I don't want to take my toys upstairs" "I don't want to stop it" I am quickly learning to multi-multi-multitask!

What mom of 2 can't cook dinner, nurse her infant, and play cards with her toes with her 3 year old?! I know I have to in order to survive.

On the flip side in public, I am able to reason with Emily. "I want a drink" "Well tossed yours on the ground and I can't reach it right now so you're going to have to wait" End of discussion. If Claire is hungry...I have to find a place to stop and pull over so that I can feed her. Then sit there for 30 minutes and hope she does poop or projectile spit up before I get to where I want to go. Talk about trying to find an appropriate place to nurse your screaming newborn...I always feel like I'm going to damage someone. That is why I made my handy-dandy nursing cover. It works like a dream and I have yet to scar anyone for life. Diaper changes are a pain. and getting Claire in and out of her carseat?! don't get me started on that. (I am fortunate though...when the vehicle is in motion she LOVES her seat, but if we aren't she has time to think about the fact that she's strapped in.

I know the only way to learn is to keep at it. and I plan on it. In fact, I'm going to the park...right after Claire eats, takes a nap and I get a shower and get dressed. Wish me luck.

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Valentines Day and a bath

Gosh, I wish I wasn't such a mean mom!

So I decided a week ago to give Claire a bath. Not a REAL bath, but just a good scrubbing of her head, neck and ... other important parts. You're not supposed to do it until after their umbilical cord falls off but I couldn't stand the smell of the spit up getting trapped in her neck crack and I wasn't waiting any longer. 

I also forgot that there is a strategic way to give baths in order to not have a screaming baby. All of which I forgot until after I had already traumatized her with her first bath. 

It really wasn't THAT bad...I just poured water in her mouth, got soap in her eyes, used water that was entirely too cold, got her umbilical cord wet, and forgot the towel so that I had to carry her through the cold house to the bedroom to get it. All of which ended in a really mad, screaming baby. Good job mom...{that is me sarcastically patting myself on the back}

Now for some cuter pictures:

Valentines Day <3

 This really isn't a great picture of either of them, but's awesome. Claire was sporting her "My First Valentines Day" outfit. Good thing Valentines Day came when it did because I don't know if she would have fit in it much longer. In fact, I had to put a onsie on under it so that she didnt' look like a hoochy-mama showing off her belly button. Emily is wearing a red turtle neck and Black sparkly tutu with jean leggings. Both of my girls were all dolled up for daddy when get got home.

Again, not a very flattering picture of any of us but Aaron wanted a picture of "His Girls" on Valentines Day, so he got one. 

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Exciting things

I had a sneaky feeling that there would be no such thing as "free time" after Claire got here. At least I was prepared to not have a life.

First things first:


Claire is growing like a weed. She is mellow and content. The only times she isn't happy is when she's had a dirty diaper for a while (my fault for trying to save a diaper or 2 when I know she is going to dirty one right after she eats so I wait until I'm done nursing her to change it) She is also fussy when she has to burp. She gets REALLY upset if she has a bubble sitting on her belly. Oh and if I forget the towel in the bedroom and have to carry her from the bathtub to the bedroom without a towel. She doesn't like the cold air. Other than those few things, Claire is almost always perfectly content. When she wakes up from a nap or in the middle of the night, she isn't crying, it's more of a grunt/fuss. In fact, I'm thinking of renaming her "Billy" because she sounds just like a baby billy-goat.

She smiles with her eyes. I asked the doctor about it when I went in because they say that the cognitive developmental ability to smile isn't there until at least 6 weeks. The doctor said not to believe it. If she is repeatedly "smiling" at the same thing then she is actually smiling at us. I don't know what to think. Maybe there is some truth to that but I know when she gives us a big dimply, toothless smile, there is usually a bubble coming out one end or the other sooner or later.

