Monday, December 23, 2013

The Great Joys of My Life

One of the greatest joys of my mom life is looking at my babies while they sleep. In a "sweet mom" way, not a "creepy stalker" way.

I've never really done much of that because Tommy was a very light sleeper, and I was too tired to do anything but sleep when Little John slept. But when we moved into our new house last month, the kids had a flashlight for the first few nights we lived there. And replacing C batteries every other night because they left it on was too expensive, so I made Josh give Tommy the reading lamp we've been meaning to give him for a long time. And now the boys really love that lamp. I mean really love it. They turn it on and read books after bedtime for heaven only knows how many hours, and that's why when I go to bed, I detour through their room to turn off their lights and make sure they're tucked in and warm.

A few nights ago, I was walking past their room and heard Little John still awake long past bedtime. I peeked in and he had emptied his crib of all pillows, blankets, lovies and books and somehow removed his footie jammies and diaper and was laying stark naked in the middle of the mattress probably trying to get warm. I snuck in and snuggled him warm, got him dressed and tucked him in again. He gratefully accepted the blanket offering and rolled right over to go to sleep. Meanwhile Tommy slept soundly as I looked at his adorable face.

Remember when I was all pregnant and wrote about the day that Tommy would outgrow my lap and have to sleep under the bench at church? 1pm church just might be making that a reality. Yesterday, Josh and I sat on opposite ends of the bench and the boys each took a lap to lay their heads in and kicked each other's feet while they faked sleep. I immediately remembered the words "Someday my baby might outgrow my lap and have to lie down under the bench instead" and teared up.

I thought that watching my babies grow would break my heart in a sad "I wish I still had a tiny one" way, but it hasn't. Though I often wish I still had a tiny one. It has broken my heart wide open because every time I think I can't love them more, I do it anyway. (And then they try to kill each other and the moment is gone...but this is not a post about those moments.) They keep getting cooler and smarter and funnier and lovely and sweet and kind and thoughtful and adorable. It is such a pleasure to watch them grow, but my greatest pleasure is watching them rest.

So each night, as I walk past their bedroom, move some books, arrange some lovies, re-blanket the cold ones, and unkink their awkward necks, I turn out their lights, kiss their noses and remember that those moments - those peaceful watching-over-them moments are all I ever wanted.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Things I Do For My Kids: A morning at the dentist

Before we moved Josh and I saw his Aunt for dental cleanings. So when Tommy finally had teeth, he just came with us to the dentist and Aunt Lisa smiled at him and he opened his mouth to have his teeth counted and we called that a visit.

But then (a year ago) we moved here and didn't want to drive to Salt Lake for a dentist, so we have been "going to get a new dentist" for 13 months.

Finally I made an appointment for both boys and worried about how well they'd do all week before we went.

But as it turns out, pediatric dentists are awesome. And Tommy is brave. And John likes enormous stuffed animals.

It all went surprisingly well. But you know that feeling when you leave the dentist like you're going to throw up? Now Tommy knows it too.

That's why if you drove past our dentist's office on Monday morning around 10, you saw me crouched down  (no coat, yes flip flops, yes 12 degrees outside) by Tommy clearing a space in the snow on the grass outside with my bare hands . Because he really didn't want to barf on the snow.

Poor boy.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Sunday Sunday

I miss my ward. And the old neighborhood.

Tommy misses his Primary class (and especially his teachers) like you wouldn't believe. And he wants to ride bikes. Which he thinks he can only do at our old house because as soon as we moved it turned into Utah and it's been bitter cold and covered in snow outside. I'm not really sure when he'll realize we're not going back there.

Little John doesn't talk enough to express missing home. But I'm sure he does. Because how could he not?

During the move Josh's work schedule changed. He asked for Sundays off and by some small miracle he got it. Josh has been working at least every other Sunday for....I don't know, longer than I care to think about. And honestly, if I didn't have the calling I had, I might have stopped going to church without him. The boys and I had some good really good weeks when I convinced myself I could handle it, and some really horrible weeks when I swore I'd never leave my house again, but most of the weeks were just hard and over time it all felt so.....pointless. I was getting nothing but mad at my kids, and my kids were crazy and ornery and so so tired and wiggly and ... children.

Here's the thing, I have a testimony and I love church. And I even love The Church. And I love The Gospel. But I felt worn down and alone. So this schedule change which gave me an extra set of hands felt like a gift from God, just for me. Like "I can see you need it, so let me boost you just a bit."

