the christmas aftermath funk

i prefer the 1st-24th of december much more than the 25th. i enjoy the build-up so much more than the actual day. i just get sad when the last present is opened, all the excitement just falls, flat. i am not a grinch at all; i love the entire season. i just get a touch depressed when it all ends. ok, maybe more than a touch. i usually want to take all my christmas down by the 27th. not kidding. i just want to get it all put away and get things back to normal. can anyone else empathize? 

i meant to post these pictures of my babies before christmas came, but with all the hullabaloo (i love that word and feel it isn’t used as often as it should be…;)) i didn’t get to them until now. i am glad though, first, because i needed the break, and second, because they helped me get out of the christmas aftermath funk.

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gunnar wanted everything he saw on tv during a commercial for christmas, “ooooohhhhh, i don’t have that.” “i really want that. no wait, that’s what i want” “i have to have that mom.”. there were just too many things on his list so santa opted for his favorites. before opening each present he would ask, “hmmmm, what’s this?” before every. single. present. 

he still thinks he rules the land of transformers and bakugons, and as of december 25th is the new official leader of the ben 10 alien force. 

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gunnar was baffled by his advent calendar; he just couldn’t wrap it around his mind why he had to wait another day to eat another chocolate.

that was usually what he wanted for breakfast each morning, “i’ll have my calendar chocolate mom.”

i stopped to observe it one day and noticed all the doors had been opened, but the chocolates still in their houses. perhaps he was just checking to make sure there really was one for each day. good thing. not sure what else i would have done for breakfast had there not been anything in there. ;)

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he was so motivated by santa though. if he had a tough day with listening all i had to do was go to the phone and tell him i was calling santa. he shaped right up. another reason i am a touch depressed: what will my main discipline technique be now? sending all the loot back where it came from? that could work…

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the look i get on his face when he is in complete accord with me:

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i thought the tree was going to topple over a couple times, this little was so enthralled by it, but it survived and so did she. i had to chuckle when i passed it though and it had a new decoration: match-box car, sippy cup, baby shoe, half-eaten chocolates, you know, the normal stuff you see on a tree.

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baby is sugar and spice. she has such an awesome personality. really. being with her is ultra-fun. she loves to be a part of everything, but if she doesn’t want anything to do with the everything we are a part of she will let  you know. the “letting you know” usually includes a loud yelp, a shrieking growl, or snooty head shake. it’s hysterical.

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she loves sweets. i think that will actually be a huge motivator for her someday. gunnar doesn’t hop when it comes to candy or treats, but i think lark will. she is particularly fond of m and m’s and would eat them by the handful if i let her. she isn’t even bothered when her candy falls in the dirt. it just adds a bit of texture.

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santa brought lark a cabbage patch and a stroller. she is better to watch than any sit-com. she pushes that stroller around like she owns the place, and gets so frustrated when the stroller gets stuck and she can’t get it to move. when that happens we for sure hear a grizzly yelp. the other night we were getting everyone ready for bed. it was bath time so naturally the kiddos were naked. jaren had bath duty and i was doing something in our room. i heard the stroller and a little bit of banging at our door. i turned around to see the cabbage patch in the stroller, pushed by a naked baby. so awesome. and she walked in so proud. the memory itself is making me laugh. so so awesome. the other night she and i were playing baby. i told her to go and get me her dolly. she brought her back to me. i loved her for a minute and rocked her in my arms and then she put her arms to me like she wanted to hold the doll. she took the baby, held her close, and started rocking her. larkee is 15 months. it is so interesting to me the things they know inherently and the things they pick up on just by being present. then she stood up, still holding her dolly, and backed herself up onto my lap and snuggled her baby, and i snuggled mine.

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larkee is going to love girl things for sure, but she also has an affinity for whatever her brother has.

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or maybe she just has an affinity for him.  he is a good big brother to her; i hope it stays that way.

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gunnar and lark, my you continue to stroll babies, rule empires, and touch my heart. i love you both so much, xo mom

