Saturday, December 14, 2013

Baby Quatre: 17 Weeks

Baby Quatre is coming along nicely, he or she is moving all the time. In fact, at my 16 week appointment, the NP had a hard time keeping the baby on the doppler long enough to get a good heart beat reading, so she had to guesstimate 155. She said this baby moved more than any baby has in a long time. I'm taking that as a good sign for a healthy baby. We find out the sex on January 7, but at this point, have decided to keep the sex a secret until birth. However, I suck at keeping secrets, so that may or may not happen.

As for me, I'm starting to feel a little better. I'm only having morning sickness about every other day. I'm still exhausted all the time. I'm hoping within a few weeks, I will feel better and have an energy burst, but I've been saying that for a few weeks now.


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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Homeschooling: What I Have Learned

Now that I am a bit more seasoned in homeschooling, I thought I would share what I have learned and what I have changed.

First, homeschooling is a lot harder than I thought it would be. Not the teaching aspect, but the finding time and forcing yourself to get to it. It is so easy to say, "We will do it tomorrow." Then tomorrow comes, and something comes up, and you don't get to it, then you find yourself piling 3 days into 1.

The next thing I learned was, having a school room is dumb. Maybe it works for some people. But it wasn't for us, it was much easier to do school work at the dining room table, or living room floor, or even the kitchen table while I washed dishes. Not only that, but baby quatre will be needing the school room soon.

I also learned you don't need a lot of stuff. The posters, the big colorful calendar, none of that was needed. All you need is your curriculum, or books, paper, pencils, and you and your children.

A two year old is easier to handle while teaching your older children if you include her, give her a piece of paper, a coloring book and crayons, and she sits and listens, and learns. She sits right along with Parker saying "B says buh".

You also don't need to do everything all at once. In the beginning, I would do math, then language and phonics, then social studies/science/health, then spelling, then any extras. By the time we were done for the day, both boys were spent, I was spent, and we were tired of being around each other. Yes it got it all done and out of the way early. But then I changed it up, we still do math first because it is the most hated subject, but then we take a break, have a snack, play outside, play a game, watch TV, or whatever else. Then we move on to something else, take a break, then something else, take a break, and so on. Yes it can take all day, but there is no burnout, and the kids are learning quicker, there is no whining, no "Are we done yet?" Some days we do still knock it all out in the morning if we have somewhere to be or if the kids want to keep going. Some days we take one or two breaks, some days we take a break between everything. We take it day by day. The kids take the lead, and I am fine with that as long as it gets done. Yep, we might be practicing spelling at 6 at night, but it works for us.

One of the most important things I have noticed, is Landon is not as mouthy, he is not as colorful in his choice of words, and he isn't so into popular items. For example, this time last year, I heard Oh my God! several times a day. Now I hear, Oh my goodness gracious! instead. Last year he was saying crap, even though he knew that was a no no in our home, I would still catch him saying it. I haven't heard it in a while now.

All in all, I would say homeschool has been a success for our family. Is it right for every family? No. Is it right for your family? Maybe, that is a choice that every family has to make for themselves.

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Friday, November 15, 2013

Baby Quatre: Week 13

I had my 12 week check up last week, and we got our first ultrasound. There is only one baby in there and he or she looks fantastic. Baby was moving so much that the tech had a really hard time getting pictures and our print outs are not great. Baby has really long skinny legs.

With every pregnancy, I always forget how easy it is to love someone so small and that you don't really know yet.

As far as how I have been feeling, I have been so sick this entire pregnancy, I am 13 weeks now, so I am hoping it goes away soon. I have also been extremely tired. Yawn. I am ready for some energy again.

In the end, it will be so worth it and I am so glad there is a healthy baby growing.