She pretty much sleeps through the night. In fact, last night I fed her at 10. She slept until 3, then woke up and ate. Was awake for 30 minutes (which is unusual), then fell asleep on her own and slept until 730. I have to say: I'm pretty blessed. Mine and Aaron's biggest fights have been the times that we are rudely awaken in the middle of the night. We both don't know what we are saying are doing and it usually ends with us waking up in the morning not remembering much and wondering why Aaron's on the floor or sleeping on the deck. So, to have a second child who values their sleep as much as her parents and big sister (who sleeps through the night even when Claire is crying) is pretty much an act of God himself.

Claire had her 2 week check up yesterday. Emily tagged along and was an AWESOME big helper for me. You quickly forget how much of a pain newborn doctors appointments can be!

My plan was to leave the house 20 minutes early. If I'm lucky it only takes me 10 min. to get to the doctors. This way I would be 10 minutes early to an appointment that I was already schedualed to be 15 minutes early to for paperwork. Emily was ready. I was ready. I was putting Claire (who was asleep) in her carseat when she started screaming bloody murder. I had no idea why. I tried to rock the carseat and calm her down, but that didn't work. I thought "GREAT, she's hungry." I took her out and tried to nurse her. She screamed more. I sat on the end of the bed and bounced her until she calmed down. She finally stopped crying and fell back asleep. This time I did the carseat in stages. First, I set her in it. Then I put in one arm at a time. Rock the seat. Snap the arm straps. Rock the seat. Snap a leg strap. Rock the seat. Snap the other leg strap. Rock her back to sleep. Walk out the door and shine the sun right in Claires eyes. She starts screaming. At this point I ALMOST called and cancelled my appointment. Luckily, the side to side swaying motion that I quickly invented did the trick. We got in the truck and drove to the doctor. Unfortunatly I am still a crazy woman about driving a car with a newborn. Which means I didn't drive much over 45mph the whole way there.

I finally get to the appointment 15 minutes late, technically on time, but I was SUPPOSED to be there early. They handed me my paperwork as Claire was called back. I remembered the routine almost instantly, and paniced. The nurse asked me to take Claire, who was now snoring, out of the carseat and undress her down to her diaper. What? you mean you can't just subtract the weight of the carseat and we can just put the whole thing up on the scale? Alright, fine. I don't know why the nurse feels the need to watch every move I make but it always makes me nervous, like she's just looking for a reason to call CPS. I could feel the heat in the back of my neck as I slowly unbuckled Caire. I've done this before!! Why is it so difficult? I started to take her clothes off. WHY in the world would I opt to put multiple layers on her when I KNOW that I have to get her undressed to go on the scale? because I want to appear to be a good mom who layers her baby when it's 45 degrees and raining outside. Truthfully I would have put some socks on her and full length, zip-up feety pajamas if I really would have thought about it. Once down to her diaper, I find what I think might have been the cause for the temper tantrum when I put her in the car seat earlier...her umbilical cord stump is bleeding pretty bad. Wonderful. I have a bleeding infant, at least I'm at the doctors. The nurse said we would take care of it later and led me to the scale.

The scale: Again, one of those things that make you panic. I don't know about you but just the word "scale" gives me goose-bumps, but there are several reasons here why it scares me even more.
1) Emily was always lean. No matter how much I fed her she always spit up an equal amount. She always maintained a healthy gain, but I was always nervous that at one point she wouldn't. Therefore, the scale and I have some bagage.
2) ITS METAL!!! Have you ever gotten in the bathtub, gotten all warm and cozy and relaxed just to lean back against the freezing cold wall and jump/gasp/or scream? It just ruins the moment and there is no getting relaxed again. This is what I imagine being carried down a long corridor without clothes on and then placed on a freezing cold scale would be like... It always results in a wide awake screaming baby....and if you remember, Claire skipped nursing earlier because she was screaming about her belly button.
3) You have to take their diaper off! Do you know how many times I've slung poop everywhere because I was unaware it was in there?...Only once actually, but it was enough to traumatize me for life!

Don't worry, I didn't forget about my other daughter. Emily was tagging along, eagerly soaking up every moment of what was happening to her baby sister.

