December 31, 2012

Farewell 2012

2012 has been quite the year for our family.  From Sweet Pea starting Preschool and Monkey going to daycare to my new job and RoadTripDaddy's continued success, there have been a lot of highs and certainly some lows mixed in as well.  I could write out a list of all the things that have happened, and go into great detail about the happiest and saddest moments from this year.  But instead, I want to focus on 2012 as a whole.  And yes...this will be sappy.  I just can't help it.

Personally, I have grown more this year than I thought possible.  I have been challenged and succeeded, tested and passed, pushed and pulled.  I don't remember a New Year's where I have been so at peace.  I'm really happy.  I feel blessed to have the people in my life that I do.  My family, my friends.  They mean the world to me.  If you would have told me a few years ago that some of these friendships would be in place, I wouldn't have believed you.  But the people that are a part of my life, make me feel lucky.  I could not be happier with my new job.  I didn't think it was possible to gain a second family in the workplace, but after 4 months at this job, the people I work with treat each other like family.  There is friendship, respect, trust, and a willingness to help each other out that I have never witnessed before.

As for RoadTripDaddy and I, we seem to have a new spark.  As in any marriage, it's a lot of work.  It should be.  Not hard work, but the kind of work that you get up in the morning, and take note, it's not just about you and your happiness.  I think we are all working on this.  It's not always easy to put someone's needs in front of your own.  I tease him and tell him that I love him more than he loves me.  But we both know that it's not a competition of who loves who more.  It's a team working together, making the most of the high points in life and being there for the other person when it feels like no one else is.

Sweet Pea has grown so much this year.  There are times when I look at pictures of her and she looks much older than her 3 years.  She looks like a little adult and there are moments where she has the attitude to match.  Sweet Pea keeps us on our toes with her questions, love of life and unending enthusiasm.  She loves to learn and really enjoys Preschool.

Monkey has gone from the quiet younger brother to being almost as talkative as Sweet Pea.  Once he started daycare, Monkey had a lot to say.  He is all boy and enjoys making me sweat as he jumps from the ottoman to the couch and back again.  Monkey also likes school and he keeps all the teachers on their toes with his charm.  He's got a lot of RoadTripDaddy in him.

As for this blog, I have been slacking.  I know that when I write, my mind feels lighter.  I know that I can keep the memories that sometimes slip away.  Like Sweet Pea saying "Oh my gosh!" whenever she is excited about something.  We heard this a lot on Christmas morning.  Or Monkey exclaiming "I found it!" when he saw a school bus while running errands one day.  It is one of my favorite memories from this year.  Or RoadTripDaddy looking at me and telling me that everything will be okay.  He has been my rock (cliche, I know - but it's true) and has kept me afloat more times than I can count.

So I look back on 2012 with happy tears in my eyes.  We are happy, healthy and ready to tackle all 2013 has to offer.

October 27, 2012

There are no words...

Yesterday morning as I laid in bed listening to Sweet Pea wake up in the other room, I checked Facebook to see if there was anything new.  I had hardly slept the night before and had been checking Facebook every so often trying to bore myself to sleep.

I came across a post from our local Patch website.  It read that a father and son had been found dead in the dad's garage.  I clicked the link and my eyes immediately filled with tears.  While I don't know the parents personally, I do know the son went to the same daycare/school Sweet Pea and Monkey go to.  In fact, while he is a little older than Sweet Pea, she was occasionally moved up to the Pre-K room with him.  Sweet Pea is the kind of girl who wants everyone to be included.  She makes fast friends and prides herself on knowing just about everyone that walks through the door, whether it's the kids or the parents.  I have no doubt that Sweet Pea has played with this little boy.  

I have had this family on my mind since I first heard about it.  I can't imagine the pain this mother is going through with the loss of her son.  It has left RoadTripDaddy and I speechless.  

Please keep this family in your thoughts and prayers as everyone affected deals with this great loss.

October 26, 2012


In September I went from being a stay at home to working full time again.  Sweet Pea and Monkey are back at the same daycare/school they attended when I was working last year.  They are doing phenomenal.  I can't tell you how happy I am to see them both thriving in school.  The transition for me going back to work has been relatively smooth.  The only difference is that I know have an alarm clock to wake me up (2 hours earlier than I used to get up!).  I miss playing with the kids during the day but I know they are happy and we all seem to be in a pretty good routine already.

