Baby Boo

Baby Boo is 11 weeks now. I can’t believe how different she is to her older sister already.  So yeah, babies, just like individual people from birth!

Where Moo was fair and bald, Boo is dark and has hair.

At this age, Moo was waking two or three times a night – Boo wakes once.  It’s amazing. Also, I see that perhaps the state of ‘drowsy but not asleep’ may not be TOTAL bullshit.  (Although, for Moo IT IS BULLSHIT and SCREW THE CHILD HEALTH NURSES WHO CLAIM OTHERWISE.  I’m still a little sensitive about Moo’s sleep. Can you tell?)

Moo was on the 20th%ile for length and weight. Boo is on the 80th for length and 50th for weight. She seems (relatively) enormous and is growing out of her clothes apace. I can’t use any of the wraps we used for Moo anymore because Boo is already too long. Also, more importantly, she doesn’t like being wrapped/swaddled.

Boo rolled herself over front to back at 8 weeks. EIGHT WEEKS! My mother & MIL have both delighted in telling me that both my husband and I were walking at 9 months and maybe Boo will be the same.  Please no.

Boo will go to sleep in the pram and car quite happily. Moo HATED both (see anguished posts from 2010). Boo appears to dislike slings. This is actually slightly annoying as she still wants to be carried around quite a bit so I can’t really be hands-free.

Both like sleeping on my lap. I am catching up on House of Cards. It is good.

In the last few weeks of my pregnancy I was very unhappy and anxious about having a second child. I ended up having a few sessions with a psychologist which was very helpful. Some of it was about grieving the loss of the freedom I had with a 4 year old (it had GOT better) but given how much better I felt after giving birth and still feel now – I think a lot of it was anxiety about my multiple miscarriages. In the spirit of silver linings, I am thankful for my miscarriages in that they have helped me support some people who are close to me who have gone through the same thing in the past couple of months. But yeah, they have messed with mind more than I was willing to acknowledge until now.

I occasionally feel a bit desperate being at home and not working. I had a few dreadful days over the weekend and went into stress-tidying mode and a mental spiral of ‘maybe I should just stop breastfeeding because then I could ESCAPE!!!’ But then I went out for a 40minute bike ride and felt much better and remembered that it gets better – also, bottles look like a real pain and probably not worth the long-term inconvenience.

So, because I KNOW physical activity makes me feel better I plan to go to a ‘Parents’ yoga class on Fridays as well as regular bike rides. I also bought myself a Garmin FR15 and love it. It tells me to “Move!” and helps my goal-orientated brain sees walking a baby to sleep as an opportunity not an inconvenience. I do need some new running shoes though. I appear to have thrown my last pair out in a fit of stress-disposal-of-possessions.

(By the way, I REALLY don’t recommend trying to move house with a 4 week old baby. See above comment about stress-disposal-of-possessions)

This time, I’m buying myself slack on the home front big-time. Today I took DK’s shirts to my mother’s for her to iron. She says she wants to do it. I’m sure as shit not ironing anything. He says he’ll do it himself, but in truth, I think he does enough that he deserves a break on that. I don’t pay my mother, but I do buy her flowers. Also, I have a cleaner come once a week and she is awesome. I had a moment of thinking we should save that money but then I came to my senses. It’s bad enough trying to do ALL THE THINGS during nap time without trying to clean as well. A friend babysits my 4 year old once a fortnight for 5 hours. I’ve signed up to a service that delivers the ingredients for 4 meals a week so I no longer need to devote brain space to answering the question ‘what do we want to eat and what do I need to buy’. I get groceries delivered. It is great having money to throw at these problems right now.

I think having a second child is going to be ok.

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All quiet, All good

I’ve quit blogging  in favor of trying to comment a bit more frequently on the blogs/twitters I do read and journaling the photos I take of Moo, my family and my surroundings (I love Day One).

