6 months, 25 months, sorry about the 3-month hiatus

So, I apologize for the long absence! I think like 4 people noticed, but I don’t like disappointing those 4 people, so here’s a check-in from us. December was INSANE! It’s Christmas party/celebration season, Jamison turned 2, and it was our 4th anniversary. I’m still worn out and January is almost over. So rather than bore you with the 2 other months I forgot to post, here is Sutton’s 6 month photos and stats.

Also of potential interest to you, dear reader, is Jamison’s second birthday party. We had a great time, renting out a room at the local farm. All of his friends and family showed up to celebrate, and we got to pet a calf and a newborn lamb. Though the kids enjoyed the lamb, the women were the ones chomping at the bit to snuggle him.

Oh, and Christmas. What an awesome, hectic, and love-filled time! Our house is officially completely full of toys. Several people have mentioned we might want to get a bigger house.


So, I apologize for taking so long to write something. Two reasons, waaaaaaaayyy too much stuff going on! And secondly, I didn’t have anything earth shattering to tell. Just that we are doing great, the kids are growing and being crazy, and life is peachy right now!


3 Months Old

This little sweetie is now 3 months old and getting cuter by the day. She is such a happy baby and couldn’t have a more calm disposition. We love her so much and big brother Jamison is even starting to give her kisses too! Things are going pretty well for our little family and are so grateful. As always, have a great day and thanks for reading!


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Finally, Sutton’s Nursery!

My maternity leave is officially over and I had a few small goals to accomplish before the end of my 12 weeks at home with Sutton. Those consisted of: getting her to sleep through the night and finish her nursery. I am proud to say we have completed both of those!

Now, her nursery was a bit of a challenge, but I can honestly say I love her space.  Thinking back to when Jess and I put Jamison’ s super hero themed nursery together the ideas were plentiful and it went together smoothly. Sutton’s room could not have been more opposite. Not because of lack of effort, but because I was on bed rest for 3 months and we hadn’t true decided on what to do with her room before I was hospitalized. This left the entire room to be painted and designed by Jess. I could help very little from either the hospital or the bed across the hall. Before I went on bed rest Jess and I tossed around some ideas of what we wanted to see in Sutton’s room, ultimately we decided on a Harry Potter themed nursery.

We have taken several pictures (finally!) and I would like to share some of my favorites parts of her room and what aspect of the Harry Potter series inspired the idea.

N3This is the crib wall, obviously, but it’s also the focal point of the room. Her room is the smallest of the bedrooms in the house. So the challenge was to make the room feel bigger. The mural highlighting this wall achieves this in our limited space. It’s a stylized mountain range, with the closest mountain peaks in the darkest color, fading off to the peaks in the distant, lighter colors. Jess did a fantastic job of painting this mural. She juggled painting this mural while I was in the hospital, often putting on one coat of paint before she would come back to the hospital to stay the night with me. She put so much work into this wall specifically and it makes me appreciate it all the more. It also gives the room depth, its very relaxing to look at and there is a little hidden gem in the upper left corner. That’s the silhouette of Hogwarts. I painted it so it appeared off in the distance of the mountains, secluded by mountains and mist as its often portrayed in the films.

N6Oh, how I love this dresser! This dresser’s design is the brain child of Jess and we worked together to come up with the best method to achieve her vision. Originally, the dresser was gifted to us from Jess’ Aunt Sue. It had been in storage and had some water damage on the bottom, which led us to remove the bottom drawer and add a shelf to create open basket storage (thanks for the handy carpenter work Matt).  The dresser features the iconic scar from Harry Potter. Jess selected some of her favorite moments from the first Harry Potter novel and we decoupaged those pages into the shape of Harry’s scar and finished the edges with automotive detail tape. The baskets fit neatly below for some extra storage.

On top of the dresser is one of two handmade signs in the room designed by Jess. She created this one for Sutton with a simple message. It says, Don’t Let the Muggles get you Down, and it’s fantastic. There is also a bottle of authentic Pumpkin Juice we picked up from our trip to Diagon Alley when we visited Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida a few years ago. The “S” is a book that was cut into the letter’s shape and was a perfect gift for this space from Nana and Pap!