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hope everyone is getting ready for a new year with much celebrating and resolution-ing to be had. i have updates to post and more from the home-front and our holidays. not to mention a few shots of the kiddos’ big, big present!! ;) until then enjoy the fleeting moments of 2009…

ten years and two weeks

today, jaren and i are celebrating ten years of marriage. we have been commenting all week on how crazy it feels to have ten whole years together, and all the experiences and moments that have painted that time. i love my man more than i have words to express; i am grateful for his strong presence in my life, his welcoming arms and reliable shoulder i have leaned on so often, his deep belly laugh when he thinks something is really funny (i love it when i make him laugh that way), and his undying love and support of all my dreams. i love how hard he tries to understand even when he really doesn’t get it but wants to because he can see how important it is for me to to be understood, especially by him. i love how good he is to me and our children and the sacrifices he makes daily to provide a comfortable world for us. i love how we found each other in this big, big world and how we have built a life of love and respect, laughter and joy. i am grateful i married my best friend, and i am grateful for the past ten years. i look forward, to the next. happy anniversary, jaren; i bean, i mean, love you. ;)

us, circa 1999

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it seems only appropriate to post another anniversary as we celebrate ours; this one is only a two week anniversary, but an anniversary non-the-less and that is still something to be celebrated. when i get interest emails from potential brides i get super emotional, in a really happy and thrilled way. it just excites me to think that i might have the opportunity to be a part of one of the most monumental days of their lives. when the emails turn to phone calls and the phone calls to meeting appointments and the appointments to actual bookings i get so enthused; i feel my spirit could jump from my skin. i love weddings!!! i love attending them, being in them, and especially shooting them. i feel honored to be part of something so special, blessed to have been invited to celebrate a day that will never be forgotten, and humbled that it’s my photographs that will help spark the memories of said day.

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i knew amanda and bj’s wedding was going to be classic and timeless before i even laid eyes on them. i also knew i was going to have an affinity for both of them from my first conversation with amanda. she and i chatted over the phone a couple of times discussing their plans, how things were coming, the details, and my part in the whole scheme of things. i was looking forward to meeting her and was happy we were able to get together over thanksgiving. i walked away from our little date counting the hours for december 5th to arrive; i knew it was going to be a day filled with beauty, happiness, celebration, laughter, support, joy, and much, much love.

i was so happy, honored, and humbled to be there to capture their day and witness their spark and connection. 

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the day started early for amanda. it does for any bride, but especially early for her. the amazingly gifted and talented and ever so delightful hair and make up artist nicole deann and i arrived at amanda’s bungalow at 600am. she was awake and as bright as the sun, even though it was still sleeping. ;) her best gals woke early too to watch the preparation and be a part of the early morning celebrations. the energy was contagious; giddy laughter filled the air as we chatted about the pending day’s moments. 

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a love note:

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amanda was such an easy bride to work with on so many levels; she cared and was involved, but was also flexible and open to allowing the day to happen as it would.

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her dress was phenominal! i loved the jacket that she added too; it was so audrey hepburn…

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amanda and bj chose to be married in the newport beach lds temple. the day was overcast and threatened rain, but i loved the contrast it gave to the clouds and the skies. i think it was a perfect day for a wedding.

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after their ceremony we walked along the grounds for a bit, just the three of us. it was quiet and romantic. we chatted and laughed and enjoyed the moment. their love and devotion was undeniably present. i kept thinking how happy i was for them, how happy they had found each other and how happy they were starting this great adventure together.

i also kept thinking about how beautiful their future babies are going to be… ;)

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the perfect illustration of amanda. i love her joyful spirit:

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the handsome groom with his new bling:

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and the gorgeous bride with her main accessory:

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a few candid moments that i loved:

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a million dollar smile from our bride (loved the naked tree behind her):

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and some sass from our bride and groom (love this image):

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cool angle. one of my favorites:

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i really liked the leading line of this shot and the reflection:

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amanda and bj were married early in the day and their reception was scheduled for several hours after the ceremony which allowed us time to shoot at a second location. we headed to the beach for some more portraits of the newlyweds and their fantastic friends and family:

this is perhaps my favorite shot; it was so hard to choose, but i am committing to liking this one the best; yes, this is my favorite:

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and this is my second favorite, for sure. i loved all the movement and motion and for sure the moment:

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bj and his best guys:

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amanda and her best gals:

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the ensemble:

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and the breathtakingly stunning couple by the heartbeat of the earth:

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the reception was held in an enchanting three- tier backyard that was perfectly landscaped with a classic secret garden feel to it. when dara, the bride’s mom, showed me around the site i felt like a kid in a candy shop; i couldn’t get my lens on the bride and groom fast enough. we had time and light so we shot some more. i actually really loved how much time they alloted for pictures and how willing they were to “take another one.” it gives their wedding story that much more photographic texture:

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a swing. could that be more perfect?

