Tag Archives: things I love

more puddle jumping photos

Here are a few more photos of a fun afternoon jumping in puddles at the end of December.

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thing that makes my heart smile

Listening to the soft snores and deep breathing of babies and toddlers sleeping peacefully.


Big Ive-isms ROUND 3 & Little E Can Talk


“I wanna look it. Wif eyes. BigIve look wif eyes.” Said while she cups the side of her head with her hands, looking around, similar to what you would do to cup your ears to hear something better.  This is by her temples.  One of the funniest things this kid does.  It has me in stitches every time.  It usually happens when I ask her if she sees something.  “Do you see a cow?” “I wanna look it.  Wif eyes.  Cow.”

“I’ma get her.” Said while outstretching her arms in imitation of what I do to pick up Little E.  Like my 30ish pound 2.5 year old will really be able to pick up my 25+ lb 12month old.

“One enh you.  One enh you.” = One for you.  One for you.  Said while distributing Lego blocks to me and Little E.

“Babys take a part Big Ive’s cookie!”  Meaning Little E took a piece of her cookie.  She was VERY upset.  I thought it was a good sentence, though.  :) (12 September 2012)

BI: Baby Elephant crying.
Me: Why is the elephant crying?
BI: Sad. Baby fall floor. Get hurt. Cryin’.
Me: Oh, the baby elephant fell on the floor and got hurt.
BI: Baby fall floor. Sad. Makes behyer (better).

How Big Ive counts:
One. Three. Funf, sechs, sieben, acht, neun. Funf, sechs, sieben. Funf, sechs, sieben.
This is literally how she counts any amount of objects just about every time.  LOML and I bust out laughing every.single.time.

Little E Can Talk (!) ((How is it my 13 month old baby is Speaking.In.Discernible.Words???))

“Mooit. Mooit.”  Said with a very pronounced pursed lips.  = “Move it. Move it.” The line from the movie Madagascar.

“mooee” = movie

“docks” = socks

“happabirdada” = Happy birthday

“dooce” = juice

“appa” = apple (10 September 2012)

“jendil” = gentle (She said and signed this for most of a quarter of a mile on our walk the morning of 10 September 2012.)

beyya = belly This is one of the cutest things she does.  She says her version of the word belly and then pulls up her shirt and proudly shows off her big baby belly.  She has a hard time with the L sound, which just makes the word even more adorable.  The not so cute part is when we’re out in public and she starts pulling up everyone else’s shirts to see their bellies.

stinky This is kind of a combination of sort of intelligible babble and baby signing.  Stinky is signed by waving your hand in front of your nose as if you were trying to wave away a smell.  She sort of waves her chubby little hand in front of her belly and mumbles a baby babble that sounds kind of like ‘stinky’ if you tilt your head 67degrees to the left while scrunching your nose and humming an A440.  Or something like that.

Bonkee = Monkey in Little E speak 9-29

Open (in reference to her commanding me to opening a package of gummy bears that was handed to her at the restaurant. This was the first time she’s said a command to me.) 9-28-2012

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LOML and I chat often about how we feel here in Germany.  Usually, it’s on drives around here while the girls are occupied and can’t get into too much trouble.  This past car ride chat stuck in my head.  It boiled down to a single word: bittersweet.


That’s how we feel about living here in Germany.  We have grown to love this area and these people so much these past 9 months, yet, we desperately miss home and our people that are still there.  We are starting to get a foothold into service and volunteer work here and, yet, we feel guilty about leaving such needy and important tasks that we were helping with and making a difference in peoples’ lives back at home.


It hurts to think that we will have to leave these people that our hearts have grown for.  It hurts to think about leaving the amazing and breathtaking green hills of Germany.

It hurts to be away from family and friends while having amazing new people in our lives, kinda’ like we’re cheating on our peeps.

It’s crazy that a person can be filled with such conflicting emotions.  How can my heart love 2 lands so much?  How can my heart grow to love even more people?

I think God made us to be able to love and keep learning to love more and more throughout life and its changes.  And LOML and I keep coming to the realization that we need to choose to be content with where we are now, not focusing on being sad about the past or sad about the eventual future.  We need to be open to God’s path in our lives right now and let Him write this story of our lives. Because He writes a far better story than I could ever imagine.