I may yet come back later, but in the meantime – some random bullets of life…

This past year

  • We’ve had a fantastic year and a bit in Christchurch.  We have done SO much as a family – skied, camped, run, hiked, traveled and spent time with our immediate and extended family.  We’ve truly lived up to the statement we made in Moo’s preschool profile, “what our family likes to do: ‘Travel and Eat'”.
  • I achieved key professional and personal goals including FINALLY skiing off-piste and black trails at Mt Hutt.  I’m still not quite Top of the Towers brave and I will probably go all my life without venturing on to the South Face – but I am perfectly happy with that.  I am perfectly content with the achievement of getting down the Platter Splatter and Log Chute with reasonable style.  Especially as I fucking hated the traverse over some nasty ice to get to the Platter Splatter.
  • Quite hilariously, after this year, I would have been happy to stay on in Chch, but Dr DK wanted to go back to Perth for work reasons. I couldn’t argue really (although I tried).  So – back we go again.
  • This is giving me a good chance to get rid of more furniture and stuff I don’t want.  It feels good both to divest and to think about how I want my house and future possessions to be more intentionally chosen.
  • I have also been putting quite a bit of thought into what has made me so happy to be living in Christchurch this year.  It comes down to family that is close (but not too close), a walkable/quick car commute, easy access to skiing/outdoors, the ability to share the commute/school drop offs and walk to have lunch dates with my husband because our work places are close. I am not yet sure how to incorporate all that back into our life in Perth.  We would have to move house – but that’s not viable for family reasons.  Which lead into the family being too close.  And Perth is in no way close to skiing.
  • So, I am pretty sure we’ll end up back in Christchurch in the future. Now is not the right time to stay, but we can plan to come back.
  • I look forward so much to coming back over the next few years and seeing how the city changes and develops now that more buildings are going up than  coming down. I really love this city – living and working in the post-apocalypse of the earthquakes has made this feeling so much more vivid.  I feel connected here now.

The Future

  • After four years and having reconciled myself to life with one child… yep, I’m pregnant again (currently 21 or 22 weeks?). In the fine tradition of my children inconveniencing me even prior to birth, I’ll be too pregnant to attend my brother’s wedding in Canada in June.
  • I also had to tell my work in Perth that after being on leave without pay for 12 months, I’d like to go straight into maternity leave. That was awkward.
  • As awkward as interrupting my manager here, who was telling me he wanted to take me off contract to put me on permanently, that I was resigning.
  • On the upside, I can see how to use my work experience here to progress in my career back there and have been able to build some new connections that should help both my colleagues here and there share knowledge and improve our services.
  • I veer between being quite happy about having another child and absolutely dreading the baby phase.  All my happy memories (and I have photos to prove both I and Moo looked happy fairly frequently) seem to be subsumed under memories of the SCREAMING and DIRE LACK of SLEEP.  And the STROLLER REFUSAL and the CAR SEAT HATE and and and and… let’s just not think about it and focus on how awesome 4 is.
  • I am very sad that Moo will be leaving her excellent and very well resourced preschool here where she has been absolutely thriving (think on-site swimming lessons, spanish, specialist art and music, trips to the cybrary with buddies from the big school, one of her aunties was one of her teachers, ballet class…)
  • She’s booked into a community kindergarten back in Perth about 2 minutes walk from our house. However, they only attend a 5 day fortnight and it’ll be without a bunch of the ‘extra’ stuff on-site. But on the upside, it is small classes and SUPER convenient. So, I’ve been looking up swimming lessons, music, a literacy program… Anything to keep her busy! She’s very high energy – always has been.  The kid happily walked  8 km of the Queen Charlotte Track at age 3, singing and chatting all the way.  She needs action and people to talk to.
  • However Moo starts Big School (5 year old Kindergarten) in February so I’ll be able to be on maternity leave through her first term at school. It’ll be nice to ease the transition by being able pick her up from school at least for the first 10 weeks.
  • This time round – the baby ain’t even born yet and it’s already on waitlists at three different daycares. I am not getting caught out having to drive out of my way to do daycare drop offs again!  Two of the daycare centres the baby is waitlisted at are within 600 m of the Big School, one is within 600 m of of my work.
  • However, given the need to deal with school holidays, pick-ups and drop-offs, we may yet decide a nanny is a better option.
  • I have freaked myself out by realizing that my kids are going to be five full years apart at school.
  • Also – I will be 50 (!?!!) when Moo finishes high school

The Now

  • But having thought about all that, I’m going to focus on the right now.  And right now, I have to go – I have a baby blanket to crochet and less than 20 weeks to do it in.

