Life, Kids, Sun

Siberia

Transition

The last couple weeks have been a time of transition for us. We’ve traveled thousands of miles over land and sea, changed continents, endured three flights with three tired children, ending up in western Florida. We will spend the next month looking to the Lord as we move into another ministry. We’d appreciate your prayers as we look ahead to what’s next.

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Saying goodbye

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We were in Moscow for a few days to say goodbye to friends there. (Moscow State University pictured above)

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Thanks Deana for letting us stay with you!

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We are relaxing in a quiet beautiful little community

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With lots of critters

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And wildlife

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The girls picking fruit from the tree in the backyard


Birthday Boy

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Yes, everyone says this, but it continues to amaze me how much growth takes place the first year of a baby’s life.

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Keith loves lots of attention and he really loves playing with his sisters.

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He hasn’t been very vocal the last month, but in the last few days he has been trying out some new sounds.

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We had a little gathering with a few of our friends to share some cake and the special day with Keith.

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He wasn’t too sure of what to do with that cake. He did seem to like it at first, but then not so much.

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We love our little Keith, and it has been such a joy to be his mommy.

I love when the girls tell me, “Mommy, Keith is just so cute!” I couldn’t agree more. We love him to pieces.

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Long days

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This picture was taken at 1:30 AM. The days here have gotten very long with it staying light out very late and getting light again very early. The official time the sun sets right now is at 10:50 pm, but it will continue to get later slowly until the longest day which is June 21. The sunset time will be 11:16 pm and then will rise again at 3:30 am.

Info taken from timeanddate.com


the park

 Not far from us there is a really small amusement park which connects to a foresty area. We’ve been having some great weather here lately in the high 60’s to low 70’s, the perfect time to take the kids.

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Bumped into some acquaintances

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Keith’s first taste of ice cream!

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Yeah, they let her drive a boat by herself. She did good even though she looks frightened here.

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And we met up with some friends from our Sunday group

A fun day!


Bread Delivery

Siberian Wonder Bread!

Siberian Wonder Bread!


Eleven

Here is our little monkey…getting so stinking big! After last month’s update when I said he wasn’t pulling himself up yet… well the next day he started pulling himself up on everything. Now he is a pro at it. He is also beginning to walk while we hold his hands. He isn’t brave enough to try and let go at all, he goes right down on his knees if he wants to move somewhere.

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He is getting smarter too! Our bathroom doors are right in the hallway and the doors don’t click shut. For some reason he always wants to go in there. If he is crawling towards the bathroom and he sees me coming to get him, he looks at me, smiles, then crawls faster to get into the bathroom!!

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He is such a happy baby and the girls love him to pieces. I love when they act like little mommies toward him. Especially Keira. She likes to tell him no or to shush him if he gets fussy.

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What a joy this little guy brings into our lives!


An Afternoon Walk

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Ten Months

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Our little baby is ten months old!

This month he has been pulling himself up on the couch and other pieces of furniture. He isn’t pulling himself all the way up to his feet, but he is almost there.

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He has been eating lots of different kinds of foods.

He loves fruit and bread and he really likes broccoli and mashed potatoes.

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He loves when Micah plays guitar.

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We love our happy, cuddly little guy.


Ice Skating

For the past month or so the temperature has been anywhere from -15 C (5 F) to about 0 C (32 F). We have been told this is the perfect time for ice skating. They have lots of different areas to go to on the nearby river and branches of it.  The ice is still very frozen and hard but it’s not so terribly cold out.  Some days it actually feels warm compared to what it had been this winter.

So the other evening, Violet and I met up with Elisabeth to try it out.

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They have a little building right by the ice where you can rent your skates if you don’t own any.

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She did ok for it being her third time ever. But I’m surprised she didn’t complain of a sore butt the next day.

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Worker girl…

…this is what she calls herself.

A little while ago in a package we received from Micah’s family, were some surprises for Violet. Before Christmas she had asked for her own hammer (she wants to be like daddy). Well, she got that and more. They sent a hammer, screwdriver, nails and screws, two boards with holes for the nails and screws, tool belt, hardhat, and a few other things that go into the tool belt that every little worker girl needs. She was beyond happy.