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Happy First Birthday, Little E!

Little E turned 1 on August 5, 2012.  It’s crazy to think she has been in our lives a whole year.  At the same time it feels like just yesterday that we came home from the hospital and that she’s been a part of our family forever.  It’s neat to see how tiny humans have such distinct personalities and are really that – tiny full humans.  Sometimes I forget that she is a full person, just in a little body.  And then I stop and it hits me that she has been a full human, a whole person, since before she was born, even.  It’s hard to wrap my mind around her having tiny organs that are the same as mine, tiny bones that are (mostly) the same as mine, a smaller head and brain (that miraculously GROW!).  Just boggles my mind.

The center of the cake.  Keeping up my family’s tradition.

This year has been a busy busy year for Little E and our family.  2 weeks before she was born LOML put in his request for this overseas position.  6 weeks after she was born LOML moved to Germany.  When she was just 4 months old, the girls and I joined LOML over here.  At 6 months she was crawling.  2 days before 9 months she took her first steps.  Sometime in the past couple of months she has decided to start to try to talk.  Since moving here Little E has been able to record 9 countries she has been in (not including the airport in London).  I didn’t make it to that many until my 20’s.  Many people never see that in a lifetime.

She has gone from our very sleepy and hungry little baby (literally sleeping most of the day and night, and eating between each nap) to a very active and curious little girl.  She LOVES to follow her big sister around and imitates EVERY.SINGLE.THING. Big Ive does.  Including mannerisms and inflection in babbles.  She is still our chunk-a-lunk, weighing in over 25lb at her 12 month well-child check.  She can wear a lot of Big Ive’s clothes, she’s just too short to make them look right.  :)

It took a little bit of pushing to get her to put her hands in the cake and feed herself.  At least she was willing to have dirty hands.  Big Ive cried when her hands were covered in frosting and never enjoyed the cake until we gave her a fork.

My heart has grown so much this past year.  I routinely look at, stare at, my baby girl and think that I am so thankful God gave her to me, even if I wasn’t ready to have a second child as soon as we did.  I didn’t think I was ready; sometimes I still don’t think I am.  But, I do know that I am completely and totally in love with her.  She is a great addition to our family.  I say that often and truly, genuinely, believe that.

The Big Sister “helping” the Little Sister eat her birthday cake.

She loves to pick the tomatoes in the pots on our back terrace – green, orange or red, it doesn’t matter.  She knows she gets in trouble every time.  She likes to turn the knobs on the stove.  So far she’s melted one plastic food storage container, one plastic chicken container and my mother-in-law’s cookbook.  The knobs are the same size as their play kitchen and she always sees me turning them.  One of her new phrases is ‘Don’t Touch’.  It comes out something like, “Do Tou”, accompanied with the finger wagging we usually give her when we tell her not to touch something.

She loves to dance whenever she hears music.  She loves to give kisses – fishy kisses, nose kisses, monster kisses and regular kisses.

She totally understands basic commands and will find and bring you something if you ask.  She started stacking up to 4 blocks this past week.  I think she could do more but she gets so excited for a small tower that she just HAS to knock it down.

At 3 months old she discovered her thumb and hasn’t given it up, yet.  You wouldn’t believe the cuteness in a tiny 3 month old baby sucking their thumb.  I loved watching her work so hard to spread her fingers apart, put her hands together and then bring both of them to her mouth to get that thumb in.  At times she would suck both thumbs.  For a while it didn’t matter which, but she soon settled on the right one.  She will almost instinctively put her thumb in her mouth when a soft piece of fabric comes into contact with her hand.  She has a couple little 12″x12″ super soft fleece ‘blankies’ (it’s just usually called a ‘soft thing’ in our house) that she carries around with her a lot.  A super soft stuffed katze (cat) joined the family on her birthday, thanks to the grandparents, and she carries that around in the crook of her elbow with her other thumb in her mouth.  It. Is. The. Cuteness.

Oh, I could go on and on and on about my baby.  I love her so much.  She brings immense joy to me and our family.