So a month ago my Sundays were very full and structured days. The alarm went off just as early as any other day and the Sunday clothes lasted at least 6 hours for all of us. They were busy days during which I wasn't as available to them as I wanted to be.

And right now, I have this sweet grace period right after you move where they don't call you to anything, and when/if they do it isn't likely to be too demanding - because what if we turn out to be unreliable? - and I get Sunday mornings to spend with my sweet family doing exactly what I want to and avoiding everything else. At least that's what it felt like this morning.

So we made breakfast. The good kinds. Eggs, muffins, fruit. Delicious.

I didn't make the kids get dressed, because late church = late jammies.

So we sat around the Christmas Tree talking and playing. The boys took turns playing the piano, I read a book, and Josh slept.

It was a beautiful morning. And I'm looking forward to a few more like it before we switch to 9:00 church and I start enjoying beautiful afternoons.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Magic of Christmas

This Christmas has mostly seemed significantly less than magical.

We've been blessed and are (as always) thankful for so many good people in our lives. Though our circumstances have left plenty to be desired we've been well cared for. And that is important. Perhaps even most important. 

But I was still feeling a little grinchy. 

Our house was (is if we're being honest....) buried in boxes. The thought of getting out Christmas decorations made me want to curl up in a ball and cry until the new year. 

But then one night I took both boys to the grocery store shortly before 5. We went to the bank to deposit their birthday savings, then grab a few necessary groceries. There was a group of carolers dressed up singing songs and wandering around the store. Quite a lovely addition to the lame-sauce process of buying milk.

Christmas cheer started to spread and I stopped hating everything. I was in a long line waiting to check out when I remembered I needed to go get candy for the gingerbread house decorating thing on Sunday. So I turned around, but because of grocery traffic I went the long way around the store, we turned a corner and when I started to pass, I heard Tommy gasp and start pointing just one tiny finger under his chin. 

I stopped and looked where he was pointing, and there was Santa. Just sitting there waiting just for us. No line. No elves. No hustle. Just waiting. 

I boosted Little John out of the cart and he clung to me like I was trying to hand him over to the devil himself. (typical John behavior these days...) Then I boosted Tommy out of the cart and he stood right next to me trying so hard to be brave. (He typically stands behind my legs around new people. Next to me is a big big sign of bravery) I asked Santa if we could come over and say hi, and of course he said yes. We abandoned our cart and inched closer slowly. Tommy went over to him and gave him a high five, and knuckles, then I thought to reach for my phone to take a picture. 

Santa (the old pro) asked Tommy if he wanted to sit on his lap and talk with him for a minute. Tommy was so brave, and did exactly that. They talked about school and how old they were and Little John. They talked like old friends. Because apparently Santa in a grocery store at 5 o'clock is not in high demand and has all the time in the world to talk to Tommy. 

Eventually he asked Tommy what he wanted for Christmas, and Tommy told him the same thing he's been telling us for a couple of weeks. He wants a flashlight. But not just any flashlight - one that works.

It's going to be a really exciting Christmas morning around here. Because it's possible that we can make all his Christmas Wishes come true.

That's because Christmas really is magic. And Santa sometimes fixes everything.

Friday, November 22, 2013

The New House

This month has been insane for me. A lot of back and forth and trying to decide things and wondering if it's the right thing and trying to make good decisions quickly.

As soon as we got notice that we had to move, we started looking for a place. I scoured ksl and found a lot of workable places. We could live anywhere between Provo and Lehi, we were looking for a home with enough room to bring Cami with us (ideally) but we couldn't swing that it would be ok too. We had a wide price range and not a lot of solid specifications.

But finally we narrowed down the search and I thought I had found a couple of places that would work. Then I mentioned to a friend that we were looking, and she said she was moving out of the house she was renting and they were looking to replace themselves as tenants.

So I went over to see Katie's house in American Fork not really knowing what to expect. I walked through and noticed some oddities (a playroom downstairs with a totally tiled floor...weird? or cool? useful?) but mostly it was just a nice normal house. So I told Josh about it, and since the weird things were still puzzling me (laundry hookups in the downstairs bathroom?) I think overplayed the weirdness. But I still really liked the place. And asked Katie if she'd let us intrude one more time so I could just show it to Josh instead of trying to explain it.