N2Looking left around the room, we pass by the window to see the familiar rocking chair relocated from Jamison’s room, adorned with Sutton’s new quilt made by Nana and elephant monogrammed by Mimi. Then we have two one of a kind accessories added by Jess. The first is the Platform 9 3/4 sign, which we have shown before, and the second is the wonderful alphabet made by Jess. Every letter is a character or place from the novels. She did such a good job with these. If you want to see the whole series then I guess you will just have to come by!

N5  Also on this wall is the artwork that gave us the idea for the whole space, it’s Haggrid holding Harry in a comical representation of their relationship as depicted by the artist Scott C Campbell. We originally found this on an outing in Eureka Springs, Arkansas before Sutton was born and later decided to order it online. Mimi, who is a whiz at framing artwork, had this one done for us and now it’s a focal point. There are some great newborn shots, by my cousin Dynae, and this grouping is complete!

N4As you continue to look left in the room you have the third and smallest wall. It the wall with the door, so we had limited space. But we maximized what space we did have to make it one of our most functional. It holds diapers and pictures and other treasures.

N1There are so many good things on this wall! Easily the floating shelves, made by Jess, are my favorite. That’s right, she made these shelves. We got the idea from Pintrest, but she cut the lumber, stained the wood, and installed them. They make this wall work in her room. It’s now loaded down with tons of homages to Harry Potter. See how many you can find! I’ll give you a hint to one of my favorites, the blue trunk sitting on top of the dresser from IKEA. It reminded Jess and me of the traveling trunks Harry takes off to school each year and doubles nicely for additional toy storage. Here is a close up of the second sign sitting on the shelf made by Jess.

IMG_8365Her room is such a fun space to sit in! It’s a good thing I like it so much because Sutton and I spend a lot of time in there. Ultimately, we created a space with soft textures and cool color tones, yet it’s still warm and inviting. My goal all along was to create a nursery that was reminiscent of the whimsy in Harry Potter and not recreate a scene from the movie or a movie set. When we told people our idea for the nursery people looked at me like we were crazy, but I just knew in the back of my mind we could pull this off. Its sweet and fun, just like our little Button. Lastly, here a few close up images of some of the additional details in the room.

N8Hedwig, Harry’s owl, in his cage. Made by our dear friend Sarah. She crocheted this owl and I like to think of it  as a gift from her daughter, Della, to Sutton. Keep in mind Della is just a few months older than Sutton, but obviously very talented.

N7This is a close up of the Platform 9 3/4 sign. It also shows Jess’ new obsession, Hogwarts Running Club. Yes, it’s a thing. She has completed two races so far and the medals are freaking awesome! One is hanging to the left of the sign. I’ll let her tell you more about that sometime…

Lastly, Sutton’s one-of-a-kind mobile. I made the flying keys out of some vellum paper I had lying around the house. Hot glued the wings to the back of the keys and completed the mobile out of some scrap fabric to match her crib skirt. It’s enchanting.

N9We hope you enjoyed a look into Sutton’s room. Feel free to comment about your favorite parts of the room and give Jess some love for all the hard work she did!

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Sutton is 2 Months Old

Print PrintI’m sorry this month’s Sutton update is a few days overdue, but we have been quiet a busy crew! I finally feel like I’m starting to catch up on life after putting it on hold for 3 months, but the results of all that hard work we put in while are bed rest are in the pictures of this sweet little girl. She is such a happy baby, with a calm disposition. I wish photographs could relay that as well, but it is fun to compare Sutton’s one month picture to her two month picture. She is growing so fast and getting so strong. She eats constantly (lucky me) and I feel like time is fleeting as every day goes by with her. Now, if we could only get her to show some sort of a routine during the night time feeding/sleeping schedule we would be set!

Enjoy! And as always thanks for reading our blog!

1 Month/20 Months

We’ve made it! We’ve grown another tiny human for a whole month while not traumatizing a less tiny human too terribly (Though earlier this week, he did launch himself and his Batman car off our back deck, resulting in a face that could only be described as Klingon).

Disclaimer: I don't know Star Trek. I don't know a Klingon from a Vulcan. I just knew one of the characters had a big head and I googled the rest.