I set Claire on the scale, she startles and wakes up, then fusses a little and is wide awake. What a blessing mellow children are. 8lb 7oz. I thought for sure I was going to see 10 pounds. I rediaper Claire and carry her back to the room. I am then requested to leave her undressed and on the table....freezing to death. I disobey and use my nursing cover to wrap her up and lay her on my chest.

The dr. comes in and smiles at me. I like him. He's a pretty laid back guy but tells it like it is. First words out of his mouth are "we have a good eater on our hands". HUH? "breast or bottle? must be bottle" I breastfeed her. "How often do you feed her?!" I'm confused at the shock on his face. He explained that by 10-14 days they are hoping that babies have AT MOST reached their birth weight. It had been 13 days and Claire had gained back to her birth weight PLUS half a pound. Apparently the sign of a good eater. I don't know what this is like. Claire actually probably eats less than Emily did, but Claire doesn't have the projectile vomit, colic, and gas like poor Emily did so it all stays in her belly and puts on the chunk! The doctor said in order to make my life easier I could start putting her on a schedual...I don't know if I agree. I think she's 2 weeks only and if she's crying because she's "hungry" then I'm going to feed her and make her happy. Ironically it seemed like after he said that, she listened and started eating every 4-5 hours instead of every 2-3 like the day before. Crazy how that works.

He takes Claire from me to check her reflexes and hips and sees her belly button. With a quick flip of the wrist her stump is off. A few more quick movements and the bleeding spots are cauterized and cleaned with alcohol. Done. I am so glad that nasty thing is gone! She hardly cried but she is for sure wide awake and it won't be long before she realizes that her tummy is empty.

As a side note: Emily was complaining about her ear the other day. I tried to look inside and thought I saw something, but wasn't sure. Whatever it was it was in there far. I decided that now was as good as ever to ask the doctor about it. He graciously looked in it for me to tell me: She has an ear infection. WONDERFUL. He prescribed some antibiotics and said it would be just fine an a week or 2.

I dress up Claire and head out...remember: I have paperwork to complete. I sit down and she starts sucking on her hand...the doing the turn-your-head-to-the-side-and-root-for-the-food motion. I knew it. So like any good mother, I sat down in the waiting room, got out my handmade, very convienent nursing  cover and set Claire up. With my other arm, I filled out my paperwork. I know... I'm amazing. I actually was proud of myself. With Emily I would have avoided that situation or any like it. I did what had to be done and it made the rest of the day so much easier. I was able to go by Aaron's moms work so that she could show off Claire and of course Emily. Emily was spoiled with chocolates and a piece of cake (that her mean mommy made her wait until after dinner to eat. I made it home safe and sound and Claire was still happy as a clam because her tummy was full.


Emily is temporarily a daddys girl. She doesn't want much to do with me. Probably because I have this constant appendage that needs tending to every second of the day. I'm sure it gets old for her so she clings to daddy. Aaron is more than okay with that. A newborn is high maintenance and can cry for no reason. Emily is pretty self-sufficient and has a personality. He LOVES his Claire so much and does enjoy playing with her. Unfortunatly for me, I think both of my girls are going to be "Daddy's Girls". Claire wakes up for Aaron to "play". She won't even wake up to eat for me....sigh. :(

Emily is awesome as far as big sisters go. She is always wanting to help. She is quickly figuring out things like "Claire doesn't eat candy because she only eats milk right now?" "Yes, Emily" or "I'm going to go upstairs because Baby Claire is sleeping" "Okay Emily, thank you. That is nice of you." Emily's idea of helping change a diaper is getting to put it in the diaper genie for me. Right now the little things make her feel important and included. Right now my world revolves around Claire. If I'm cuddling with Emily and Claire wakes up, I have to go get Claire. If I am watching Emily jump on the trampoline and Claire is hungry I have to feed her. I am very soon going to have to make the transition to my life revolving around my daughters. I'm going to have to start up the play dates at the park again and start taking Emily to gymnastics. I've had 2 weeks of newborn time. Now it's time to start living again....and honestly, I'm pretty scared, but I think it will make Emily an easier and happier child.