 

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A no good, terrible blogger

Well, this year has not been a year of prolific blogging.  There are a few reasons – some happy (like being so busy doing fun stuff that I haven’t spent 7 consecutive nights in my own bed since early June) and some less happy (like feeling I really want to write about my experience of living in Christchurch – the awesome and the awful – but not quite feeling entitled to do so and therefore not writing anything).

In the fun stuff file – I have managed to do quite a bit of skiing and we’ve still got a few weeks of the season left.  I can not express how happy I am to be able to wake up in the morning and decide to blow-off all my other plans because it’s a bluebird powder day.  Both my husband and mother in law have been supreme enablers of me accruing skier miles and it has paid off. My confidence and skill are so much better than they were at the start of the season.  I can competently ski a black trail, even if my brain is going – faaark – most of the way down. I don’t totally freak out in flat light/white out conditions. I’m willing to venture off trail if it isn’t too steep.  I have developed preferences about my skis (my favourite demos this season were the Head Mya No 8, if you were wondering). Overall, I feel like I’ve pushed myself and achieved something.

In travelling:

In June we went to Hanmer Springs early in the month and then Wellington towards the end of the month.  Our trip up to Wellington was delayed a day by really bad weather – but the weather was ok when we eventually got there.  And as a bonus we got to see snow in Christchurch – I think I was quite unreasonably excited to see snow in my very own garden.

In July, I skiied.  Lots.   Therefore I spent quite a bit of time in Methven.

In August, we had an excellent holiday in Wanaka – two days skiing at Cardrona in some great winter snow and a few down days sightseeing.  We had a great meal at Carrick winery near Bannockburn.  The food and wine was fantastic and they cater really well for kids.  There is a lovely big grassy lawn, a good kids menu, lovely staff and plenty of toys.  My mother in law and husband had fun with Moo at Puzzling World. My BFF and I went running by the lake.

And now, we’re just back from a week home in Perth… I seriously have no idea when I’ll be 7 nights at home yet.  Probably some time in mid-October… and then camping & hiking season will begin!!!

 

 

 

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An updated list of fun

Here’s a few of the things that have kept us busy in New Zealand so far…

Family Fun Stuff in and around Christchurch

1. Visit the paddling pools at Christchurch Botanic Gardens (assuming they’ve re-opened, the sign I saw in September indicated they’d be open for summer.  If not, the back-up is just to actually walk around in the gardens within Hagley Park)     We visited the paddling pools several times and we even found another lovely little paddling pool at Abberley Park, close to where we are now living.  It was lovely to splash around in the sunshine and make the most of some very good summer weather.

2. Go to Lyttelton for brunch and the Farmer’s Market  We went here with my BFF when she came to visit and it was great. We got some lovely apples and fresh veggies. The stall food available was also excellent.  There was music and Moo had a fun time dancing. We’ve visited a few other farmer’s markets now, and Lyttleton is is still our favourite and worth the 15-20min drive.

3. Go to Sumner beach and paddle in the sea.  I doubt I’ll actually swim though.  (My willingness to swim in NZ is pretty limited.  I think I swam in the ocean about 4 times in the 3 years I lived there and only about 2 of those times did I actually feel hot enough to swim) We went down to Sumner to see the people who race the Coast to Coast come in.  (The coast to coast is a mad multi-sport event involving running, kayaking and biking from one side of the South Island to the other.  It has a few different categories for a two day even, but the maddest folk are the ones who do The Longest Day). It was warm enough for paddling but as expected, I wasn’t actually tempted to swim.

4. Visit Orana Park and hope not to get peed on by the lions.  (True story, one of my SILs friends really was sprayed with lion urine)

5. Go row boating on the Avon.

6. Take a weekend camping trip to Peel Forest

7. Lunch at a winery in the Waipara    We’ve been to Waipara Springs so far and enjoyed the wine, lunch and a post-lunch bush walk. Moo enjoyed the awesome kids platter, large lawn and sandpit.  We’ve still got a voucher for Pegasus Bay to use though!  The menu looks great. :-)

8. Go skiing with Moo and her Nana at Mount Hutt mid-week

9. Go skiing with Moo and Dr DK on the weekend.

10. Have a market lunch at the Cashel Mall re:Start (it’s an open-air shopping ‘mall’ made of shipping containers)  DK and I now work very close to each other and have a standing lunch date on Wednesdays.  We’ve tried a few places, but the best so far has been the amazing lamb souvlaki from Dimitris Greek Food.

