Mommy Milestone. Come Linkup!

As a first time mommy, I spend a lot of time anticipating and celebrating each and every one of Chazz's milestones. It is an amazing thing to witness. But I'm starting to realize that I have reached a few milestones myself. And they need some celebrating too! {hey, any reason to pop open a bottle of wine!} Here are some of my mommy milestones

- Anxiety. Particularly seperation anxiety! The first couple of times that we left Chazz were really hard for me. But its slowly getting better. This last time, I was a little more relaxed. I didn't feel panic-y or as anxious to get home to him. It felt nice to get out with Roman and not feel guilty or as stressed. Just enjoying our time together was such a relief! I think it is only a matter of time before I'm more comfortable without him.

- Some sort of schedule assymbled. Mostly in hopes of getting our lives back in order. Yes, I realize it will never be the same. And that "order" won't be possible everyday. I can't balance it all (yet!) but my new stay at home mom schedule is working well. And to have a few thing accomplised at the end of the day feels nice!

A few milestones that I'm looking forward to:

- Sleeping. Ever.
Ok but really, him sleeping in his own bed, and someday his own room, will be nice. But nobody is ready for that yet, especially me! He sleeps well on his own for naps, but with him still nursing at night, it is so hard for me to get out of bed, let alone going in another room. I'm hoping that the weeks following our move, we can slowly move him into his own bed.

- Losing the diaper bag. I love love love my diaper bag. Love it! And I am nowhere near being able to give it up. But at some point, it won't be needed. Not having to lug it around all the time will be nice. {I swear, it's worse than a purse. I need a back adjustment!} Maybe a small pack for quick changes, and the bulk of it can be in the car?? Because I'm a "just in case" kind of girl.

There are so many things a mom learns along the way! What Mommy Milestones have you accomplished? What are you still working on? Link up, pour a glass of wine, and lets toast to our success!


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We're Moving!

Finally! ::SQUEE!::

That kinda sorta maybe means blogging won't be happening. I know, I know, try not to lose it! But with all of the packing {gag}, the maze of boxes, cleaning, and unpacking, aaaand being mom, I just won't have time... It's not you, it's me. :)

But when the dust clears (and the wifi is back up), I'll be sure to post some before and after pics of our new home

Until then, my lovlies!

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The Somewhat Effective Schedule

Does anyone else feel like this? Like on the bad days, the day is gone before I'm out of my PJ's. And on the good days, I'm still miles behind on my to do list. I can never get it all done! Like D-O-N-E done.

I'll be the first to admit, we are far from finding domestic bliss in our home, and I never stop trying. But a post over at Accustomed Chaos got me thinking about what's really important. Keeping a clean house is important, but having fun with Chazz is top priority.

I'm trying to keep that in mind while in search of the perfect schedule. Something to fit in all of the things that need done and fun time too! It needs to fit in the following, but but flexible enough to roll with naps, nursing, and a teething baby. And a lot of playtime!

*Eat breakfast (Always a challenge!)
*Get Chazz and I ready
*Pick up, light cleaning, dishes
*Run arrands, sort mail, pay bills
*Dinner and prep
*Work out and/or get out!
*Relax and Free time

Here is what I came up with. There is time inbetween so that I can tend to Chazz if he gets fussy, or just wants to play!

I'm going to try to stick to this schedule in hopse of getting something, anything, done. But the end of the day, if I have a messy house and a happy baby, the day is still a success in my book!

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Wordless-less Wednesday

I just love these two! I love the special laughs that Chazz has just for his daddy. It's sweet how he says "dadada" and giggles.

Watching them play is heartwarming, and I can't wait to see them grow together!

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Summer Safety

Chazz's first summer is fast approaching, and I need to be prepared. Summer is going to be a fun time to play together, and I have been doing a lot of summer safety research during naptime! Here are a few things I've learned to keep little one safe:

-Babies under six months of age should be kept out of the direct sunlight.

-Move your baby to the shade or under a tree, umbrella, stroller canopy, or baby tent.