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a swing made for two:

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the expressions in this next image had nothing to do with me or anything i said. amanda’s girlfriend from her childhood arrived and surprised her. that’s what i call good timing:

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one major detail from the reception:

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their first dance. i made my iso super high for this because i wanted it to have that grainy, vintage-esque look to it. i was pleased with the result and feel it added texture to an already emotional image:

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adjusted my iso for this one and played off of the slave flash; got some really cool flare:

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amanda and bj, may you always be the light in each others life. may you, ten,twenty, thirty years from now reflect on the beauty, the faces, the peace, the support, and the tremendous love you felt on your wedding day. may your love grow beyond limits you never knew existed, and may you find joy in all the years and the adventures that are before you. AND may your gorgeous children, years from now, see these photographs and feel the love their parents have always had for one another.

thank you so much for allowing me to be there to be a part of your love story. may your life together always sparkle:

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a big thank you shout out to my ultra talented and creative second shooter, whitney.

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who was helping me test light. i promise. she is AMAZING, in every sense of the word. a fun winter shoot with her and her man in the works. wait for it…it’s coming soon…

whit, i would shoot weddings with you for the next ten years. ;) thanks for being my wingman and for all the support and encouragement you also offer me. check out whitney’s blog in the next few days for more coverage from amanda and bj’s wedding.

dear to me

i am not sure where to start or really how to explain how much i appreciate this woman.

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i’ll start here even though our friendship and our memories now span over an entire year:

“come here.” she beckoned waving to me to my fridge.

i wasn’t sure why she wanted to show me something inside my own fridge but i obediently walked to the stainless steel.

she opened the air tight pocket, “here’s your dinner. pre-heat to 350; bake for 45 minutes. there’s some bread too. enjoy.”

i couldn’t hold back. i threw my arms around her and the water works started. she knew. she knew how busy  the past couple of months had kept me, and this was her offering to make my life a bit easier and to help, perhaps, give me a little bit more time with my family. i am still overwhelmed with weepy gratitude just thinking of it, and my stomach growls considering the bounty. thank you is a pitiful response for such a compassionate act, it was all i could keep muttering as the tears dripped to the hard wood.

i am so grateful for my friend.

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i met amanda a year ago through some mutual friends. she got in contact with me to shoot her newborn. i knew 10 minutes into our first discussion that i was going to like her, like her so much that i would want to court her company. we have so much in common and our personalities are so similar that it would have been a huge loss for both of us not to create a friendship. at the end of our first session she booked me for two more (a 6 month and a year shoot; first year b-day photos and a recap of the year to follow after my long winter’s nap…) she is also is responsible for booking me and introducing me to all of the stroller strides ladies.

she has been an angel on my shoulders for an entire year.

i looked forward to her personal shoots and also to spending time with her at the strides shoots (she always came to assist). she has introduced me to so many more friends that have also welcomed me into their homes, lives, and hearts; for that i am also grateful and blessed.

amanda is the gal you want as a neighbor; she is aware but not overbearing. she not only hears what you say to her but she listens with an understanding heart and is able to provide suggestions and encouragement when needed. she is a huge supporter of dreams; i love that about her. 

i recently added her to the kamee june payroll. for selfish reasons really: i wanted to see more of her and have her calming presence, well, more present. 

she is so dear to me, and i recognize she is a gift in my life. 

it has been a pleasure seeing her family grow this past year. i am extremely fond of all of them.

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she and her husband juggle jobs and shifts to make sure one of them is home with their children, so admirable and inspiring. 

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she and mike are ying and yang, but undeniably prove opposites do attract and can mix. they have such a neat marriage and relationship.

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two of my favorites from the shoot:

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i am blessed to have them all in my life:

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amanda, mike, nico, and gianna, may you know you are dear to me. may you continue to make me delicious meals. ;) i mean, may you continue to warm this world like you warm mine!!

much, much love to all of you, kj

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baby

everything is magical to her right now.

she is magical to me:

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hope everyone is staying cozy and warm and enjoying some holiday magic.

more from the home front soon; my babes have become strangers to this blog. they’ll be making a comeback…

yours, mine, and ours

i think i have shared before that i have two adopted nieces. they are darling; i love them both so much. their adoption stories, both of them, are miracles; those two babies practically dropped themselves in my sister and brother in law’s lap. their “delivery” stories don’t matter so much to this post, what does is that i can’t image our family without them. they were always supposed to be a part of us, they just had to come to our family through different avenues. we have been created with the help of two very selfless women who recognized they could give “their” babies more. we would be incomplete without bethie and sadie.

i think this family would feel the same.

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theirs isn’t a tale of adoption, but different paths that converged and found each other because they had to, because their lives wouldn’t be complete without one another.

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kristine and marc met several years ago. 

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kristine is balance, consistency, and stability; marc is humor, strength, and honor.