We went over and our boys played in the yard with her kids while Josh and I wandered through the house. This time through I looked more at the things I remembered liking.
Room for my piano! - the only thing we own that I am unwilling to sell
Master bathroom!
Walk in closet!
Food storage room!
Covered back patio!
Big dining room!
Covered sandbox!
Dead end street!
Close to the freeway!

And as we pulled away Josh said "I don't understand why we wouldn't want to live there..." so I called the landlord.

3 days later we met George and he told us we could have it, so we turned down the others and started our plans to move there.

We continued filling up boxes, but stopped with the generic box labels "play room?" and got specific "tile room!" The garage is so full of packed boxes that we'll have to boot both cars from their warm homes and get them used to the cold of the driveway.

Cami will come with us, we'll enjoy our master bathroom (yay!!!) and figure out some way to soften up that tile floor for the play room. I'm looking forward to the change, a fresh start and new (and old) friends.

So, Tuesday is the big day, we'll load up the truck with the majority of our stuff after work and haul it to the new place and never look back. (Until Wednesday, when I'll spend the day cleaning at the old house in a pathetic attempt to get our security deposit back - which I simply don't believe will happen.)

The boys have been in heaven with the ridiculous stash of boxes we've accumulated. Everyday is fort day and when Tommy sits in a box, he's allowed to color on the walls (heaven!)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The First Fist Fight I Ever Saw

You think this is a flashback post going back to my Jr. High days when everyone crowded around the intersection of D and E hall and watched while Tyler the cool kid beat Eugene the nerd boy into oblivion over Lauren the cool girl.

But it isn't. Because when that happened I was in the band room - where nerd girls hang out between classes.

Well if I didn't see a real live fist fight in Jr. High, surely I caught one out by the track in high school right?
No. No I did not. I stuck with nerdiness well into my....oh wait. I'm still a nerd.

But tonight. Well, wow.

Wednesdays are Josh's favorite day because he leaves well before anybody who wants anything of him (me, the boys) is awake. and comes home after the boys are fast asleep peacefully in their beds.

On Wednesdays he has the perfect (sleeping) family. (lucky man.)

That's why I was wrangling the 2 Wild Ones on my own.

I was OK with the demand of sandwiches for dinner.
It was a relief that they wanted a show instead of a dance party.
And when they begged to go straight to jammies instead of baths I wiped my brow and audibly said "whew".
I sat in my usual place on the bed - with room for each boy to get to sit by climb on me, I naively thought we'd just choose some stories and say a few prayers and go to sleep.

Which was apparently WAY too much to ask. Because when Little John started hoarding all the new library books Tommy "The Banshee" Egbert wailed like he'd been shot in the eyeball with an arrow.
Which was fine, until Little John "The Whacker" Egbert decided he'd heard enough of that and took it upon himself to grab a big board book and play whack a mole with The Banshee's head.
The Banshee wasn't going down without a fight, and full on sucker punched The Whacker who crumbled on the spot, but army crawled over to get his revenge....with his teeth.

That's when I finally grew my go go gadget stretch mom arms and managed to keep them in separate corners of the ring room long enough to yell "ENOUGH! You're going to have to put yourselves to bed!" Then using my herculean strength I launched them both into their respective beds, turned out the light, closed the door and told them I hoped they'd make happier choices tomorrow.

Currently Tommy is brushing his teeth (which I gratefully count as putting himself to bed) and John is wailing in his crib because he wants to be allowed to brush his teeth too. He's alternating between requests for "teee teee" (teeth) and "uuuuug uuuuug" (hugs) both of which I typically get him out of bed for.

Hard to believe these boys

just showed me the first real live knock down drag out fist fight I've ever seen live.

This article is much less funny now that I suspect it's true.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Worst Breakup Ever

I've complained in a lot of venues about our landlord because living here has been....slightly less than thrilling in the landlord/tenant relationship.

We've had strangers show up to the door asking to see our home because it was listed as a short sale on the MLS. We've had notices of default on the mortgage posted on the front door. We've been to trustee's sale twice only to learn that Gabriel had filed for personal bankruptcy in order to stay the sale. But he never completed the bankruptcy, so it was dismissed, restarting the trustee's sale process.

We've had floods and water problems which he ignored (or took 3 days to respond to). We've worked hard to make the yard a little better, and show this house a little love and our efforts are typically....well unappreciated is the generous way to say it.

