Disney Fun ~ Character Meet & Greets!

For Christmas, we were beyond excited to get annual passes to Disney!! Santa brought Liam the news & we shared that HERE. While we have made one-day trips here & there to the parks over the years, this is honestly the 1st time we have ever held annual passes. It’s made both Stephen & I feel like little kids, ourselves πŸ™‚

Those who are familiar with the annual passholder program know that there are several different tiers for the passes with various different blackout dates, benefits, etc. — We opted for the Gold passes, which have just two different weeks of blackout dates throughout the year and no water park admission (which is okay for us). So exciting that parking is included (that, alone, saves $20 a visit) and the Photopass Memory Memory Maker. Oh my goodness — We LOVE this Photopass feature and use it SO SO much! First, it is fantastic to be able to snag a quick family picture and the convenience of having the Photopass photographers just immediately scan it to download to your magicband is awesome! I can then save it right to the pictures on my phone. LOVE! Second, the Character Meet & Greets! We are obsessed! We have gotten some of the cutest pictures …and again, FREE downloads to your magicband! Liam also loves to get their autographs filled up in his book.

When our passes were 1st activated, we had to wait until the 1st week in January, as we were in one of those small blackout windows due to Christmas. However, once we had the greenlight, we were like kids in a candy shop! I think we went every weekend for that 1st month πŸ™‚ ….Mickey Mouse was our 1st Character Meet & Greet. This one is from Main Street at the Magic Kingdom. We were blown away when we saw that he spoke and interacted!! So cool!!

In January, we also visited Animal Kingdom & got our 1st taste of magic shots. This is Pascal from Tangled on little man’s head ….LOL! I haven’t been too good with asking for many of these yet, so definitely have these on my list for future pictures…

Russell from Up …..

Safari Donald also at Animal Kingdom ……

In Epcot, we met Baymax!

We also met Mickey (in a different outfit this time….more classic looking), Minnie & Goofy πŸ™‚

We found Daisy near Spaceship Earth. She kissed Liam & made him blush …loved it! ❀

In February, we made our 1st trip to Hollywood Studios. We skipped the end of night fireworks & instead, went to meet Kylo Ren from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. We were just a little bit bummed because they said no one from the First Order signs autographs BUT at least we got a cool pic. It was serious business time with this guy! Haha!

Chewbacca!

In March, we went back for some more Hollywood Studios fun… After some face painting, we ran into Green Army Man from Toy Story πŸ™‚

So excited to find Moana! …she was so nice πŸ™‚

Buzz & Woody from Toy Story ….they said Liam looked like Zurg & they were scared! Too funny!

He was thrilled to meet his pal, Pluto. He still says that this meet & greet is one of his favs! ❀

On Spring Break, we also bounced over to the Magic Kingdom. We found Donald Duck dressed up as the Astounding Donaldo Snake Charmer in the Storybook Circus Fantasyland area.

We also found Goofy here dressed as a stuntman, the Great Goofini πŸ™‚

In Frontierland, we found Chip & Dale ….they were so super cute! These pics are a few of my favs so far ❀

Our trips to Disney have been filled with so many smiles & so much laughter. We are thankful to be creating some really awesome memories together as a family. We have lots more fun to share, so stay tuned ….

Until next time, friends

Star Spangled Fun 2017

We love the 4th of July in our house, so I can’t let the holiday sneak away without sharing our long weekend fun!


We started the weekend off with Liam’s belt promotion ceremony with Victory Martial Arts.

He moved up in belt rank to Cheeri recommended from Baeoh in the Tiger program. We continue to be so proud of him for his accomplishments, hard work & dedication. Huge thanks to Mr. Johnson and Mr. Valle, as well! Mr. Valle is off to college now, so we will miss seeing him each week, but we’ll definitely be keeping in touch!

Saturday evening, we intended to go mini golfing but the rain thwarted those plans. Instead, we headed to the bowling alley.

The boys were very competitive with one another. My score was awful….hahaha! A good time was had by all, though!

My little artist creating a work of art with his gnome for the front walkway.

We couldn’t let the holiday go by without a celebratory photo. Trying to get both of these boys to BOTH look at the camera was work, peeps! Β As you can kinda tell, Timber was not amused with my antics. This shot was Liam’s favorite, so it wins for getting posted πŸ™‚

Monday, it was a just me & little man hanging out while Daddy was visiting his Grandma. So, we had a movie date. Despicable Me 3 was super cute!!