Disclaimer: I don’t know Star Trek. I don’t know a Klingon from a Vulcan. I just knew one of the characters had a big head and I googled the rest.

He had the biggest, widest goose egg I've ever seen.

He had the biggest, widest goose egg I’ve ever seen.

Klingon vs. Jamison

It never fails to amaze me how fast time goes or how quickly our kids grow up. That being said, the newborn phase is not my favorite, so if she wants to fast forward to like the 6 month mark, I wouldn’t cry about it. They’re just so fragile and all they do is eat, sleep, and poop. Sutton is a champion at all three. She can even scare the dogs with some of her man farts. That’s my girl. She also has managed to put on almost 2 pounds in her first month! We thought the scale was reading wrong, but it wasn’t. She really is 7.5 pounds at 5 weeks! Crazy! She’s filling out her newborn onesies and filling up her newborn diapers.

Print PrintYou can’t help but compare your kids. Especially when my experience with them is limited to Jamison and Brooklynn, my niece. I was looking back through Jamison’s monthly updates and at this point, he was sleeping 5-6 hours a night. Yesterday, Sutton finally hit a 4 hour mark and we were so excited! I count us as very lucky that Sarah has 3 months maternity leave instead of 6 weeks. I can’t imagine her functioning at her job for 8 hours on the amount of sleep she’s been allowed lately. Can I just say what an amazing mother my wife is? I always thought that with her and Jamison, but just watching her with Sutton is something to behold. She takes charge. She never, ever complains. She has to be told to let me help her. She has taken full ownership and pride in our child and is making it look effortless. I’m so in awe of her. We have some lucky kids. Their moms are cuckoo for them!

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2.5 weeks down

We have successfully navigated 2.5 weeks of having a toddler and newborn baby. And we are alive and (fairly) sane enough to tell about it. Currently, I am feeding Jamison dinner, rocking Sutton in the Moby wrap, and trying to keep both quiet so Sarah can get a couple of much needed ZZZs. I thought I would break down some of what I’ve noticed so far about this transition.

  1. Distract or strap. If you find yourself with 2 kids at once, both under the age of 20 months, the only thing you can do it distract one and strap the other one to you. For us, that means giving J some time with his best bud Mickey Mouse. For Sutton, that means Moby wrap or swing time. You must have your hands and wits about you.
  2. You will change infinity diapers. The other morning, I changed 4 poopy diapers of different size, scent, and saturation level in 15 minutes.
  3. If you buy a kickin’ big brother present when the baby gets here, the baby doesn’t even matter when compared to the farm and animals.
  4. You will remember little from the first time you did this, so you will find yourself uttering phrases like “I am so exhausted! I don’t remember being this tired.” “Did J eat this much/often?” “Do all babies sound like dirt bikes?”
  5. Seriously though, I am reaching levels of tired I didn’t know existed. Sutton has decided that night time is the best time to cluster feed/make weird rattle noises. So I find myself being woke up about every 30 minutes. Sarah and I both are reaching Walking Dead status.

We had Sutton’s newborn pictures done this week. A special thank you to Dynae Levingston Photography for being patient with the fuss bucket and for pulling out some truly beautiful pictures. Below are a few of my favorites!

  1. Sutton-Newborn-11Sutton-Newborn-21Sutton-Newborn-23

Nursery Preview

Sutton’s nursery has been a work in progress pretty much since Sarah got pregnant. When Sarah was admitted to the hospital, I kicked it into high gear as part of the only thing I could contribute to this baby when Sarah was carrying the enormous load. The weeks leading up to her birth, both of us managed to get quite a bit of it done. We still lack a few key elements, so it’s not ready for the big reveal. However, in honor of Harry Potter’s birthday, we present to you a sneak peak. Yes, we are nerdy enough to dedicate our brand new baby’s room to a magical book series. You’re welcome. More to come when we finish up. 


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The Birth Story: As Told by Both Jess & Sarah

Our last post was at 36+3 weeks. We made it 2 more days before the baby joined our family. Before we regale you with a tale of intrigue, adventure, and placenta, we are proud to introduce…


Miss Sutton Jean
Born 7/22 at 1:18 a.m.5lbs, 6oz
18.75 inches

We thought for this telling you, dear reader, deserve both sides of the story. So, without further adieu, Sutton’s birth story!