We've sortof known that this house could be foreclosed on at any moment and we'd have 90 days to find a new place. But moving is expensive (and such a pain) that we figured we'd just wait for that to happen. Or until we were ready to buy, then we'd give Gabriel our 30 days' notice and bolt.

On Halloween night while we were at my mom's with the whole family that HE was giving US 30 days and we had to be out so he could "move in" in order to qualify for a loan modification.
I saw the text and immediately started sobbing. Because I'm a sissy and I felt totally rejected.

It's like when you're in a crappy relationship, but you put up with the guy even though he's a jerk and then he breaks up with you before you can beat him to the punch, which leaves you feeling like even a jerk doesn't want you.

I cried for at least 3 days, and I keep getting weepy when I see the things I love about here.

I'll miss our ward. I'll miss our house. I'll miss the stability I was finally starting to feel here. I'll miss the neighbors and the mountains out my front door and I'll really really miss the sight of Tommy crouched under the apple tree stirring the dirt and being a little boy.

But I won't miss the floods, the broken water pipes, the bees (oh the bees!) or the crazy tree stump that looks like a person in the front yard. I won't miss the sumac shoots that will. not. quit. or the weeds which will likely take over the lavender bushes in front. I won't miss the insane utility bills or the constant draft in the winter. I won't miss wondering if we can keep living here or if we're going to get notice that we're out. I won't miss the front of Provo Courthouse waiting for a trustee's sale that won't happen. And I won't miss the landlord.

So I suppose as is usual, change is good. And as soon as we find a place to live, I'll be looking forward to that change.

Now I have to try to find my living room which is currently buried in boxes and attempt to get some packing done. If I don't leave my house for the next 3 weeks, just forgive me. OK?

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Oh Little John

When I learned I was pregnant with Tommy I immediately screamed and insisted that Josh get out of bed to properly celebrate with me at 5am. It took everything I had not to announce it to the world (via blog of course) that I was pregnant at 5:02. I not so patiently waited until 7:30 when Josh was driving me to work so we could call our moms. Then I posted it on the blog at 7:34 from my office and thoroughly enjoyed a day (or 3) of congratulations POURING in.

Tommy was an answer to everybody's prayers. Not just mine.

But Little John? Little John was just mine. All mine. I took a pregnancy test by myself in the middle of the day while Tommy was napping. And then I hid the positive pregnancy test and didn't tell Josh for a few days. I wanted to enjoy him (though I didn't know he was him) all by myself. I didn't want to share. He was MY baby and I wasn't ready to announce it yet.

After a while I told Josh.

Then everybody else.

Then I proceeded to grow a beautiful beautiful baby.

Who Tommy named Little John. Oh my gosh, remember that? When Tommy was too little to say Little John and he called him 'iddow yawn? My heart just re-melted.

Lately Little John has become kindof a pain the butt. He still only has a few teeth, and all of the ones under the gums are making him a little devilish. But last week a few more of those teeth popped right through and (in the words of my friend Aundrea) scared the devil right out of him.

Those teeth coming through are just a thing of beauty. John has gotten back to being a loving and snuggly and sweet sweet boy. Apparently teeth make him happy. And teethING makes him....not.

At his Dr. appointment a couple weeks ago we learned that he is staying right on his middle-of-the-road growth curve. He hates Dr.'s, nurses, scales, measurement tools and especially needles. And he only loves suckers. One in each hand and one in my hair. thankyouverymuch And he can get pretty much anything he wants from his mother when he's in pain.

One thing I love about Little John is that he gets deliriously happy. He laughs and giggles and his eyes literally twinkle. just like the movies He is magic. And oh so wonderful! I love this boy.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Memories: Primary Program

As a child, the Primary Program was a big deal to me. A chance to show off and be praised.

I'd memorize my part no matter how long it was and be unreasonably proud when people were (properly) impressed by my mad skills.

One year I did that embarrassing thing where you talk too loud into a mic and everybody laughs, which makes you feel stupid, so then you're all stupid and jittery. At 9 years old I was properly embarrassed to speak in public.

But mostly I just remember my parents being proud of me when I was done. Such a lovely feeling. I'm sure I milked it for all it was worth. And maybe a little more.

The week they handed out parts for the primary program we were on vacation in St. George. So the next week when Tommy got his part, I was worried a week wasn't long enough to learn it.

When you think of others before yourself, you make a forever family.