On the 4th, we all got up bright & early and headed out to Cocoa Beach. The weather was gorgeous but it was a scorcher out there.

The sand by our chairs was too hot to play in, so we were building castles by the sea shore ❀

Finished masterpiece by Liam & Daddy….

We decided to forgo our usual trip downtown to see the fireworks this year, and instead, we did some at home. It’s always a little more challenging when holidays fall during the week, so we decided to be creative this year. It worked out well since we’ve actually been seeing quite a bit of fireworks lately on our trips to Disney. So none of us felt like we were missing out {I looove my fireworks!}

photo credit of mommy & daddy by Liam πŸ™‚

Our little firecracker!

You can link up to the posts from previous 4th of July celebrations — HERE

It was a great weekend celebrating our nation’s birthday! ❀

Until next time, friends!

It’s Christmas Time!

As we wrap up this 1st full week of December, I am definitely feeling the Christmas spirit all around. Maybe part of it is because decorations have been out in the stores since August….#kiddingnotkidding

No, but really, we were completely excited to break out the holiday decor as soon as we wrapped up Thanksgiving. It was a busy weekend after coming home from my dad’s for Turkey Day, so it took us a bit longer than I had planned to get everything up, but the house is looking festive now ❀ …Of course, the kitty is keeping us VERY busy with his mischief & antics with the Christmas tree.

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Last week, we kicked off the season with our annual Gingerbread Decorating Party. This is always a great time with our friends. A few of us girls gathered together a couple nights before the party to put all the houses together & have a few laughs πŸ™‚

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Liam was excited to get to work on his house. It was hard to even snap some of the pics this year because almost every time you asked him to stop and ‘say cheese’…he would reply with “I can’t, I’m busy.” …hilarious!

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I might have bribed him to get this pic ❀

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This was his, ‘can I eat another piece of candy?’ face πŸ™‚

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He wanted to spread the icing himself this year and he picked out all the candies. He’s getting to be so big and he’s very creative. He also knows exactly how he wants things to be & look.

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Finished!

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And, of course, as soon as the kiddos wrapped up, the big kids jumped in. Lisa & Stephen have gotten very serious about their joint decorating adventure over the last few years. It’s quite amusing!

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We joked around this year that this party is going to turn into the kids just playing & only the adults decorating houses. Hahaha!

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I have to say that their house turned out pretty amazing! They were impressed with themselves, too, as you can see from their pic below πŸ™‚

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The Bengel’s neighborhood has a cool Santa that comes by, and the night of our party was actually the night he came! It was SO exciting for everyone.

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We grabbed all the kids really quick and headed out front. Santa came up the driveway, greeted everyone, and gave each kiddo a little box filled with small trinkets & candy. It was so sweet ❀

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Afterwards, we headed inside & had our gift exchange for the kids with a few of our friends.

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Liam was stoked — he got his 1st NERF gun! ….P.S., Daddy was too πŸ˜‰

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We’ve really enjoyed attending our new church home this past year, as I’ve mentioned in past posts. It’s such a blessing to share a deeper learning and understanding Β of the Advent season with Liam.

We had a guest speaker, Brad Gray, last Sunday for the 1st of a two-part series about the meaning of Advent. Let me tell you ….it was so good!! He covered so much education & history about the Bible and what was happening in the world at the time of Jesus’ birth. I honestly had no idea. I can’t wait to hear the rest of his message this weekend!

It’s called the Fullness of Time and I highly recommend you take a listen, as it’s available onlineΒ HERE

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Sunday morning, before church, Liam popped up & immediately declared he had to write his letter to Santa. So, that’s what we did ❀
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Had to grab a pic of these two putting the star on top of the tree πŸ™‚

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It felt good to finally have the house decorated by the end of the week. This pic is kinda dark, but the living room looks so cozy with just the glow of the Christmas lights & the fireplace.

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Some of our other decorations….and Christmas cookies about to bake!

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Can’t forget the outside decor, too!

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And, this gem! If you read my last post, you know we went to see the big guy last month, so I’ve been saving this for awhile now. We LOVE our Santa at our local mall. Liam was a little nervous again this year, but he went up to him without any forcing. He asked him for Hot Wheels. Afterwards, you could see the excitement in his eyes, and he said to me, ‘that wasn’t bad at all‘.

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We have a lot to look forward to this month & much to share! This is truly a magical time. Especially when you share it through the eyes of a child. Hope that your Christmas season is off to a fantastic start, as well!