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Even Keith enjoys it too.

Well… it might have been Violet’s idea to dress him up.

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Weekend Getaway

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to attend a women’s retreat just on the outskirts of the city. It was a relaxing and encouraging time with the seven other women that were there (and two baby boys). We met for a long weekend at a small hotel, pictured below, and had lots of good conversations, times of singing, walking and a couple outings.

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Keith and I were talking with the cleaning lady one morning while waiting for one of the ladies before breakfast. Later she brought me a flower and said, Happy Women’s Day (International Women’s Day is always on March 8, and a big deal in Russia).

It was really sweet of her and brightened up my room.

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The surrounding area was woodsy and beautiful.

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This place we walked to is called Chochur Muran (Чочу́р Мура́н) which our family has walked to once before. It’s really pretty there this time of the year with all the snow.

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Keith and I on the ice throne

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Ice doggies

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Real doggy

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Dog sledding time! That was really fun! We just went around a loop in a field, but it was still really fun!

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Here are two short videos to give you an idea of what it was like:

 

 

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They also had a reindeer sled. I declined from riding these guys (I think one was female), they were a little crazy. The guy there had them tied to the post, and as soon as he untied them they were raring to go. The girls who did ride them held on really tight to a rope tied down the middle of the sled. Only after the reindeer starting running, the guy jumped quickly onto the front of the sled.

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A picture with them was good enough for me.

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Our group the last evening, in the restaurant at the hotel.


Nine months

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This little guy is now crawling all over the place.

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He crawls and sits up and then does it all over again.

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He has his two middle bottom teeth, and on the top he has three and soon it will be four.

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Love those chunky legs!

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This guy is such a happy little boy.

He’s now napping twice a day, morning and afternoon. It took a little time to adjust, but he’s doing really good.

I’ve been slowly giving him some chunks of food. He likes little pieces of homemade bread and soft cooked potatoes and he loves fruit purees!


Three Decades

Micah had a birthday last week, and we had a fun time with some friends together the weekend after his birthday. On his special day, we all went out as a family to a nearby restaurant. That was a first for us in quite some time. It was nice to all be together on a little outing to celebrate Micah’s day. We are thankful to have lots of sushi restaurants to enjoy in the city.

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And we are very thankful for Micah, a great hubby and loving daddy.


Sledding

A while back before Christmas, we walked down to an area of the city where they had placed large boards covering two huge snow piles, which made for some nice big sledding hills. Here are some pictures from our little outing…

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Those are huge blocks of ice carved with really pretty designs all around the tree.

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There she goes! Sliding is just as fun as sledding.

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Reindeer! Not sure why he was there, probably relaxing before flying around with Santa.

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Pony ride anyone?

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Eight

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Eight months since our little bouncing baby boy came into the world. Those two little girls love him to pieces. I often find them arguing about whose boy he is. They are two little mommies and are already looking out for their brother.

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Keith is just now beginning to crawl, he will pull himself forward with his arms then try to get his legs to catch up. He isn’t coordinated, but he is finally getting there. He still does roll everywhere too.

He is also getting two top teeth. One in the middle and the one beside it. They seem to be taking their good old time too.

Keith is such a happy little guy!
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Furrrrry

Can you guess what this is?

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How about now?

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These are my horse hair fur boots.

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These babies are necessary for staying warm in the very cold weather outside.

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The beading is very traditional for this area of Russia.

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Besides horse hair, the most popular boots here are made of reindeer and they are very, very expensive. These were quite a bit cheaper and they still keep me warm even with one regular pair of socks on. I was starting to feel the cold slightly when I had to stand at the bus stop one day, but that was it.

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This guy is selling fish and a few other items.

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This is how most women are dressed; fur hat, fur coat, fur boots.

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The children here are also dressed in fur.

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There are a few stray dogs that run around the city, not as many as there were in Moscow. They definitely build up their up coat of fur, being outside all the time.