-Dress babies in lightweight clothing that covers the arms and legs, and use brimmed hats. That is the best protection. I love Baby Gap hats!

-Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going outside, and use sunscreen even on cloudy days. It should have an SPF 30 at the least. I like Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection.

-Sunblock and sunscreen are not the same! Sunscreens absorb ultraviolet light so that it doesn't reach your skin, while sunblock blocks them. Sunblock is better and protects from UVA and UVB rays.

-Some sunscreens claim to be sunblock. Don't be fooled! Look for the ingredients titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.

Some with good reviews:
Blue Lizard Australian Suncream SPF 30 Baby
Blue Lizard Australian Suncream SPF 30 Sensitive
Neutrogena Sunblock Lotion Sensitive Skin SPF 30
California Baby Sunblock SPF 30
Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection

-Most products are for 6 months+, but the American Academy of Pediatrics says they are okay to use on younger babies if there is no way to avoid the sun. They recommend:

"For babies younger than six months, use sunblock on small areas of the body such as the face and the backs of the hands if protective clothing and shade are not available. For babies older than six months apply to all areas of the body but be careful around the eyes."

-Babies dehydrate and overheat much easier than adults. If baby is overly sleepy or fussy, it may be time to cool off.

-Try absorbant bath toys soaked in cool water for play!

-Breastfeed or offer formula more often to ensure enough fluids. Some pedi's also recommend water, ask yours. I keep a sippy cup full of cold water for Chazz to sip on.

-Inflatable summer toys can be fun, but don't rely on floatation devices. They are never foolproof and your baby should be supervised at all time. Infants can drown even in shallow water.

I love this inflatable wading pool for babies. The cute little mushroom provides some shade!

Insect Repelent kind if scares me when it comes to putting it on my baby, but it's important to protect them from things like Lime Disease.

-There are a ton of natural repellants that use lemon or citronella oils, or eucalyptus. I love California Baby Natural Bug Blend. It uses citronella, lemongrass, and cedar, and is safe for baby, pets, and the environment. Some don't find them as effective, so using them with a bug net might work for you.

-When using a bug repellant with DEET or picaridin, make sure the concentration is less than 30%.

-Don't use any repellant on babies under 2 months.

-Spray the product on your hands and rub on any exposed skin, that way baby doesn't inhale it or get it in his eyes! If this happens, you should call the poison control center right away.

-I don't like sunblock/repellant combos for the simple fact that sunblock needs reapplied often, and repellant doesn't. That means too much chemicals for your little one!

Whew! There are so many little things involved in a simple walk in the park or trip to the lake. I can't wait for his first summer to start! And I'll be able to relax know he is protected from bugs and sun rays, and enjoy his summer fun. Do you have any summer tips?

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Forever & After- How It All Began

Wow, that sure went by fast! Roman and I got married one year ago today!

For our One Year Anniversary, I thought I would tell a little story about how we met.

Once apon a time, I was 17, he was, well... not! The scene starts in the backseat of a mutual friends car. (Don't worry, I swear this is PG!) And I was completely ignoring him. Yep, wouldn't even give him the time of day. I heard he was trouble, and wanted nothing to do with it. {I thought.} Turns out, he was just the trouble I was looking for, I just didn't know it yet.

Fast forward to the very next day. I headed to the public library, and sure enough the only computer open was right next to him... And I am so glad I sat there! I thought he was super cute, and he smelled so good! I ended up asking him to lunch with me when a friend bailed, and we spent the whole meal laughing. And despite looking like trouble, I found he was the sweetest guy ever!

After lunch, we went to the park and sat and talked. And it was an awesome, amazing connection. There were never any of those silent awkward moments or weird pauses. It all just flowed! We flow.

And then we just never stopped hanging out! We spent that summer, always together. Attatched at the hip. Here are some of our favorite pictures from back in the day:

Weren't we just the cutest little rebels! I love the picture of us holding hands. It was only a couple days after we met. The second is in Subway a couple weeks later. {Gosh, I wish I could get that tan again...} The third is us being cute for the camera. Rawr! The last photo was a year after we met. <3

What an amazing summer that was. I had met the love of my life, and didn't know it yet! It was perfect, young love that grew into that forever and after kind of love.

