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13 Months of Tommy

Tommy with the Sit/Stand Walker August 2018 | http://www.roseclearfield.com

This past week our Tommy turned 13 months old. Now that he’s going to the doctor every six months, I’ll only be giving weight and height updates following an appointment. As he’s weaning off formula, we aren’t likely to see the huge gains each month that we did for his first year.

A few Tommy development highlights from the past month:

  • Cruising and crawling everywhere. Tommy’s a fast crawler now. When he’s not crawling, he’s cruising all around the furniture and anywhere else he can stand up and move around. Tommy does let go occasionally for a second or two at a time. He loves walking with someone holding his hands and using his sit/stand walker all around the house and patio. His dexterity with the walker has improved so much the past month.
  • Signing “more.” The one sign we’ve been teaching Tommy thus far is “more,” specifically when he wants more food. He does great with it, frequently signing “more” to indicate that he wants food or wants more food (instead of screaming or banging, which I’m not going to lie, were motivators to teach this sign). We’re still working on “all done,” as he tends to pull off his bib and throw any remaining food from his tray onto the floor.
  • Saying “hi,” “bye,” and “night-night” and shaking his head no. He loves to shake his head no and does so to actually indicate no about three quarters of the time. Tommy’s also waving more consistently when saying “hi” and “bye,” though sometimes still delayed enough that someone doesn’t see it.
  • Playing the piano. 100% on his own, this past month, Tommy started expressing interest in playing the keyboard that I keep in my office. In addition to the piano keys, it has a ton of other buttons for playing beats, recording demos, etc., offering endless button pushing fun. We haven’t really found a limit to how long Tommy will sit on someone’s lap and play piano. I’m really impressed at 13 months how much he pays attention to the sounds he makes and that he’s willing on occasion to press single notes, not just pound on lots of keys at once.
  • Cutting new teeth. Tommy started cutting his second tooth, the other bottom middle tooth. He’s primed to start cutting one of his top middle teeth any day. His teeth don’t seem to be bothering him too much, but he still has a lot of bad teething diapers.

Tommy at the Keyboard August 2018 | http://www.roseclearfield.com

One of the funniest things to me about this age is how many people are anxious for their toddlers to talk, so they can get some insight into what they’re thinking. Of course, I’m looking forward to Tommy learning to talk as much as anyone. But the vast majority of the time, it’s pretty clear what he’s thinking, feeling, wanting, needing, etc. We’re not left wondering “that didn’t solve the problem, what do you really want?” or “I can’t tell what you’re pointing at.” Nine times out of ten (if not more), when Tommy is communicating, either verbally or non-verbally, it’s very clear what he’s trying to say. Is this unusual at this age? I honestly have no idea.

We are using up the last of our formula, adding 2 oz. to bottles with 3-5 oz. whole milk. Tommy has done a great job transitioning to mostly milk bottles. As he’s still far more comfortable using his bottles than his sippy cups, we haven’t tried milk in a sippy cup yet. We are working to make slightly smaller bottles than he needs to fill him up at least once or twice a day and then supplementing with a mix of baby food (i.e. puffs, yogurt melts) and regular food, so he gets used to taking in more calories through regular food.

Hands down, Tommy’s favorite food this month has been blueberries. He has eaten a crazy number of blueberries. He has also really enjoyed chicken pot pie and sloppy Joes. Thus far the only regular food Tommy has flat out turned down is lettuce, which he did try before rejecting. He is also not crazy about the texture of strawberries or peaches, although he loves strawberry and peach flavored yogurt melts.

Tommy at the Downtown Racine Harbor August 2018 | http://www.roseclearfield.com

In classic toddler form, going down for naps and bedtime is often a bit of a struggle. Tommy is sure that he’s not ever tired and often cries for a few minutes in his crib, especially for naps. When we’re at home, he almost always goes down for a nap around 12:00/1:00 and will sleep for at least a couple of hours. Now that we’re in a routine of getting ready for bed and watching TV to relax around 10:00/10:30, he does better with the bedtime crib transition most of the time. If he still won’t go down on his own after a couple of episodes, generally he will after one of us sits with him in his room for a few minutes (rocking together in the rocking chair or one of us sitting in the rocking chair while he’s in his crib).