Lastly: ME

I won't make this long and I promise, not every doctors appointment will have a 10 page detailed account of everything that happens and how I feel about it. I just wanted to give you an idea of what it is like for me.

I had my first check up appointment today.

The doctor said I'm doing amazing. and the most exciting part of the whole visit... I only have 4 more pounds before I'm back down to my pre-Claire weight!!!

Unfortunatly that does mean I still have 25 pounds before I'm down to my ideal goal weight, but that is a bridge for me to cross later. Right now, I'm just trying to be a good mom.

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Lucky for Me, My Little Groundhog Didn't See Her Shadow!

About a month ago, my dad called me. He had decided it would be hilarious if Claire decided to be born on February 2nd. If you're a normal American human being, I'm assuming that, like me, you do not have it memorized that February 2nd is good 'ol Groundhogs Day. With a booming "who who who" Santa like laugh he made some sort of a joke about "...the groundhog coming out of the hole on groundhogs day". I rolled my eyes and fought the urge to hang up the phone. Why would he jinx me with such a thing!? I looked at my belly and told Claire: "You are NOT allowed to come that day!!" Maybe I was the one who jinxed myself.

February 1st:

I was stoked. I secretly wanted a February baby. I didn't want to be pregnant that long, but I was kind of hoping that she would wait. The day was like any other. It was payday, so I paid all the bills. I noted through the day that Claire wasn't moving as much. I would have to stop and think about it in order to feel any movements. I shook it off thinking that I was extra preoccupied trying to get things done for her to get here, but it sent up a tiny red flag in the back of my mind. I kept trying to get rid of it and telling myself that it was okay. I was probably just extra anxious about anything being "off" because I STILL knew nothing from the doctors about my polyhydramnios. No one seemed to care or be alarmed about it (and probably thought I was CRAZY)

8:00PM- Claire is seriously not moving. I could push on my belly and feel an apendage bounce back at me, but it was markably "lifeless". This is Claire motion time. This is when my stomache would become a swimming pool of fun full of sommer salts and the back stroke between lungs and bladder.

I got in the bath to see if the temperature change made her wake up. Nothing.

I got out and ate some food. Nothing.

I am officially starting to freak out. Aaron thinks I'm being a little crazy but even he starting to think that maybe I should go to the hospital when he got down and talked to my belly and only felt a small roll/kick, when usually it livens her up.

I called the OB department and they told me to come in for a non-stress test ASAP

9:30ish- I walk into the hospital. "Are you in labor?!" "Did your water break" "How far apart are your contractions?!"


"The baby has a significant decrease in movement and I'm concerned." They wheeled me back to the room and set me up on the monitors. Claire's heartbeat was strong, but consistent. In a newborns heartbeat, they want to see accelerations and decelerations in response to my movements or something I eat or drink. They watched for about 30 minutes before they started moving me around trying to get a change.

Finally, out of nowhere, I had a contraction. It didn't hurt and it wasn't any different than the 4 million that I had had before. In fact, it was just like the ones that I had gone in to the hospital once before. This contraction was enough to wake Claire up from her "nap". After that she pretty much made me look like an idiot with all of her rocking and rolling. Her heart rate was perfect and she responded to everything that she was supposed to. They watched her for 20 more minutes in which I continued to have contractions every 6 minutes, but because they didn't hurt at all they sent me home.

On the way home I had one contraction that nearly blew me off the road, but I was NOT about turn around go back to the hospital to be told once again that I needed to go back home!!

When I got home I had a few more sporadic contractions but decided that it was better to go to bed and try to get a somewhat decent night sleep since it was looking like it might just be the last for a while.

February 2nd:

530AM- Emily wakes me up because she has had the first EVER poop accident IN HER BED. She is covered in diarrhea and screaming upset. I sat up in bed and had the worst contraction I had had so far!! I shook Aaron awake to have him help me clean Emily up. I had several more contractions over the next 15 minutes but they weren't consistant. They were anywhere from 5-7-9 minutes apart. I fell asleep timing them.

