Monday, June 30, 2008

lame post

So I got more chickens! Yes, now I have 37. Still only 4 of them currenlty lay eggs, but my first chicks should start laying in about 2 months. I just had to get these last 6 chicks, because they are of the Dutch variety. I am very protective of my chicks, because I'm always worried that my cats will hunt them. Today I let them out for a little while, and they mostly huddles in the coop. This morning when I let my big chickens out, I brought each of them out to my veggie garden. My garden has a lot of grasshoppers, and are eating my bean plants. Oh yeah! I had my first harvest today. I picked 5 grape tomatoes! None of my other plants are really producing, but I think that's because I have been watering them too much. (except onions I guess, I harvested most of them already).
This is a lame post. Joe says all his posts are lame, and that I should just deal with it...

Sunday, June 29, 2008

double duty

Living in a small ward (church congregation) has its advantages and disadvantages. From our first attendance, we have felt very welcome. The members were very excited to have us in the ward, and got out of their way to greet and introduces themselves. This was very different from our experience in Idaho. People were nice there, but as a new person you slowly had to try and integrate yourself into the ward. I understand why it's hard to welcome new people, especially when the ward is very large and growing. I have gone up to a person to ask them if they were new, only to find out they had been attending for the past 6 months! This kind of puts a damper on people's willingness to go up to people they don't know. Also, if you are in a large ward, chances are that you have a bunch of friends. Probably more than you have time for. So it's harder to go out of your way to make new friends. In our small ward, everyone knows everyone. There are not that many people in the same age group, and interest group, so I find myself more open to everyone. Also, when I see a new couple, or hear of a new couple, I get sooo excited. Especially if they have kids my age. That means that my son will have more than 1 other kid in his sunday school class. One of the (dis)advantages of a small ward is the need for people to fulfill callings (jobs). I have been a teacher in Relief Society for a couple of months, and it has been relatively easy and non-stressful. This week I was also called as a ward chorester. Not a big deal! Somehow I feel like I can't always get away with 2 easy callings. Oh yeah, when I lived in Boise I went about 1.5 years without any kind of calling... so a bit different. It's great to get involved with the ward and really become a part of it though.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Harp music

I started playing the harp when I was 9. It's a great stress reliever, and I love playing for other people. When I lived in Boise I played at wedding occasionally, and I am hoping to get back into that. I just need a place to get started. That's the hardest thing for me. Where to promote myself. I have a website, but I guess no one would find that unless they had the info. My dad suggested contacting some wedding planners, and events centers. I think I'll do that. Do any of you have any other good suggestions, to get my name out there?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


This afternoon 2 clowns from the Ringling Bros circus came to the Leonard library. They did some fun tricks and made the kids laugh. I have never seen so many people at that library! Out of the 3 kids, I think Sterling liked the clowns the best. He was just grinning from ear to ear. After their little show, they announced the summer reading program. If the kids read 5 books this summer (should be easy) they get free tickets to the circus. Winter got so motivated and has been reading all night. Of course the down side to them getting free tickets is, that I still have to buy tickets for me and Joe. That's ok though. I think it will be great fun. I can't remember going to the circus as a kid (my mom tells me we actually went twice) so I'm kind of excited for myself too.

My favorite shows

I have been trying to wean my self from TV since we moved to our house. We have so many projects and just general chores to do, that TV is a big distraction to getting those things done. This summer season, however, has been a step back. There are 2 shows that I just LOVE. The first one is "so you think you can dance". In this dance show, truly talented young people compete in a dance show. They dance all different genres, and do so amazingly. When I used to do Ballroom Dance, it took me years to become have as good in a certain style, as these dancers become in 1 week. Whenever I watch them perform a latin dance, or even swing, or ballroom, I just want to get back to dancing. Today, Winter wouldn't believe me when I told her I know how to dance some of those dances. We'll have to break out the old home movies and show her.
The other show I'm addicted to is "The Bachelorette". DeAnna is the current bachelorette, and she is such a down to earth girl. I love that she seems to make all the smart decisions when it comes down to whom she sends home. Just the other day, she sent home the guy she has a total crush on, but that would never be marriage material. I was sooo happy. The one guy I'm rooting for, is a single dad of a son of 3. He is so genuine and I can tell he'll make her very happy. I think the choices in men she makes, shows that she was serious when she said she wants to get married and start a family. Going back to the tv watching time: Just those 2 shows take up 3 of my 5 weeknights... I still like to be productive while I watch TV though, by doing dishes or other small cleaning tasks, or laundry folding during the commercials. With the huge amounts of commercials it is amazing how much you can get done!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Well, my keys are finally found! Yesterday Joe brought in this 15 year old Vato jacket that I had left in the garden one day. I remember I was working in the garden, and getting too hot, so I took it off. I forgot to bring it in, and it's been out there ever since. Well, my keys were in there! When they got lost, I remember thinking I last saw them when I was outside. But I couldn't find them for the life of me. Now, after spending approximately $30 in new keys, I have them back. The one upside: I have an extra set of keys now! Yippee.