But then I remembered how Tommy has a freaky awesome memory and it would be easy.

We said it together a few times on Sunday afternoon and by Monday he had it down. But he got bored of saying it right and thought it would be better if it had potty words in it.

When you think of tooting before your toot, you make a forever bum toilet. 

Aww young humor.

So we made up a song so he'd stop with the potty words. Which miraculously worked. Most of the time. I was still a little concerned that he'd bust out the toilet line while on the stand, but I think he was just the right amount of terrified.

Grandma Fugal came and sat with me and Little John during the program which makes this officially the easiest sacrament meeting I have attended in 4 years.

The put the sunbeams on the ground level just in front of the rostrum, which I'm sure was a wise choice given the ants which clearly occupied their pants. But I was bummed not to be able to see Tommy most of the time. His class of sunbeams has like 15 little boys in it. And as far as I know zero girls. They have 4 teachers, 2 sets of 2 which alternate teaching weeks. And all 4 teachers were there to help with the program.
One stood at the microphone feeding them lines and boosting them up.
One stood on the left side of the stand to wave them up in a line.
One stood on the right side of the stand to wave them from the mic back down to their seats.
And one stayed at their seats to welcome them and get them to fold their arms again.

When it was Tommy's turn, he did great. No toilet. No toots. No potty jokes. And especially no shouting. Just his "mediumest" voice saying the assigned words. I've never been so relieved in my life. Except that one time when after he didn't exist in the ultrasound we made a deal and he properly posed for the camera and we knew he was a real baby with a beating heart in there.

I was so proud, it was all I could do to stay in my seat and not run over to him to tell him how proud I was of him for being so brave. Which I knew I'd do immediately after the meeting. But then those 4 awesome sunbeam teachers took him straight to class and I didn't even get to see him for 2 more hours!

Anyway, the point is that Tommy is amazing. And brave. And kind and smart and important. And I love him. Because really, what's not to love?

Friday, October 25, 2013

History: Music

I don't remember not taking piano lessons - though it was the case at some point in my babydom.

Me. Babydom. "Playing" the piano.
But I do remember my mom teaching me lessons, and hating it.

I also remember taking lessons with Sarah & Katy from some guy who lived over by Vittles which is now Arctic Circle in Pleasant Grove. But Vittles was famous for its grasshopper shake, which my sisters had me convinced contained real grasshoppers. His piano (and lessons) were in his basement and his house and all my memories of there make me squirm. He must have been a bit creepy to me.

But mostly when I think of piano lessons I think of Karla.

Karla taught lessons out of her home in her non-creepy basement and she. was. awesome.

I didn't realize it then, but it must have been a significant sacrifice for my mom to drive us over to Karla's house WAAAAAY over in Orem (whatever...that's far) then sit and wait through all our lessons before getting us all home. It took a lot of time. And that was just the lessons. The practice must have been torture - none of us were extraordinary pianists. Good - just not extraordinary.

The memories of my mom shouting over the piano noise from the kitchen "flaaat!" or "shaarp" will be with me forever.

We'd sit in Karla's basement and while one person was having a lesson, the other would do technical games on the computer or read music history worksheets.

From Karla I learned about playing hymns (something I still struggle with) and reverence for music. I wasn't a very emotionally expressive person but Karla would not give up on me. "moooove your body while you play" she'd say - while exaggerating her body movement while she played. "Feel the piece. What is it about? Where is the emotion?" I never really got that. Though I like to think that if I played today it would be different.

Karla also arranged for some pretty awesome musical opportunities. I got to compete in stuff, do the regular recitals, group lessons, collect trophies and even record a song in a real live recording studio.

At one recital when I was 12 years old, I was playing a piece which was fast. Fingers flying all over the keyboard which was the only way I felt even a little accomplished as a pianist. Speed. Speed and memorization.

I practiced that song until I could play it in my sleep and my fingers KNEW it even if my brain didn't. In fact, it's still my go to song if I sit down without music.

Recital day came and I was nervous (as always) but dressed to the 9's. (Shoulder pads people. I was mature enough to wear shoulder pads.) and when I sat down to the beautiful piano on stage I was intimidated and shaky and terrified. I had the music, but I didn't need it. I played and played and played, and suddenly it was over. Too soon. I thought. The piece is longer than that....I must have played it faster than I ever have. 

And as I stood up to take my bow, I realized I had skipped the entire middle section.