There was a bit of bad news. I have one very large 6cm x 7cm fibroid at the top of my uterus. I also have several hanging around my uterus, but they are all less than 2cm. Doctor said he isn't very concerned about it, but he is going to watch it. It has been what is causing me problems and pain, so while it really sucks to have pain and a little bleeding, it is nice to know that it isn't hurting or caused from my baby. He said he was a little concerned about preterm labor, but with the location, it would be rare, so he thinks this pregnancy will be easy and a relatively easy delivery. I will be having a repeat c-section, probably May 19 or 20.

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

My Thoughts: Gay Marriage Legal in Illinois

As a Christian, I feel pressured to be against gay marriage. I am told everyday by the news, Facebook friends, articles, that it is wrong. Marriage should only be between a man and woman. Period. No other options.  The Bible and God say gay marriage is wrong. 
However, the Bible tells us that all sin is forgivable with the exception of blasphemy. To me, that means that every other sin is forgivable, and thank God for that. 

Mark 3:28-29
Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter,  but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin.

The Bible also tells us that homosexuality is wrong.  I cannot deny it, it does tell us it is wrong.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10
Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexuals nor thieves nor the greedy nor the nor the drunkards nor the slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

Wait. What? Nor drunkards, adulterers, and all the rest mentioned will not inherit the kingdom of God either? But I don't see any laws against being an alcoholic, or being a cheater. Yes, there are laws against stealing, but even stealing doesn't have the stigma or the anger from the public that gay marriage does.  My biggest thought on being gay, is that being unfaithful in a marriage is much more common, and it hurts people and can tear a marriage(s) apart. Whereas, two same sex people falling in love is hurting no one. In fact, depending on where they live, may create a marriage. Alcoholics are the same, they can destroy themselves and their families, or if they drive under the influence, they can take the live or lives of innocent people. And again, gay people are the bad guys? If we want to condemn gay people for loving, then we should condemn the unmarried couple who are intimate, the alcoholic at the corner bar, the thief who is stealing food, the man cheating on his wife for the first, second, third time. But we don't. We turn a blind eye to most and stare directly at gay couples who just want the right to marry who they love. The right to make medical decisions when their loved cannot make the decision for their self. The ability to share insurance and collect benefits.

One more thing, the Bible tells us that we should love our neighbor. And that we should not judge others.

Matthew 7:1
Do not judge others or you too will be judged.

Why do we feel the need to judge how other people live their lives? Why can we not live and let live.

My thoughts are that we have no right to judge against gay people. None. None of us are sinless. We all sin. Think about that. We. All. Sin. We all do things that keep us farther away from God. I can't say that gay people will or will not go to Heaven. I can't even say that I know that my neighbor, my friends, my family will go to Heaven. I can hope everyone will. I can pray that everyone will. But in the end, the only person I have control over is myself.

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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!!!

Happy Halloween to my readers!

Today we had an easy day with school so that we could have our own little party after lunch.

I made the kids dirt cups. Chocolate pudding with crushed up Oreos and gummy worms.

I also made them the pretzel, kiss, and candy corn treats. 

And the surprising big hit, was pumpkin slime. It is really easy to make, I wanted to make regular slime, but our grocery store didn't have any lemon-lime kool-aid today, so I went with orange instead, and changed it to pumpkin slime. First you jello according to the package, while you are waiting for the water to boil, mix together a half gallon of water with two kool-aid packages, then fill up the rest of the gallon with a white soda. After the jello is made, add that to the drink, stir and add sugar to taste. After it sits for a while, it will become thicker and very slimy. If you want it to be slimier, you can add less water/kool aid/soda OR add another package of jello. I put it in clear cups that I had used a marker to draw pumpkin faces on.

After our snacks, we danced to the Hokey Pokey, Chicken Dance, Monster Mash, and a few others. No pictures of that since I was getting in on the fun too. 

We then headed to my step dad's for Trick or Treat, then to my Dad and Nanoo's. We then came home and picked up Sam and headed into town for a rainy Trick or Treat. We only went to the fire station and to Trunk or Treat at the church before we got to cold and wet. The kids had a good time and we came home wet and happy, they got to eat a few pieces of candy and then headed to bed. 

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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Why Don't You Use Your Degree???