High or Low?

I feel like an icicle. It has been hot in Texas for the past 3-4 months now, and the past few days the temperature has been up to 100. For a non-Texas girl, I think I have adjusted pretty well. One of the ways I can measure I am doing good with heat is that we set our thermostat to about 78-80 in the house. This feels just great. Sometimes, I even turn it higher than that, and I run some fans. My parents are here visited, and they are not used to the heat. One of the things that comes with that is that they like to have the thermostat lower. It's kind of nice until I go to bed. Last night I woke up several time, freezing! I also have a stuffy nose this morning and generally feel miserable (or is that because I have been sleeping on the futon?). Don't get me wrong, I am happy to give up my bed for a week for my parents. We're gonna have to figure out a happy medium though, temperature wise. In general, I don't understand that you almost have to wear a sweater during the summer, especially in church, school, grocery stores etc. Pretty much all public places. In the winter our thermostat is set to 68, and in the summer it's set to 78. Mostly because I'm wearing the clothes to accommodate those temps. Oh, and I guess it's helpful for the pocket book too.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


My mom is finally here! She is tired, but arrived in 1 piece. We are so glad she is here to visit us and that my dad will be here too tomorrow.She brought me a beautiful antique ring, and bracelet that used to belong to my grandmother, who passed away a few months ago. I remember from when I was a little girl, I always loved looking at her beautiful jewelry. She always wore gold, which is pretty much the only color jewelry I wear. I think this ring is a fabulous antique style that is totally hip at the same time. I think the stone in it is a blood coral. When I turned 18, my grandparents let me pick out a necklace and bracelet set, and I still wear that necklace almost everyday. This set is definitely for special occasions only, so it won't get ruined on the farm.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Ice or no ice?

How do you drink your water?
Ice, or no ice?
tap, or bottled
what about filtered water?
I prefer my water from my fridge (filtered) with a ton of ice. I don't know how people can drink water that's room temperature, unless they just worked out or something. I just don't like the taste of water. I think when there's a lot of ice, it takes away any taste, and it just tastes like ... well nothing really. I think a lot of this preference comes from the fact that I NEVER drank water when I was a kid. I don't know if it's because we always had yummy juices and sodas, or if it's because my parents don't really ever drink water, but I just never did. I didn't realize you're supposed to drink 64 oz a day, which, by the way, I can't accomplish, unless I feel like I'm drinking all day long. Now, I feel pretty good if I can down 4 glasses a day. Since I have started drinking more water, I actually enjoy it (as long as it's icy cold). Anyways,... a random post... but I couldn't think of anything important to write about

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Getting Ready

I have been working really hard the past few days, to get ready for my parents' visit. My mom and dad are coming to visit from Holland, and this will be their first time at our new house in Texas. There are a lot of things I would have liked to gotten done, but what can I say? This week I finally started laying wood floor again. I had gotten to a stopping point, because we have that water leak. I finally decided the best way to motivate Joe to fix it, is to install the floor, so he HAS to fix it. Unfortunately I procrastinated long enough that I don't have enough time to get it all done, which was my goal. The other main thing I did to get ready is to clean our master bathroom. A few signs that your bathroom might be dirty:
  • Dozens of bugs litter the floor, window sill, and bathtub
  • A spider is very upset when his home is removed (wallpaper clippings in the bathtub)
  • Your niece doesn't want to use the bathroom because it's scary
  • When you finally do clean it, it takes a shop-vac and over 2 hours of hard labor
  • Your son comes in when you are halfway done and says: "Wow, this sure is clean!"
I don't dare post a before picture, but here's the after. Warning: Shield you eyes, it's white and bright. It doesn't look very good, because it's in the middle of wallpaper tare-down, but it is clean.
This bathroom is one of our to-do projects. I want to remove all the floors, tile, counter tops, brass fixtures, flowery wallpaper, and other general ugliness. I plan to replace it with beautiful earth colored tiles, granite counters, and stainless steel fixtures. There's no telling when all of that will actually happen, but that's the plan.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Paperwork and education