11. Go hiking in the Port Hills

12. Go for a swim at Jellie Park Aqualand.  Happily, Moo and her Dad went to do this without me.

Fun Stuff for ME!

1. Visit my friend in Auckland (FIA) for the weekend – all by myself.  This was MAGNIFICENT fun.  I did a lot of child free shopping at some of my favourite NZ clothing stores (Kilt, Workshop and Storm).  We had breakfast out twice, a long lunch with good company and food purchased from the farmers market at La Cigale, went to the rugby at Eden Park and ate Bluff Oysters (the *best* oysters) and drank wine and girl-talked at the Ponsonby Road Bistro.  I fully intend to repeat this weekend again later in the year.

2. Take my FIA skiing for the first time ever! (We’ve got a week in Wanaka planned in August. Yay!)

3. Get a shellac manicure in a really fun colour.   It was pink. Very, very pink. And very, very fun.

4. Then get the shellac removed properly when it grows out and replaced by a more sedate colour.  (didn’t quite manage this as I had to do a self-removal job due to a work event. So hey, maybe I need to do it again)

5. Catch up for dinner with my Chch friends (all ex-graduate engineers/geologists from the company I worked for in Auckland)  {I’ve had dinner with one friend, it took ages to set up and in the meantime we ran into each other in the street and then while talking at dinner we realised we’d be at the same meeting the next day! }

6. Join a craft group and go monthly.

7. Related to #6, pick a couple of ‘big’ projects, like a tote bag or baby sized blanket and then work on them.

8. Go out on the weekend to a nice cafe, all by myself to drink coffee and read the paper. I’ve managed to do this during the week while Moo is at pre-school. Again, this is something I’d like to do more of!

9. Join a running group and train for the St Clair Half Marathon.  If I’m going to do a half marathon, I like the idea of running through vineyards, with lots of people I know (like all five of my husbands siblings and my FIA) and being rewarded for finishing with a bottle of wine.  Report in previous post.

10. Find the Kilt shop again for great NZ fashion. They made perfect denim shorts and I’m hoping for more gems.  I bought this coat: http://www.kiltonline.co.nz/estore/style/coat-jetson.aspx?c=3150

11. Go to Wellington and end up (inevitably) a bit hung-over.  (This is booked for mid-June. We’re going for a long weekend and taking my mother-in-law too so hopefully will get out for a grown-up dinner.)

12. Go see a band with my husband.  Preferably somebody loud.

13. Read more of Michael King’s histories of New Zealand.  And more Ngaio Marsh.

Fun stuff we’ve done that wasn’t on the list

1. Easter weekend in Nelson. It was meant to be for a 40th birthday and it turned into a surprise wedding (sadly I had to miss the reception because Moo was a horror after not enough sleep and too much excitement) but it was still a very good weekend.

2. Disney on Ice: is next weekend! My mother-in-law bought her grandchildren and their parents tickets as a gift.  To quote on my BILs, “Moo loves Mickey Mouse with a fierce passion.” So she’s excited – I’m excited too, because I have never been to an ice-skating show before and I’ve always wanted to go to one.  I’m a bit dorky like that.

3. Hanmer hot pools: we broke our 6.5hr drive from Nelson to Christchurch with a detour to Hanmer for a walk, a swim and dinner.  It added quite a bit of time to the travel day, but was totally worth while.  After 5 hours in the car, we were all SO ready for a swim in the hot pools.  We’ll be heading back there at the start of June and the end of July too. I might consider getting a discount pass!

Fun stuff newly added to the list

1. Go ice skating – hopefully at the Staveley Outdoor rink but definitely at the Alpine Ice rink in town.  I haven’t been skating in a long time (in fact, I can’t remember if I’ve skated since I was in high school, when we used to skate at a rink in Kuwait.)

