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I Am Not an Octopus (and other life-giving mantras)

“I’m not a octopus.”

The words just slipped out of my mouth as I sat on the couch braiding my older daughter’s hair, she giggled and so did I. My youngest daughter had just asked me to tie her shoes, I was trying to remember if I had turned off the stove element after making a cup of tea that now sat cooling on the coffee table. There was still another head of hair to brush and my own shoes to slip into and the library books to grab.

I am not an octopus || this vintage moment

It’s become a thing we say now. I say it about myself and my daughter says it to me when I ask her to fill a water bottle or clear the table. “Because you’re not an octopus, Mummy? You don’t have eight arms and so you need me to help you?” Dang right, child.

I don’t have eight arms. And maybe more importantly, I don’t have the head space to manage all the thoughts and ideas let alone carry them out. I have enough thoughts swirling around my head at any given time from what to make for dinner, what jams do I still want to make and how am I going to freeze corn and pack boxes in the next two weeks? How am I going to balance all the stuff I know is coming at me in the next few months? I have to live within my limitations and that means saying no to some things, even if they are very good things and even if saying no means putting them on the docket for next August or later this fall.

I am not an octopus || this vintage moment

The timing of our move is hilarious to me. Late August is one of my very favourite times of the year because everything comes ripe- berries are mixed with stone fruit and tomatoes are everywhere at the markets. I want to bottle up all that summer goodness in mason jars to enjoy next February when summer seems like a far off dream.

Late August is also when I want to be solidifying our homeschool plans. Last year was a trial run, seeing if I could do this homeschool thing and it was made more interesting by a move in September and an emotionally brutal miscarriage in November. I was determined to be organized and scheduled this year but now we move again in September. Into our very own house which has me wanting to paint and plan out gardens.

I am not an octopus || this vintage moment

I’m not an octopus, I tell myself again.

I will say no to some things so that I can say yes to what is most needful even if that looks like a day with nothing on the calendar.

Do you have a phrase you say to remind yourself of what is needed? Tell me about your busy seasons and how you say no so that you can say yes. 

 

P.S. If you need another phrase to say, I love this one (and the whole post for explanation) from Sarah at Amongst Lovely Things– “I am not an airplane”.

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What’s on My Nightstand (Quick Lit August 2015)

I read a lot of books, it’s my favourite way to wind down in the evenings and to occupy myself at the beach when I’m not playing in the water with my girls.  I read some really good books (and some duds but I’m only sharing the good ones here) this last month and here are my quick takes on them. Head over to Modern Mrs. Darcy for many titles and recommendations!

Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner

 I’ve read a lot of books set in England during WW2 and several of those books have dealt with the stories of the London evacuees. This book starts in modern England where a history student just needs to interview one person for her paper but the story she is told is so much more then just a story for a good grade. From leaving London during the bombing with her little sister to  taking another girl’s name to designing bridal gowns and dreaming of a much bigger life then that of her single mom’s life, Isabel shares her regrets, fears and tremendous courage. This story had me crying and staying up way past my bedtime to see if the two sisters ever found the happy ever after they dreamed of.  It’s a story set in decades past but it’s themes are transcendent for all time.

 

 

The Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner

 Fringe hours – those moments of time in the corners of the day wherein you do what makes your life beautiful. Jessica interviewed over 2000 women for the writing of this book and it is full of their stories plus plenty of personal experience from Jessica’s own life. I’m pretty good at self care but this book went above and beyond self care into the how, why, when and what of personal time. It’s a kick in the pants, an encouragement from a good friend and has me thinking of the care and keeping of myself on a much different level.

 

 

 

Inherit Midnight by Kate Kae Myers

I don’t read a lot of YA fiction but this was a super fun read. There is a large inheritance but in order for it to be given, the family must participate in a round the world scavenger hunt to understand where and how the money had been earned. There’s one of every kind in this family, a sweet romance and lots of fast-paced action. Perfect for an all day beach read.