In May of 2011, I graduated college with my nursing degree. Since then, I haven't even looked for a job.

But wait, let's back up. At the age of 20, I went to school and got my CNA. In fact, Sam did as well. As soon as that class finished, I enrolled full time, working toward my nursing degree. During my first "real" semester of college, I became pregnant with Parker. No big deal, I continued on with school. That fall I turned in my application for the nursing program. I also switched to all online classes since Parker was scheduled to be born during the semester.

Sometime in early spring of 2009, I got a phone call that I was accepted. Yay! Cheers were shouted, tears were cried. I was going to be a nurse. With a 7 month old and a soon to be 3 year old, I started nursing school. It was long hours and very hard.  Landon had only been in daycare for a few months when he was younger and only a few days a week. Sam at this point had gotten a job with the state, and between my mom and Sam, they were able to care for the boys while I was in school.

The first year passed, and I began my second year. We decided we wanted to expand our family, so we started trying for Alta, and sure enough, I trudged through my second year pregnant the entire time except the first month.

I had Alta exactly 4 weeks after I graduated. Time for a job, right?!

Not quite. My mom's health had steady began to decline. She had a terrible ulcer on her leg that needed dressed every day, someone had to do it. She was only eligible for home health 3 times a week, and sometimes only 2. Not only did she need her leg dressed, she needed someone to take her to appointments, go shopping for her, help her around the house, sometimes helping her get dressed, and to be a companion for her. Between Mom, my kids, my husband, and my home, we decided that I would continue to stay home until Mom got better. For over a year I was her nurse.

When she died, I thought I would get a job then. I pretty much had one guaranteed at the wound center she went to.  Again we talked and decided the kids and Sam needed me at home more than we needed the money. Sam is an awesome provider and while we don't have everything, we have what we need and some of what we want.

Now that we have made the decision to homeschool, I am home indefinitely. I am keeping up with health news. And eventually I would like to get my bachelor's degree. Maybe when the kids are out of the house, although that doesn't seem like it will happen anytime soon. Or maybe by that time I will be watching my grandchildren while their parents work. Who knows. What I do know is, I do not regret going to school and getting my nursing degree. I was able to prove to myself I could do it. And I did it.

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Friday, September 27, 2013

Forty Little Piggies

That's right, our family is growing by 2 feet. Our newest addition is set to arrive sometime toward the end of May.

This has been almost a year in the making. In fact, we had been trying for a baby long enough to have had one and be pregnant again. I was beginning to think it wasn't going to happen.

We had been using natural family planning for 2 years, since Alta was a baby. And when we decided to start actually trying, I started charting my cycle. I thought it would take a month, maybe two. In fact, I joked with some friends that I would be pregnant before we started trying because it was always that easy for us.

And then the first month came and went. No baby. The second month, no baby. I was still optimistic. Still certain a baby was coming. By the third month, I was in tears every month. I was starting to think we weren't meant to have another baby. By June, I called my doctor and had an appointment set up for August 15.

August came and Sam went away for training, and I rescheduled my appointment for September 19. Alta had her check up on the 15, and besides, what good would it do to go to the doctor when Sam was away? I obviously needed him to make a baby.

September 12, my mother in law and kids were heading up to Springfield to watch Sam graduate from his training. I hadn't been feeling great the last few days before then and was extremely tired. I knew I had one more First Response pregnancy test, so I went ahead and tested. And it was positive. And I cried and cried and cried some more. I couldn't believe it.

My first test, it was very early and the line was very faint, but a line is a line!

So in a happy daze, I finished getting everyone ready and we headed up to Springfield. Sam had no idea, and I wasn't able to talk to him until the following day. 

In my past pregnancies, I wasn't able to announce it to him really. With Landon, he came home from work as I was getting up, I took a test and he had already fallen asleep, so I woke him up with a frantic, I'm pregnant! With Parker and Alta he was with me while I was taking the test. 

