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Category Archives: Vacation

Marin Headlands Adventure

After a short drive across the Golden Gate Bridge, we landed in the Marin Headlands. We had booked a night at the Hi Marin Hostel in one of their private rooms. It was a great fit for our family, with two bunks, one of which had a double on the bottom. The sheets and towels were provided so no extra packing {or laundry}! The annexed house had a communal kitchen, several bathrooms, a dining area, and sitting room, all of which made it feel like a home away from home. Sure, it wasn’t as luxurious as a hotel in the City, but it did the trick wonderfully for us.

We packed in our own meals {which was necessary given the nearest places to grab a bite were in Sausalito, about a 15-20 minute drive away}. I brought along leftovers from the previous night so preparation was super simple. It was very convenient to warm up our meal and eat right away after a long day of travel.

The girls were enamored with the beautiful sunset from our bedroom window as we wound down to go to bed that night. We had a positive experience with the other house guests honoring the quiet hours, and all was settled by 10pm.

Next morning, found us up early and eager to explore after a quick breakfast of yogurt and granola. Rodeo Beach on the Headlands was walkable from the hostel, but we chose to drive over so short legs could save up energy for other exploring that day.

It was a beautiful, peaceful morning with very few others out so early. We discovered a couple mussel shells washed up on the beach and attempted to hear the ocean by placing them to our ears.

Mid-morning found our stomachs grumbling for more grub, so we packed up our things and headed over to Sausalito. A little chocolate shop served coffee and buttery croissants, which was a perfect match for us. We sipped and munched on those, then enjoyed making daisy crowns and slingshots, and running around in the sun.

Lucie was being her usual, goofy self, making all sorts of her signature faces.

sisters in the flowers

We meandered a bit more around town to find a few additions to our lunch spread, including making a stop by the water to look out at the City across the Bay. Evelyn was practicing her photography skills every chance she got. A seagull, surprisingly, posed for her to take some shots.

Our final stop of the day was the Point Bonita Lighthouse. We picked up a Lighthouse Passport back in January when we went to the lighthouse in Pacific Grove. {The girls developed a great interest and love for lighthouses after reading this book.} This one proved a little trickier to grab a stamp for, and it was more harrowing to get to as well. The hours for this particular one are short–just a few, three days a week. We had to stand in line for about 20 minutes for a chance to walk across the narrow suspension bridge and explore. Certainly worth it!

Bye, bye, San Francisco Bay! Until next time!

Monet at the Legion of Honor

A few weeks ago, we headed down to San Francisco for a long weekend to see the special Claude Monet exhibit at the Legion of Honor museum. It was a collection of his early works–many of which I have not seen–so for this Impressionist aficionado, I was over the moon to view them.

The girls enjoyed seeing the collection too, and it was just the right length for shorter attention spans. {Although, Lucie slept through the first half in the Ergo with Steve carrying her. It was a pleasant surprise that she still fit inside!}

We read a bit about Monet together before visiting from one of my favorite childhood books, Linnea in Monet’s Garden. I’m pleased to say that the girls took to Linnea and her adventures in the garden just as I did when I was young.

There was another traveling exhibition that involved random pieces of artwork(?) plopped down in random place inside and outside the museum. That’s Evelyn sitting next to one right out front. She was very entertained by the sculpture pieces, and confused {as we were} about the randomosity of the ones we saw inside. Her questions increased tenfold and my inability to answer did the same.

We ran into our wedding photographer in front of the museum where she was shooting a couples’ engagement photos. We hadn’t seen her since she took our maternity photos when I was pregnant with Evelyn. She does such beautiful work, I wish she lived closer to us so we could have family photos done by her again.

Our trip to SF also included a wonderful picnic on the bleachers that overlook the Bay, and a quick run through Ghirardelli Square with chocolate samples, of course!

One of the little shops on the Square had this tic-tac-toe game created with rocks and washi tape. The girls were in love. We’re searching for suitable flat rocks to make some of our own.

We crossed over the Golden Gate towards the end of the day for more adventures which I’ll share in my next post….

Victoria Highlights

Victoria, BC parliament building spring

Finally, the last of our Northwest trip!