The week before I started back to work, I went to the doctor for a routine visit.  Turned out to not be so routine and the discussion of surgery came up.  I explained I really didn't have time for surgery as I was about to be starting a new job.  That all changed when some test results came back and my doctor told me that waiting on surgery wasn't a good idea.  I scheduled the surgery that day.  After talking it over with RoadTripDaddy and a lot of thought on my part, it seemed like it was time decide on kids.  Since I was already going to be under, we decided to get my tubes tied.  It was a decision that I am 100% sure on and have thought about for over 2 years now.  Sweet Pea and Monkey are all we could have dreamed for in children and we love them dearly.

As the surgery date got closer, I started pre-apologizing to people in my life.  I get nervous and it makes me a tad bitchy stressed.  I have a tendency to take that stress out on the people closest to me.  The surgery was yesterday and everything went well, with one complication.  One of the procedures the doctor was hoping to perform didn't work.  RoadTripDaddy said he could tell my doc was disappointed when she spoke with him after my surgery.  She truly is a wonderful doctor.  One of those doctors that you drive an hour to her office because you love her that much.  Even if it means driving a little over an hour to get to the hospital she works out of to deliver your children.  I'm pretty sure I have told her she can't retire a few times.  I didn't sleep well last night but that's to be expected.  I am on pain meds now and will be spending the next week in bed.  The munchkins are headed to Grandma and Grandpa's tonight so I have some more time to heal without having to deny snuggles.  If only snuggles and kisses healed all wounds.  :)

August 4, 2012

And the winner is...

Congratulations to Mami2jcn

Comment #4 was chosen by

I will be emailing you shortly with information regarding your win!

Thank you everyone for commenting and participating in my first giveaway.  I hope to do more giveaways in the future.  Happy Saturday!

August 1, 2012

A decade

Yesterday marks 10 years since one of my husband's best friends passed.  While I didn't know Justin that well, I knew he was a great guy.  I remember him serenading one of my roommates thanks to the singing valentine we had ordered.  That image is always what I see when Justin comes to mind.  He had the ability to make his friends laugh and to this day, the mention of his name brings smiles to everyone's faces.  Tonight we took time to look at pictures our friends had posted of him.  We sent a quick note to Justin's parents on Facebook to send our love.  We took a deep breath and remembered Justin.  

Thinking of you Justin and all the lives you touched and continue to touch through your legacy.  

July 31, 2012

Two Surprises

On Saturday, RoadTripDaddy and I got the kids up early and headed out the door for the first of two surprises.  When we got to the train station, we told the kids we were taking a train ride.  Monkey LOVES trains.  They were very excited for their first train rides.  We boarded the train and headed towards the city.  The kids were enthralled looking out the windows.  It was fun to watch the excitement in their eyes.  Sweet Pea asked why we were stopping.  At every single station.  All 10 stops.  We had to change stations when we arrived downtown so we could head to our next surprise.  We walked the couple blocks to the Ogilvie and hung out for a bit until it was time to head to Ravinia.  On the train we told the kids that we were headed to see Laurie Berkner!  Sweet Pea kept asking if we were going then.  She later proceeded to tell a nice woman on the train that we were going to see Laurie about 15 times.  RoadTripDaddy and I figured she was excited.  However, this didn't stop her from asking why we were stopping again at every station.  This time there were 12 stops to question.

The kids had a blast at the concert and it was definitely worth the trip.  After the concert, we headed into the city and explored Millennium Park.  It was a ton of fun but we were exhausted by the time we finally made it home.  More about our weekend to come later.

Don't forget to enter to win a 6 month US Deluxe Membership to and Family Tree Maker 2012.  You have until this Friday!  Click here to enter!

July 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Roots and a Giveaway!

For the past few years I have had a membership to  What started as a family tree project when I was pregnant with Sweet Pea turned into a mission to find out more about my family.  I think that's what happens with most people who start using  You put in the information you have and that little leaf pops up.  You can't help but click on it.  Before you know it, you are tracing back your family history over a century or more.