On top of the 4 solid days of Pride training, we also have to do online training and continuing education for our Foster care/Adoption process. I created a list with all the required paperwork, and it has slowly been getting shorter. I love to just do one thing at a time, that way eventually you will get it all done. We are getting closer to the end of the process, and I scheduled my home study for July 1st! Once they do the home study it takes them about 2 weeks to write everything up, after which we are officially "open" for foster kids. There are different ways you can do foster care. The way we want to do it, is to accept only children that have a good chance of becoming available for adoption (Legal Risk). We don't want to just foster one kid after another, but would like to adopt one instead. Sometimes, when you get a foster child whom is Legal Risk, the birth mother shapes up, and the kid goes home. But there is also a good chance that the birth mother doesn't fulfill all the requirements, and gets her parental rights taken away. I am really curious to see how long it will take for a child to be placed with us. Of course it depends a lot on our specifications, but also other circumstances. We have a limited age range that we are open to (0-18 mos) so that kind of works against us -time wise. However, we are open to boys and girls, any race, and some special needs. Those things all work for us. I guess all I can do is wait and see...


Today Winter operated on one of her stuffed animal. Her Grinch has 2 gashes on his arms, and she wanted me to fix them. Winter is old enough to use a needle, so I showed her how to do it. She was so excited when I told her that she could do it herself. Since real stitches are always done with black thread, that's what Winter used. She was the doctor for a while. She did a really good job at getting enough fabric, but not too much. Good job Winter!

Monday, June 16, 2008


My favorite game of all time is the Settlers of Catan. My mom gave me this game a few years ago, and I can easily say I am addicted. In Boise we had some friends that liked to play it with us, so we played it frequently. However, I am sad to say that my affair with Settler has come to a screeching halt since we moved to Texas. Luckily there's one couple that likes to play it; Joe's cousin Catherine and her husband. Catherine and Matt & family visited us yesterday and stayed to hang out today. We had a wonderful enchilada dinner that Catherine made, and then the kids had a fun time on their tractor rides. A little later in the evening Joe's parents came over for some Father's day dessert, and after everything calmed down we sat down to a game of Settlers. We even played the expansion pack! That is a truly rare treat for me. Matt was the grand winner. Today we had a blast in the pool. I was going to take some pictures, and then totally forgot. Next time I guess.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Wheat Bread Recipe

This recipe is from my old RS president in Boise. She would make this bread for everyone in the ward. It's pretty fast, and very moist and fluffy. I used fresh ground wheat flour, but you can also use store bought wheat flour.

5 cups Hot Water
2/3 cups Oil
2/3 cups Honey (use same measuring cup as oil, so the honey comes out easily)
2 cups White Flour
12-13 Whole Wheat Flour
2 Tbsp SAF Instant Yeast (kind of hard to find, you might need to order it online. there's a store in Boise that sells it, but here in Texas I couldn't find it)
1 Tbsp Salt
4 Tbsp "Blue Chip Baker" Dough Enhancer *this is the secret to this recipe*

  • Preheat oven to 200 (or lowest temperature available)
  • Mix Water, Oil, Honey, White flour, 4 cups of Wheat Flour, and Yeast very well
  • Let rest 10 minutes
  • Add Salt and Dough Enhancer, mix well
  • Add the rest of the Wheat Flour 1 cup at a time, 8-9 cups total.
  • The dough will pull away completely from the side of the mixer when enough flour is added (it will still be sticky)
  • After the dough is mixed, leave the machine on and knead 3-5 minutes
  • Place dough on greased surface and divide into 4-5 loaves
  • Put the loaves into greased bread pans and let rise in warm oven for 20-30 minutes
  • Turn oven on to 350 and bake 30 minutes