The few days we spent in Victoria, BC were absolutely glorious. Despite it being mid-February, it already looked and felt like springtime.

spring blossoms in Victoria, BC

One afternoon, we slipped into the Parliament buildings for a self-guided tour while Lucie took her nap. Pristine hallways and beautiful architecture abounded.

Victoria, BC parliament building

Victoria, BC parliament building

Victoria, BC parliament building

Victoria, BC parliament building

Our budding photographer was clicking away too!

photographer in parliament Victoria, BC

Victoria, BC parliament building

Victoria, BC parliament building

Loved this classic lock that sealed the chambers when not in session!

Victoria, BC parliament building

Victoria, BC parliament building

The building was beautifully lit at night which made for a gorgeous backdrop as we walked along the waterway.

Victoria at night


Victoria at night

Victoria at night

Victoria at night

Double decker buses are being decommissioned in London, so Victoria snatched one up for sightseeing tours.

double decker bus

Our usual requisite bookstore browsing happened at Munro’s Books. There was at least one daily stop.

Munro's bookstore, Victoria, BC

The girls enjoyed peeking out the window at the harbor from our hotel window. We stayed at the Inn at Laurel Point.

girls playing in hotel

resting with my girls

Our final day in town, we had a few hours to kill before our ferry returned to Seattle. The girls enjoyed a romp on the lawn behind the hotel.

Victoria, BC play

Victoria, BC play

Victoria, BC play

Victoria, BC play

Victoria, BC play

Victoria, BC play

The ferry from Seattle to Victoria, and vice versa, were an excellent way to travel back and forth between Canada and the United States. By land and sea, all that is required is a Passport Card, so the girls travelled with those. It takes about 3 hours each way. Meals and snacks are served onboard, and the motion inside the cabin is very minimum, even with heavy wake. Nobody had a problem with seasickness!


riding on the ferry to Victoria

panorama from the ferry

ferry ride to Victoria

We were sad to leave Victoria but are planning on a return visit someday!

ferry back to Seattle from Victoria

plane landing on water

Seattle : Part One

It’s been almost a month since we returned, but our trip to Seattle still lives strong in our memories. This is actually one of the shorter plane rides we’ve taken with the girls, and after you’ve conquered the cross-country trek, an hour and a half seems feeding candy to a baby. {Which is always a good idea to have stashed with you for bribery purposes.}


This one would rather travel stealth-style than in a seat, but we didn’t think TSA would approve.

tuckered out from travel

An early and full morning of travel, this one couldn’t keep her eyes open once we landed at the hotel. She hasn’t slept in my arms in ages and I found it quite endearing to have her cuddle up for a shut eye once again.

We stayed at the Cedarbrook Lodge, as recommended by a some others who had travelled through the area. For an airport hotel, it was absolute oasis. Located in a residential area, surrounded by wetlands, it was like stepping into the woods from a busy city sidewalk. The rooms, amenities, beds, included breakfast {smoked salmon, anyone?}, shared living rooms {chocolate available day and night!} truly made it feel like a home away from home. In fact, I kept becoming nostalgic as I walked the halls as it reminded me of my dorm in college {in a good way} and returning late at night after a deep conversation with friends.

Cedarbrook room

Lucie was particularly in love with the floor-to-ceiling windows so she could look out and pretend she was outside even when she wasn’t.

lured by the outdoors

Our first evening in town found us in the Ballard area where we searched out a French restaurant we had a read about called Bastille. It was just so good, we ate dinner there twice in five days. Of note: the Happy Hour drink specials, the kids’ mac and cheese, Croque Monsieur, and lamb burger {Steve said it was the best he’s had yet and that is HIGH praises, let me tell you!}. We loved sitting on their little patio, keeping our wiggles away from the rest of the patrons without a second thought of disturbance. Good for everyone.

Bastille's Seattle

Lucie at dinner

coloring at the table

Evey at dinner

at Bastille in Ballard

Sunday morning found us at St. James Cathedral for Mass. It was packed wall-to-wall and we could see why once we heard the astonishing choir sing.

altar at St James cathedral

cupola of St James cathedral, Seattle

icon of Transfiguration at St. James

St Joseph at St James cathedral, Seattle

St James cathedral facade, Seattle

We even took a few moments to step through the Holy Doors — our first in this Jubilee Year!