My mom was one of seven growing up, so my extended family is large.  About 20 years ago there was a reunion and someone took the time to put together a packet with our family tree and connections on it.  I'm pretty sure seeing that at the reunion started my interest in my family's history.  Two years ago, I received a copy of that packet.  I was like a kid in a candy store.  I feverishly entered names, birth dates and other information onto our family tree.  I was excited to see that some of the information had already been filled in due to my previous research on  I loved getting new clues into our history.  It has been so interesting to learn more about our family.

But while my side of the tree goes back hundreds of years, RoadTripDaddy's is noticeably less detailed.  My mother-in-law was adopted and the only information we have is her birth parents names from the adoption papers.  We have been able to find their marriage license in Chicago as well.  But then the track disappears. They seem to appear out of thin air and then disappear again.  Every time I sit down to work on our family tree, I try to find more pieces to the puzzle.  I started with my MIL's adoptive parents and have filled in quite a bit of information.  But the lack of information on her birth parents eludes me. has helped with the information they have, but I hope that with the continued release of records as time passes will help fill in the gaps.

Recently, the 1940 census information was released to and they have been working to get all the records scanned, reviewed and posted on their website.  As part of the release, members were asked if they wanted to become Aces.  (Fancy, huh?)  In turn, I am able to giveaway a 6 month US Deluxe Membership to  The winner will also receive a copy of Family Tree Maker 2012.

All you have to do to win is comment on this post telling me what person in your family you would like to learn more about from  For an additional entry, follow my blog and post a comment about it. For a third entry, like my new page on Facebook.  I will pick a winner using on Friday, August 3rd.
Disclosure: This was not a paid post and honest opinions were used. The opinions are solely my own and may vary from others. Thank you to the company who supplied the product for giveaway.

July 24, 2012

Is it Saturday yet?

Today was one of those days that felt longer than usual.  Little irritations and not so little things made today drag on.  It was a day that made me long for a weekend, even though the calendar says we just had one.

I don't want to rehash my whole day but thankfully it ended on a mostly positive note.  After not seeing my counselor for three weeks I was anxious to talk through things with her tonight.  She reminds me that I must take care of myself.  She makes me feel like even though today was a total fail in my eyes, I made it through and not all days are like this.  A well timed email from Maureen and Amy had me looking forward to next week.  And finally, a chat with K had me smiling and relaxed.

I'm looking forward to the weekend and the adventure it will bring.  We are taking the kids to Ravinia for the first time (it's our first time too) to see Laurie Berkner.  We haven't told the kids yet what we are doing.  We are also riding the train for the first time, which we are hoping they enjoy.  RoadTripDaddy and I are really looking forward to it.  And I can't wait to see the looks on Sweet Pea and Monkey's faces when we tell them who we are seeing.  

July 23, 2012

Giveaway coming soon

I will be posting a giveaway in the next few days where you will have a chance to win a 6 month US Deluxe membership to as well as a copy of Family Tree Maker 2012.  Hope everyone had a great weekend!

July 22, 2012

I'm not ready

Sweet Pea starts preschool in August.  She will be in school two days a week for two hours.  She won't be gone that long.  And I will probably quickly realize how much or how little I can get done with one child twice a week for two hours.  But right now, I'm not ready.

Sweet Pea has been missing school (full day daycare) since I have been home.  For the first three months I was home, we had regular visits to her school.  We visited her teachers and friends for less than an hour once a week.  Sweet Pea hated leaving.  The visits tapered off, but whenever we drove past the school (several times a week), she would ask if we were going or when we could go next.  

After being home for six months, one of her old daycare teachers moved back to the area and started watching the kids for a couple hours twice a week.  Having Miss Shutterbug back in our life was a blessing.  Sweet Pea and Monkey loved having her visit.  And I loved having the chance to go to the grocery store on my own, during daylight hours, to get our weekly shopping done.  I ran seven errands, got lunch and made it back early the first day Miss S was back in our lives.  In May, Miss S moved away again.  And the calls for school increased from Sweet Pea.  

In June, we picked a preschool.  Technically, we picked it in April but didn't get around to letting them know (read paying registration) until a few weeks ago.  Since that time, RoadTripDaddy and I have talked more about school with Sweet Pea.  She is beyond excited.  In fact, Sweet Pea wants to go to school so badly that after financial registration (for preschool not college), she had a total meltdown in the parking lot because  she didn't want to leave.  During the meltdown, RoadTripDaddy was left to contend with Sweet Pea, while I hightailed it to the car with Monkey, silently praying that no one looked outside.