August 5, 2011 — 8:16am — 9lb 6oz — 21.5in

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Big Ive-isms

A sample of some of the best toddler speak I hear all day from my favorite little ginger.

“I yike it to move it.” = “I like to move it, move it.” From the theme song of the movie, Madagascar.

“I tired.  I want bed.”

“I yike it”, said with a scrunched nose and a shaking head. = “I don’t like it.”

“I yike it”, said excitedly while nodding her head. = “I like it.”

Cayshun = vacation 30-07-2012

Gascar = Madagascar, the movie 28-07-2012

As I was breastfeeding Little E, Big Ive asked about my breasts.  I told her they were boobs.  And then she said, “I yike it da boobs.”  It was hilarious.

“I wanna see it Little E doin’.” = I want to see what Little E is doing.

We were walking on the street behind our house and we saw the neighborhood kitty scratching his back on the gravel.  I made sure the girls stayed away so he wouldn’t scratch them if he got startled.  Big Ive decided this meant she was to be Very Afraid of all cats.  Wouldn’t you guess that we saw another cat a few steps away and she freaked out.  She was nearly hysterical that the cat was going to follow her and get her.  She was relieved when we made it home safely with no cats following us. 30-07-2012

After Little E got her shots Big Ive said the doctor was a yucky man because he hurt her sister. 30-07-2012

Big Ive stuck her finger in the open butter container on the table and ate it.  She walked over to me, still licking her finger, and said, “Yum!”  I asked her was was good and she said with a huge grin on her face, “Butter!”  At least it was only a small finger scoop mark in the butter this time…

“I yub it! I yub it!” = I love it!  Big Ive will exclaim this about anything she is feeling decidedly passionate for at the moment, a toy, a bug, a picture on the wall, whatever, it doesn’t matter.

“I yub it, Little E.” = I love you, Little E.  I can’t get enough of these I _VERB_ it sentences.  I like the improper conjugation said in an adorable high-pitched toddler voice.  They slay me every time!

“Iby bacoom.” = Ivy vacuum, as she is attempting to vacuum the floor.  She’s doing a really good job of vacuuming the same 6 square feet of floor space.  : )

“Daddy? Hind?  Us?” = Daddy behind us? Spoken in the car on our way to the airport.  LOML had backed his car out of the driveway to let us out.  Big Ive assumed he would follow us like he has on some other trips nearby. 02-08-2012

“Tunner.  Tree.” = tree tunnel.  There is a small wooded section of road we drive on regularly where the trees reach across the road and create a tunnel.  It is LOML’s favorite.

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Metz, France daytrip 07 April 2012

On Saturday before Easter we took a day trip over to Metz, France.  LOML and I have been having some serious cravings for real French baguettes, butter and cheese ever since we left Paris in January.  The more we travel over here with kids, the more it is becoming about food and culture, as we can’t go into many museums or do a lot of that kind of activity.  A baby and a toddler are just not conducive to those kinds of things.

We talked about leaving the house before 9am.  Ha.  That was a funny thought on our part.  We forgot to set an alarm and didn’t even wake up until after 7.  Oh, well.  It was nice to sleep.  We got out of the house around 10:30, I think.  The drive over was uneventful — the girls both slept just about the entire way there.

Our first experience with Metz resulted in us driving down a pedestrian only street.  Because the GPS told us to.  And we were following a bus.  And we ignored the Do-Not-Enter sign on the bollard.  Oh, well.  We were cautious and courteous to the pedestrians and made it through with no police ticketing.  We found a parking spot and started our walk of the downtown Metz.

LOML had about 3 places he specifically wanted to go and programmed those into the GPS so we could walk there.  1.  A butcher shop recommended by the Cookin’ With Class people in Paris.  2.  A cheese shop, also recommened by them.  3.  The covered market building.  4.  The cathedral.  I guess that’s 4 places now that I write it out.

Spring has sprung in France, too.  : )

It was no surprise, really, but no one spoke English (or would admit they spoke English) at the butcher shop.  LOML got a tiny bit of foi gras and when they handed him the bag there was a little container of clear gelatin cubes.  We had no idea what it was.  (Googling it later LOML found out they use the gelatin with molds to shape up the foi gras all pretty like.)