Holy Doors at St James cathedral, Seattle

St James Cathedral holy doors

And, of course, no trip to Seattle would be complete without a stop at Pike’s Place Market. Most especially for this foodie who could not get enough in such a short span of time. It was the one day that it was truly raining and we pulled out the plastic tarp for the stroller I bought particularly for such an occasion. It was funny to me how many people stopped us to admire the cover, particularly because I would think Seattleites would be the first to own such things seeing as they receive inches upon inches of rain throughout the year. But, alas, perhaps word has not gotten to them just yet of these marvelous contraptions. {Aaaand I don’t have a photo. I’m sorry.}

Pike's Place Market, Seattle

Pikes Place Market

flowers at Pikes Place Market

I’m not a huge donut lover {unlike the rest of my family}, but good things come in small packages just like these tasty morsels. I could have eaten the entire half dozen myself.

tiny donut

yum donut

We stopped at the original Starbucks, but photographic evidence is lacking. {It was rather hard to snap photos while juggling to grumpy littles who were hangry and in need of a nap in the wind and rain.}

Farmers' Market - Pike's Place, Seattle

More to come soon…..


Moments {Vol. 10} : 4th of July Celebration

We spent 4th of July weekend at my in-laws’ newly renovated cabin. It is absolutely gorgeous!

And, although I didn’t think it was possible, the view from the deck got better!

4th of July

Not sure if she’s trying to go out or he’s trying to come in, but they’re looking to help each other out.

4th of July 2015

Hanging with Gram!

4th of July 2015

Hard at work on multiple projects.

4th of July 2015

4th of July 2015

4th of July 2015

Playing ‘spinning’ with Aunt Lindy.

4th of July 2015

4th of July 2015

4th of July 2015

Her favorite pastime currently is placing one object inside another. Spatial awareness lessons for free.


4th of July 2015

The annual 4th of July Serene Lakes sailboat race!

sailboat race Serene Lakes

sailboat race Serene Lakes

4th of July 2015

sailboat race Serene Lakes

4th of July 2015

Many refreshing drinks served all day long.

4th of July 2015

corona and lime

Chillin’ on the deck.

4th of July 2015

4th of July 2015

4th of July 2015

4th of July 2015

4th of July 2015

4th of July 2015

4th of July 2015

Aunt Lindy was, hands down, the favorite of the weekend.

4th of July 2015

4th of July 2015

4th of July 2015

reading with Aunt Lindy

4th of July 2015

Only dancing finally put Lulu to sleep. She wanted to keep the party going all day long.

4th of July 2015

Delicious ribs for dinner straight from the smoker, skewered with bamboo from the backyard (Uncle Eric’s genius move).

4th of July 2015

4th of July 2015

4th of July 2015

“What’s yours is mine, right, Nicky?”

4th of July 2015

The lack of fireworks was not a problem with the sunset we received.

sunset at Serene Lakes

sunset at Serene Lakes

Early morning walk the following day….

4th of July 2015

4th of July 2015

4th of July 2015

4th of July 2015



a man and his pipe

And the weekend wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the beach for splashing and sand digging!

beach at Serene Lakes

beach at Serene Lakes

beach at Serene Lakes

beach at Serene Lakes

Hoping your 4th was as enjoyable and relaxing as ours! 🙂

SLO Living

If we could pick up our things and move anywhere in California right now, we would probably land in the little town of San Luis Obispo. Affectionately called ‘SLO’ by the locals the acronym is a fitting alias for the town. There is a certain ease of life there that is hard to find in California. Most of us are living at a rapid pace. Head into a city and that pace will multiply times a hundred or so. SLO knows how to take it down a notch…and enjoy life while they’re at it.


We stopped through on our way down to Los Angeles a few weeks ago to visit with my brother, Caleb, and sister-in-law, Sadi, who are currently living there while he goes to school at Cal Poly.

We happened to be there on Mothers’ Day and my brother had some grand activities planned. {At least in my book! And since I was the only mother present, I can vouch that it was a fitting celebration. ;)}


Baileyana Winery is, perhaps, the most family-friendly winery I’ve ever stopped into. We took the girls with us into the tasting room, an adorable yellow building that looks like an old school house, and they were perfect angels put up with our sipping while being bribed with bunny crackers.

wine tasting sidekicks

wine tasting SLO


We chose a delightful white and took it out to the grassy area beside the building where the girls could run free {mostly} while we enjoyed the wine and some snacks.