Here is a screenshot of a myspace message (yes, myspace) that I found from him. Notice the date!

It has been four years since that beautiful summer. Since then, we have tied the knot and started a family, but we're still the two teens in love, who just never stopped holding hands!

And they lived happily ever after!


Where Did May Go??

It's a busy week in the Forever&After house, with birthdays {particularly Roman's} anniversaries {ours! teeheehee!!}, and this year, a friend's wedding! So of course, there has been no time to blog! Here is the quick rundown:

Yesterday, one of my very good friends got married. Good, as in going into the sixth grade, and coming out together alive, good. I'm honored that I was a bridesmaid, and got to stand by her for one of the biggest days of her life! It was a beautiful ceremony (I only teared up a couple times!) and the reception was a blast! Chazz even came and was amazing for his daddy all day! Of course, once the reception started, he flirted his way around.

We also got into a house that we liked. It wasn't our first pick, but it is still a great place. It's a little out of town, with a nice fenced yard for the mutts, and a creek along the back. We're waiting for the new carpet and appliances, and then we get to move in.

Buh-Bye lil old apartment!

Roman's 23rd birthday is on Monday, and I'm still thinking of what to do! Maybe a picnic?

And the greatest part of May??
Tomorrow is our 1 Year Anniversary! It has gone by pretty dang fast, and it's still somewhat of a shock to us both. We have a babysitter lined up, so it's out on the town for a little fun!
In celebration, tomorrows post is going to be epic. And a little embarassing... I'm writing our love story, complete with pictures of us circa 17yrs old. Epic I tell ya!

But that's all I can say until tommorow's post!! And thanks for all of the comment/vote lovins, I promise I'll get back after all of this madness is over!

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Plum Organics Baby Food Review and Giveaway- Ends May 31

Freezer running low on homemade baby food? Or maybe between working and being a wife and mom, you just don't have the time to make it? Well, don't stress it, because EcoMom.com is bridging the gap between eco-friendly baby products and your front door.

I recieved a few samples of Plum Organics baby food to try with Chazz, and I couldn't be more pleased. They have multiple blends and stages, from new eaters to toddler-friendly Revolution Foods. And the best part is you don't have to stress about what's going in your little one's tummy!

There is a good variety of flavors! Chazz and I recieved Plum Organics Baby in
-Pear Mango
-Sweet Potato, Corn, and Apple
-Spinach, Peas, and Pear
And Plum Organics Tots in
-Peach Mish Mash
-Strawberry Mish Mash

What I Think:
The first one I tried (yes, me!) was the Pear-Mango blend. It was smooth for my beginning eater, and it actually tasted like pear and mango, no funky after taste. Looking at the ingrediants is comforting. Organic pears. Organic mango. That's it! No fillers, no toxins, and not one thing I can't pronounce.
It comes in an BPA-free pouch with a twist off lid. Let me tell ya a secret. I squeezed it right out of the pouch, onto a spoon, and right into my Little Man's mouth. No mess. No waste. And only a spoon to wash!

What Chazz Thinks:
I knew he loved pears, but this blend takes the cake. He had those deep belly laughs after every bite!

And later, the refridgerated pouch made a great teether!

How To Win:
EcoMom wants to give one winner $20 in Plum Organics and/or Revolution Foods! That's a great start for your growing little one.

EcoMom is also offering everyone 15% off your first order with promo code SBBL211. The code is good now through May 31, 2010 so go check them out!
While your there, sign up for EcoPass. It allows you to purchase a $99 annual membership that provides a 15% discount off of EVERY ORDER and free shipping.

Ok, now for how you can win! It's pretty easy!

*-Mandatory- Leave a comment answering this question:
Do you taste your little one's baby food? If so, what is the best and worst so far?

That's it! Of course, if you want to snag some extra entries, here they are!