My face immediately turned red and I was mortified. Nothing worse had ever happened to any musician ever. Not ever.

Somehow I survived that day, and took lessons a bit longer. But I quit before I got really good. I decided I wasn't really talented anyway, and I couldn't/didn't want to "waste my time" trying anymore. What a fool I was. But that was only one of the foolish things I did. 

I really love the piano. I love to play and I really love to listen.

Josh loves to play - but he doesn't read music, he just plays out of his head. And it's beautiful. I love to hear him play. I want our kids to play. I want to have accompaniment when we sing primary songs during FHE.

I've been begging for a piano since the day we got married. We've bought a lot of stupid stuff, but a piano wasn't ever on the list.

I've found a few on ksl lately that I'd like to own. But by the time Josh is available to go get it for me, it's gone. Plus he really hates the idea of moving a piano.

So tonight while he was at scout camp I got on ksl just in case my piano was there. And I saw one I kinda liked, and the guy selling it could deliver it. And I had the cash to buy it. So I loaded my pajama clad babies in the car to go look at it at 7:30.

When Kevin answered the door and I realized he was blind I was surprised. But he knew exactly who I was, what I wanted and which piano I was talking about directing me around the 14 others in his living room to the one I came to see. Shouldn't I have been directing him?

So I bought it and asked if he could deliver it. Yes he could.

He asked how late was too late, I stammered when I said "you mean tonight?" and let him know that anytime before 10 was fine with me but that I was no rush.

He called at 8:45.
He came at 9:45.

And that's the story of when I bought a piano from a blind guy (a blind guy who delivers pianos!) while Josh was at scouts.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

History: Donations

Tithing was a law in my house growing up, and it was never a hard principle for me to get on board with. Get money, pay your tithing. Easy. I was raised that way and I was promised that if I did I would be blessed both spiritually and financially.

The financial blessing really sunk in for me. I was probably 8 or 9 years old, for the first tithing settlement I vividly remember. Tithing settlement happens at the end of the year when you meet with your religious leader to declare if you paid a full tithe or not. The clerk gave me a piece of paper with the report of the money I had paid that year. It couldn't have been more than $6 or $7. But at the very bottom of that little paper is the math. $6 is 10% of $60. So it showed "total income = $60".

I waited anxiously outside the bishop's office for our turn.

When it seemed that things were wrapping up, I asked my sister (or mom?) when we'd get all that money. Fully expecting a check for $60 at the end of the night, I was a bit disappointed to learn that was how much money I had "earned" that year and I wouldn't see another penny of it.

Though the financial blessings of paying tithing haven't come in the way I once thought they would, they have always come. We've been blessed with the ability to provide for ourselves and when that ability ran out, we've always been given exactly what we needed.

A few years ago when we lived in Foxboro someone approached us about Friends of Scouting. They had announced in church that "every little bit helps" but when they asked us for money we (I) sortof cringed. Josh is definitely the generous one in this relationship. I think we gave them $5. (We were stingy stingy students!)

Fast forward to this year, Josh is collecting donations for Friends of Scouting. I asked him how it was going and my eyes nearly popped out of my head when he said someone gave him $150. One. Hundred. Fifty. Dollars. Cash money. To Friends of Scouting!!!! So I immediately flashed back to the cheapskates we were that year. I'm not sure who to apologize to for our insulting I'm apologizing to The Internet.

Dear Internet,
I'm sorry for coughing up 5 lousy dollars for the scouts. It's not that I don't believe in scouts, it's that I am cheap by nature and I had/have no concept of an appropriate donation size. Please forgive me and I'll do better next time.
Generous Me

Dear Scouting,
Stop being so dang expensive OK?
Poor Me

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Family Home Evening

We've never been good at family home evening, but a few months ago Tommy was playing with our super cute rotation chart and asked why it had all our names on it.

I explained what we should be doing, and what our assignments would be and he immediately nominated himself as "the boss of treats" forever more.

So we started having family home evening.

And by family home evening I mean Tommy picks a treat. Typically we wait for Josh to come home from work and look at a religious picture while one of us tries to remember what it's about and explain it to the kids.

One time Josh chose Abraham sacrificing Issac.

As it turns out, this is not a great bedtime story.