There was also a bocce ball court nearby that several groups were enjoying. At one point, a family came out with a soccer ball to play a pick-up game. The girls wanted to join in but I was afraid they might get smooshed by the bigger kids. So they got to watch attentively from the sidelines. Another family brought along small containers of bubbles and passed them around which, of course, thrilled all those under ten to the nth degree.

running free


Aunt Sadi won the day with Evey when she brought out the temporary tattoos and they placed matching ones on their arms.


It was such a gorgeous day!

mothers day wine tasting


We hopped back on the long, winding roads to make our way closer to the coast. No trip to SLO is complete without a visit to the beach. Caleb explained to us that there were several good ones in the area but you chose depending on what type of weather and what crowds {or lack thereof} you were willing to put up with. His favorite — the quieter one — was Montana de Oro, and, lucky for us, the sun was {unusually} shining there that day.


We did a lot of splashing in the waves. Evey was cautious; Lucie was racing it head-on. Pretty much sums them up.



Lucie couldn’t get enough of the sand! She would rather fry like a lobster than be pulled away from the blissful feel of it running through her fingers.



What a wonderful way to spend Mothers’ Day!


At one point, Caleb took Evelyn over to make castles in the sand. They built one for Pooh Bear and one for Tigger and one for Piglet and one for Kanga and one for Roo and one for Elsa and one for Anna and so on. Because it is important for everyone to have their own castle! They worked really hard. It was cute. 🙂


We even managed a whole group photo thanks to a park bench!


Oh, and Lucie decided Uncle Caleb’s and Aunt Sadi’s would be the perfect place to take her first steps. We were sitting around chatting when she suddenly stood up and took about five steps across the floor like it was no big deal. Special moment for Caleb, who witnessed it, as he doesn’t see them too often and he caught one of the biggest milestones of her life!


Thanks, Caleb and Sadi, for the wonderful time! Can’t wait to do it again soon!

{And a very happy birthday to Caleb whose birthday happens to fall today!}

Our Trip to New York City : the Last Two Days

There was a lot of walking this past weekend.

walking the streets of nyc

In between wedding events on Saturday, we meandered the streets of New York City. A highlight of our sightings was this shiny, red engine that had just backed into its garage right before we walked by, lights and sirens blaring. Evey was in awe.fire truck nyc

Stephen was part of the wedding party so we dropped him off in the morning to prep and feast while we went on our own adventure. We found ourselves at Central Park for a little picnic in the gorgeous spring weather.

picnic in central park

picnic in central park

Even did a little swing time…

swinging in central park

….with a beautiful view of the city.

swinging in central park

These were my seat mates as we waited for the ceremony to begin inside the gorgeous St. Malachy’s chapel in Midtown.

Lucie at St malachys

Evey at St. Malachys

I managed to snap a few pics inside the chapel before the girls awoke from their naps.

st malachys

st malachys

Lucie attempted to sing with the choir throughout the ceremony, but otherwise, was well-behaved.

wedding at st malachys

wedding at st malachys

wedding at st malachys

wedding at st malachys

bride in nyc

limo to reception

reception at copacabana

The reception was at the Copacabana Club, on their rooftop lounge.

reception at copacabana

With a gorgeous view of the city from the top.

rooftop of copacabana

True to form, Evey couldn’t wait for the dancing to commence so she was swinging with her daddy before others got out on the dance floor.

dancing with daddy

dancing with daddy

dancing with daddy

dancing at the copacabana

And, just like her mama, was one of the first out on the floor when the party got started. 😉

dancing at the copacabana

She kept escaping back onto the floor to bust a move.

dancing at the copacabana

dancing at the copacabana

at the copacabana

She was also very fond of the mother-of-the-bride and tried to hang out with her every moment she got.

L and Daddy at the copacabana

Lucie was not as easily entertained.