 

 

 

 

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas

 After reading some meh books, I turned to this old favourite. I’ve read more times then I remember and each time I marvel at the story-telling, details and keeping all the characters straight over a timeline of thirty years. It’s a story of one man who was wrongfully accused and left to die in a prison. It’s a story of perservance, of love and bitter hate and how the smallest act of either of those emotions can have the greatest consequence on so many lives.

 

 

 

The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure

 When I was ten, I requested a Laura Ingalls birthday. We dressed up, cooked all the food from the Little House cookbook and played only games that Laura would have played. Twenty years later, I’m still a big fan of the Ingalls, in awe of Ma and the adventures she undertook with her clan and still consider these books a needful classic on everyone’s shelf. Wendy McClure was a lot like me except she undertook the experiences as an adult, reading the books, making the recipes (including making butter in a jar and grinding wheat by hand) and then visiting all the sites ever associated with Laura and her family. It’s part memoir and part a re-telling of a beloved story. The book seems to peter out towards the end as her list of places to visit ends, a bittersweet tale of the fact that non of us can ever really re-live the books we grew up with.

 

 

We’re moving in a few weeks, my house is filled with boxes- both filled and empty, so obviously I need book recommendations, what have you loved this summer? 

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Wild and Free Children. In the City.

We’ve lived in this apartment for almost a year. I’ve learned how to make it home and create cozy landing spots for all of us at the end of the day. I’ve learned the quirks of living here, two floors up and no backyard. And I’ve learned how to keep my children from going too crazy each day and driving us (and the neighbours!) up the wall.

wild and free children. in the city || this vintage moment

I see all the cute pins for backyard fun and I just pass them on by. We’re renters without a yard or a patio or a bit of earth to call our own. I’ve had my grumbly days, I’ve built many urban homestead castles in the air and I may have a countdown going until we move into our own house with plenty of space to run and be wild. 

wild and free children. in the city || this vintage moment

I see the hashtag on instagram #wildandfreechildren often picturing gorgeous mountains and streams and woods, oh my! I read the articles about how this generation doesn’t know how to play outside and the obvious link between outside time and productivity for both children and adults.  And I decided that just as a lack of space doesn’t have to define my hospitality, my lack of personal yard doesn’t need to define my girls’ childhood.

Despite the lack of a yard, I’ve gotten creative. We used the hill behind us all winter long for sliding and snow fort making and snow painting. The girls rode their bikes in the parking lot, learning quickly about boundaries and road safety. We go to the beach and the playground and the forest a lot. We’ve foraged for wild strawberries and blueberries in the tall grass behind the apartment building where if you close your eyes (and ears) you could be in a meadow, anywhere. The girls have made houses under the tall tree and turned rocks over to find them teeming with little bugs.

wild and free children. in the city || this vintage moment

This is what the last year has taught me- there are opportunities to be wild and free anywhere and everywhere. A playground structure or big boulders are for climbing, trees and picnic tables can become playhouses. It requires more of me to enable my children to be wild and free when we live in an apartment then if we lived on ten acres. But a morning’s walk along a forest trail where we stop and see the tadpoles, take turns climbing trees and listen quietly to all the birds- it does me as much good as it does them.

wild and free children. in the city || this vintage moment

It wasn’t what we wanted or even what we thought our future held- a move to the city and apartment living.  But I am glad we did it. I wouldn’t have discovered the joy of wild blueberries with my girls, warm from the sun and eaten before we could even mention pie. I never would have found all the trails and lakes and wild places that are now our favourite haunts. We wouldn’t have a year full of memories from our walks, bike rides and swim times.

I can’t wait to move into our own home with our own bit of earth and watch my children come more alive as they play wild and free in their own backyard.

Tell me about the limitations that have made you seek out other ways to be outside- small yard, no yard, busy roads? Or tell me about your outdoor space, full of trees, streams and all that lovely stuff. Let’s inspire each other!