Β Until next time, friends!

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Disney On Ice Fun — Follow Your Heart!

We recently had an afternoon of family FUN as we enjoyed Disney On Ice presents Follow Your Heart at the Amway Center downtown.

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We are always pumped to take a trip down to the Amway Center. Being downtown is just fun, in general, as we don’t frequent it often, and we love to check out the venue that the Orlando Magic calls home πŸ™‚

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As soon as we stepped off of the escalator, these yummy sights & smells surrounded us. Liam chose the cotton candy & crown combo πŸ™‚

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The show started off with a skating rendition of a hockey game to incorporate elements of Inside Out and the theme of Following Your Heart and doing your best. Riley made her appearance throughout the game and all the skaters were awesome! Liam LOVED it!

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And, of course, Mickey & the gang were there, too ❀

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It was very cool to see our favorite friends from Inside Out. Liam’s eyes definitely lit up when they came out!

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I’m pretty sure I said it last year, but my personal fav is Beauty & the Beast. I loved this rendition of ‘Be Our Guest’! Super excited for the live action movie next spring!!

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The Sorcerer’sΒ Apprentice…we are big fans of watching this on Fantasia so it was awesome to see this on the ice.

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I was beyond thrilled to see Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs as a part of this year’s show!! Liam hasn’t see this movie yet, so it’s definitely added to our list …LOVE this one ❀

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Finding DoryΒ ….so fun & such a great movie. We can’t wait to add this to our home collection.

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Toy Story is one of our family’s all time favorites and the performance they did for the show was SO good!

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It was fantastic to see our favs Rex & Hamm come skating out….Liam jumped out of his seat for that!

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All the Disney Princesses came out throughout the show and did fantastic performances. Ariel from the Little Mermaid’s performance, though, was one that we couldn’t take our eyes off….

What a way to close out the show….Frozen!

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Let It Go!!! ❀

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FINALE!!

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Smiles All Around!!

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Such a great afternoon with my boys! Always wonderful memories made with Disney, and of course, little man did not take this crown off all day!Β Thank you to Feld Entertainment for this amazing opportunity for my family!

Until next time, friends!

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I am a Feld Entertainment Blogger Ambassador, and in exchange for my time and efforts in attending shows and reporting my opinion within this blog, as well as keeping you advised of the latest discount offers, Feld Entertainment has provided me with complimentary tickets to Feld shows and other exclusive opportunities.

BirthDAY Fun at the Jacksonville Zoo!

While we celebrated with Liam’s 5th birthday party the weekend before the BIG day, we still wanted to make his actual birthDAY special. So, we packed the boys up & headed to my dad & stepmom’s in Jacksonville for the weekend. We spent his 5th birthday at the Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens, and we all enjoyed it so much! I have to say that we’ve been to the zoos in our immediate area fairly recently, but this one takes the cake {total pun intended}.

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The whole park was absolutely beautiful — the grounds & all the scenery, as well as the animals, of course. I loved that the animals had enormous free areas to be in, and yet, we could still see them so up close. Also, given the extreme Florida temps, there was an abundance of shade to keep us cool, plus fabulous “cool spots” throughout. These were actually air conditioned viewing areas….can we say awesome?!?! There is also a super cute splash pad for the kiddos. We didn’t get a chance to do that on this trip, but we’ll definitely be back!

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They have a train that runs all along the perimeter of the park with a stop at the entrance of the park and another at the back. Once you buy your ticket, you can literally ride around all day. So fun! This was one of Liam’s favorite parts of the day. We rode it 3 times πŸ™‚

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Sitting on the train with his Papa ❀

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Checking out the birds & duckies…

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There was bamboo all over the zoo & the guide on the train told us that it was used for both shade and a sound barrier to the animals from the main road that the zoo sits on. I thought that was pretty neat!

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Peek-a-Boo!

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There were so many interesting sights all throughout the zoo. This was the Tiger Skywalk. Β The tigers can actually walk across those bridges from their enclosures. So cool!

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This waterfall in the tigers area was so majestic to walk into & see, and they were awesome to sit & watch! They are such big cats & so beautiful.

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On our way out, we caught one of them dropping down from the skywalk & grabbing a snack. It was crazy to be so close to him & he totally didn’t care we were there πŸ˜‰

A snapshot of some of the gardens area. It’s hard to see, but some of the trees in the distance are blue!

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Flamingos!