Tommy Trying to Grab the Camera August 2018 | http://www.roseclearfield.com

(I promise that this is not a “don’t take my picture” shot. It’s a “let me touch the camera” shot.)

As many of you already know, this past month was really busy, with Tommy’s birthday the same week that my mom’s mom/Tommy’s great-grandma passed away and Tommy’s first cousin was born. The week of Tommy’s birthday, we had our brief getaway to the Dells and Tommy’s birthday party. We had a casual open house at our place for about 30 family and friends. People were able to come and go as their schedules allowed. We got to talk to everyone and Tommy didn’t get overwhelmed. It was a lot of fun. Thank you so much to everyone who has helped make Tommy’s first birthday so special.

Then the following weekend, we had Tommy’s great-grandma’s funeral on Friday. Tommy got to spend a lot of time with extended family and meet a number of family friends. Tommy’s great-grandpa traveled up from Texas for the weekend. Tommy and I went back to down to Chicago to spend more time with him and other family and family friends on Sunday. Among other events, we were able to attend one of Aunt Bethany’s (outdoor) Grant Park Chorus concerts.

Apple Holler August 2018 | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Apple Holler August 2018 | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Apple Holler August 2018 | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Apple Holler August 2018 | http://www.roseclearfield.com

A few weeks ago, Tommy’s godparents and their boys made a brief stop through our area on the way back from a wedding in Chicago. Tommy’s godparents hadn’t seen Tommy since his baptism in September. We hadn’t met their younger son who was born in February. We met up with them and Joe’s mom at Apple Holler for lunch and a little time with the animals. (Of course, we had to pick up donuts while we were there, too.)

Tommy at Denim Park August 2018 | http://www.roseclearfield.com

This past week, we went up to Milwaukee to see Layers&Layers at Denim Park. As always, Tommy was super social, and he got us to talk to a bunch of new people while we were there. He also had fun meeting some new dogs.

Tommy in the Swing August 2018 | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Jake and Tommy at the Beach July 2018 | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Jake and Tommy at the Beach July 2018 | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Otherwise, we’ve been spending a lot of time outside, enjoying walks in the neighborhood, swinging at the park a few blocks away from our house, sitting on the beach, and hanging out on our back patio. Most mornings, if weather allows, Tommy and I get over to the playground for swinging and a few laps in the stroller around the village green. Then we fit in another slightly shorter walk with Jake in the evening either before or after dinner.

To see all of my past Tommy updates, head to the Family section of the blog.

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DIY Back to School Mason Jar Teacher Gifts

DIY Back to School Mason Jar Teacher Gifts - Composition Book Mason Jar via Mason Jar Crafts Love | http://www.roseclearfield.com

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With a background in education and as a teacher at heart, I’m a sucker for a good teacher gift. DIY back to school mason jar teacher gifts are right up my alley. I’m definitely going to be the parent who has a teacher gift for every occasion. I’m not embarrassed at all that my only child is just one year old, and I’m already thinking about that sort of thing.

If you’ve checked out any of my other mason jar craft posts, you know that I’m a huge fan of transforming mason jars as decor pieces or gift items. DIY back to school mason jar teacher gifts are affordable and easy to make in a single afternoon.

The mason jars I’ve highlighted in this roundup feature more traditional teacher gifts, namely school supplies. There is absolutely nothing wrong with these gifts. However, I encourage you to think outside the box, too, when you’re considering what to put in your mason jar teacher gift. A local gift card to a favorite restaurant or bookstore, self-care supplies (i.e. mani/pedi items, high-quality hand lotion), or handmade jewelry takes DIY back to school mason jar teacher gifts up a notch.