5 years old

Our oldest baby girl, Violet, turned 5 years old on the 23rd of January. She has grown so much in just one short year. She is a good helper, and will usually do it without complaining. She loves her brother and sister, and often pretends to be their mommy. She loves watching princess movies like Rapunzel, Snow White and the The Little Mermaid. Her she is during more of the tense moments during The Little Mermaid.

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I should have gotten a picture at the end of the movie, she was very happy they were able to get married and live happily ever after. She is also getting a good imagination, it’s funny to hear the things she comes up with sometimes. She likes making up names for herself and she will pretend to be that person and come and visit me in my house.

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We just had a small get together in the evening of her birthday, but she always has lots of fun whenever we have anyone over.

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Keith is ready to party!

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With our little princess

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Her buddy Jasmine

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I saw a party popper at the store when I was getting supplies, and it was a good purchase. They definitely make it feel like party! There was so much confetti that flew out of that thing!

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Yay!!

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Violet requested chocolate cake with chocolate icing. The girl has good taste.

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Would you like to bake this cake too? Head over to Katrina’s Kitchen to find the recipe.


Christmas Service

Before I get too behind on events that have occurred, I wanted to share with you a little bit from the Christmas service that we went to with fellow believers. A couple different people participated including Micah and the girls. One lady shared the story of Joseph and Mary, another lady asked questions about the birth of Jesus and gave out candy for correct answers, and part of our family sang the song Away in a Manger (the girls favorite song, still even now, especially Keira, and you need to sing all three verses). They sang it in English, which may not have been understood by many, but the people still clapped and appreciated it.

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Singing some songs

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They gave out huge bags of candy to all the kids and even gave the two smallest kids a little toy!


Seven months old

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Another month has flown by already, and this little guy has not stopped growing.  He is a rolling machine.  If I leave the room for a minute while he is on the floor I never know where he will be when I come back.  I’ve really been trying to keep my eye on him these days. I’m expecting to see him crawling any day though. When he is on his belly, he will occasionally get up on his hands and knees and start rocking back and forth.

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On a rolling escapade

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I caught him on his knees!

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He loves playing with his daddy’s hair

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He is almost sitting by himself now. He can sit really steady for a good bit, but then it seems like he just gives up and lets go and falls backwards or face first.

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What a happy little boy we have been given and we love so much!


Stinkin’ Cold

So I’ve heard about the cold weather a lot of people in the States are having, but I have to say that I don’t really feel much sympathy.  Last week, I thought -40 C (-40 F) was cold, but of course there is always colder.  Like yesterday. It was cold. Stinkin’ cold.

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Lots of fog at this temperature, you can see a little below.

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Violet and I on a short walk to the grocery store a little while ago when it was a few degrees higher.

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My hands were out of my mittens just briefly to take the picture.

Right now, it is winter break for most people from work and school and that includes us from classes at the university.  In Russia, New Years is THE holiday. So from Jan 1-10 or so, most people have vacation. New Years Eve I got so sick with some awful bug, I was not going anywhere. I had already made food for that night, so Micah and the girls went over to our friends who live nearby. They ate lots of food, some new interesting things like cow tongue, cooked horse meat in different dishes, frozen thinly sliced raw horse meat, and baked thinly sliced horse intestines.  When I was finally up to eating two days later, I tried some leftovers Micah had brought home. The cow tongue wasn’t so bad, and I’ve had that other places, they served that to me in the hospital after I had Keith in Moscow. Cooked horse meat tastes good and similar to beef. But, the intestines, for me that was a bad idea. I took one bite and the only thing I can say to describe that taste was to have you think of a farm. Think of the way it smells.  That is exactly what it tasted like.  I’m not feeling great thinking about it. Ha! I just hope I don’t get that offered to me anytime soon. I’m not sure if my stomach will be able to handle it.