The next night at dinner Sweet Pea calmly tells RoadTripDaddy and I that she wants to go to school.  She explained that we "don't need to worry because I won't miss you while I'm at school."  Sweet Pea asked if she could take her little brother.  She said that she wanted Monkey to be with her.  She wanted him to meet her friends and learn too.  RoadTripDaddy and I looked at each other with smiles.  And tears rolled down my cheeks.  Because "she's ready."  She "won't miss us."  We "shouldn't worry."

She may be ready but I'm not.  Thankfully I know that we have another month before school.  And I'm pretty sure she will miss us.  Even if it's just a little.

July 21, 2012

Baby bumps (NOT MINE)

My dear friend Amy had her first book, Baby Bumps, released on Monday, July 9th on Nook.  On August 9th, her book will be available on all other e-reader formats.  And on August 15th, her book is coming out in paperback.  I could not be more excited for Amy.  If you have clicked over to check out her blog yet, go!  Seriously...she's hysterical.

You should also check out my other amazing author friends and pick up there books as well.

Maureen Lipinski is another awesome friend who has helped me through my transition from working mom to stay at home mom.  She's the kind of friend who can cheer me up when I feel like I'm failing.  And our husbands and children get along, which we are both grateful for.  Maureen has written two adult books, A Bump in the Road and Not Ready for Mom Jeans and an YA book, Shadow's Edge.  Maureen has her next YA book, Cleopatra Ascending (the second book in the Shadow's Edge series) coming out in January 2013.

Stephanie Elliott has been a great friend through both my pregnancies and after.  Even though she moved out to Arizona and I miss her, she's still there to chime in with words of wisdom or something to make me laugh. Her e-novella, The Cell Phone Lot, is available on Amazon.  Stephanie also blogs over here and here.

What are you still doing here?  Go check out there books and blogs!

June 27, 2012


I've had a pain that comes and goes in my lower abdomen for the past month. The best way to describe it is as a sharp jab when I move. It's always in the same spot. I assumed I was tweaking a muscle as the pain would come and go in an instant. On Sunday night the pain came but didn't stop. In fact, by Monday morning I contemplated calling the doctor. I just wanted to schedule something for that week.

After talking to the scheduler, nurse and someone else, I was told I needed to be seen today. Right away if possible. It could be an ovarian cyst, I was told. It could rupture, the nurse warned. I explained that coming in right away was not possible as I was not only home with my two little ones but I was also watching a friend's three month old on her first day back to work after maternity leave. The nurse pushed and I agreed to an afternoon appointment when my friend K was supposed to be over. The appointment coincided with Sweet Pea and Monkey's naps and we could always hope the little guy would sleep too. I left the house and told K I would be back ASAP, an hour max. Everyone was asleep and I rushed to the doctor to get the appointment over with.

As I spoke with the initial nurse, my eyes welled up with tears due to the pain. I apologized and steadied myself. She asked about my level of pain. After two kids, one regular birth and one emergency c-section; my determination on pain always goes against those memories. I said 6. Maybe less when I'm not moving. The nurse practitioner came in and started a brief exam consisting of me laying down on the table (amid a few more tears) and her pushing on my left side (my pain is on my right). She also asked about my level of pain. At this point it was getting worse, I upped it to a 7 with shooting pains of an 8. While she was still pushing on my left side I explained that it hurt on my right side. She asked how it felt when she stopped pushing and lifted her hand. I just about screamed in pain and smacked the wall next to me. Apparently I also lifted my body off the table. She looked flustered and said she would be right back. My regular doctor then came in and did some very light (according to her) touching on my right side and I bit my lip and tried not to cry. I was told they didn't have the capability to help me at the office and that I needed to go to the hospital. RIGHT AWAY. Then I cried. Because I couldn't. I had my car with the car seats with me. And K was at my house with three kids. And the baby was supposed to be picked up in a couple hours. And my husband is at work. I can't go to the hospital now. They asked if I drove myself. Of course I had. I was told again that I needed to go to the hospital. And I needed a ride or they would call an ambulance. I asked for an hour to figure things out.

Many phone calls later, RoadTripDaddy was on his way home to be with the kids, K would come take me to the hospital and my other friend's husband would pick up their little one within an hour or so. I felt sick. I felt horrible have RoadTripDaddy leave work. I just wanted to restart my day. I should have waited to call the doctor. Anything other than having people rearrange their schedule to help.