I knew I wanted to do something special. Eventually I settled on getting him a congratulations card and in it I wrote "I am proud so proud of you, so I got you a gift. Unfortunately, it is still being made and is set to be delivered May 26, 2014." 

Reading his card

I also put a newborn sleeper in a bag for him. 

We thoroughly enjoyed his graduation and the mini-vacation. But as soon as we got back, I had to take another test. 

And two more a couple days after that.

After our  journey of conceiving this baby, I will always have compassion toward the people who still haven't conceived their first child. It is a heart breaking journey.

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Monday, September 16, 2013

A Typical School Day

Well now that we are a little into the school year, I thought I would share my schedule and how we do school.

First we wake up when we want to, usually around 8:30 or 9. We eat, maybe watch some TV, or hang around while I toss in a load of laundry and do dishes or other quick cleaning. Then around 10 or 11 we go up to our school room. The first thing I do is put a movie on in the boys' room for Alta. Usually she doesn't watch it, but sometimes she does, sometimes she play with toys, but mostly she stays in the school room with us.

Then we do our devotions and pray, do the Pledge of Allegiance, and check out the calendar.  Next I get Landon set up with whatever subject he wants to do first, Language and Phonics, Math, or Spelling. While he works through his subjects, I work with Parker on learning whatever he is working on, a letter, number, shape, color, etc. Alta will do some of these things too. Then while he works, I help Landon with anything he needs help on. We also do Scholastic's Weekly Readers on Thursdays. On Wednesdays, Landon also reads a short story and takes a test on it.

When Landon finishes his subjects up, we move onto either Health, Science, or Social Studies. On Mondays, we do Health, on Tuesdays, we do Science, and on Wednesdays, we do Social Studies. On Thursday and Friday we do any extra Science projects or we do art or PE.

After school, we head back downstairs for a late lunch, I work on the house some more and we all have down time. We also watch a Liberty Kids episode or an At the Center episode. In the evening, after baths, we read a Bible story, and Landon reads a chapter or two in the book he is reading, right now he is reading the Magic Tree House series. All in all, school takes anywhere from 2-5 hours a day, with 3 hours being the norm. It all depends on the kids' moods. And that's our school day in a nutshell.
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Monday, August 26, 2013


When someone loses a parent, a part of your life is forever changed. A void is ever present. Today marks one year since my own parent, my mom, went to Heaven. This time last year my sister and I were goofing around in the ICU room while Mom was in a medically induced sleep. We had stayed the night with her and were hoping for her breathing tube to be removed. They had tried to remove it the day before, but she wasn't quite ready. We were very hopeful that day. Then her nurse had some bad news. She had an infection. And it was spreading throughout her body. Her body wasn't responding well to the tube. And she would need dialysis for the rest of her life. Something she never wanted. Not only that, but she had c. diff. The only chance she had was having a surgery to place a tracheostomy, and because there was no facility around here to care for her, she would have to go to St. Louis, or maybe even Indianapolis. Far away from family. There was no guarantee she would even survive the surgery, and in all likelihood, she wouldn't.

Around noon, they woke her up for us to talk to her. We, as well as her doctor, and her nurse, explained her choices. And she kept motioning for us to take out her tube. We asked if she was ready to go to Jesus. She shook her head, yes she was ready. We made the heartbreaking phone call to family. They waited to remove the tube until our brother, step dad, and husbands came. Her brothers and their wives came, her niece and nephew came. My niece and nephews came to say good bye. My kids did not come, they couldn't come into the ICU because of their ages, and I didn't want them around all of the sadness. Friends came or called to say good bye.

I can't really remember what time the tube was removed. I just remember laughing and trying to be happy. And remembering.  And singing with her. And praying. And then she went to sleep. So we went out to stretch and use the bathroom. But her nurse called us back. We ran back to the room. Just in time. At 3:35, she went to sleep and never woke up. It oh so peaceful. And so very sad.