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More of the bamboo, and I loved this bridge…another example of how beautiful this zoo is!

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Hanging out in one of the aviaries & feeding these lovelies some sweet nectar ❀

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Squirrel Monkey….

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Chimpanzees ….the one over by the wall was totally lounging while snacking. There was a sweet baby in the mix, too, but it’s hard to see in this pic.

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Giraffes!! — These are my favorite ❀ …Liam giggled because he saw one of them pee & while we watched them eat, he couldn’t believe how big their tongues were πŸ™‚

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The one on the far right of this pic below is one of the two babes they have there right now ❀

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Just hanging around! πŸ™‚

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Lions! …they were napping.

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I spy a gator…..

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These two otters were hilarious! They wouldn’t stop rolling around & playing. So hard to grab a pic of them.

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Warthogs…

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For those of you who also watch ‘Jessie‘ on the Disney Channel, you will appreciate our excitement over seeing ‘Mrs. Kipling‘. hahaha!

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Family group pic …

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And, of course, what birthday would be complete without cake? He requested an ice cream cake…

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We had the best day with our little man at the Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens to ring in his 5th birthday! Definitely made some great memories! ❀ ….and, I still cannot believe our little baby boy is FIVE!! Facebook keeps showing me flashback memories from 5 years ago of all of these pics from his 1st weeks home & it’s totally tugging at my heartstrings. Don’t ya love it?!?!

Until next time, friends,

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Star Spangled Fun ~ 2016

The 4th of July weekend has evolved into an important little family tradition for us. While it’s not a major holiday filled with all the hustle & bustle most of us are accustomed to, it’s one that we’ve definitely grown to look forward to with our little man. We usually have one or two low-key family hangouts over the long weekend, and of course, fireworks.

To link up to last year’s fun, click HERE

2014’s festivities — HERE

2013’s festivities — HERE


We kicked off our weekend with some birthday fun at Monkey Joe’s for one of Liam’s friends from Pre-K, Jase. There were several of his little buddies there from school, and some of them hadn’t see one another since graduation a few weeks back. Needlesstosay, these boys had a great afternoon!

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Sunday evening, we caught up with some friends for yummy dinner & dessert. Take a look at that smores dip! …it was delish! The kiddos had a grand ‘ole time with sparklers, too. I don’t think we could let a 4th go by without sparklers πŸ˜‰

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All the holiday festivities didn’t start for us on Monday until later in the day, so I got a brilliant idea to go to the park & splash pad with little man…instead of the pool. I told him it would be fun to change things up. OMGEE….it’s been so hot…I think we both questioned my judgement later on πŸ™‚ ….still had fun, though & was all smiles!

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We decided to give the fireworks at Avalon Park a try this year in an effort to stick closer to home since we had work & camp the next morning. We way underestimated the number of people that we thought would be there. Parking was crazy!!

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Despite the massive amount of people crowding the streets in Avalon, we managed to find awesome seats in the grass right on the lake. These two sweaty boys were still all smiles!

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Patriotic little man ❀

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Headphones make great noise mufflers for loud fireworks! πŸ™‚ ….He really enjoyed the show!!

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It was a great evening celebrating our great nation’s birthday! ❀

Until next time, friends!

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Our {Long} Weekend Recap

We headed to my dad & stepmom’s up in Jacksonville for Memorial Day weekend, and we had a great time with them. We don’t get a chance to take many overnight trips, or ‘get-aways’ so it’s always nice to head up there when we can.

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It was a relaxing & laid back weekend, overall. Those are always the best ones, right? Liam loved helping his Papa-G and G-Ma with various tasks around their house πŸ˜‰ …Here’s a pic we snapped of Liam helping bake some cookies ❀

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We all enjoyed some fun in the sun out at the MOST gorgeous beach house in the Ponte Vedra area. The weather was beautiful & the we soaked in the rays & splashed in the water. This view will never get old….

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Love this sweet boy ….

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He was the best swimmer all weekend. We were so proud & we know Ms. Katie would be, too πŸ™‚

Hanging out with his Papa…

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Swimming with G-ma…

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The house had it’s own private boardwalk out to the beach. So very nice….

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We played on the sand & in the waves for a bit. The rip currents were pretty strong, though, so we didn’t go too far out.

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Love this family of mine ❀ ….

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We will definitely be frequenting the beach this summer! Liam loves it just as much as I did as a kid, and still do!

Until next time friends πŸ™‚

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