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7 Things I learned in July

Linking up with Emily Freeman to share the things I learned in July:

1. I don’t blog in the summer. I just don’t and the world doesn’t stop spinning because I hardly post on my blog. I’m outside, at the beach, staying up way too late with a book (or a child) and having evening jam making sessions in my kitchen. I’ve tried to blog at night but after a full day of momming and doing life,  I have no words left to share publicly. It’s been a nice break and a needful break though unintentional. I’m on instagram a lot, it’s my favourite social media outlet- find me there @breannemosher.

7 Things I learned in July || this vintage moment

2. There is always something that sucks and something that is wonderful in every season. For the past few months Jared has been working a late shift which means we have most of the days to spend together which has been wonderful. We’ve done all our exploring as a family and we’ve lingered over coffee almost every single morning. But we don’t spend our evenings together and I’ve became a bit of a pro at doing bedtime solo. It’s changing up again and I’m excited to be back on a bit of ‘normal’ routine.

7 Things I learned in July || this vintage moment

3. Jam making is a lost art. But it doesn’t have to be that way. My mum taught me and I’m so glad she did. I made jam with a friend and she’ll teach me how to knit this fall. Both arts are best passed on person to person and the results are wonderful.

4. Rest is hard but good. A few months ago my naturopath confirmed that I have adrenal fatigue and laid out a plan of action- how to rest properly and how to start the rebuilding process of my adrenal glands. I say no a lot, consider carefully any yes I do say and then focus on the simple things like reading and being outside with my girls. It’s changed my summer and for the better.

7 Things I learned in July || this vintage moment

5. There is such a thing as too many beach days. We’ve had a string of cool, rainy days and it’s been nice to just stay home and get caught up on home chores.

6. This season of motherhood is my favourite- my girls are independent, conversations with them are fun and entertaining, and their help is actually beneficial to me.

7 Things I learned in July || this vintage moment

7. A night away by a lake feels like a lot longer then just 24 hours. We spent a wonderful night away with friends at their cabin- they fed us amazing food, we went out in boats, the children played and played and we talked steadily. It was so refreshing and we can’t wait to do it again.

 

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What a Summer of Yes Looks Like

It’s 8 pm and my girls are just asleep. There is a fine trail of sand from the front door to well, everywhere in our house. Their hair is still damp from their shower and the cooler sits in the kitchen, ready for the next adventure.

We’re almost halfway through the summer and I’ve been thinking through my goals for this summer. It’s a short season- easy to track everything and see how my ideals lined up with reality.

what a summer of yes looks like :: this vintage moment

I’ve done well with saying yes.

We’ve stayed longer at the splash pad and the beach, past their bedtime. We’ve stopped for ice-cream cones as a family outing or just before supper because it’s summer and I love surprising my girls like that. I’ve bought the Frozen cheerios when they asked because a box of cereal with Elsa and Anna on it makes my little people very happy. We’ve read lots of books both the chapter kind and the picture kind, I have most of the picture books memorized. The girls helped me prepare strawberries for the freezer and for shortcake which involved both of them using a knife, it was a wonderful time for all of us even if there were more fruit with the hulls then if I had done it all by myself. It was worth it.

Here’s the flip side to all of that. 

My house hasn’t had the same care that it normally gets. Our laundry pile was scary big and all my floors need to be washed, especially from the thin layer of outdoors that we’ve brought in with us. One of my girls needs a little more structure in her days and having a different routine each day has not been helpful for her. My other daughter would go and go and go not realizing that she needs her own chill time as well. There’s some fantastic experiences but there’s also been meltdowns and struggles from overtired girls, me included.

Part of me wants to say yes and  be on top of the laundry. Part of me knows that is unrealistic especially since after a day out in the sun, the last thing I want to do after getting the girls to sleep is clean something. I sit in the quiet and remember the sweet moments from the day. I  read my book and let the housework go.

what a summer of yes looks like :: this vintage moment

It’s been fun. It’s been really fun. 