And now, a year later, it seems like yesterday. As the days go by, in some ways it seems to get easier. You get used to not having her there to call or talk to, or share what funny thing the kids said or did. At the same time, I still want to pick up the phone and call her. Tell her I love her. Share the day to day struggles of being a mother and wife. So now I have a new normal. One that doesn't have my mom in it. Which is so hard. What hurts the most, is the kids are slowly beginning to forget. I am trying my hardest to keep her memory alive for them, but it is so hard. It is still hard for me to talk about, and because of that, it is hard for me to share stories and talk about her with my kids.

Grief is a funny thing. This past year, I have went through so many emotions. In nursing school, you learn all about the stages of grief. For the first few months, it was like Mom was on vacation. She would be back. She wasn't gone forever. When I would go to her home, I would get butterflies and think "maybe she will be here today". Realistically, I knew she wasn't there. But before you remember, oh yeah, she's dead, your mind tricks you. And you believe for a few seconds she is home. By Thanksgiving, I was cycling through the anger, bargaining, and depression stage. Very quickly. One minute I was angry and blaming anyone I could. The next I was bargaining, what if we would have signed her out AMA from the nursing/rehab facility that Sunday? What if I would have taken better care of her? What if I had her move in with me, instead of letting her go to the rehab place? And then depression. The crying, sadness, and numbness. And then I would be right back at anger or maybe bargaining. Or maybe all three.

I'm not exactly sure when it happened. But at some point, I accepted that she died. I know she isn't coming back. I know she is in a better place. I know she is surrounded by her loved ones who went before her. And I know that someday I will see her again. I hope it isn't too soon. I am grateful that I had 25 years. And I am so glad that I had a mother that I could look up to and learn from. And that my kids had a grandmother who loved them.  I am sure I will miss her every day for the rest of my life.  I am still sad that she isn't here to see my kids and nephews and nieces grow up. And that she won't meet any future children we may have, but who knows, maybe she already knows them?

One thing that has happened this past year, I found a great God. I always knew he was there. But I just figured as long as I did okay with my life, asked for forgiveness every once in a while, I was golden. But I was wrong. I am striving to live my life, so that when my time comes, I will be ready for Heaven. I will be ready for my mom to welcome me Home and introduce me to Jesus.

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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Bad Times

Last week was awful. It was the week of hell. What could go wrong, did.

First, Sunday our Boxer, Bella was limping. Monday morning, she couldn't walk at all. So we took her to the vet. The ran a few tests and couldn't find the cause. I honestly thought we were going to lose her. The vet, however, had other plans, and put her on a high dose of steroids, a pain pill, a pill to keep her from throwing up, and a pill to calm her down. The only pills we brought home were her steroid and tummy pill. Tuesday, she was even worse. She couldn't use her front legs and all her legs were laying in horrible angles. Wednesday she couldn't even lift her head up. She wouldn't eat or drink. It was awful. She lost so much weight. Then a miracle happened. Thursday I got up to check on her and she had her head up. She also drank a little bit. Friday, she was back to trying to stand, so for her safety, she had to be crated, 90% of the day, only coming out to eat, pee, and poop, which means, only eat, because she wasn't doing anything else at this point. Saturday, Landon's birthday, we got up, let her out, she ate, drank, and then peed and pooped all over herself. I gave her as good of a bath as I could in the utility sink, then mopped the mudroom floor (concrete thankfully) with bleach water. It was awful, but at the same time, wonderful. It was the first time she had gone potty in almost a week. Sunday, she was able to sit up, and was able to eat by herself. Previously I had to spoon feed her food. Monday she had a check up at the vet, and she was able to stand, very shakily. The vet said to keep doing what we were doing and to add a few range of motion exercises. Tuesday was much of the same with a little more energy. Wednesday she was walking. She was still falling every few feet.  Thursday was a little better than Wednesday. Friday was a big change, she was walking around the backyard and only falling a few times. Saturday, she had a fall back and was a little worse than Friday. And today? She is even better. She is completely walking, only staggering when she hunches over to poo or pee. Tomorrow, she sees the vet again. I'm hoping for an even better prognosis.