11:30 p.m. Tuesday night at home

Sarah: We turned off the lights for bed at 11, but I just couldn’t get comfortable. I tossed and turned, but when I turned one way, it felt like a croquet ball had crushed my bladder. I hopped out of bed, thinking I needed to go pee. But it turns out, the croquet ball was Sutton’s head breaking my water.

Jess: I was dozing, not really asleep. I happened to open my eyes and Sarah was standing at the end of the bed, with a weird, lost-way look. “Are you ok?” I asked her. “Ummmm…. well, no. I think my water broke.” Ok. Explain. She informed me that she was laying in bed and when she rolled over she felt a big pop and lots of pain and pressure and it felt like she peed her pants. I got out of bed and started talking to her while she timed contractions. Previous to 5 minutes ago, she hadn’t had a contraction yet. Now, they were coming 3 minutes apart. I called my parents, they came over, Dad stayed with J, and Mom joined us for the ride to Labor and Delivery.

12:00 a.m. Wednesday morning at L&D triage

S: Arriving so late at night, Jess snagged a pretty sweet parking spot. Though we were spots from the door, on the short walk in I managed to have 2 contractions — pausing midstep to stop hyperventilating and allow my body to survive another tidal wave.

J: Parking the car and getting Sarah out, I began my first of many quick trips down memory lane. I remembered doing this same thing a year and a half ago on a cool December morning. I remembered having a contraction in the parking lot too. But Sarah’s were coming on much faster and stronger than mine were at this point, so I tried to hurry us along. The guard at the desk was kind enough to let us go to L&D without checking in. When we got to reception, the ladies there were. taking. freakin. forever. I mean, sweet lord, how long does it take to fill out some paperwork, have my wife strip, pee in a cup, and get blue discs wrapped to her belly? This isn’t your first rodeo, people! Another girl was wheeled behind us, saying she was in a lot of pain. I looked at Sarah, clearly well advanced in this whole process and laughed to myself. My wife is a walking, talking contraction.

S: I peered over my right shoulder to see the fully glammed up, wheelchair-ridden damsel. With just a glance back at Jess, we thought she was in for a long night, while we were unsure what would lie ahead for us. She was nonchalantly filling out paperwork, hotel check-in style, while I am shoving the clipboard at Jess during contractions so she could fill it out and keep the ball moving so we could get admitted.

J: Finally, after an eternity and half, they lead us to triage to get assessed. I remember this part too and wondering why it’s at this point that the nurse feels the need to move swiftly. You were taking a mental smoke break during paperwork time, but now that you need an actively laboring person to move somewhere, you’re Usain Bolt. We guessed at turns and finally found the nurse typing in random things into the keyboard. A weird barrage of questions happened during so many contractions, I lost count. We are losing time here. The epidural window is closing fast.

S: Remembering Jess’ labor and delivery, it was at this stage that the cervical checks occurred frequently. Granted, she progressed slower than I did, she had 3 in this room alone. I’d managed to slip on a gown, fling a urine sample into the sink, and hook up to monitors in record time. With just one check, they determined I was already 8 cm dilated. I knew soon it was on to the big show. Looking back, I probably shouldn’t have hung nursery curtains that night.

J: I think the curtains were definitely part of the problem. That and being drug to Hot Topic by Fairy Godmother Amber.

S: At this point, the nurse asked me if I could walk to the delivery room because they were admitting me. I just laughed in her face. So away I was whisked in my white chariot.

12:45 a.m. Wednesday morning at L&D

S: Finally, we’d arrived on the main stage. Contractions were so close together, I could barely answer the second barrage of the nurse’s ridiculous questions. At one point I closed my eyes in between contractions and when I opened them, the room was full of 6 different nurses when previously there was one. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten an IV inserted into my arm so quickly. In the 45 seconds between contractions, I had an IV but almost passed out from the next contraction while trying not to throw up into the KFC chicken bucket they gave me.

J: I think it was at this point that shit got real for me. I know every pregnancy and delivery is different, but you definitely go into it with some preconceived notions of how it will go. And this wasn’t it. Not at all.

