Thursday, February 26, 2009

I don't watch Idol

I've never been one of those people who got into the American Idol thing.  I watched one episode in college - well, half of one episode...I saw Kelly Clarkson win and sing.  I've not watched since - didn't have the time, didn't really care.

Well, this year we have one of our own on the show.  Kris Allen, from good 'ol Conway Arkansas.  Having somebody from my town on the show would be enough to get me to tune in, but it helps that several of my friends know Kris personally.  I don't know him, but I almost feel like I do through the stories I hear from Billie Jo and her friends and family.  So, it's fun to watch.

Kris hasn't had much face time.  He's not a drama-queen.  He's a humble, laid back, christian, guy.  The cameras tend to focus on the flamboyant during those early episodes - makes for entertaining tv.  Kris has advanced on talent, not flamboyancy.  

Last night he performed with 11 others - only 3 advance to the next round (the top 12 where the "real" competition begins).  Billie Jo and I spent all 2 hours calling and texting.  We got at least 500 votes in.  Nothing compared to our friend who texted 3,000 times.  I mean, if there's one thing Arkansas can do well - we can rally.  We did elect a president a while back...

Here's Billie Jo rockin' some triple-phone voting action.  :)

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So - tonight Kris beat out 9 of his comrades to advance to the top 12 competition.  We were so excited for him!  If you watched the episode - you could tell Kris was shocked himself.  

If you're an idol-watcher, I'm encouraging you to support Kris.  He's a real guy - and a humble one - who just likes to sing.  He's cute too.   :-)  If you're not an idol watcher - vote anyway...as long as you're voting for Kris (otherwise, just watch whatever you were going to.)

So, Congrats Kris & good luck!

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tuesdays with Abs

Just another day at the apartment for us today.  But, it was a good one.

Abby slept pretty well last night.  She's been getting up around 6:30 lately instead of 7 - but it's not that big a deal, I'll have to be up then anyway.  So this morning, we got up and she had her breakfast and monkey mat time and by 8:30 she was asleep for a nap.  She slept until 12:30!  Man, must be nice...

At that point, Nadira (the new nanny) came over for a few hours so I could show her around, and walk her though our basic schedule from nap time to nap time.  She fed Abby lunch and we all played for a while.  Abby just stared at Nadira for the longest time - no blinking - and then would griiiin.  Nadira handled her very well and Abby seemed to like her just fine.  

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Nadira left when Abby was down for her second nap around 2 and I got some work done around the apartment.  When she woke up, we decided to make cupcakes.  It's Fat Tuesday after all. Abby was a great help.  Here she is telling me not to forget the eggs.  

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After cupcakes, we spent some hardcore playing time together. This includes dancing to her favorite Putumayo world music CD, more monkey mat time, airplane flying time, and a little bit of tummy time.  Whew.  It didn't take long before she was tuckered out again.

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Kyle is almost done with this thesis he's been working on.  Hopefully after tonight he'll have a little time to relax.  Also, this week the National Association of School Psychologists is having their conference in Boston!  That means that I get to see Billie Jo and some other friends who are flying in for the occasion!  Yay!  And then Monday...oh Monday...I start back to work.

...but let's not focus on that right now. Let's eat cupcakes.  

Happy Fat Tuesday!


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Meet the Nanny

When I posted our ad on craigslist for a nanny, we got over 50 responses.  When we posted our ad on a nanny-finding website, we got another 36 inquiries.  We narrowed down those massive numbers to 25 potentials and then picked 5 to interview.  Only one of the five showed up.  

So, we looked through our lists again, adding in the new requests that had come in and picked 5 more to interview.  All 5 of them showed.  We've interviewed people all weekend, but today we finally chose our nanny for Abigail.  

So, for all you curious people - Her name is Nadina.  She is 24 and moved here from Morocco last year when she was married.  She is friendly, energetic, and intelligent.  She is fluent in English, French and Arabic.  She currently nannies part time for another family who had nothing but praises to sing about her (and who also have an infant).  She also works part-time at Harvard doing research on building a kind of online information database about Islam.  Hmm, what else?  Oh, she met her husband while he was teaching English in Morocco.  He's Jewish and she's Muslim - and they have quite the story of how they met.  I believe she has a degree in chemical engineering and is considering going back to school next fall.  

So, that's Nadina, the nanny.  