But as we head into the next half of the summer, we’ve made some tweaks mostly to keep this summer a sustainable one and not be completely burned out when September comes. We made a weekly schedule which ensures that we stay a little more on top of the laundry and the bathroom while also going on an adventure each week. We’ve planned some at home days and built in margin days for both Jared and I to have some quiet time.

It’s been a really awesome summer and I can’t wait for the rest of it with a little more routine built into our days.

 

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Quick Lit Picks for July 2015

This past month I read some heavier reads, not typical summer reading and not what I normally take along with in our beach bag. And so to balance all those heavier, thought-provoking reads I went back to some of my old favourites. Books that stay on my bookshelf through purging and books that travel with me. I’m linking up with Anne of Modern Mrs Darcy where we share short reviews of what we’ve been reading lately.

 

Bread And Wine by Shauna Niequist

I loved re-reading this book and getting all inspired to open my home and my heart to those around me. Shauna has an unique essay format that works really well for reading short snippets and then plunging back into real life. Each chapter ends with a recipe and the only problem with reading this book in the evenings is that I wanted to cook everything at 10 pm. I also wanted to stop worrying about what people think and invite them over, Shauna addresses the fear that we all have of wanting a perfect house/life/family before opening our doors. I needed this reminder again.

 

 


Kilmeny Of The Orchard by L.M. Montgomery

We named our oldest daughter Kilmeny after this book, she’s five and it’s been at least that long since I read this book. It’s a short, sweet read perfect for these summer days. The story starts in Halifax which is where I live and is a fun connection point in the story. There is the classic Montgomery orphan raised by an older couple and there’s a schoolteacher and obviously, an orchard. Kilmeny has no voice in this story but she plays a violin and can communicate beautifully through that medium. It’s not a popular or well-known book but it’s well-worth the read.

 

Book Of Negroes by Lawrence Hill

This book sat in my library basket for nearly two weeks before I cracked the cover and then I devoured it within two days. The Book of Negroes is our book club’s choice for this month and I don’t think I would have read it otherwise, but I’m so glad I did. It’s a heavy book but I think it’s a valuable read. The story follows the life of one girl from her life in Africa with her family to when she is captured by slave traders and sold to a plantation owner in North Carolina. She uses skills she learned from her mother in Africa to make friends and to educate herself. The story follows her to New York City where she finds her freedom and a whole network of free blacks. She ends up in Nova Scotia (local interest!) via the British Army who shipped many free blacks out of the New York  just before the America Revolution breaks out  The book is a work of fiction, based on the lives of many actual people. It’s inspiring to see the ripples of one woman’s life and how a few simple skills and the motivation to keep going can change your life. It is an excellent book club choice.

 The Virgin Cure by Ami McKay

This book takes place in the tenements of New York City in 1871 where there’s very little hope, little education and all that is valuable can be sold. Moth is sold by her mother to be a maid, she runs away and finds a new home and life with the owner of a brothel. It’s an eye-opening read and a good companion to any books about the Orphan Train, this is the darker side of that time in New York. Moth escapes the brothel life through a courageous doctor who happens to be a woman, something totally unheard-of in that time. It’s a read for the history buff and for those who want their eyes open to how devastating the sex trade can be.

 

Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet by Sara Hagerty

This book has been on my radar for a couple of years and I was delighted that my library carried a copy. It’s a  personal, almost like a journal-type narrative and while there are some good things she has to say, I found it hard to follow and understand her style of writing. I wanted to like it but just couldn’t quite get there.

 

 

 

Silver Girl: A Novel by Elin Hilderbrand

I’ve read a lot of books by this author, she writes fantastic beach read books and I’m enjoying seeing some of her common elements through reading a few of her books. Silver Girl follows the story of two friends who get back together after a huge scandal throws one of their husbands into prison and alienates all of her known life. The two women spend the time on Nantucket Island and both start to piece back together their lives.