K arrived and took me to the hospital. During triage, I was again asked about my level of pain. I explained that it wasn't as bad as childbirth, but that it was continuing to get worse. An 8 for standing still and a 9-10 for shooting pains. K stayed with me until she absolutely had to leave for class. I tried to kick her out over and over again but she stuck with me as long as she could. It took 2 hours for me to get a room. It was over an hour before I saw a doctor. And an hour and a half before I got the ultrasound she recommended.

Total time in the ER was 6 hours (which actually isn't that bad I know). But it ended up that RoadTripDaddy and the kids came up. And a hospital is a rough place for a 3.5 year old and a 2 year old. Especially in the witching hours before dinner. It was stressful. The pain never got better while I was there despite the pain meds and shot of morphine I received.

In the end, I was told that the ultrasound came back fine. No cysts. No ectopic pregnancy. Blood work was fine. Great, right? But it felt like a waste to me. The stress. The changing of schedules. The ER doc said I could get a CT scan but she wasn't sure what that was going to show. She threw out a couple possible diagnoses but mentioned that some of them were unlikely. And she did this all as she was getting ready to discharge me. At this point I wanted to go home. She told me to follow up with my doctor. That's scheduled for today.

I talked to a different friend yesterday who mentioned that "we all know you have no tolerance when it comes to pain.". She chuckled and I choked out a laugh and said sure. The thing is, she doesn't know me that well and she certainly doesn't know my tolerance for pain. Before I had kids, I thought I couldn't handle pain. Two kids later, I'm pretty impressed with myself. There are times that I will say "Ow!" when I'm not hurt and I will correct myself and say it didn't hurt that much or at all. However, when it's something the kids have done, that's a different story. It's more of a warning. Especially with Monkey. He is a rough and tough little boy. He crashes cars into each other, the walls and my feet. And into Sweet Pea's feet. And her legs. And her head if he's angry at her. I want him to understand that things hurt and that it's not nice to hurt people. So while outsiders may think that's a low threshold for pain, they would be wrong.

I didn't realize how angry I was about that comment until I realized that it made me feel like my pain wasn't real or important. It made me feel like I should have ignored it. It made me feel like I wasn't worth the trip to the ER. While I know this is my issue, it's something that I need to watch. My reaction to things like this effect my children. If I think it's not necessary to take care of myself and follow my doctor's instructions, what will they think? And what will they think if other people play down the importance of taking care of yourself or others?

April 10, 2012

Helen's smile

This morning, RoadTripDaddy's grandmother died.  She was 99 years old.  While my husband was not close with her, it is still a rough day for him.  It is his last grandparent.  The last grandparent between the two of us, as I was in this place 7 years ago.  His father's mother.  Our children's great-grandmother, who I'm thankful they were able to meet and visit on a few occasions.  While I know there will be little to no memory of her for them, I will carry the memories with me. 

I remember bringing the kids to meet Helen for the first time.  I remember her eyes lighting up as she held Monkey.  They were in awe of each other and it was so sweet.  Sweet Pea was timid around Helen during our visit, choosing instead to look out the windows of the nursing room cafeteria and wander around the room.  She loved the attention she received from the nurses and other patients and therefore, chose her audience.  But Monkey, he was happy to have the attention of Helen. 

I have spent the day reminded of Helen's smile when she met Monkey.  And while this day, week and month have left me stressed beyond belief, that smile and joy are keeping me afloat today.

February 7, 2012


Since I had Monkey almost 2 years ago, RoadTripDaddy and I have said we were done having kids. That decision is based on a few key factors.

When I was just over 6 months pregnant with Monkey, I got sick. I had horrible pain in my abdomen and a fever that wouldn't quit. It ended with me in the hospital for 4 days and almost won me a trip to a different hospital in the city for more testing. The diagnosis ended up being an infection. However, over the course of 4 days I saw just about every doctor/specialist, had an MRI and an amniocentesis. The result of an MRI showed on one single image the possibility of a blood clot in my ovary. The amnio showed no infection and the news that I would not be delivering that day. I learned later I was also missing a protein in my blood that could lead to clots.