Micah and the girls came home after a couple of hours of being at our friends place, then at midnight we watched the pre-recorded bells toll at the Kremlin on TV. After that, people everywhere here were setting off lots and lots of fireworks.  Not just the little measly ones either, but pretty big ones. And when they go off right in front of your apartment windows, they are loud.  But the girls loved it.

So now with less than a week left in our “vacation”, we are enjoying some down time as a family and spending time with our newly made friends before we get busy again.


Christmas

We had a very nice Christmas here at the far ends of the earth, even with it being the coldest that it has gotten so far at almost -40 C (-40 F).

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This year has been really exciting for Violet, with her being a little bit older and knowing more and more, she was beyond excited about opening presents. Of course, we told her Christmas is more than just opening presents. We got a great Little People Nativity Set a few Christmases ago, and that was a great present that the kids can play and learn from. We also had a fun time watching Christmas movies this month. And like always, I’ve been taking lots of pictures of the kids.

Here are some of us opening some gifts…

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And some nicer ones of the kids…

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Have a Happy New Years!

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Six months old

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I say this all the time, but time flies with little babies. It just goes way too fast. Our baby is six months old!

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This last picture makes me laugh, with that face that he’s making. It’s really not how he acts at all, but he was starting not to feel very good that day and I happen to capture it. But he was mostly happy as you can see.

The next picture he looks like a cute little old man.

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This last month, he really has gotten good at rolling every which way. He rolls over on his belly, then over on his back again, over and over. I really need to be careful now where to put him, so he does’t fall. Which actually did happen once already. Violet is a big help when I need her to lay Keith down on his play mat for me. Well, one time I asked her to lay him down, and I don’t think I told her the floor. She brought him in the living room and laid him on the couch and then went somewhere. Not long after that I heard Keith crying really loud. I came in the room and he was laying on the floor. He had rolled off the couch. Poor kid, but after some soothing, he was fine. We just make sure he doesn’t get put down on the couch by himself anymore.

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This is how he likes to sleep these days. On his belly and usually at the end of his bed. One time his head was crammed into the corner, but he was fine after I moved him around.

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Just this month he got his two bottom teeth!

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And I just starting feeding him solids. His first taste was pumpkin (from a baby food jar, I wish I could buy it fresh), and he did not like it. He’s also had some rice cereal and that’s about it so far. He seems like he wants to eat, but does not like what I give him. Don’t let the first picture fool you with his cute smile. He’s just showing off for the camera.

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Our three little cuties!

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We’re so happy to have this little guy in our family. He makes us all happy with his cute smiles and happy attitude.

And I can’t get enough of his chubby little cheeks.

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Health Update

Just wanted to let everyone know the girls are doing a lot better! Thank you so much for thinking of us. They are still coughing during the day and night, but they are slowly getting better. Keith has a little cold right now, and for that I’m thankful. I’m so glad he didn’t get a fever like the girls, and I pray he continues to get better as well.

When you are plagued by a cough, it doesn’t ever seem like it will release its grasp of you. There is nothing more frustrating than consistently being awoken by a nagging cough. I’m sure the girls would tell you this. Also, it’s just as frustrating to not be able to bring relief from a cough. Sipping water, a small taste of honey, Vicks on the bottom of the feet while sleeping, cough medicines just suppress it for a small, short while. It just needs to run its course.

In some good and not frustrating news Keith has turned 6 months (a week ago)! I plan to update you soon with pictures of the cutest little sixth month old.


Poor little ones

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Laying on the couch with cool wet cloths to help bring down the fever

Sickness is making its way through our home right now. Micah caught it somewhere, and without fail we all have been getting our own versions of it. Micah and I only had a small short fever, plus other cold symptoms. The girls haven’t been so lucky. Keira’s turn was all day yesterday with a fever and Violet has had it today. Please be thinking of them and Keith that he doesn’t get it. He hasn’t had a fever yet, just some sneezing, coughing and he’s extra tired. It’s been taking it’s time with me, which makes it hard to care for the kids and keep up the apartment. I’m thankful that Micah is able to be home and help with the kids.

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This little sleeping beauty asks for her daddy when she’s sick