Then Wednesday (8/7), another bad thing happened. Alta had an appointment in St. Louis, so we left the house about 7 am. Drove up with no problems, went to her appointment, then took the kids to the Science Center. After the Center we went out to eat with some family, then started our drive home. About 45 minutes into the drive home, the van's steering wheel started shaking and acting wonky. Then at a stop light, we smelling smoke, so we pulled over as soon as we could to check it out. We popped the hood, and didn't see anything, but the smell was still there. Thank God we were across the street from a mechanic, so we drove it there, and they were kind enough to check it out even though it was almost closing time. They decided it was a frozen break. And we couldn't drive it home or it would catch on fire. In fact, it almost did. So they called Enterprise for us, and they brought us a car to use. We finished the drive home. The next morning they called and said it was worse than what they thought, the van needed new calipers, break lines, rotors, and pads. Whew. Talk about breaking the bank. The van was done that evening so my dad followed me there, helped me with the kids and we got in the van and came home.

Add all of this to the fact that Sam isn't home because he switched jobs, so during all of this I am by myself with the kids. It was such a rough week.

The bright spot, Landon turned 7 that Saturday (8/10). And we had a very small party for him at our house. He enjoyed being the star of the show for the day. And his cousins got to stay the night for even more fun.

That is what has been happening on the Homestead. Sam does get to come home on the weekends, but is gone during the week for the next 4 weeks (6 altogether). But this new job will better our lives. And is a job he can be proud of.

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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sneak Peek

The school room is coming together nicely, get ready for a post about it next week!!!
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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Beautiful Weather, Isn't It?

Today is gorgeous. High of 78* in beautiful Southern Illinois during the last few days of July. We have the windows open, diapers on the line, and a chicken boiling for chicken noodle soup for dinner.

I'm sure it won't last and will be back up in the 90's with high humidity, but today, is perfect, and we will praise God for giving us today and enjoy it.

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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Oh Baby, The Places We Went

Interested in checking out the places we went?

Meramec State Park

Onondaga Cave

Riverside Wildlife Center

Meramec Caverns (boat ride and mining)

Rt 66 Museum

World's Largest Rocking Chair

Maramec Spring Park

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Meramec State Park- Vacation Day 4

Day four was our last morning in the cabin, we had to check out by 11. So we got up, dressed and loaded into the van to leave. It was also a special day, Alta officially turned 2 the last day of our vacation!

We went to the park store to pick out a souvenir for each kid, then checked out. We headed down to the camp grounds to help Dad and Nanoo pack up, which didn't take long. We saw them off towards home and we headed down I-44 toward St. James MO for one more last day of fun.

But first, we had to stop and get the kids' picture taken with the big bucket, which is a tradition for our family, the last time we vacationed here, the boys were 3 and 1.

Our next stop was the world's largest rocking chair in Cuba, MO. The kids thought it was hilarious and wanted to climb up on it.

After the rocking chair, we continued on to St. James and to Maramec Spring Park.

I absolutely love Maramec Springs. It is a beautiful place, full of history, full of nature. I just love it. The kids loved it too.

Maramec Spring was a booming iron works village in the 1840s-1870s. You can see the ruins of the furnaces, the mills, and a few chimneys. It is wonderful and has some much potential for learning.

In addition to the history, there are the springs, which house thousands of trout. You can feed the trout and watch them swim up to the surface in hundreds to eat the food you throw in. Of course, my favorite is the baby trout pools. Even baby fish are cute, haha.

Where the spring came up from the cave underground

Albino trout

Feeding the fish

Feeding the baby fish

So many fish

Just beautiful

There was also an awesome antique farm equipment museum in the park, but very few pictures were taken in there and none were very good. We were all very tired and cranky by that time.

After we had looked all over the park, we started the long 3 hour drive home. But we made it. And picked up the dogs, and loved on them and the cats, checked on the chickens and everything at home was still just as we remembered.

After all, there truly is, no place like home.

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