DIY Back to School Mason Jar Teacher Gifts - You're One Sharp Teacher Mason Jar Craft via Pink When | http://www.roseclearfield.com

You’re One Sharp Teacher Mason Jar Craft – Pink When

DIY Back to School Mason Jar Teacher Gifts - Pencil and Apple Glitter Mason Jar Set via A Pumpkin and a Princess | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Pencil and Apple Glitter Mason Jar Set – A Pumpkin and a Princess

DIY Back to School Mason Jar Teacher Gifts - Mason Jar Pens and Pencils Holder Teacher Gift via Yesterday on Tuesday | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Mason Jar Pens and Pencils Holder Teacher Gift – Yesterday on Tuesday

DIY Back to School Mason Jar Teacher Crafts - Back to School Distressed Mason Jar Teacher Gift Set via Mason Jar Crafts Love | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Back to School Distressed Mason Jar Teacher Gift Set – Mason Jar Crafts Love

DIY Back to School Mason Jar Teacher Gifts - Painted Crayon Mason Jars via Weekend Craft | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Painted Crayon Mason Jars – Weekend Craft

DIY Back to School Mason Jar Teacher Gifts - Notebook Pencil Apple Mason Jar Set via Lil Luna | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Notebook, Pencil, and Apple Mason Jar Set – Lil Luna

DIY Back to School Mason Jar Teacher Gifts - Chalkboard Mason Jar Teacher Gift via A Pumpkin and a Princess | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Chalkboard Mason Jar Teacher Gift – A Pumpkin and a Princess

DIY Back to School Mason Jar Teacher Gifts - Apple Mason Jar Teacher Gift via Plaid Online | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Apple Mason Jar Teacher Gift – Plaid Online

DIY Back to School Mason Jar Teacher Gifts - Back to School Mason Jar Teacher Gift with Free Chalkboard Printables via The Crafted Sparrow | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Back to School Mason Jar Teacher Gift with Free Chalkboard Printables – The Crafted Sparrow

DIY Back to School Mason Jar Teacher Gifts | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Did you make one of the DIY back to school mason jar teacher gifts in this post?

I want to see it! Tag your pictures #RoseClearfield on Twitter or Instagram.

More DIY mason jar ideas:

Spring Mason Jar Decor | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Spring Mason Jar Decor

Summer Mason Jar Decor | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Summer Mason Jar Decor

4th of July Mason Jar Decor | http://www.roseclearfield.com

DIY 4th of July Mason Jar Decor

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10 Things Not to Say to Adoptive Parents

10 Things Not to Say to Adoptive Parents | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Adoptive families deal with a wealth of unusual comments and questions. Many people don’t know much about adoption and are simply curious. They ask questions or make comments, just wanting to learn more. Instead, they often come off, at best, intrusive, and at worst, downright offensive. Well-intentioned remarks or inquiries end up being really upsetting, especially as kids get older and are left with new questions of their own. The following list of things not to say to adoptive parents is intended to help family and friends think twice while talking to their loved ones about adoption.

How much did your child cost?

I think it goes without saying that this is an incredibly inappropriate question and rightly deserves to be at the top of a things not to say to adoptive parents list. It’s so inappropriate that it’s hard to believe people will ask it. But they do. Most shockingly, this question often seems to come from complete strangers in public settings, such as the grocery store or library. It’s beyond me why anyone would say something so personal in such an environment. I’m also not sure why people feel like adoption warrants such questions. No one thinks it’s appropriate to ask a woman who just gave birth how much she spent on ultrasounds, tests, the hospital stay, etc. So why would it be okay to ask adoptive parents about their expenses?

It’s also important to emphasize that adoption costs a lot. Most of the time, people don’t ask how much adoption costs, they ask how much the child costs, adding further offense to the question. If you’re truly curious about how much adoption costs and why it’s so expensive, this information is readily available online. If you’re thinking adoption and want to have a real discussion about this topic, I’m happy to have talk about it in more detail. But not in a public forum.

Your child is so lucky.