S: At this point, the only thing going through my brain is “Has anybody seen the Mother F-ing anesthesiologist?!?” I asked the doctor, “Do you think there will be enough time for an epidural?” She sweetly looked back at me and shook her head, chuckled a bit, and said “No”. I put my hands on my head and started to cry. I distinctly remember saying, “I have so much work to do.”

J: Every nurse that walked by, I was asking them about the epidural situation. They said, after we get her blood to lab, then we can get it started. I remember the “blood to lab situation” too. When they did that on me, they lost my 2 vials of blood and had to Carmen San Diego hunt it down for 2 hours to no avail, only to draw it again. One of the nurses went so far as to get the epidural machine out and ready for Sarah. The next person to walk it, Sarah was convinced she was the anesthesiologist. She said, “Boy, we’re glad you’re here!” And the nurse was like, “thank you! How are you doing so far? I’m just going to get things ready.” I watched her opening up instrument packets and placing gauze and stainless steel bins just so on the open tray, moving at a glacial pace. Nope, not the anesthesiologist at all. I don’t remember her ever denying this to Sarah either. I think we both were so sad when the doctor told her it wasn’t happening. We weren’t shocked by any means, she already was passed an 8 and her contractions were coming like a speed bag. But the thought of ever doing this whole birthing thing au natural was never in our minds. What would she do now??

1:10 a.m. Wednesday morning at L&D

S: There was only one thing left to do. The urge to push was so overwhelming now, I could do nothing in my power to stop what was about to occur sans the nectar of the gods. At this point, it did occur to me that it was odd the doctor had never really left my bed side. Thinking back on Jess’ delivery, the doctor walked in with catcher’s mask and mitt when the nurse said it was time for the final push, stealing all the nurse’s hard work and glory. My brain had totally shut down and my body took over. I managed to not yell a single expletive, but I’m pretty sure I hit a note of baritone I didn’t know I had inside me.

J: After the final cervical check, Sarah was at a 9.75 and it was pretty much time for the big show. My Mom exited stage left, and we were getting down to business. At this point, I didn’t know what to do. The woman I love with all my heart is being ripped in half by a tiny baby and feeling every bit of it. The yells of pain she was emitting were visceral, animalistic. I was terrified for her. I’ve never been so stressed in my life. In order to be of any use at all, I decided to watch each time she pushed and report back her progress. Dear God, why? I’ve had a baby, but I watched none of it. The way all of it plops down when she pushes well is the stuff of Alien movies. But I watched, and dutifully reported when she had good pushes and when I could see the head. They make you hold your breath when you push for a reason. The baby would visibly move when she pushed like that versus pushing and sounding like a zoo during feeding time. I held her hand and rubbed her shoulder and tried not to cry.

S: After a solid 3 pushes, I was convinced I couldn’t do this and I was done — a phrase I angry cry screamed at one point. At this cue, a random nurse stepped up, moved Jess from her place at my bed side, got right in my face, and proceeded to tell me exactly what I was about to do. She said, “Yes, this is going to burn. You are going to push. And you are going to push right now.” It was similar to an overly aggressive middle school basketball coach. Not expected but warranted in order to perform the game-clinching performance.

J: That nurse kinda saved the day. Sarah was shouting that she couldn’t do this anymore and all of us were like, “no, you’re great. You’ve got this. Cat posters, rainbows, high fives.” This nurse turned her head and shouted, “What’s her name?” (because we hadn’t been there long enough for anyone to learn our names). And yelled 6 inches from her face, “SARAH!!” And Sarah’s head snapped right over in a “Yes sir!” drill sergeant way. And she got back to pushing. I can’t yell at her like that. I sleep next to her. It’s frowned upon. So, thank you, random nurse, for helping my wife keep it together for a couple more pushes.

S: With newly found courage, I breathed deep one final time and against all natural instincts, I held my breath and pushed, resulting in what felt like the most successful crap I’ve ever taken in my life.

J: The push after the drill sergeant yell resulted in seeing the baby’s head. So the next one, I moved in closer to better report back progress to Sarah. As she geared up for the push, she had barely got started when a tiny white thing literally shot out of her. The doctor, thankfully, caught the baby, while the nurses and I did the Eeekkk dance away from the carnage and splatter. I turned around to look at my child, who was not crying. She was covered in white, waxy vernix and had black eyes. Sarah had birthed a demon. But then the demon started wiggling and blinking and crying and I realized it was a baby. It was our baby. A perfect girl!!