I'm very happy with her and am excited to have somebody I feel good about watching Abs.  We also have a short list of relief sitters that are also well qualified and caring individuals.  :)
Thanks for all the well wishes on our search!  

Saturday, February 21, 2009

randomness

Here are some random thoughts and pictures from the last few days.  

Remember how Abby hates having her hands swaddled?  Well, the other night, I swaddled her up while her arms were straight down at her sides.  She could not move.  Her little sleeves were even sticking out of the wrap down by her hips.  When I went to get her in the morning, I saw that she was happily sucking on her fingers.  What made me laugh was that she couldn't get her sleeve out, so she just took her arm out of the sleeve - thus giving her the look of being a 3 armed child.
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Going grocery shopping with a baby is challenging.  Especially when you're going to more than one store where one requires you to put her in a sling and the other in the carrier.  And why I decided to go out on a Saturday afternoon to do this - I have no idea.  My best guess is that I just didn't know what day it was.  

It took me 5 hours to go to walgreens and then to the grocery store.  Sigh.  It took me 20 mins to find a parking spot at walgreens.  Imagine my grin when I pulled into this beauty at the grocery store:

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I mean, THANK YOU!

While shopping, some old lady made a comment - asking me about my doll.  Huh?  My doll?  Yes- she thought Abby was a doll and that I was a high school kid that was doing one of those parenthood classes where they make you care for a mechanical baby.  I don't know which was more surprising, that she thought my baby was plastic or that I was in high school.

However.  Upon looking through some photos, I found this one from a previous shopping trip and, well, I actually can see it.  What do you think? Plastic baby doll or real life baby?
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To continue the shopping saga - We finally get done, I was thrilled that Abby didn't cry in the store (well, just for a bit in walgreens).  But, as soon as I started the car to go home she started wailing.  She was hungry. You know what's worse than listening to a baby cry?  Listening to a baby cry in an underground parking garage.  I gave Abby a bottle in the car before trying to take her and all the food up to the apartment.  It's quite the scene.  I propped her bottle up on some fabric and let her "feed herself" while I unloaded the groceries.  

There is no way I could carry them all and a baby, so this is where I get the most use out of our stroller.  There is so much stuff that you can't see in this picture - but trust me, there's a lot in there.

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Kyle has to turn in his master's thesis on Monday.  He's been working super hard all weekend and it will be a huge thing for him to have it off his plate soon.  Well wishes are appreciated.  For obvious reasons, he's decided to spend a few days buried in the library instead of at home.  I support that 110%...but it is hard not having him around as much to help out with things.  I have a new respect for single moms - it's a lot of work!  

This is what Abby thinks of her daddy leaving to go work.
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Oh! We also got our first laugh the other day!  We've discovered that Abigail loves to "fly"  So I'll lay on the ground and fly her above me and then lower her down for kisses and push her back up again.  She just smiles and grins so big.  Then to my surprise, she laughed.  :)  It was great.  She hasn't done it again since, but she still loves to be flown around like that.  It's super cute, I'll have to try to get a video.

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We have one more interview for a nanny tomorrow, although I'm pretty sure Kyle and I have it narrowed down to 2 people already.  I'll update everyone on that soon, but we'll have somebody for when I return and that's a good thing.

Have a great weekend (well, what's left of it)

likeness

We thought this was kinda neat.

Here is a picture of Abby at 12 weeks (prenatal age) & one of her at 1 week old.


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Can you see the resemblance? :)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

growing

Dear Abby, 

Yesterday, February 18th 2009, is the day it happened.  It's the first day I looked at you and saw how big you've grown in the last 9 weeks.  

I picked you up out of your crib and I noticed that you were heavier, but I didn't have time to think about that long because you were unhappy with life at that moment and telling me ALL about it.  Later in the day, while you were eating, I noticed how long you looked resting on the boppy.  You also rest your little folded hands across your chest now while you eat, it's cute.

But it was later in the evening when I really noticed.  Your daddy was feeding you a bottle and I was cooking dinner.  I looked across the room and it was then that it happened - you grew.  You looked so big in his arms.  Everything about you looked bigger.  I think he stated it well when he said that you're not a newborn anymore - you're a baby.  And yes, I realize that you're still below the 10 pound mark and that you have a lot of growing to do- but I wanted to let you know that yesterday was the moment that it started.  