2. Watch this sculpture develop and then burn.  It’s in the shape of the seismic reading from the February 11 earthquake. I feel this could be very cathartic – even for me. I have some very mixed feelings about Christchurch and the earthquakes that I may blog about later. I love the city but some days, it still makes me want to cry. And I wasn’t here before.

3. Go to some Christchurch Writer’s Festival Events in August/September… programme not available yet.

4. Go to Christchurch Arts Festival events… programme not available yet.

 

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Things I never thought I’d do…

So, I ran a half marathon. It was a beautiful course. The St Clair half takes you through vineyards and along the Wairau River in the Marlborough region at the northern end of the South Island. Clear blue skies, golden autumn colors and a fresh nip to the air to encourage running just to warm up!  I don’t have any photos myself but the race event photostream on flickr captured the day really well – e.g. this photo of the vines

While my run was notable in that it was quite out of character – also notable was that my husband and all his five siblings ran the course this year. Our times ranged from 1hr20 to 2hr38. His younger brother (who won last year) would have been quicker but he took a wrong turn and added about 4 minutes to his time. That was hilariously appropriate as my husband’s family is notorious for getting lost. My husband came in second of the siblings at 1hr30.

I was pretty happy with my time at 2hrs38– it was better than it might have been due largely to the influence of my BFF who finished her half and then TURNED AROUND to find me and then ran back to the finish with me again. She kept up a constant stream of pep talk, which really helped me keep running when frankly, I would have pretty happy to walk! (Yes, she is awesome and has amazing legs: see this photo for evidence, she’s in a black hoodie next to my husband, the tall guy in a long sleeved blue shirt and yellow runners).

My preparation in the month before the run was not the best – I had a calf strain just over a month before the race and had to cut back how much I was running. Then 10 days before the race I tripped on some earthquake damage on the footpath and sprained my ankle and couldn’t run at all until race day. I’m not sure that’s quite what is meant by a taper… However, my physio strapped my ankle up to within an inch of immobile and it worked ok (see this photo for evidence of massive ankle strapping – it’s how my husband recognized me in the photo as he clicked through them)

I’d gladly go back and run the race again. It’s very much a ladies race even though it’s not promoted as such– 75% of the entrants were women! However, it is promoted as a ‘fun’ rather than ‘serious’ half marathon and that I suppose makes it more female-friendly. How serious can you take a race where there is sauvignon blanc sorbet on offer at one of the water stops and a beer tent at 18km. I gave the beer a miss but the sorbet was lovely. The on-course entertainment was good fun too – a banjo man, a pipeband, a drummer and some kapa haka.

After the race, my husband, BFF and I managed to stir ourselves up enough to go to wine tasting at Wither Hills – it was nice to actually try some of their cellar door only and reserve wines rather than just the supermarket line (although, the supermarket line is still pretty damn tasty). I felt a bit of wanker, but I did really like their single vineyard organic sauvignon blanc. Very limey and fresh.

We followed up with a mother’s day lunch the next day at Hunter’s Winery. If you’re looking for a place to eat with kids in Marlborough, I’d really recommend it.  They had lots of toys, lots of garden and a few diversions like a little native bush trail and sculpture garden.  (You can also buy their wine from the website in the US. I rated their bubbles the MiruMiru)

Then we drove back to Christchurch through the sea mist at sunset along the Kaikoura coast.  It was a beautiful end to the weekend.  (I didn’t have a camera but this photo is far more reflective of the scene than anything I could ever capture)

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So, it turns out moving countries keeps one rather busy

We’ve been in NZ for nearly three months now. It was summer when we arrived here in February (well, not the actual day we arrived – which was 9degC and raining ) and now it is autumn and snow is starting to fall on our home mountain.  

I can’t quite believe how much we have packed into the last three months.  We bought a house (which was INCREDIBLY stressful) and are unpacked bar putting pictures on the wall.  That’ll have to happen soon because the box of pictures needs to go so we can get the dining table we just bought into place. Our house is much, much smaller than our place in Perth – but I actually really like it. Less cleaning, less clutter, less stuff. It’s enough.

We’ve started new jobs and caught up with old friends.  My job is unbloggable – but good.  Dr DKs job is unbloggable – but good too and it is so WONDERFUL that he has no after hours or on call work.  I have managed to just ‘run into in the street’ three friends I wanted to catch up with: and that’s happened twice with two of the three friends.