*Follow Forever&After with Google Friend Connect
*Vote for my blog on Picket Fence Blogs [One vote per day]
*Follow EcoMom on Twitter @EcoMomCEO
*Fan EcoMom on Facebook
*Subscribe to EcoMom's newsletter

Leave a seperate comment for each entry, with your email address in at least one comment so I can contact you when you win. At some point on MAY 31st, I will select a winner using random.org I will send you an email to notify you if you have won and you will have 48 hours to get back to me before I will draw another winner.

Good luck!

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Disclosure: While I did recieve product, I was not compensated in any way by EcoMom for posting this review and giveaway. All opinions about EcoMom and their products are strictly my own and were not influenced by them in any way.


Wordless-less Wednesday

My Wordless Wednesday posts have never been wordless! So here you have it, Wordless-less Wednesday!

Little Man is enjoying being able to hold himself up on things. Everything! I have to be careful when picking him up, because he has been grabbing onto any and everything he can! I snapped this quick picture at a family get together last week, pardon the bad lighting!

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What A Day

Today is a good day, but can I just rant for a second here?? I normally try to take everything in stride, but this morning is just not my morning!

To start, my poor Little Man rolled right off of the bed in the middle of the night. (Yes, I'm back to bed sharing!) I can't believe it. I don't even know how it happened, but I swear my maternal instincts woke me up before he even hit the floor. And he was in my arms and nursing before he had a chance to cry.
On top of the midnight mommy fail, Chazz had a very important eye appt at 8:30 this morning. I woke up at 8:28. {oh sure chazz, you choose today of all days to not wake up at the buttcrack of dawn!} But I managed to get us all together, out the door, and to the appt in 20 minutes. Whew!

Ok, vent over, on to the good stuff!

The appt went well! It was a follow up to the original ONH diagnosis, and we discussed the MRI and his progress. Chazz is tracking a lot better with his eyes. He does seem to have periferal vision in his left eye, which is a relief! The MRI showed that he does have a smaller pituitary gland, so we are keeping close tabs on his growth. Since getting a 6 month old to cooperate for an eye exam is next to impossible, we won't know be tackling that until his next eye appt at 1 year old. At that point, we will know how well he can see, if glasses could help, and a little more about how it will or will not effect how he learns.

I am suprised at how well I handled the appt. No tears, I remembered all of my questions, and it offered a lot of closure for me. He doesn't have the brain deformities that are often hand in hand with ONH. It's like a huge weight has been lifted, and there is somewhere to go from here. I'm just thankful to have my happy, healthy, handsome boy!

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Home Sweet Home

Renting is the pits. I really can't wait to own our own home. *sigh*
Soon enough, soon enough.

I dont like moving. Well, moving isn't so much as bad as packing. Wrapping up everything, packing it tight, labeling, losing stuff in the meantime. It's tedious! However, I don't mind unpacking because you can put everything exactly how you want it. I'm OCD like that!

But anyway, Roman and I have decided to move out of our current house for a couple different reasons.
-Way. Too. Small. I always feel like I'm going crazy!
-No yard. (And I want a garden!)
-No yard! And we have two lovely mutts that need more of it!
-Just 'cause. We do that a lot.

Oh yeah, and did I mention it was too small? So the last couple days we have been on the look out for some rentable houses. We have our heart set on one that has some amazing architecture and cute vintage flair. There is room for a little garden, a big yard for the mutts, and a garage for Roman to work on cars. Chazz would have lots of crawling room!

I'm crossing my fingers on this one, and hopefully we will know by tommorow evening. This could be a new begining for all of us...:)

BYOB Partay!

It's a Bring Your Own Blog party this week on D-listed. If you haven't yet, check them out, add yours, and find some fun blogs!


A little about us. I am a young wife and mommy, as in 21 years young. I married my best friend, Roman, last May, after discovering "Oops! We're Preggy!" {We had been engaged for 2 years, and never set the date, I think God was nudging us a little!} I had our beautiful son, Chazz Dallen, in November 2009, and life just keeps getting better!

As young parents, we are always juggling a lot! Roman works really hard so that I can stay home with Chazz. I hope to start back up with college soon for Graphic Design. Our dream is to build our own house in the next couple years.