This bread is best when hot, but keeps very well in the freezer. And you can prepare a lesson while it's baking!!

read a bit & knead a bit

Back in 2003 or 2004 I went to a store in Boise that sells a cool wheat grinder that attaches to a Bosch mixer. The cool thing about it is that it also comes with a hand crank, so if there's no electricity you can still grind stuff. I had never ground wheat before, and I was very surprised how easy it is. You just throw the wheat in the grinder, turn the mixer on, and viola, there's flower!
This morning is a rare occasion. I'm at home all alone without any kids or husband. I get time alone, but never while I'm at home. Tomorrow I have to teach RS, and I need to prepare my lesson, and baking bread always takes a long time, because of the rising... so, I thought I would be productive and do both at the same time. You know, Read a bit & Knead a bit. It's starting to smell good already, and I need to get back to that lesson! I only teach once a month, but that 2nd Sunday comes quickly!

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Next year we say goodbye to "Analog" TV. I have to say I am a little sad to see it go. Let me explain why: Quite often, the signal doesn't come in perfectly. With the HD channels, you get a chopped picture, kind of like what happens when a DVD skips. This makes it impossible to watch a show. Now, when that happens, I switch over to our analog channel, and can enjoy watching the program (be it a bit grainy). I'd rather have a little fuzz, than no show at all. Also, there are still some channels that come in over analog, but not through our HD antenna. One of those channels is the very important ABC. ABC has so many good shows that I just can't live without! Lost, The Bachelor, Jimmy Kimmel, Oprah etc. Hopefully they will figure out their HD broadcast, so I can start receiving the channel, or I might have to harrass the station. Don't get me wrong, HD TV is great when it comes in like it's supposed to, but it's a disappointment when it doesn't

Tanner one day at a time

Today we spent 3.5 hours in the pool. After naps the kids like to go swimming. I also like it, because it keeps the kids happy and gets them tired so they sleep much better at night. Winter has learned to swim by herself in just 3 days. Our swing set has a slide that we have never attached, so I dragged it into the pool yard, and set it up so it runs straight into the pool. It's really a pretty small slide, but still very fun. For the first time, I also turned the hot tub on while we were swimming. It's nice, because I just turned the heater on for a few minutes, and then just let the jets run, without the heater. I really want to throw a huge pool party for all our friends and family one of these days. I think I'll try for the 4th of July. So anyone that reads this: you're invited!

Fish in the water

Winter is like a fish in the water. Since the weather has gotten much nicer, we have been using the pool a lot. After naps, the kids love to go out and swim. After just 3 days this week, Winter can now swim all the way across the length of the pool by herself. She still insists that she needs to wear her goggles (with nose piece), but sometimes she forgets to put it on, and still does great.
It's interesting to see the difference between the kids. Winter loves to swim. Sterling is petrified of the water. Ginger takes after Winter and is already jumping in the deep end. Joe is really good about getting Sterling to explore though, and he got him to go in the middle of the pool with arm bands and a noodle. I'm hoping that by the end of the summer all 3 kids will swim as good as Winter does.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

New Look

So I took it upon myself to create a new look for my husband's blog. He had mentioned to me a while ago that he thought his blog is probably the worst-looking blog on the web. I agreed, and when my friend Ranell wrote about this website that has cute backgrounds, I just changed all my blogs. Thanks Ranell!


Up until yesterday my cats were crawling with fleas. They are outside, so it's not that big of a deal if they have SOME, but it had gotten out of control. It was kind of sad to see these huge ones all over my cute kittens. We took our cats and dog to the vet to get their rabis shot, so I figured I might as well take care of that other little problem. We are down to 2 kittens by the way. We started out with 5. One of them went to my friend's house. The other 2 died. I'm not sure what killed them, but one day the orange one was just dead. Then, we saw our "gremlin" get sick. I put him in a box in the garage and tried to get him back to health, but he also died overnight. I am just happy that my white kitten is still with us. So now we have just 1 kitten to adopt out in a week or two.