L is not impressed


Unless Evey was around. 😉

wedding cake sparks

The cake cutting. Spectacular.

wedding cake sparks


On Sunday, our flight didn’t leave until 5:30 in the evening so we escaped back into the city for one last adventure….to the second-largest bookstore in the US!

strand nyc

And a tasty treat at Dean & Deluca in the New York Times building.

dean and deluca nyc

Bye-bye, New York! See you next time.

bye nyc

bye nyc

Back home on west coast soil, a bit bleary-eyed, we still had a 2+ hour drive home. The girls conked while Stephen and I loaded up on caffeine to make the drive back.

home to sf

Our Trip to New York City : the First Two Days

Our crazy, adventurous spirits compelled us to make a trip cross-country last weekend to New York City with our girls to attend the wedding of one of Stephen’s law school friends. Originally, we were just bringing Lucie as she’s still nursing, but we couldn’t stand to leave our little Love Bug, Evey, at home, and I’m sure glad we decided to bring her along too. 🙂

traveling by plane

riding on the plane

We rented an apartment through HomeAway in Union City, New Jersey to avoid the high prices of NYC hotels and have a little, quiet space all to ourselves. It was a good move with the girls. Despite being just on the other side of the Lincoln Tunnel, the only downside was the extra time it took traveling into the city each day. Sometimes the traffic made for a long commute.

Almost immediately after touching down on New York soil, we made our way to the bus stop to head south to Hoboken where we could pick up the PATH train into NYC.

On that day, we managed to ride a plane, bus, train and taxi!  The only thing missing was a ferry.

dinner at Les Halles

The PATH dropped us at the train station just outside of the World Trade Center, a few blocks from the restaurant we were meeting friends, Les Halles Brasserie. {This is the restaurant where Anthony Bourdain was head chef for a time.} They feature some fantastic French dishes, including the leg of lamb both Stephen and I enjoyed, and our girls couldn’t get enough of.

study abroad friends

Shortly after graduation from college, I studied for a summer in Paris. A couple of the friends I made while studying there now live in NYC, so a French dinner together was a perfect reunion. A longtime friend, Justin, also works and lives in NYC {for the same company, coincidentally, as one of my friend’s from Paris — Warby Parker}. He met up with us too. 

daddy and E strawberry pastry

After catching up on Zzzzs a bit, we made our way into the city with our first stop at a French pastry shop. Stephen and Evelyn shared a strawberry puff pastry filled with cream. Cuties. 😉

pigeon watching

Lucie enjoyed watching the pigeons in the park.

Bryant Park children's area

Bryant Park has a seating area with all sorts of board games to play. It was a bit difficult to take part with the little ones in tow, however. The park is lacking in a playground but they have a beautiful carousel to make up for it. Both girls had a blast riding.

carousel Bryant Park

Evelyn chose the ‘kitty cat’ immediately. Girl knows what she wants.

riding the kitty cat

carousel Bryant Park

Lucie was thrilled to take part in the action. Up and down, up and down….hold on tight!

carousel Bryant Park

Those high-rises!

Bryant Park

The city parks were covered in blooming flowers. NYC’s springtime is just beginning and it certainly is gorgeous to behold!

spring in NYC

smelling the flowers

Adjacent to the park is a branch of the New York City library.

NYC library

But not just any branch — it’s the one that houses WINNIE THE POOH!

the REAL winnie the pooh!

She was in awe of her favorite friend. 🙂

meeting Pooh Bear

We took some downtime to read a few good books with Daddy.

reading with daddy

Lucie was happy to get down and explore. Opportunities for this were few and far between in the city, but she was a good sport.

hanging in the library

Ready, set….GO!

taking off

The girls nodded off for a nap while Stephen and I explored the halls, some of the other rooms of the library, and made a few purchases in the gift shop.

nyc library halls

The architecture was stunning!

nyc library halls

The periodical room was my favorite. The only sound: the swish of newspapers as they were being turned by readers. Kind of magical.

periodical room nyc library

Good ol’ Thomas Jefferson promoting the library. 😉

nyc library dedication

Next stop: St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

st patrick's golden light

Bathed in the gorgeous golden light.

candles st patrick's nyc

Daddy and Evey lit a candle, praying for friends and family back at home.

baby in st patrick's

Lucie got to explore from her ‘chariot’.

scaffolding st patrick's

Much of the altar and nave area are covered in scaffolding while they do some cleaning and repairing. {Stephen and I were in awe of the whiteness of the exterior as the last time the both of us had been there it was about 20 shades darker. They recently completed that project.}

st rose chapel st. patrick's

Evey and I lighting a candle at the altar dedicated to St. Rose for all those we know who claim her as a patroness.