Forever&After is the new blog on the block! There are a billion things we want to keep track of, and even more things to learn. So I started this blog as a way to keep tabs on Chazz, and even learn from some seasoned mommas! I write a lot about my Little Man, of course, and the adventures of a young mom. I'm *trying* to "green up" our little family. I make most of Chazz's baby food and love sharing those recipes. Chazz was just diagnosed with a vision disability, ONH, and that has been a mixed experience.

Feel free to click your way around and leave comments and suggestions. Don't forget a link, I love reading new blogs!

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Scrapbooking Progress!

While I was pregnant (and oh-so-restless!) I crafted a bunch of themed scrapbook pages for Chazz's album. And I am so glad I did, because I might just finish it by time he's 10!

Here is the album we got. I love the little bumblebee. The nature themed paper is from JoAnn's, and it rocks!

The first page with a spot for his hospital picture.

A spread dedicated to the baby bump. I worked as a barista while pregnant, and my customers always joked that I had "swallowed a coffee bean!"

(it says "Psst! The cat's out of the bag!" And boy, wasn't it!)

Our first ultrasound! And "It's a Boy!"

The Miracle of Life.

As you can tell, i have a ways to go. But it's all finally coming together, one nap at a time. I'm loving how it is turning out. Now if only I could get time to print some pictures off....!

PS. I would love any layout ideas!


Happy 1/2 Birthday Chazz!

Wow. My Little Man is 6 months already! The big .5! And my, how you have grown:

Six months ago, I was holding a beautiful stranger. Your sweet dark eyes looked only to me. Now I'm lucky if you'll hold still long enough to see your cute face! And you are no longer a stranger. You have a budding little personality, all your own! You are talkative and sweet. Keen and adventurous. There's no fooling you! You are a momma's boy through and through and love to snuggle. You often bury your face in my chest and giggle, which is the cutest thing ever!

But you always have time to be one of the guys and sit in your Bumbo seat watching Daddy intently. You save your biggest smiles for your him. I love the heart to heart conversations you have with him. Your little face has so much emotion and expression! And sometimes, he's the only one who can get you to nap!

Everwhere we go, someone mentions how happy, sweet, or handsome you are. And I beam with pride! You have your Daddy's big heart, and Mommy's looks. My tan sweetheart with those dark curls.

You did wonderful at your appointment. On the way, you surprised me with a new sound. "Dadadada" all the way there! You smiled at Dr. Gill and showed off all of your skills for the nurse. You only cried for 4-5 seconds after your shots, but I squeeked Mr. Elephant and all was right and good in the world! You are getting smarter by the day! And oh-so-tough. You roll and spin and inch to get around. You push your tummy up off of the ground, sometimes even to your toes like a push up! You seem to learn something new everyday to surprise us with. You're growing up too fast for mom! Cut it out, already!

Happy 1/2 Birthday, Monkey-Man!

All my love,

~~6 Month Stats~~

Weight:- 14.5 lbs
Length:- 26 inches
Diaper size: 3
Clothing size: 6 Months
Sleeping: More time in my bed than his!
Eating: Besides BM, he has tried rice and oatmeal, sweet potatoes, squash, applesauce, bananas, avacado, prunes, peas, mango, carrots, pear, and watered down prune juice.
Fave toy: Monkey Ball
Fave thing to do: Deep belly laughs :)
Latest milestones: Creeping, rolling, socializing, pulling up
Babbling: I heard a couple DaDaDaDa's today! -5/12
Newest item/toy: The Sippy
Tooth Count: zero- still waiting!
I look forward to: Crawling. I think. And some "Mamama's"
Fave Pic:

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Just Doing My Breast. Uhm, Best.

Oh My Gah! I did it! I've nursed my Little Man for 6 months.


I endured the pain. The latching shannanigans. The pinching and scratching! I really didn't think I was going to last this long. And I can't help but be proud. And blessed! It's hard, and I did it.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not all high and mighty about BFing. I can't stand the BM vs formula debate. Sure, there are endless benefits to BFing. But it's not for everyone. Feed your baby. Love your baby. Teach your baby. Do that, and your an awesome mom in my book.