People look at adoptive parents who have been waiting years to have a child and now have an adorable baby in their lives. All they see is the good fortune of this family and how blessed the parents are to be raising this beautiful child. On the one hand, yes, of course, this child is lucky. We’re all lucky to be given the gift of life on this Earth, this child included.

However, on the other hand, the reality of adoption is that the process is inherently stressful on a child. Even under the best of circumstances, it’s not an ideal situation. Ever. Babies don’t deserve to start their lives that way.

I also get hung up on the notion of “lucky” because adoption is a double-edged sword. I discuss this topic more here. Lucky is a funny term anyway when you’ve spent years of your life and thousands of dollars trying to grow your family. Beyond that, there’s nothing lucky about it for birth families. Making the decision to put up a child for adoption is one of the toughest things they’ll ever do.

Your child does/doesn’t look like you.

For adoptive parents whose kids really don’t look like them, particularly kids of a different race, this topic is never ending and frankly, just awful to deal with on a regular basis. I’m not sure why anyone thinks it’s helpful to comment on the fact that your kids don’t look like you. Like both the parents and kids don’t know that already?

On the flip side, while you don’t deal with as many ongoing questions about your children looking or not looking like you when you’re the same race, people still make weird comments. Am I supposed to feel validated in some way because someone told me that my son looks like me, even when you know he’s adopted? Would the adoption be less real or meaningful in some way if we didn’t look alike? Also, I don’t want to play the “who does my child look like more” game. It doesn’t help me feel validated either.

Why was your child given up for adoption?

A child’s adoption story is his/her own story and absolutely no one else’s business. In time, a child will learn his/her adoption story and decide if/how he/she will share it with anyone. It’s not my place to discuss this information, even with close friends and family members. I don’t mind sharing some basic facts. I also don’t mind sharing more recent information about Tommy’s birth family, such as when we last saw them and what they’ve been up to lately. But the adoption story itself isn’t something to share with most people.

How are you going to tell your child he/she was adopted?

Our adoption agency advises families that adoption should always be something that you discuss with your children. A child shouldn’t ever remember the moment that he/she found out he/she’s adopted. The child should always know this information. We completely agree with this approach, and as such, it’s what we’re using with our child. So I tell people that. While a little nosy, this is not a terrible question. When people actually want to have a bit of a discussion (as opposed to just saying the first thing that came to their mind), I’m happy to talk about it in more detail.

Don’t you worry about your child dealing with [fill in the blank]?

The short answer is yes. But I don’t worry about it on a daily, or even weekly, basis. Adoption comes with a lot of baggage and unknown questions. However, so does life. You’ll be hard-pressed to find any parent, biological or adoptive, who doesn’t worry about many aspects of raising children. Even with a fantastic network of adoptive parents and a wealth of resources, it’s impossible to predict the future. I don’t spend hours and hours worrying about every potentially difficult future scenario. No one has the energy for that. You cross those bridges when you come to them.

Why did you adopt a child from another country when there are so many children in the United States who need homes?

Seriously? This is another question that is just so awkward for adoptive parents to have to answer in front of their children. There are many reasons that people choose to adopt within the United States and many reasons that people choose to adopt internationally. There is no right or wrong answer for choosing one adoption route over another. It’s a personal choice everyone has to make when pursuing adoption.

You’re so lucky that you didn’t have to go through [any number of common pregnancy symptoms].

Not everyone pursues adoption due to infertility. Many couples have always wanted to adopt, regardless of their own ability to conceive. However, many couples do pursue adoption due to infertility. With a couple of exceptions, everyone I know personally who has a child through domestic infant adoption has experienced infertility. While no one wishes for horrible pregnancy symptoms, anyone who has faced infertility would do a lot to be pregnant.

It’s also not fair to play the “my situation is worse than your situation” game. Rough pregnancies and adoption waits aren’t ideal by any stretch of the imagination. Having a horrible pregnancy is miserable and at times, really scary, often for days, weeks, or even months on end. When you’ve had a rough pregnancy, getting pregnant again is stressful right from the start. Adoption is a drawn out process with a lot of emotional baggage and for many couples, financial stress. It takes most couples years to adopt just one child, with uncertainty about the timeline through much of the process. Do you really want to go up against someone about which situation is tougher?