st patrick's architecture

Love me some Gothic architecture!

st patrick's architecture

And a trip to NYC with kids would’t be complete without a stop by FAO Schwarz!

fun mirrors fao schwarz

She was lovin’ on the pandas. {Get’s that from my mom. ;)}

panda hugs  fao schwarz

Dancing with my daughter on the BIG piano. So fun!

big piano fao schwarz

big piano fao schwarz

Natural musician.

big piano fao schwarz

big piano fao schwarz

We picked up a few souvenirs, then headed to the rehearsal, followed by the rehearsal dinner at Angelo’s Pizza with some of the tastiest wood-fired pizza we’ve ever had. {Sorry for the lack of photographic evidence.}

Stay tuned for the rest of the trip!

They Are People Too

traveling by plane

Traveling across country with two children this past weekend was an eye-opening experience. Not because of the difficulties inherent in the process {we were anticipating those}, but because of the imposed stigma of society as we dared to travel with our young children.

Apparently, it’s not something our culture really approves of.

An article published this morning by Verily addresses this issue of the disgust many in society aim at parents and their progeny as they integrate themselves in the normal routines of daily life.

“Simple things like parents with young children being allowed to board a plane first so that their babies don’t have meltdowns in long queues are not signs that society is valuing parents more highly than anyone else, it’s just an acknowledgment that parents have different needs and that children are worthy of participating in society.”

We actually weren’t allowed to board first. We asked; it didn’t happen. Those needs weren’t acknowledged, or at best, were brushed aside. The elderly and handicapped were allowed to board first, but then those who had paid extra {about half the plane} were allowed on before we could go through the gate.

It seems common sense to me to let young children and their guardians board early as it takes more time for us to move through the process. Isn’t that why they allow elderly and handicapped through first too? Truly, I’m expecting them to be brushed aside as well.

Making money will become the ultimate motivator, not quality service for those they serve. Not seeing to the best for every customer based on his or her individual needs. That will be subsumed by the wants of the whole and only be allowed if they agree to it. Those who will be first will be the ones who paid for it because money can buy happiness if it comes in the form of boarding a plane five minutes earlier than everyone else.

I won’t even go into the sideways glances we received while attempting to bring babies onto the plane. The How dare you impose your child’s noise on me? looks. I’m sorry, I don’t appreciate your loud snoring as you rest either but that doesn’t disqualify you from riding on a plane.

There were also many sideways glances as we walked down busy city streets. Many comments that implied, Why would you subject yourselves to such an endeavor? 

Perhaps because we are hoping to instill a love of travel in them just as we do. Perhaps because we love to spend time with them and want to do so whenever possible. Perhaps because we want them to be able to delight in the joy of meeting new people, adventuring in new places.

The baby spent most awake moments in her stroller squealing with delight as we passed people on the sidewalk, trying to capture their attention. She likes people. She likes to be outside. Sure, walking is slower with a stroller. It takes longer to get places. It is often more cumbersome. But should I deprive them of the joy of the journey because it is more difficult?

The toddler was beside herself meeting the REAL Winnie the Pooh, her favorite character on the planet. She beamed from ear-to-ear as her daddy held her and read her whatever books she chose off the seemingly endless rows of books in the massive library collection. {MUCH larger than anything we have at home.}

We couldn’t make it to as many things as we would have on our own but we delighted in the few things that we could.


The reason we were traveling was to attend the wedding of friends. I arrived early with the girls to find a good spot near the side toward the back so I could make a quick getaway to the vestibule if needed. But as we were sitting there, the priest officiating came up to me and said, “Babies cry. Don’t feel ashamed if your baby is crying. You don’t need to leave.” He joked, too, saying, “Please do find out what is wrong if the baby is crying because that is why the child cries is to let you know something is wrong. But don’t ever feel ashamed that your child is crying because that is what babies do.”

And you know what? Despite my littlest trying to sing along every time the choir broke into song, I didn’t feel the need to leave because he made me feel like my child being there was just as important as every person there.

I pray the tides turn and more people come to realize that our little persons are important people too.

Crashing Waves

I’m planning a great post with highlights from our trip to Monterey….but first. This.

wave wall

wave wall

wave wallNo children were harmed in the making of these photographs.

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