Monday, June 9, 2008 Polo

I never did find my keys. I think this was the first time I have officially lost my key chain. Last week I started building up my new key chain. One key at a time. First the house key, then the truck. Then the geo. Finally I still needed to get a key for my suburban. I learned from my friend, whose husband is a repo guy, that the dealership can "cut" a new key, as long as the car isn't too old. So I went to the local chevy dealership. I went in anticipation and trepidation (like the long words?) as to what how much money they would steal from me. I was pleasantly surprised when the total came to "only" $24. I mean, that's a lot of money for 1 key, but again they could have charged me $200 and I still would have had to pay it. Now I need to get a beeper/locater thing to attach to the new key chain so I don't have to go through this again! Donations are graciously accepted.

The Mom

Thanks Jenny for this cool video. I decided I liked it so much that I would just straight out steal her blog post, and plagiarize.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Sterling's Tackle

Sterling has been wanting to get a tackle box like mine for some time. His mom didn't want him to spend his DisneyWorld savings on it, so she let him work for some extra spending money. He earned $0.25. We figured we would cover him on the rest. The other day, it struck me that going to the Bass Pro Shops (a HUGE fishing store so large that there are actually fishing ponds in the store!) with his grandpa could be a real fun experience. So I called gramps and asked him if he would be willing. He was, and on Saturday, while all the kids were being cared for by the grandparents (while we were in our adoption training classes) grandpa took Sterling and grandma took Winter and Ginger.
Apparently grandpa and Sterling had a great time and not only bought a tackle box, but could not pass by the opportunity to buy Sterling a new fishing rod combo kit that included:
  • rod
  • reel
  • fishing line
  • assorted hooks, bobbers, sinkers, lures, plastic worms, etc.
  • stringer line

He was super excited and tonight we used it for the first time. We had a few bites and even landed a small bass using one of his new lures. Good times.

All American Girl

Winter is our All American Girl.
She has developed a cute Texas accent.
She loves riding the bus to school.
She is a great reader and writer.
Winter participated in T-ball this year
She has her daddy's beautiful brown eyes.
She loves to color, and is very talented
She is a daddies girl.
She wants to do gymnastics next year.
She loves to swim.
She is got an "academic excellence" award at kindergarten graduation
She picks up on languages really fast
She is a great speller.
She loves to read the scriptures.
Her favorite foods include pasta, candy, salad
She loves her kittens and dogs
We are scared for her to turn 16

3 days gone

It's like someone took away 3 days of my life. During the last 3 days, Joe and I have spent about 20 hours in classes... Pride Training classes. That stands for something, but what? They are classes we have to take for our foster adoption process. We have learned some interesting stuff and heard some really scary stories. It really is amazing what some people do/don't do to their kids.
We are hoping to get a baby under 18 months to love and adopt. There's a good chance that we will have several different children before we get one that we can adopt, but we think eventually we'll find the child that's supposed to be in our family.
I have so many mixed emotions about all of this. I am excited, scared, anxious, curious, all at the same time. Luckily my sister-in-law Angela has already gone through this, so I hope to be able to go to her a lot for questions and problems that come up. (presumptuous?)
Since all of the classes have been in Plano, we have been staying with the Ashursts. They are amazing, and have taken care of our kids all 3 days, as well as provided us with a place to sleep, dinner, breakfast, and good company. Thanks!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

What Tampa?

We had a special treat of ice cream cones for dessert today. We were all admiring Ginger's cuteness, and she was happy to comply.
At one point Ginger just looked at Earl and said: "What Tampa?"

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


We have turtles in our lake. At first I didn't believe it. I mean, turtles live in zoos and pet shops, and Florida... not in OUR lake! Sterling found the first one last week. It was a pretty good sized box turtle. A few days later he found another one. Then a few days ago the kids found a good sized "red" turtle. They like to keep them in a box by the back door and think it's hilarious when its head shoots back in when someone walks up.