Josh: So Abraham's son was Issac, and he really really loved Issac.
Tommy: Like how much you love me?
Josh: Yes! Just like that! You're my son and Issac was Abraham's son and...
Me: Um...easy on the relating this story to our real life OK?
Josh: So God told Abraham to sacrifice Issac so they went for a little walk in the mountains....
Tommy: What's fice? What's a sack of fice?
Tommy: Why's that guy's hurtin that other guy with that sharp one. Is he choosin' dangerous?
Josh: Mom?
Me: You started it, good luck.

So you see lessons aren't our strong point.

But treats. We've totally got that under control.

Also singing. Because Little John can do a rendition of sun-BEAM that blows the roof off our place.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

I remember 4 years ago tonight

I was writing this post. 

And I thought I peed my pants.

And then we went to the hospital and on the way we ate at Wendy's because everyone told me if I didn't eat on the way I'd starve to death. But really nothing sounded good, so I ate half a salad in the parking lot at midnight.

And it took Josh a couple hours to clean out his car to make room for a car seat, because it was full (no really, FULL) of redbox movies and I sat on an old towel because for all I knew I just couldn't stop peeing my pants.

And I wouldn't let Josh call his mom on the way because what if I really did pee my pants?

And I realized I'd never leave home without a diaper bag again.

And I left a garbled message for my boss at 2am over the sound of the oxygen machine and through the mask on my face. They told me not to take it off and I'm nothing if not obedient. 

And my sweet little miracle was born and he didn't cry, and the cord blood shot all over the room, and he peed before they could weigh him and they were sure he would've been over 7 pounds if he hasn't peed everywhere first, and he was whisked away before I got to tell him how much I loved him.

And I cried every day for the next 3 weeks.

And every week for the next 4 years.

And my life has never been, nor will it ever be the same again.

Thank heaven for that.

Saturday, October 5, 2013


I'll be honest there are certain things I feel like I simply can't really love because it's cool to do so. I'm generally resistant to coolness because cool is not typically a crowd I fit in with.

Stuff like the cupcake craze (which is delicious- but also ridiculous)
And big fat glasses which used to be dorky (which is only ridiculous - but also cool)
And Downton Abbey (which I may never understand)
And vampire obsessions (which I KNOW I'll never understand)
And that one song that I love to listen to but hate to admit I like

But every now and then, there is something (or someone) I really really love. And it doesn't matter that 9,000 meme's show up in my Instagram feed or that everybody who's anybody loves him too. Because when he speaks he does it directly to my soul and almost always brings me to tears.

Today he did it again. And although I know it's as trendy to love Elder Holland as it was to quote "this really awesome story" from President Monson, I can't help it. He's just so dang lovable. Aren't they all?

Three cheers for this man who dared to disclose personal information and did so beautifully. I love him the most. And all the others the most too.

History: Childhood

Though I was born in Fresno, CA, I only remember one childhood home. And that was my Grandma & Grandpa Fugal's house in Lindon. Three Ninety North Main. 

I like saying the address, because when my Daddy would tell us stories at bedtime, they were always about his childhood and the scene was always always 381 East 3rd South. Now that I live in Pleasant Grove, I intentionally drive out my way to drive past that little red brick house and recite the address and beginning to all of his stories to myself again. "A long time ago, when I was a little boy at three eighty-one East third South....." I sortof hope that when my boys grow up they'll find themselves in Lindon and drive past Grandpa Fugal's house at 390 North Main and remember that it is the scene of my childhood memories. 

Like the time we were babysitting Mae's dog and there was a thunderstorm. Mae was Grandma's college roommate - but I didn't know that, just that she was Aunt Mae and part of our family. Bebe got scared (thunder you know...) and ran away. All of the doors to the house were closed, but with 5 kids in the house, I'm sure my parents didn't really know that she was still inside. I remember being instructed to look everywhere. Even in the gigantic chip barrel. The thought of her in there made me giggle. 

When we eventually found Bebe she had run under mom and dad's bed in their room downstairs. They had a waterbed and my dad had built the frame for it. The frame under the bed left some open caverns that could only be entered through the small corner openings and it was DARK under there. I thought she must have been terrified - and she apparently was because someone said that she peed under there. (Though I'm sure they didn't say "pee" because "pee" was a bad word at our house.) I can only remember hearing that it happened, I can't remember at all my mom complaining about having to clean it up - which must have been a miserable job because of the tiny opening. My mom wasn't (and still isn't) big on complaining about things. 

I believe we lived in that house for 6 years (with 5 kids!) and I'm sure that was tough for my parents, but I was too young and/or selfish to notice or care about toughness. For me it was just home. 