On our way to the cheese shop we we forced to stop in about 4 chocolate shops.  Yes.  Forced to stop.  LOML loves fleur de sel chocolate and was on a mission to find it.  In at least one shop we asked about it, they said no they didn’t have it, and then we saw it on the shelf.  Oh, well.  In one shop I also found some amazing French maracon cookies.  Those are amazing.  If you all live in Phoenix, you need to visit essence bakery (www.essencebakery.com) in Tempe and try them.  Pricy, but So. Worth. It.  ((I never got to eat any as we ended up giving the package of macarons to our Landlords as an Easter present, but that’s ok.  It just means we need to go back to France.))

We found a bakery and bought the good baguettes.  Then we got lost on our way to the cheese shop, but found it rather quickly.  LOML got a few different kinds of cheeses and we also got fresh butter.  After that we wandered toward the market and cathedral.

The market is a building that has many stalls of people selling fish, meat, cheese, produce, tea, flowers and plants, and a could of restaurant places.  I needed more Earl Grey tea so I bought a big bag of loose tea leaves.  LOML got another chunk of cheese as the first cheese shop didn’t have the specific morbier cheese he was looking for.


candied fruit.  I have never seen so many different kinds of candied fruit before.

Big Ive sipping some juice and eating fresh French baguette in front of the cheese shop while LOML got his morbier.

Little E sucking her thumb in front of the cheese shop.

Then we went in the cathedral, which was right across the square from the market.  I was unsure how Big Ive would do in there.  Little E was asleep in her car seat carrier in the stroller (big surprise, right?).  We walked in and got Big Ive out of the stroller and explained to her that this was a special place where we needed to be quiet and respectful of people praying.  LOML took her throughout the entire cathedral and showed her the great big colorful stained glass windows, explaining that they have stories on them like her books because most people couldn’t read words back then.

She. Was. In. Awe.  Completely in awe of the place.  LOML said she walked around with her head back so she could see the ceilings and all the way to the top of the windows saying, “Wow” over and over.  She did so well in there.

Great shot of Big Ive and LOML walking hand in hand in the cathedral.

Time for a late lunch before leaving.  On our way home we passed through a small French village and saw a sign for an English Cemetery and followed it.  There is a large cemetery for American military that died in Europe right near where we were.  The cemetery we found was not it.  And we tried to find it by going to the town it said it was just outside of, but we weren’t able to find it.  Maybe on another trip we can get a better address and put it in the GPS and find it.

Dance time at lunch.

Us girls in the restaurant after lunch.  Blurry, but I liked the photo, anyway.

The girls slept almost the entire trip home, even with our detours and added time.  It was a great day trip for our family.  LOML and I really enjoy taking these drives to places and spending time together as a family.  We’ve gotten some great conversations and discussions going during our drives and walks.  Yeah, it’d be fun to get into museums and explore more in-depth all of these places we’ve been, but our life isn’t that right now.  Right now it’s leisurely walking down streets with a gigantic double stroller, corralling a toddler, watching a baby sleep, having good conversation and working on our family.  In Europe.  I’m not sure we would be able to do this living at home.  Our lives would never have changed to this extent to allow/make us spend this intentional time together as a family, strengthening that relationship.  It’s not always a walk in the park living over here, but times like these help to make this season in life definitely worth it.

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Big Ive’s 2nd Birthday!

We got a pudding pretzel from the bakery and shared it.

We went to the car wash.

We ate chocolate and took a long nap.

We danced in the living room to the music from Dancing With The Stars.  Every time a song would end she’d look up at me and say, “More?!”

Big Ive said a couple of 2 word sentences and I think a 3 word sentence this morning.  It was Mommy + noun + verb.  I can’t remember the actual words she, though.  : (  I think it was when she was really pissed off at me for not giving her her juice cup or a part of a pretzel or her binky because she was a holy terror in the grocery store this morning.  She has never acted that badly in a store before.  And I learned my lesson to NEVER use one of those kiddie car carts again.  Children will be contained and not able to get out on their whims while grocery shopping from here on out.