You were a great newborn.  Very easy for the most part.  And I like to think that I cherished those early days and weeks appropriately.  But, I'm also glad to see you grow.  I love that you can smile and coo at me now.  I'm enjoying this more interactive phase quite a bit.  So, I'm not sad that you're getting bigger - I'm excited.  Someday I'll tell you to slow down, but for this moment, I'm happy to let you bloom.

We love you very much!  Keep growing baby girl.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bumbo seat

I mentioned in an earlier post how we went and bought Abby a bumbo seat the other day - for those of you who are not familiar with the term "bumbo" (as I wasn't either about 3 months ago), it's a seat to help your baby learn to sit on her own.  It's supportive, soft, and in our case, purple.  

Abby wasn't sure what to make of the seat at first.  I put her in it and after about 30 seconds of just staring at me, she grinned really big.  It was super cute.  She's still a little on the small side for it, and after a little bit she starts leaning to the side or falling forward.  

I think she's going to like it though, she loves sitting up...and maybe if we use it more often, that bald spot on the back of her head might have a snowball's chance at growing some hair.  Anyway, here are the pictures from our fun with the bumbo seat.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

to all the mommies

I stole this from my friend Jessica.  I thought some of you other mama's might appreciate the sentiment too.  

Here's the link if you can't read the picture: click here

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trust and obey

Have you ever caught yourself humming a tune just to realize that you've been humming it without realizing what you were singing?  I do this all the time.  

I whistle a lot when I'm walking around the halls of the high school and I hum to myself while I clean sometimes.  Most of the time, I'm not paying a bit of attention to what I'm humming - but am busy thinking about a million other things.  Well, I realized the other day that whenever I hum to Abby to calm her or sing her to sleep, I am always humming the same tune.  Without realizing it, and for no known reason, I always hum a hymn called "trust and obey".  

Now, I know this song - well, I know the chorus, not the verses.  But I grew up singing it in church and it's simple melody is a familiar one.  Its not one that I would probably list in my top 10 favorite church hymns - but nevertheless, it seems to be the one that comes out when I sing to Abby.  She seems to like it ok -it puts her to sleep almost every time.  

Today I decided to actually look up the words - should I ever decide on actually singing it to the child.  It has several verses, but the second one, I really liked.

Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.

I think the words are simple and sweet and I like them as a lullaby.  In reading further about the song - I read that the words actually came from an "evangelistic crusade" in Brockton, MA ...just a few miles away from where we live now.  The words came from a man who obviously didn't know a lot about Christian doctrine and bumbled along his speech before ending it with “ Well, I’m not quite sure—but I’m going to trust, and I’m going to obey.” 

Somebody wrote that down and passed it along to the man who would become the author of the song.  How ironic that the song started just down the road.

Anyway, I just felt like sharing. :)  

In other news: Abby made an appearance at mass today where Kyle works and was doted upon by many.  She did just like she's supposed to and started crying mid-prayer.  Sigh.  Kyle held her in the wings for the most part.  After mass and lunch, we went to Target and bought her a bumbo seat (and some much needed pacifiers - we lost all her others...thus the crying in church).  I'll try to get some pictures of her in her big girl seat soon.

...and I'm off to go hum some more, I hear the wee one waking.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

1st Valentine's Day

Yesterday was Valentine's Day and we all had a great day.  

Kyle woke up to a lovely breakfast of supreme scrambled eggs, sausage, and blueberry love muffins.  Abby gave him some fun candies and a card too.  We had some nice family time playing with the wee one.  She eventually went down for her nap and slept almost 5 hours!



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When she woke, we went to the store to pick up some things for the evening.

We had our friends Jon & Stephanie and their 2-year old son Tim over for dinner.  We had a lot of fun!  We made homemade pizzas and garlic bread.  Stephanie made some yummy cupcakes too.  Best of all, Tim and Abby got to have another date.  When Tim sees a picture of Abby, he says "baby!"  and when he comes over, he instantly starts looking around, checking the car seat or swing looking for baby.  

After a lovely dinner time, we all put the kids to bed (saying that makes me feel old!)  and the 4 of us had some adult time playing wii games.  ;-)  We had a great time playing around and talking until the early morning hours when Jon, Steph, and Timothy had to head home.  Its nice to have such good friends, and we really enjoyed the company.

Here are some pictures of the day.  As you can see, Abby and Tim made each other valentines (so thoughtful of them!).  