We’ve always thought about adopting.

Personally, this is one of my biggest pet peeves as an adoptive parent. Lots of people say, “oh, we thought about adopting, but we didn’t” or “we may adopt at some point in the future.” Okay? Somehow your intentions to adopt are relevant to my actual adoption? By telling me you’ve always thought about adoption, you’re somehow above all those people who have never considered it? It’s like telling a concert pianist that you’ve always thought about taking piano lessons but never did. While not wildly inappropriate, it’s pretty random. Again, when people are serious about adoption, especially when they’re facing infertility, I’m always happy to have a real discussion about it. The vast majority of the time, this is not the case.

Now that you’ve adopted, you’re sure to get pregnant.

There are absolutely no statistics to support that adopting increases your odds of getting pregnant. I know that people love that sort of story, but it’s extremely rare. It’s also disrespectful to imply that adopting is some sort of motive to get pregnant. Nothing could be further from the truth. Unfortunately, TV and movies do nothing to dissuade this myth (I’m looking at you, Sex in the City). I really like this perspective on “now that you’ve adopted, you’re sure to get pregnant” from Creating a Family.

When you’ve adopted after years of infertility, most likely you’ve reached a place where you’ve found some peace with your situation. While it would be amazing to get pregnant spontaneously at this point in my life, it’s not something I can allow myself to think about as a serious notion. Talking to me about getting pregnant brings all those feelings right to the surface again, which isn’t healthy.

And a bonus #11…

Oh, my cousin’s son’s kid/neighbor’s best friend’s aunt, etc. adopted a baby from China 20 years ago.

I can’t believe that this remark ended up at #11 on this list because it’s another one of my biggest pet peeves as an adopted parent. So many people have some vague connection to adopt. That’s great. It’s not really relevant. Unless you were adopted or you have a parent, spouse, or child (or another extremely close family member) who was adopted, most likely adoptive parents don’t want to talk to you about your vague adoption connection.

Sadly, this list is by no means exhaustive.
What else would you add to things not to say to adoptive parents?

 

More adoption resources:

10 Things No One Tells You About Adoption | http://www.roseclearfield.com

10 Things No One Tells You About Adoption

Building a Birth Family Relationship | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Building a Birth Family Relationship

What to Include in Monthly Updates for Birth Families | http://www.roseclearfield.com

What to Include in Monthly Updates for Birth Families

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Barcelona Sagrada Familia Exterior | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Today I’m continuing my Mediterranean cruise tour with Barcelona part 1: the exterior of the Sagrada Familia. I’m planning three Barcelona posts. I have too many Sagrada Familia photos to cover the church in a single post. And then I have a number of other city shots that I’ll be sharing in a final Barcelona post.

I had no idea what to expect in Barcelona and was blown away by this amazing city. We never would have visited Barcelona if it hadn’t been part of this particular cruise. But it was one of our favorite ports. I would go back to Barcelona any time and highly recommend it to anyone visiting this area of the world.

There are so many fabulous aspects of Barcelona. The Sagrada Familia was definitely the highlight for us. I know that “pictures don’t do it justice” is so cliche. I could say that about every single stop on our Mediterranean cruise. But it’s especially true for a structure like the Sagrada Familia. Until you see it in person, it’s hard to appreciate the sheer size and scope of the building.

As such, I’m including a couple of pictures of the Barcelona skyline, so you can see how high the Sagrada Familia stands above all of the surrounding structures.

Barcelona Skyline in the Morning | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Barcelona Skyline | http://www.roseclearfield.com

If you’re aren’t familiar with the Sagrada Familia and its history, I encourage you to visit the official website and learn more about this incredible structure.