Yesterday we opened presents and blew up a few balloons.  LOML had to drive to the airport this evening to pick up a co-worker and wasn’t going to get home until well after Big Ive had gone to sleep.

I made the Happy Birthday Big Ive banner for her.  It took a number of hours to carefully cut out all of the circles and flowers and letters by hand (wrapping paper is probably not the best kind of paper for this type of project, FYI).  The gluing and stringing together were the quick and easy parts.  Big Ive got up from her nap just before I finished stringing them all together, so LOML came over and took one end while I took the other and we unveiled it for her.  Her face lit up, breaking into a gigantic smile and said WOWOWOW!  She squealed with delight.  It was a really great feeling for me.

Then it was onto the cards and presents that my mom had mailed a couple weeks ago.  Big Ive didn’t quite understand how to open the envelopes or get the cards out so I had to help her a little.  My Grandma sent a card and it had 3 little stickers holding the flap down.  She had to peel each one off, individually, and stick it to the envelope so she could open it.  My OCD child.  Opening the presents was a similar method, slowly ripping small chunks of paper off and having to set them off to the side, one by one, in an orderly way.  There was no haphazard ripping and tossing of paper.

Little E tried to get into everything Big Ive had.

The play pots and pans were a big hit.  And now they are being hit as percussion instruments.  Did IKEA really think it was a good idea to make them so loud? The kitchen ware had to go on a time out shortly after making it down to the floor.

The noise makers were a hit, too.  Big Ive didn’t quite figure out how to blow hard enough most times to make a noise.  So she improvised and just made noises with her mouth while holding the noise maker in there.  Super cute.

(It broke so she’s signing ‘broke’ while saying it and holding the 2 broken pieces.)
(Little E is having a grand old time playing with all of Big Ive’s new pots and pans.)

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First Village Band Concert!

Saturday night was my first concert with the village band, Arbeiter Musik Verein.  We had to drive to another village about 60km away that is slightly larger than our village.  It was a great concert.  They sold tickets and the vast majority of the people were elderly, probably 70+.  In typical German fashion, they sold drinks, pretzels and little sandwiches – belegtes rbot –  during the concert.  During the intermission a number of band members got food and drink.

[[ Did I ever tell you that there is beer, water and coke to purchase in our rehearsal room?  A fridge is stocked with beverages.  It’s pretty common to see about a dozen people swigging beers between songs at rehearsal.  So unusual from what I’m used to. ]]

I think we played really well.  The audience loved it.  We played a number of old songs — polkas and German songs — and they sung along when they knew the words.  It was fun and made me smile.

You can’t see me as I’m sitting directly behind the director.  Since I play flute and bassoon I sit in the front row.  It’s really strange to be playing a bass instrument and be sitting in the front row.  Oh, well.  It’s so quiet the flute players on either side of me don’t even usually hear me.

LOML did really well with the kids; it wasn’t easy as the concert started at their bedtime and lasted nearly 2 hours.  The auditorium had a back room where they had the bar and little kitchen and that’s where he hung out with the girls.  At one point I saw him walk back in carrying Big Ive.  I didn’t see at first that he was carrying Little E in her carrier.  Big Ive needed a serious diaper change.  Near the end he ended up taking the girls out to the car where they both easily fell asleep and waited for me to finish.  He managed to get a few photos while wrangling children.

There was one song LOML was holding Big Ive where she spotted me, pointed and yelled, “MAMA”, but I think I was the only one that heard it on stage.

She was a hit with all the old German people.  LOML said at one point she started babbling with hand gestures toward an older German man.  He said in German that he didn’t understand her.  Then he said it in English and LOML told him that he didn’t understand what she was saying, either.  She was so into her conversation with the man.

LOML made a new ‘friend’ sitting in the back.  He kept trying to give LOML drink after drink.  LOML kept trying to explain that he had to watch his kids and be able to drive home later.

We finished with the German national hymn.  I was afraid I would be sight-reading a hymn I had never heard, but I was familiar with it.  It is a common hymn that I grew up singing in my Lutheran church at home.

I had a really really good time.  I didn’t realize how much I missed playing in a band like that.  I’m thankful for this village we live in, full of the nicest welcoming people, for this opportunity to play music using my talents, for the time spent with my family.  I’m looking forward to our next performance.