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Friday, February 13, 2009

our valentine

Happy first Valentine's Day Abigail!
Your daddy and I love you very much.
xoxoxo

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pretty in pink
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lovebug
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Abby & Pebbles 
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cute as a bug
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monkey mat

One of the gifts we received from my parent's church was a monkey play mat.  This has become one of Abby's favorite things and part of our daily routine. 

The mat has several aspects that keep Abby entertained, but by far, her two favorites are the mirror and the monkey rings that play music when pulled.  She's actually getting pretty good at grasping the rings.  She'll hold on to them and pull and pull and play the music for quite a while.  She also loves finding her face in the mirror.  She'll stare at herself, make faces, and coo and giggle at herself.  It's too adorable.  

Here's a short video of one of Abby's earlier ring grasping accomplishments

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Loving her monkey mat time!

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finding herself in the mirror
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As you can see, monkey mat time is tiring! :)
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Thursday, February 12, 2009

shots

Happy 2 months to Abigail!

Today we had our 2 month check up with the pediatrician.  This is the visit where she gets her first round of many vaccines.  It's notoriously hard for the mom to watch - and not that pleasant for baby either.

We got to the doctor's office right about the time Abby is usually 30 mins into her morning nap.  Poor thing was so sleepy -

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We finally got called back and Dr. Downey went about the normal checkup.  Abby weighed in at 9lbs and 10 oz.  The doc said that is perfectly normal and following her growth chart just right (so, yay for weight gain).  She's still a little peanut though.  I'm just dying for her to get big enough to wear these jeans I bought her before she was born.  They're 0-3 months, but they just swallow her up still.  We're still in newborn sizes for clothes and diapers.  I guess this is good in that we're getting to really use all those newborn clothes we got.  It'll be weird when she finally outgrows something I think.  

Anyway.  The doctor said that Abby's physical looked great.  She commented several times that Abby was the "wiggliest" baby she's seen in a long time.  I think she was just excited to be in naught but her diaper under some bright lights, but the doc made us promise to go ahead and start childproofing the apartment anyway.  

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Then came the vaccines.  

Poor baby.  The rotovirus one was oral, and Abby likes anything that resembles food, so that went well.  Then the doc gave the first shot in her left leg followed by one in the right.  As you can see, Abby had something to say about this -

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Is that not the most pitiful picture ever?

Then I heard the doc say "well, my my, you're bleeding quite a bit"  Umm- not exactly my favorite words to hear from her.  A few alcohol wipes and band-aids later, all was cleaned up.  Her left leg was the gusher - her right one didn't bleed at all.  Weird.  Apparently Abby just keeps all her blood on the left side.  

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And then we were all done.  Yay!  And before you wonder what kind of mean awful cruel mother I am taking pictures while my baby is screaming - 1) Kyle had the calming and soothing under control and 2) If I weren't doing something to keep busy then I would have had the same face as Abby.  Shots aren't fun, but they're necessary.  Abby did great and is currently sleeping off the whole thing that she'll never remember.

What a champ!  :)
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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

sleeping longer

We've been making progress on the sleeping front, which is exciting.

We put Abby down for the night around 7 or 7:30pm.  This works well for her and she's all on board with that (yay!).  She typically then sleeps until midnight and is up again around 3 and then up for the day at 7.  

Well, a few days ago she slept from 7pm-midnight and then didn't eat again until 6:30am...meaning, she skipped out on her 3am feeding.  The next night she slept from 7pm-1am and then ate at 7am.  And last night, she slept from 7pm-2:30.  She's making that first stretch of sleep longer and longer.  But last night, when she woke up at 2:30, she wasn't hungry - she didn't eat again until 5am!  That's 10 hours between feedings, wow!  Part of me thinks that she would have slept longer, but I thought she had a dirty diaper so I changed her, which woke her up, and she wanted to eat at that point.  

Now - me, on the other hand, I feel like I'm up every 30 mins.  Not because I want to be, or even because Abby is being noisy - Its like my body just can't stay asleep for too long.  Very annoying. 

Anyway, I just wanted to chronicle this step in her sleep progress.  She's still staying down for 2-3 hours for her morning nap too.  Her afternoon nap is usually only an hour, but I'll take that.

She's got her 2 month appointment tomorrow morning, so stay tuned for that update.  :)

good morning!

peek-a-boo!