 

 

The Real Grey’s Anatomy: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Real Lives of Surgical Residents by Andrew Holtz

I grabbed this one on a whim from the library since Grey’s is my favourite show to watch right now and I am nerding out on all things medical. Its definitely a read for those who have watched the show and wondered how accurate everything is. I loved it and can cross off wanting to be a surgeon off my life list, at least in this season.

 

 

I’d love to know what you’re reading lately, what you’ve loved (or not), tell me in the comments and head over to Modern Mrs. Darcy for many more titles and reviews!

::affilate links used, thanks for your support!::

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Ten on Ten :: July 2015

It’s been a sweet and crazy summer so far- no big goals except to keep it simple and say yes. Today was a fun day to document for a ten on ten post. Ten photos (or so) over ten hours (or so) to document the ordinary beauty in our days, hosted by Rebekah.

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morning bedhead with cereal and coffee

 

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watermelon sticks- life changing way of eating watermelon

 

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because I want to remember how she always leaves the house with a bag or two and art supplies

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such a fun day out at new to us splash pad!

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my cautious observer

 

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I forgot the glasses, they couldn’t have been more thrilled to drink straight from the jug. Our favourite watermelon lemonade makes a nice change from straight water.

 

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elbow dimples are my favourite

 

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say yes to all the ice creams, the later nights and also surprise with fun adventures, it’s so fun being the mom!

Thanks for sharing our day with us! Check out more observers of beauty at Rebekah’s blog! 

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Adventure is out there- a mini vacation in Nova Scotia

Adventure is out there- a mini vacation in Nova Scotia

 

Adventure is out there- a mini vacation in Nova Scotia

Last year we were on the road for four months, it was awesome and exhausting and we made memories to last a lifetime. This year we aren’t traveling anywhere big, we’re buying a house and we’re using vacation time differently. We love to travel, it’s a huge part of our family’s culture and something that we will always do. We’re not packing our backpacks for weeks on the road this year but we are making the most of this beautiful province we live in and planning all sorts of fantastic day trips.

Earlier this week we took a little adventure which felt like a mini vacation to me, so much so that I’m trying to come up with excuses to plan one every week!

We drove to a new town, Chester, which is on the water and full of old character homes. But that wasn’t our final destination, we caught a small ferry from Chester to Big Tancook Island to spend most of our day.

This is an island off the coast that is filled with lupines, gravel roads and lots of history. There used to be 800-1000 residents but the numbers have dwindled to 100 year long residents and 200 summer residents. Our first stop off the ferry was lunch, to me this is what makes a day trip special. I love packing picnics but not having to worry about a meal is a fun treat. Fresh fish and chips with view of the ocean, yes please! Adventure is out there- a mini vacation in Nova Scotia

Adventure is out there- a mini vacation in Nova Scotia

We mostly wandered, following the main road at the pace of the little people who couldn’t stop picking all the flowers. I don’t blame her.Adventure is out there- a mini vacation in Nova Scotia

Lupines are a Nova Scotian treasure, they are everywhere this time of year filling the roadsides with brilliant splashes of purple, pink and the occasional white. I love the contrast of wild flowers and old buildings.

Adventure is out there- a mini vacation in Nova Scotia

We stopped when we got to the cemeteries, fascinated by the snippets of stories of those who lived on the island a hundred years ago. The girls and I discovered wild strawberries amidst the memorial stones and so we stopped and hunted for the little ruby treasures. It felt like a moment from Rainbow Valley with the sound of the sea in the background, eating wild strawberries with old graves all around us.

Adventure is out there- a mini vacation in Nova Scotia

Next time we’ll bring bikes and ride around the island, but this trip was a lovely break for our usual routines and made me excited about exploring more of this province!

Adventure is out there- a mini vacation in Nova ScotiaWe ended our day with Americanos and a flat white at Kiwi Cafe in Chester, a delightful cafe with definite New Zealand roots. Flat white is my favourite coffee drink and this was the best one I’ve had outside of New Zealand. Chester is just under an hour from our home making it an easy drive especially when the girls napped all the way home. The day was made special by having a good friend to act like a tour guide, wrangle crazy kiddos and tell us all the good places to go.