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Missing Family

I had LOML print up a copy of my blog for my grandparents back at home to read.  They don’t have the internet and probably don’t have the slightest clue how to even turn a computer on.  My grandmother had an email address for a while when she was watching my younger cousins full-time.  But, she didn’t check it for a while and it expired.  : )  Her older sister just got a FB account, so maybe Grandma needs to step up her game to keep up with her sister.

My parents brought one copy of the blog printout home with them as they live nearby my grandparents.  My brother, Baron, brought the printout to them.  He got to watch my Grandpa read it.  He said Grandpa was laughing and thoroughly enjoyed it.  They weren’t there when Grandma read it, but she called to say she loved it.  All of the photos are in there, so they were able to get a glimpse of their only great-grandchildren.

I have another copy that needs to get mailed out to my other Grandmother who lives in the mid-west.

This is the kind of thing that makes me really sad to be so very far away from my family.  I miss my family a lot.  We are a very close and big family that does so many things together.  Growing up we would spend just about every Sunday after church at my grandparent’s house.  We’d eat lunch and go swimming if it was warm enough.  Otherwise we’d hang out, play games, talk.  For big holidays (read that every holiday) we would have EVERYONE over — parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, great-aunts and uncles, second cousins, great-grandparents.  It was unusual to have less than 20 people — 20 of our family — there for gatherings.  Growing up, this was normal.  Only when I got a little older did I realize other people rarely had 20 people over, let alone 20 of their family members over.

My siblings and I are pretty close.  We kind of had to be.  Growing up we lived in a 3 bedroom house with 7 people.  My three brothers shared a bedroom, my sister and I shared a room and my parents got the last room.  It was a small house for 7 full-sized humans.  (That’s why we never had pets!)  The first of us to move away was my youngest brother who went to school on the other side of the country almost 2 years ago.  Until then all 5 of us had always lived in the city we were born and grew up in.

LOML and I talk about the differences with our siblings.  He and his sisters have lived in different places for years now.  Me and my siblings are just beginning to experience that.

My little sister was Big Ive’s nanny for a year (and Little E for a few months before we moved).  She is probably one of my best friends and I miss our conversations, her listening to all of my crazy thoughts, and giving into my odd cravings around town.

I miss the crazy impromptu family dinners we would have back home.  My brother and his wife would come to my parents house where my sister, older brother and me and my family would be eating supper.  Nothing to celebrate.  Nothing planned much ahead of time.  Just nice family time with lots of laughter and time spent together.

My grandmothers both hugged me like they would never see me again at my going-away parties.  They cried.  It made my eyes well up.

I took a trip back to my mom’s home town for Thanksgiving before we moved to Germany so I could make sure I could see my Grandma.  She is doing really well at the young age of 87, but you never know what tomorrow will bring.  A sad thought, yes, but it is reality.  She needed to meet Little E, too.  When Big Ive was 3 months old I flew up there with her by myself.  This trip I flew up there with my mom and both girls.  It was a fantastic trip.  And this time my Grandma didn’t break her ankle!  Thanksgiving with my mom’s sisters and family was a lot of fun.

It’s hard to be away from my family living here.  We’re all alone.  I’ve never been all alone.  My family has been a quick (local!) phone call or 20 minute drive away my entire life.  I miss not being able to call my mom in the mornings.  We usually skype in the afternoons, but I would really like conversation in the mornings here.

My sister-in-law is going to have a baby any day now.  We won’t be able to drive over to see them to meet the baby.

The girls and I are trying out best to assimilate into our new village.  Going to play group and school each week is helping Big Ive get used to the other kids.  Little E loves the stimulation of all the sights and kids running around.  I’m getting to know some of the other moms and kids around here.  Playing the in band has given me instant camaraderie with my fellow musicians.  I may not speak German, but music is our shared language.  I was nervous at first, but each time I go I feel more and more comfortable.  Walking around town, visiting the village butcher and quickie mart, going to the restaurant in town, makes it so other people see us around here and know we want to be a part of this German life.  I’m almost positive by the time we leave we’ll be sad to leave all our new friends and ‘family’.

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