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when they married they not only brought these characteristics with them, but also a few “extras”.

kristine brought this lovely:

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and marc added this kind-hearted guy

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and this little darling:

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together they added a baby to the mix:

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i guess it is an adoption story after-all; they all had to adopt one another. their family had to be created this way. that was just the way it had to be. different roads and choices lead to this very special family. i couldn’t help but notice the mutual respect, love, and appreciation they have for each other, even though they aren’t all “blood”. they are a family who cares about the other. i walked away from our shoot thinking about my two nieces, how they came to us, and compared it to this family. it’s the same. they all needed each other, but just came together through different avenues.

i love this image:

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let’s play a game called, “where’s the random skater-dude popping his head out and talking on his phone during a picture?”

kristine and marc and the rest of the brood welcomed him into the family as well…:)

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their family is a great mixture of personality,

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care and dedication,

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geniune interest and concern,

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and much love.

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kristine, marc, and team: may you see the beauty in all the colors woven in the tapestry of your life! may you always find joy in a mixture!! ;) thank you for sharing some time with me; i think you are hard working parents who are doing the best you can for each individual member of your family and for each other. i am happy you found one another and created the family that was always supposed to be made. may your holidays be merry, together, kj

a day to remember: a sneak peek

i have several days stored in my memory. this is one i won’t soon forget.

feeling blessed to have been a part of such a sophisticated, breathtaking, and memorable wedding.

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more to come soon from this enchanting bride and groom and their day…

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a good teacher

yesterday i was talking with a girlfriend about how gunnar will be in school everyday next year. a rush of emotion hit me! i am so excited for him because it is school and growth and progress, but i also feel sad because the time has almost come for me to share him with someone else for a good portion of the day. i asked myself, “have you spent enough time with him playing on the carpet? is he prepared to be a nice boy, make friends, be respectful, and is he excited for learning? does he know you will love him regardless of what happens in the playground?” i know i will be emotional when the day comes, but i also think it will be such a milestone for him. i started thinking about who his teacher will be and that made me reflect on my time in the classroom. i miss it. i miss those students and all their drama. i remembered thinking about the trust parents have to send their students off to school each day, trusting them to teachers and administators to instruct and protect their kids. when i was in the classroom i was so inspired by so many of my colleagues and their love of education, and more importantly their love of our students.

shelley was one of those teachers. i first admired her because she is a naturally happy and kind person. and, she smiles, a lot, and i really like that!!

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it wasn’t long before i realized that her love for life spilled over into her classroom. i would hear students commenting all the time about how much they enjoyed her class, about how great they thought she was, and about how much they looked forward to seeing her and learning from her.

she taught math.

that speaks volumes!!!

she not only cared about their scholastics but their hopes and dreams as young people. one time i had a student tell me, “i know she cares because she really listens when i talk. and she has great suggestions too and makes me laugh.”

she does have a great personality. she is mellow, easy-going, super personable and really fun to be with. i walked into a mini-staff meeting once and got excited seeing she was in my small group; i knew the meeting was going to be enjoyable because she was there.

people just like her, and if you know her it is easy to see why. 

for several years she had classrooms full of students who admired her and appreciated all her hard work to help them succeed with mathmatics and be prepared to think on a higher level for life.

then she had students, of her own. and decided to focus all of her attention on teaching them. she, like many of us working at our school at the time, decided to take a break from full-time teaching to be home with her babies. 

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they are darling. and so so loved. i know shelley misses the classroom; i also know she knows this time right now with these adorable babies is so priceless.

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i admire the relationships she has cultivated with her children and the time she invests teachings them and dedicating herself to them. i also admire the relationship she has with her husband, craig. they are proof that high school can make for lasting love.

these were two of my favorites:

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together they are raising a very special family filled with kind hearts, understanding spirits, and magnetizing personalities:

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loved maya’s expression here:

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their interactions were so tender and genuine. it was easy to feel the love they have for family, the moment, and living.

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sweet little sis with big sis, nose-picker! ;) love those; we’ve all got one or had one in the past. ;)

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shell, you touched so many lives when you were teaching, including mine! thank you for the influence you had on our students and the rest of the teaching staff; you made a difference in more ways than you know. the students you tutor now are so lucky to have your guidance. you are a good teacher and more importantly a good person; i am so happy to know you. may you find joy right now teaching your kiddos. craig, may you continue making everyone smile with your endearing smile. maya and chloe, may you continue to bless your family!

thank you all for the time and the opportunity(and the babysitter! ;)); it was such a pleasure, and made me homesick for the home of the titans!!

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