Despite randomly running into people, we’ve struggled to catch up meaningfully with friends to date – but for the best of reasons. We’ve just been flat out with settling in and doing stuff with DKs’ family and it’s been FUN. I do love the way their events snowball – it starts out with a plan to catch up with one aunt and then it somehow organically ends up with 15 people around a table in a cafe all afternoon…  However, the settling in process is ‘settling down’ and we’re starting to fit in catch ups with friends (especially DK who has a good friend here with a ‘man cave’ where they can watch rugby and play darts – no girls allowed – and also go mountain biking with). And I spent a whole weekend in Auckland with my BFF without husband or child which was AWESOME.  (I may have been distinctly cavalier about getting to the airport to go home – I made my flight with 2 minutes to spare before the check-in cut off! This is *very* out of character as I’m usually excessively early)

And that leads into the fact that I have made good progress on ticking items off the fun stuff list so far this year.  I might make my next post an edit of the lists – I think I need to add some more items to keep the momentum up! 

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Because nothing cheers me up like making a list

I would love to write a post about the awesome-ness that was our big family trip to Japan (and the special sauce that was the first 3 days of the trip at the Conrad Suites in Bali)… but my brain is fried with moving and finishing work and packing and thinking about where I’ll be living in less than 3 weeks!! Which, in case you were wondering, is not my house. And not my city. Not even my country.  We’ll be in Christchurch, NZ from February. And I’m not taking all my good wine glasses.  Just in case they all fall off a shelf in an earthquake or something.

So, to counter the escalating brain explosivity being caused by moving anxiety, I got inspired by Anandi & Cloud’s & Moxies Fun lists and decided to focus on all the good stuff to come in the year ahead.

So – here they are: some lists

Family Fun Stuff in and around Christchurch

1. Visit the paddling pools at Christchurch Botanic Gardens (assuming they’ve re-opened, the sign I saw in September indicated they’d be open for summer.  If not, the back-up is just to actually walk around in the gardens within Hagley Park)

2. Go to Lyttelton for brunch and the Farmer’s Market

3. Go to Sumner beach and paddle in the sea.  I doubt I’ll actually swim though.  (My willingness to swim in NZ is pretty limited.  I think I swam in the ocean about 4 times in the 3 years I lived there and only about 2 of those times did I actually feel hot enough to swim)

4. Visit Orana Park and hope not to get peed on by the lions.  (True story, one of my SILs friends really was sprayed with lion urine)

5. Go row boating on the Avon.

6. Take a weekend camping trip to Peel Forest

7. Lunch at a winery in the Waipara

8. Go skiing with Moo and her Nana at Mount Hutt mid-week

9. Go skiing with Moo and Dr DK on the weekend.

10. Have a market lunch at the Cashel Mall re:Start (it’s an open-air shopping ‘mall’ made of shipping containers)

11. Go hiking in the Port Hills

12. Go for a swim at Jellie Park Aqualand.

Fun Stuff for ME!

1. Visit my friend in Auckland (FIA) for the weekend – all by myself.

2. Take my FIA skiing for the first time ever!

3. Get a shellac manicure in a really fun colour.

4. Then get the shellac removed properly when it grows out and replaced by a more sedate colour.

5. Catch up for dinner with my Chch friends (all ex-graduate engineers/geologists from the company I worked for in Auckland)

6. Join a craft group and go monthly.

7. Related to #6, pick a couple of ‘big’ projects, like a tote bag or baby sized blanket and then work on them.

8. Go out on the weekend to a nice cafe, all by myself to drink coffee and read the paper.

9. Join a running group and train for the St Clair Half Marathon.  If I’m going to do a half marathon, I like the idea of running through vineyards, with lots of people I know (like all five of my husbands siblings and my FIA) and being rewarded for finishing with a bottle of wine.

10. Find the Kilt shop again for great NZ fashion. They made perfect denim shorts and I’m hoping for more gems.

11. Go to Wellington and end up (inevitably) a bit hung-over.

12. Go see a band with my husband.  Preferably somebody loud.

13. Read more of Michael King’s histories of New Zealand.  And more Ngaio Marsh.

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