Monday, February 9, 2009

new leaf

I could probably build a tree with all the new leaves I've started since New Years.  But, that doesn't stop me - Today I turned over another one....or maybe it's the same one from earlier.  Either way, I turned it. 

It started with me exercising this morning.  I can't take Abby to the gym with me, so I finally got myself to work out in our little bitty living room.  I even recorded some exercise programs on the tivo in case I get around to them.  I did basic basic things - pushups, crunches and such.  Plus I did a few tkd forms for good measure and some kicks to work on my lost strength.  It felt good. 

Secondly, my friend Bethany and some others have inspired me to try this coupon thing.  I've never been a clipper.  I mean, I look for things on sale in the store and buy store brand things and all, but I've never actually tried to keep up with coupons.  Well, times are tight, and who couldn't use a few extra savings? I spent Abby's morning nap researching local deals and making a list.  When she woke up, we got ourselves together and went shopping. 

I think this may be the first time I've taken Abby out by myself - at least for such a long trip.  We drove to CVS, then we drove to Wal-Greens and walked around that area of town for almost 2 hours browsing at other stores (thank goodness she loves her sling - it made things so much easier!) We hit up the grocery store on the way back.  Abby was so funny in the grocery store - she was just cooing and smiling at things the whole time.  It cracked me up.  After that, we went and gave Kyle a ride from work to class (Mondays are his 12 hours days) and then we came home.

Now, Bethany, is seriously like the queen of savings and I wasn't able to get the stores to pay me money like she does yet.  But, I spent $104 between all the stores and saved $50.  I was proud of that!  I was also happy that I got some good deals on some healthy meals and items that we need and would have bought anyway.  Which brings me to my 3rd leaf -

It time to get serious about eating healthier.  I'm not too bad as is, but I snack too much on things that are no good for me (m&ms, anyone?) and I have a poor concept of portion control.  Well, I know I'll slip , but so far today, I've done really great.  Just gotta take one meal at a time.  

So, today was a good day.  It was good work out and to get out of the apartment and it's good to know that I can manage a baby and a carload of groceries out and about (getting all that up to the 14th floor from the parking garage is trickier than you might think).  Hopefully tomorrow will be equally productive.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

bath time

Abby loves her bath time!  We had some fun tonight taking some pictures of her and her rubber duckie friends. :)

    "Mom. Seriously."
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soap head
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brrrrrr.
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bird bath
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tournament

Yesterday, Kyle and I took Abby to her first taekwondo tournament.  

I think it was the first time ever that I actually had to wake Abby up in the morning.  It was kinda sad, she had this classic bewildered look on her face like "Wha? Where am I? Why am I being dressed? It's still dark out and I'm so sleepy.."  We eventually got our stuff together and drove up to New Hampshire.

Kyle competed with the other 4th and 5th degrees.  It was his first time competing with his new 5th degree form.  His goal was just to remember all of it (we haven't trained just a whole lot since November!)  Well, when he got his scores from the judges, they put him in first place!  Kyle was stunned.  The last guy to compete beat his score, so Kyle ended up with second place.  I was super proud of him - cause it's not an easy form to do, let alone to place your first time competing with it...

Next was weapons - which Kyle usually takes 1st in.  He's actually only a few points away from qualifying for the top 10 competition at World's this year (thus the reason he competed at this tournament).  He placed 3rd - which is of course still great - but if you know Kyle, you know he wasn't happy with that.  Crazy kid.  

I spent the day watching Kyle compete and judge and tending to little Abigail, I did get to help Kyle scorekeep in a ring which was a nice change to sitting in the bleachers.  I don't think going to a tournament and not competing or judging will ever feel right. As far as Abs goes -she had lots of people from our region who wanted to meet her, and she did great.  She even took all her naps amidst the yells and cheering.  I can't wait for the day when she's out there too...pigtails and all.  :)  Kyle and I stopped at an Outback on the way back and had a nice little dinner out.  We enjoyed it.  When we got back home we were pretty tired.  I think Kyle was in bed by 8!

So, it was a good day - here are some pictures for ya.

Abby isn't too sure about these things...
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"what's this all up in my strolla, dude?"
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Abby & Daddy
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With some of the high ranks: Senior Master Kenney (our instructor), Kyle & Abs, Sr. Master Roy, and Master Verrocciho (our other instructor).  
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And finally asleep.
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