6:15AM- I'm rudely awaken by a hard contraction. I breathed through it and then waited. 5 minutes later. BOOM another contraction. 5 more minutes. Another one. It was time to go. Since we had our 4D ultrasound in a few days I had just assumed that Claire would wait until after that to decide to come. Therefore, there were no bags packed. I know....I'm a procrastinator to the max. I dont know if I will have any more kids after this so for all of you out there who are procrastinators too....Pack your stuff a month in advance, because it sucks real bad to be having contractions that you can hardly breath through and trying to think of all the things that you might need while you're in the hospital.

We called Kaylee and had her run over so that she could crawl in to bed with Emily and watch her while we headed off to the hospital.

6:45AM- We get to the hospital. They check me and I'm at 2CM. They hook me up to monitors and what not. I am forced to sit through an hour and a half of contractions, before they check me again. If I've progressed any then they will admit me. If not...I might go back home and ride them out there.

8:30AM- I am checked and at 5-6CM.

I am given my I.V. I am officially staying!!
Let me tell you...even now, with full knowledge of the pain that I was in throughout the day that stupid I.V. is probably one of the more painful things I was forced to endure. The nurse tried once and failed. She decided to use the other arm. After reviewing my veins she decided to use the elbow of my arm. Have you ever tried to bend or move your arms when there is something poking, prodding, taped and wrapped to the inside of your elbow? It's pretty impossible. Not to mention that it doesn't really feel that great when it's been aerated by a needle that is apparently "to big". She finally hits the vein and when she flips the switch that makes the blood go to the end of the tubey thingy so that I don't get air in my veins she realized all to late that she doesn't have something connected that she is supposed to. Aaron watched as the nurse and floor is sprayed with blood. Lucky for me, AND for the nurse, I don't have a queezy husband. The nurse tossed whatever piece she needed at my husband, yelled at him to open it. Although his hands weren't clean, they weren't contaminated with my blood so it was safer for him to open it then her. He handed it back to her and she stopped the blood. She left irritated (and probably embarassed) and Aaron and I wondered how bad that really was. We both know nothing about phlebotomy or cross contamination really...but she was notably on the verge of tears when she left the room. I really didn't care about the whole mess. I was still trying to breath through my contractions.

8:59PM- I get my epidural. What a glorious invention. Almost immediately my contractions are gone. They give you local anistetic before jamming a needle and tube up your spinal cord so it really doesn't hurt that bad. In my opinion, the benefits outweigh the temporary pain. Then again, I'm sure that people say the same thing about child birth.

Some short time after I got my epidural, I had a little mishap. I guess that's what you could call it. I was talking to the nurse when all of a sudden I felt as though I was going to be sick. The room spun a few times and then started to fade to white. I got out "I think I'm about to pass o....." and I was gone. I felt like my body was trying to float but I had a 10 ton elephant on my chest. I'm not sure how long I was out. Probably no more than a few seconds before I was shook awake by a nurse while another shot me full of epinephrine. I suddenly felt hot and started sweating. I was able to focus on the room as 5 nurses bustled around me. The only thing I could really focus on was the lady beside me who was frantically searching my belly for Claire's heart beat. She was yelling at the other nurses to go get Dr. Stanislaus, another OB Dr. that just happened to be down stairs. Even though it wasn't said, I know why they needed to call her: It was looking like I was heading towards an emergency c-section. I said a quick prayer and closed my eyes. Whether they "found" Claires heartbeat (which has proven to be elusive several times this pregnancy) or God answered my prayers, I will never know, but either way everything was suddenly okay.

12:05- 6CM still.

1:25- They start Patosin. The wonderful medicine that makes contractions hurt 10X worse and contractions harder. They decided to do this since my body had slowed it's contractions and I wasn't progressing any more.

2:41PM- Dilated 7CM

3:00PM- My water broke.