Barcelona Sagrada Familia Exterior | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Barcelona Sagrada Familia Exterior | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Barcelona Sagrada Familia Exterior | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Mediterranean Cruise 2017 | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Barcelona Sagrada Familia Exterior | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Barcelona Sagrada Familia Exterior | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Barcelona Sagrada Familia Exterior | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Barcelona Sagrada Familia Exterior | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Barcelona Sagrada Familia Exterior | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Barcelona Sagrada Familia Exterior | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Barcelona Sagrada Familia Exterior | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Barcelona Sagrada Familia Exterior | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Barcelona Sagrada Familia Exterior | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Unfortunately, as of writing this post, the Sagrada Familia seems to have stopped offering interior tours for the foreseeable future, due to structural issues. If I get word that they are offering interior tours again, I’ll be sure to provide updated information. As always, if you are planning to visit the Sagrada Familia or any other major site in Barcelona, I highly recommend purchasing tickets ahead of time. Getting tickets in advance saves a lot of time and energy and ensures you’ll get to see the sites you want to see on the dates that work best with your travel schedule.

Next up: the Sagrada Familia interior. Stay tuned!

More Mediterranean cruise destination installments:

Mediterranean Cruise: First Wanderings in Rome
Mediterranean Cruise: Colosseum and Roman Forum
Mediterranean Cruise: Exterior Florence Walking Tour
Mediterranean Cruise: Accademia Gallery
Mediterranean Cruise: Pisa, Italy
Mediterranean Cruise: French Riviera
Mediterranean Cruise: Monte Carlo

More Mediterranean cruise posts:

Mediterranean Cruise 2017 | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Mediterranean Cruise Highlights

Mediterranean Cruise Tips | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Mediterranean Cruise Tips

Mediterranean Cruise Camera Gear | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Mediterranean Cruise Camera Gear

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June/July: What I Read

June/ July 2018: What I Read | http://www.roseclearfield.com

I’m excited to share another couple of months of reads with you today!

In June and July, I listened to:

  • The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer. I decided to give Amy Schumer’s book a try after seeing her episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. So random, I know. She impressed me in the episode, and I was optimistic about her book. It didn’t disappoint. She keeps it real and isn’t overly crude.

 

 

  • Back of the House: The Secret Life of a Restaurant by Scott Haas. I am a huge fan of shows like Chef’s Table and Mind of a Chef and am always interested in the behind the scenes aspects of working in a restaurant. I love that Back of the House is not just about the chef and owner of the restaurant but the entire restaurant staff and the ins and outs of running the restaurant each week.

 

In June and July, I read:

 

  • All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin. I’m sure that many of you know that I’m a huge Emily Giffin fan. She writes fiction exactly the way I wish that I could write fiction. I still think that Something Borrowed / Something Blue are her best books and best characters. However, I’ve enjoyed everything that she’s written since then. All We Ever Wanted was better than her last two books, especially in terms of characters. I enjoyed First Comes Love, but the characters were so dislikeable. The plot and characters were both a bit (emphasis on a bit, it’s not like this was an entirely different genre for her) of a departure from her usual style. She definitely rose to the challenge. My biggest pet peeve with this book is that her editor okay-ed multiple italicized words on almost every single page. Not an exaggeration. I know that seems picky. But it’s so unnecessary and distracting.

In June and July, I re-read:

  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is still so much better than Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It took me almost as long to read it (partly because I took a week off due to all of the craziness in July). But it went so much faster. Does that make sense? The flow of the book is so much better. It’s also fascinating to see how much J.K. Rowling is already leading up to the end of the series in this book.

I’m taking a break from Harry Potter again to read a few books that I’ve bought in 2018 but haven’t read yet.

[Disclaimer: There are a few affiliate links in this post. Thanks for your support!]

What have you been reading and loving lately?

I’m always looking for new suggestions!

Previous reading posts:

April/May 2018: What I Read | http://www.roseclearfield.com

April/May: What I Read

February March 2018: What I Read | http://www.roseclearfield.com

February/March: What I Read

January: What I Read | http://www.roseclearfield.com

January: What I Read

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