Fast forward to my delivery with Monkey. What started out as a normal delivery turned into an emergency c-section when his heart rate fell to 48. I was very nervous during the c-section, especially as I heard the doctors quickly count through all the medical supplies to ensure they could get him out ASAP. My Monkey was not only face up, he had the cord wrapped around his neck and he was holding onto it. The doctor had to pry his hand off it. But all was well, when I heard him cry. I feed him before I passed out from the medication and then Monkey was taken to the nursery to get checked out and I was put in recovery.

When I was conscious again, Monkey was brought in for a second feeding. It didn't go well and I told the nurse to please feed him. I wasn't upset. I just wanted my little guy to get feed. I was told all c-section babies spend their first night in the nursery. I was exhausted and agreed.

A nurse returned shortly and told me there had been a problem feeding him and a doctor would be right in. The neonatoligist arrived and explained that Monkey had a dusty episode. Basically he had trouble with the feeding, choked a little and turned gray/blue. He was doing fine now, but they wanted to check him out. After checking his sugar levels, then following up 30 minutes later, his levels fell in half. This was the opposite of what they were supposed to do. The neonatoligist attacked me with a barrage of questions (while I'm sure he wasn't really attacking me that's what it felt like and that's still how I remember it).

Was I diabetic? (No) Are you sure? (Yes) Did you have gestational diabetes? (No - didn't I just answer this?) Was I sure? (Yes) Does anyone in my family have diabetes? (No) Are you sure? (Yes) Does anyone in your husband's family have diabetes? (No and I'm sure) Are you positive? (Yes - in my head: Are you effin kidding me? How many times are you going to ask this question?) One more final check to see if I was a diabetic and off the doctor went. I was told by the nurse that Monkey was being admitted to the NICU and he was going to be checked out.

Over the course of the next four days, Monkey stayed in the NICU. I stayed in my room, alone (by my choice. I told RoadTripDaddy to please stay with Sweet Pea at home to keep her in a routine until we were home. I figured there was no point in him missing work while I sat in a hospital room with no baby. Everytime I thought we would get some news about Monkey being released the NICU doctor had another concern. From a slow resting heart rate to the possibility of blood on his brain, Monkey had a rough start. The doctor ever told me she wanted to keep him for one additional day, after we had 36+ hours of no issues, just in case. This would have kept him at the hospital after I was released. RoadTripDaddy and I discussed this, spoke to my OB and Monkey's pediatrician. I told the doctor that if Monkey was fine on that Thursday morning, I wanted to take him home. We had plans to see the pediatrician that Friday. I said if there were any concerns by his pediatrician or any issues at all that we would come right back to the hospital. Thursday afternoon Monkey was released and we all went home. The final diagnosis was Monkey was adjusting to a traumatic birth. And that diagnosis pretty much stuck for RoadTripDaddy and I as well. It was traumatic for all of us.

Looking back now, I can clearly see that my postpartum depression started in the hospital. But it was 6 weeks before I was diagnosed and 8 weeks before the medicine and counseling started. At 6 weeks, Monkey had an upper GI and was put on medicine for acid reflux. He had heavy spit up or threw up after every meal for the first year. We all had a traumatic start after Monkey's birth. And it took time for us to get things figured out.

I was able to stop all medication three months before Monkey's first birthday. I still see my counselor but the conversations have changed. The conversations of late have focused on decisions. Going though postpartum and being diagnosed with the possibility of a blood clot that could threaten any pregnancy or me, has put us in a position where we are usually comfortable saying we are done having kids.

We have two beautiful, happy, wonderful children. Sweet Pea, who is all girl with a side of sass and Monkey, who is all boy with a smile and hug that melts our hearts. But at the same time, as we have gotten closer to making our decision permanent, both our doctors have interceded. As my OB told me today, I have about 14 more years where I could have another child. (In my head that number is actually about 4 more years.) She reminded me that I am young and we are talking about something that is permanent. I brought up that any pregnancy would be high risk and she agreed. I would have to be careful as that pregnancy could be harmful to our child as well as me. And that's where fear steps in. I know most people are uncomfortable with the unknown. But this scares the crap out of me. I don't want to make a decision based on fear. So at the end of the day, I feel like we are back at the same point. We are taking this one day at a time. Not ready to close the door on another child. A place I thought we walked away from almost 2 years ago.


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