It was a flood. I soaked the mattress, all of my linens, and most of the rooms floor. The nurse thought it was comical how much water I had. She said that it might even be a record. While her and the other nurse they brought in were marveling at how my stomach could hold so much water, I had my first panic attack. I really did have polyhydramnios. It really was a possibility that there was something wrong with Claire. WHY did I have the poly? We had never got the chance to figure out what was wrong because I went into labor before I was even able to get the ultrasound done. OR to see another Dr. to give me a piece of mind. What if she was Downs? I would love her just the same, of course, but after all of the testing and everything, I still wouldn't really know until she was born. Could I handle it? What if she had gastro-intestinal problems and needed surgery. Was I ready for that?

Somewhere in here the Dr. came in and told me that with every contraction that I had that Claire's heart rate was dropping too low for comfort. IF it was to continue or get worse with the harder contractions then there was a possibility of a c-section. WONDERFUL!

3:40PM- 8CM dialated

I started to feel my contractions. I was given a button to push so that I could give myself for juice if I needed it. I was pushing it like there was no tomorrow, but to no avail, I could STILL feel my contractions. And they HURT!

{I was able to squeeze in a little nap}

5:48PM- I let the nurse know that I was feeling alot of pressure. She checked me and I was at 9.5CM. She had me do a practice push with my next contraction. I was ready to go. They called the Dr. and let him know he needed to head over to the hospital.


The Dr. finally shows up and has me start pushing.

I don't know how much of the epidural had worn off...or if any of it had. I can tell you 2 things. 1) it worked fantastic from my upper thigh's down. This is a problem since I don't give birth through my knees. Also, it's incredibly hard to use stirrups (or a husband) and push with your legs when you CANT FEEL THEM! 2) I have never felt so much pain in my life. I'm really not being a baby here, and I know that billions of people before me have successfully given birth naturally and not shed a tear. Kudo's to them, because I thought I might pass out a few times.

I quickly learned that pushing during a contraction made everything hurt less. Amazing how that works. So I PUSHED. I remember after about 30 minutes, I finally got mad. I was over the pain. I wanted it all to be over. That's when I really started putting some effort into it. They had originally started me out on my side. I requested to be put on my back. It was all down hill (or uphill) from there. My life depended on getting that baby out!

7:17PM Claire makes her grand entry into the world. Her head was accompanied by an elbow. the last second Claire had decided to put her hand up next to her face! Not only did I have to deliver a watermelon head (thanks dad for those genes) but also an ARM! That might be why it took 4 times longer to deliver her than it did Emily! The lack of use of my legs might have also contributed to that!

Claire Annemarie Van Patten
Born: 7:17 PM
Weight: 7 lb. 14 oz.
Length: 21 inch

This picture that Aaron took speaks volumes as to how I felt as my PERFECT daughter was layed on my chest.

In fact, 2 of the concerns with Poly is that there is a urinary blockage or a gastrointestinal deformity. She was put on my chest and she immediately emptied her bladder. Concern #1: gone. As they took her to put her under the lamps and test her APGAR scores, she pooped. Concern # 2: gone.

The last of the possible problems was the possibility that she had a bad sucking/ swallowing reflex. This was addressed the next day when the lactation specialist came in to help me nurse. She stood there in dumbfounded disbelief as Claire latched on in text book fashion and nursed away.

If you look back at Claire stats I can't help but see all of the 7's and numbers that are divisable by 7. To me, that is God's little sign to me that the reason everything turned out the way it did is because he had his hand in every aspect of this pregnancy and birth and I have my amazingly healthy, perfect little groundhog to prove that through the ups and downs He was part of it all.

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

She is here!

In case someone who reads this happens to be Out of the loop...Claire Annemarie Van Patten made her grand entry into the world yesterday at 7:17pm. She weighed 7lbs and 14oz. And was 21 inches long. Some time in the next few days (that is...if I ever have time again!) I will post pictures and write a detailed - not graphic - account of my birth story, even if it is just for me to look back on and's a wild one. But the bottom line is that we have a beautiful healthy little girl and I am doing pretty well myself.

Stay tuned...the next blog will be a fun one.

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