Every day

I haven't done much blogging lately, and it's primarily because I just can't think of things to write about. The fact is, my life is pretty boring and repetitive. I do the same things every day. So it dawned on me today that I should probably write those things down. I mean, that's my "life of a non-working mother" right?
Yesterday I had a mongo shopping trip. Since Winter is out of school now, I had ALL 3 kids! I don't know what possessed me to go shopping with them, but I kind of had to. Joe was out of town, and I had to go to all the stores to get my super values on coupons groceries. If you wait too long the good items are sold out... We left the house around 10.30. We first went to Lowes, then Target, then CVS. By that time the kids started acting out a bit, so I promised them that if they were good at the next store, we would have lunch at McDonalds. We then went to Albertsons. There was a Wendy's next door, so we went there instead of McD's. The kids wanted to go They wanted a toy... no. Just a cheeseburger. Whine, whine, whine. We headed to another CVS to get some bandaids, mouthwash, and toothbrushes for free. I wasn't sure if I could keep going. But I still had 3 stores to go! So I mustered all my courage, and kept deep-breathing and headed to Kroger. This store was the worst! I needed to find all the sale items, and wasn't very familiar with the store, so it took forever (or maybe it just seemed that way because I had been shopping for the past 4 hours with 3 whiny/roudy kids). Then we were off to Sam's club. I figured I could run in and out, because I didn't need too many items. I first had to set up my new membership (I switched from costco) and then raced through the store. All the stars alligned, and everything was placed in obvious spots, so we were out of there pretty quickly. By that time, both my coolers were full of freezer/fridge stuff, and I decided that if I also went to Walmart, it would probably spoil. So I hit the road. In the car all I could think about was the fact that when I got home I would still have to bring in all the groceries, and put them away. It was 5pm by now. The kids were great and helped me bring them in, but I left them for today to put away in the cubboards.
Then Sterling came in yelling that cinnamon killed another chicken! The chicken had flown over the fence. So I went balistic. I had read somewhere that you need to beat the dog over the head with the dead chicken. This had (obviously) grossed me out when I read this, but at this moment of rage all my sanity left me and I started beating with the chicken carcass. I seemed to work for me for the dog, because she was freaking out. Until we can find another home for her, I guess she'll just have to be tied up during the day. She's lucky.... she could have gotten treatment .22.
Joe came back from a short business trip to Tulsa OK. He drives there several times a month, and always gets distracted on the way home. Last week he stopped at a livestock auction (and luckily didn't bring any animals home in the geo). Yesterday, he found some free roosters on the way home, so he stopped and got them. They are huge!! And beautiful. One of them has already gotten "busy".
The duties of a house wife keep coming. One load of laundry is in the washer and at least 4 more are waiting in line. Why don't I just do 1 load a day, it works great! I guess I was crazy a little busy yesterday with other household chores, that by the time I got home I could barely walk. The dishes are also patiently waiting in the sink. And the beds are patiently waiting to never be made. And the bathroom is patiently waiting to be cleaned. Man, this chair feels good!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Farm Work

The kids really like helping out whenever they can. Ginger and Sterling braved high-90s temperatures and very high humidity to help load our ailing bush-hog into the back of the truck.

I Go My Classes?

Every Sunday, immediately after the "amen" of the opening prayer in sacrament meeting, Ginger shouts out, "I go my classes?" in a mixture of inquistive and exclamatory tone. She sometimes will also do it after each of the sacramental prayers and after the closing prayer as well. It is super cute - even if it is a bit disruptive.

At least she likes going to nursery now - A month or so ago, it was a major ordeal getting her settled in there without a lot of crying.

Pillars of the earth

So after I signed up for that cool book website, I compiled a list of books to read. I based my search mostly on the overall rating. So yesterday I hopped in the geo, and went to the library. Our library has about 3 shelves of non-fiction, so I made sure to have a long list of potential reads. The result: out of the 7 titles that I checked, I found 3. Not too bad right? Granted one of them was "to kill a mockingbird" which every library has, but still. The librarian was also really nice, and told me that if I couldn't find certain books, she might be able to put it on the order list.
One of the books I checked out is The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. I'm on page 114, and it's pretty good so far (941 total pages). I have found that I really enjoy the longer books. I hate getting into a book about 150, just to find out only 30 are left. I like to get to know the characters and follow plot lines and twists and character development. Back in college however, I would try to read the shortest books possible. I didn't enjoy reading. I blame that to my teachers. I never read for fun. I just read the books that were assigned, and honestly they were rarely any good. It took me a couple years after getting out of school to actually enjoy a book, and look forward to read another one.

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