And today, I feel like a pretty awesome momma!

Now, I have to throw in my disclaimer: He wasn't exclusively breastfed. He's had formula at 3 different points in his life. The first, he had neonatal low blood sugar at birth, and somewhere along the way, I agreed to give him formula and glucose mixed together. Pfft. This one shouldn't count, because a) Its medical. And b) The nurse druged me. No, really! But that's a different post ;) Anyway. The second was about 6 weeks in. Looking back, it was probably in part due to mild PPD. There were times I just didn't want to feed him. As weird as that sounds, I can't really explain it. I also hated nusing in public or around people... And people were always around! So there was a 3 week period where he had a bottle of formula every couple of days. Then I figured out how to work a pump :) The third, was when a day trip to a nearby town for a concert turned into an all nighter when we got to hang out with the band's singer. Notbraggingatall. When the freezer stash ran out, My Mommy gave him some formula. All in the name of rock n' roll, haha!

Other than that, he's strictly on the boob juice. :)

All in all, I've made it this far, and I'm happy! But now I'm kinda stuck. I had originally planned on weaning at this point. Now I'm not so sure that I want to. Formula is quite spendy, and with Roman being layed off, right now it's not really an option. On top of that, I kinda like nursing my baby He's super snuggly! And cleaning bottles constantly is a pain compared to just popping him in position.

I have a couple things on my mind though. Because you know the first thing everyone is going to ask! They'll all want to know "How long?" And what about my supply? Does it grow with him? No nurse ever tells you about the second six months! Do I need to know anything about long term BFing?? Ahhh, I almost feel like a begginer all over again!

Truth is, I don't know a single answer. Yet. But I'm still excited!!! Cause I did it! Haha, and maybe the rest is just going to have to be up to Chazz!

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Big Boy Means Big Toys

Chazz is growing up way too fast for this momma's liking. His 6 month birthday is right around the corner and I'm in denial. I'm stunned! What happened to my baby?! I never gave him permission to grow up. That oh-so-precious first year is almost half way over... I wish I could slow down time, just to enjoy as it as much as I possibly can. Or rewind and live it again.

Life is a-changin'!
I used to worry if he was getting enough milk. What his cries meant. If his poop was too green!
Now I'm packing away 3-6 outfits.
All of his new toys are 6m+.
I bought The Sippy and about a dozen different feeding contraptions. He even feeds himself bananas in his new mesh feeder.

He's pushing up and scooting.

He's holding himself up and tripoding.

And he's taking to his first sippy like a champ!

As hard as it is to take in, it's exciting to witness all of those connections being made, the lightbulbs, all of the firsts. And it seems that he has a new one to suprise us with every day!

I just know I'll be cherishing these next six months, they can go by so fast.

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On My First Mother's Day

Thank you for making me a mommy! Six months ago, you were due, and I was impatiently waiting for you to come. I never understood the strength of a mother's love until I had you. You are just as precious at 4 am, bawling, as you are when you're peacefully sleeping on my chest. I've learned a lot about love from you. You've given me many gifts. Unconditional love, never-ending strength, selflessness, insights I never had before there was a you. I couldn't imagine a more perfect baby boy!
Love, Mom

Aka Madrè, Merè, Momma
I love you to pieces!
Thank you for being such an awesome mom, an example of the mother I was to become! There were times I thought I was sure I had just dug my own grave. But no matter what trouble I was in, you were there to show me the way, and love me unconditionally. Thanks for being the best teacher, cheerleader, and friend a daughter could ask for.
Love, Chelcie Rae

Being such a wonderful dad is what inspires me to be a wonderful mom. Thanks for the simple things, like changing diapers, and the pretty dang big ones, like working your hardest for our family. Thanks for always supporting me in my mommy decisions and adventures (I know you think all this "organic-shmamic" is slightly crazy). And for all of the times you tell me that I'm an amazing mom. It might not seem like much, but it is really nice to hear, and keeps me goin!
Forever and After, Baby.

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