Taking alternative transportation like a ferry, enjoying some special treats out and having no timetable are three things that made the day feel like a mini-vacation. We’ll be doing as much as we can of this over the summer and adding to our repertoire of must-dos and sees when we have guests.

What are your top tips for enjoying a mini-vacation?

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The Ultimate DIY Project

We weren’t even going to include it on our thirty before thirty bucket list.

Do a DIY project together

We wandered through Michaels one date night browsing together, up and down the aisles taking a longer time since I had no littles hanging out of the cart. It was fun, we compared our tastes in decor and laughed at some of the more outrageous design ideas. I suggested we count that outing towards our DIY project and check it off the list.

the ultimate DIY project || this vintage moment

And then, we found the ultimate project to work on together.

We bought a house!

May and most of June were filled with a flurry of phone calls, emails and discussions. House viewings and inspections and asking ourselves if we were crazy. And now there’s a beautiful SOLD sticker on the for sale sign and I can pin all the things for real now.

the ultimate DIY project || this vintage moment

We’ve discussed paint colours, the house’s palette currently involves dark red, dark purple and navy all of which I love but not in my kitchen or living areas. We’ve sketched out lots of garden ideas and we have big dreams for the big backyard. The girls are lobbying for a treehouse they can live in and I want an English cottage garden along the front deck.

After renting for seven years of our married life and living in four of the ten Canadian provinces, it feels so good to put some serious roots down in this province we’ve grown to love so much.

the ultimate DIY project || this vintage moment

We won’t be actually moving until September so I’ll be filling my Pinterest boards with all my ideas, figuring out paint colours and applying the KonMari method as I sort and pack all our stuff.

I’d love to hear your tips and stories about moving and home ownership!

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Weekend Links and {my} Vintage Moment

I cut my finger last week (ironically while preparing a Father’s Day feast for Jared), it wasn’t bad enough to slow me down that day. We just wrapped it up and carried on but it’s been a a whole week of healing for that poor little finger and typing has been on the worst activities. Washing dishes has been no fun either. It’s been a good week of having to slow down, dial back my expectations (I have so much I want write here in this space) and just be with my little family. We are in full summer swing which also means that hurt finger or not, blogging takes a back seat priority to beach days and backyard picnics. I’m going to assume that you’re online less in the summer as well- reading books while your kids enjoy the water and getting out to the garden before it gets too hot.

Here are a few good reads I’ve enjoyed lately:

8 favourite outfits for summer || Jones Design Company // I’m not doing a capsule wardrobe this summer but if I was, I would just copy and paste these outfits. Perfect for our coastal weather which has more mood swings then I do, easy to dress up and dress down.

29 summer survival tips for families || Simple Bites // My favourite kind of summer list, full of great ideas and fun ways to make the most of this summer season.

The Love Project {#morningstarloveproject} || Under the Sycamore // There is so much heartbreak in this world but every now and then, someone comes along with something tangible you can do and a story of hope. This project is exactly that- with the purchase of some lovely art, you can make a donation so that families who need life-changing surgeries for their children can have those surgeries done without giving their children up to orphanages. It’s caring for our fellow human in the most beautiful of ways. Read the story, buy some art, and make a difference in a family half a world away.

From the blog lately:

5 Ways to a Sorta (totally) Awesome Summer – This post started out as many do, just random thoughts jotted down on whatever paper is handy. Some simple ideas I wanted to make sure I did this summer, some things that would make life easier and reminders to myself to embrace this season.

Quick Lit: Beachy Reads – a great collection of reads to take with you to the beach, backyard or the couch for a few quiet moments.

My favourite Vintage Moment from this week:

We found a new hiking spot just ten minutes from our house, this province never ceases to amaze me with its’ diverse scenery and gorgeous ocean.

nova scotia summer || this vintage moment

I would love to see what is capturing your eye this week, share it in the comments or on Facebook! 

 

Have a wonderful week, friends!

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