S: I don’t remember what happened in the next few moments. All i remember is the doctor held up a GIRL. Remember, up until this point, we didn’t know if we were having a boy or girl. I was just thrilled that she appeared healthy. That feeling slide away because she wasn’t making stereotypical new baby noises. It turns out, she was just calm and relaxed and the nurses soon got a few muffled cries from her. I kept asking Jess “Is the baby ok? Is the baby ok?” Hell if she knew. She was wiping carnage off her face.* (I really didn’t shoot baby carnage on her face.)

J: But she did shoot some on my pants. I remember saying something about how did my jeans get wet. And one of the nurses looked at me and said, “Well she did splatter quite a bit.” OMG ew ew ew ew! There is placenta on my jeans! Get it off!!

S: I distinctly remember you didn’t change those pants until 5 a.m.

J: Distracted by tiny cute baby. And just some PTSD.

S: Sutton got a quick Jiffy Lube 40-point inspection and we had an hour of skin on skin. During this time, since I had no epidural and a larger hole, it was time to have quality bonding time interrupted by painful sutures. The localized anesthetic failed to do a superb job and I believe at this point, only my inner Xena Warrior Princess got me through the last part of this delivery.

J: When they weighed Sutton, we were so excited to hear she had hit 5 pounds, 6 ounces. That was way bigger than I was expecting! She looked like a real baby. Small, naturally, but not scary small.

And that, in a nut shell, is how we spent our Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. From water breaking and first contraction to baby girl took less than 2 hours. That is how you get in and get it done!

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Coming to Term

Today marks 36 weeks 3 days pregnant. In just four days, Sarah will have successfully carried this baby to full (albeit early) term. People keep asking me if I thought we would ever make it this far. Well, I know we have a stellar medical team, a superb support network, and my wife is the biggest rock star on the planet. So, yeah, now I could  say “oh sure, I knew it all along.” But the truth is, nope, I sure didn’t. I thought we would hit 28, maybe just maybe 30. But 36 and counting? Just a dream. 

I do think this baby will be joining our family in the near future. At her appointment Wednesday, she was dilated to a 4.5, so she’s almost got half of that part done. And further proof of the baby’s pending arrival is that our doctor is gone on vacation all week and heaven forbid she actually deliver any of our kids after taking care of us for the last 3 years. 

We have been making great progress on the nursery and are so excited to share it with you! But not quite yet!

I leave you with this week’s belly shot, her biggest jump yet, and the beautiful flowers from Nana, Pap, and Fairy Godmothers Judy and Amber. 


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Boy or Girl? Vote here!

We have had a really good week here at Casa de Hambowl. We just keep doing what we know works and we have made it another week! We are at 35 weeks! It’s just an incredible feeling to say that we have made it this far when we look back at where we started from.

I have to take a moment to say a huge thanks to my parents, my in-laws, my brother and sister in-law, my brother, Jamison’s Fairy Godmothers Judy and Amber, my friends and of course my unbelievable wife. These people are the backbone of our support network and we couldn’t have done this well nor made it this far without your love and support. All the help and healing you have provided has been invaluable and without a doubt the largest difference maker in our baby’s journey.

Without further adieu, we have new images to share! We had an ultrasound for the first time since we were in the hospital. We had one yesterday to check on the baby. As we expected, baby is a rock star. Baby is weighing about 4 lbs, 11 oz. which is in the 25th percentile, but still healthy. The ultrasound tech said 3 or 4 times that “baby has big feet.” You know what that means… It actually doesn’t mean much considering we don’t even know if its a boy or a girl. We could also see on the ultrasound images that baby has thin lips. Maybe another indicator of gender???

Therefore, using these latest tidbits of information, we invite you to take part in our poll! Vote boy or girl by scrolling down (it’s located at the end of this post) and we will see what the group consensus comes back as! Happy voting and as always, thanks for reading.


Profile view. Notice the hand above the nose and lips.


Front view. Not a complete view of the face, but still you can see the eyes, nose and mouth.


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