We loved to play cops and robbers and we'd leave a trail of Spencer's Construx leading to our hiding place which was almost always in the creepy under the stairs space of the storage room.

And I still think that yard is one of the most magical places on earth. It has huge trees (seriously SERIOUSLY huge trees,) a water fountain, fruit trees, lilac bushes, a trampoline, the barn and honeysuckle bushes which we'd lay in to hide for some epic games of hide and seek. None of it is well groomed or manicured, most things are run down and tired, but the wild growth of that yard was kid heaven.

Three ninety North Main. I have enough memories there to write all month about nothing but that house with its charming outdated features. The electric heating panel and rotary phone at the bottom of the stairs were particularly fascinating to me - though I still don't really understand why.

I wonder why Grandma and Grandpa chose that house when they were house hunting? Did they see it filled with charm and picture grandkids running around the backyard in the summer and sledding down the hill on the North side in the winter? What was it like when they bought it? Did they make improvements or has it always been the home I knew?

Three ninety North Main. That is where my childhood happened.

Friday, October 4, 2013

A Nanny

After high school my sister Katy went off to Connecticut to be a nanny for a family over a summer. I'm not exactly sure how she liked it, but I remembering thinking that she would be (a) rich and (b) living in a mansion. Like a mansion mansion. Like that rich bald guy in Annie mansion. I never really asked her about that summer - I wonder if she did live in a mansion. (Dear Katy, please do a blog post about your summer nannying? Now we're all curious.)

My perception of people with nannies really hasn't changed much over the years. Clearly these are humans with LOADS of cash and ginormous homes because who has extra room for extra people?! The idea blows my mind.

But a few weeks ago when Josh and I were looking at the craziness that is October, we realized we needed help with our lovely children. I couldn't quit my job for a month, and we couldn't find enough flexible child care for just a month either. We weren't really sure what to do - when suddenly Josh had a brilliant idea.

"Would you wanna see if Cami would want to come live with us in exchange for watching our boys? We have the guest room in the basement...she could just have that bathroom - we never really use it anyway....."
Yes! Yes I would!

Cami is Josh's younger sister and she's been working on moving out of the parent's house, but it hasn't all fallen into place quite yet, and this (to me) seemed like a brilliant idea solving all of our problems. Well not all of them. But some. 

So this week Cami has been living with us and caring for our kids while we're both at work and it has been heavenly. I don't have to take them anywhere, they don't whine about putting their shoes on, John naps in his own bed whenever he wants, and she is the kind of person that ANYbody can live with because she is only helpful and adds exactly zero extra work to my life. In fact, I've been giving the "doing the dishes and cleanup" credit to Josh all week, but I suspect it's really her. She just sneaks around taking care of things for me.

But I'm here to tell you, not all people with nannies are rich. And we don't live in a mansion (though having 5 bedrooms available to me still blows my mind. SO. MUCH. SPACE!) and nobody sings and dances in maid outfits while they cook.

It's just a temporary thing, and our house is up for trustee's sale again in a couple of weeks - so there's really no telling how long this will last. But in the meantime, I'm sure enjoying this gig.

Now just imagine if I could do all that myself. Next step: stay at home momming.

Thursday, October 3, 2013


I am an anxious person. I think I always have been, but for the last year or 2 it has been OFF. THE. CHARTS. No really, I took an evaluation and I scored in the most anxious of the anxious minds. I'm learning some new skills and working on getting myself and my life under control - but I'm still me and I still have plenty of bad habits.

Like saying "Sure, I'd love to help you with that." Because I genuinely would love to help you with that. But when all those thats come at the same time, I crumble. I find my life suffocating and crippling and I can't even keep my head above water - which is probably a good thing because it's time to just put my head down and plow through anyway.

Such was my state of mind when I totally lost it Tuesday morning.

Josh has found another temp job to work during the month of October. (Are you counting? That's 3. Plus massages on the side.) And will be working 60-75 hrs each week during October. Including both boys' birthdays AND halloween. Plus doing his (3) callings (in theory) and taking care of the kids so I can go to work.

I'm just doing my 1 regular job, trying to keep my kids alive and well, manage the house stuff and keep up with my (1) calling. But then I said yes to a bunch of stuff.
"Sure, I'll coordinate the freezer meals for the sisters." I said.
"Yeah, I can teach a workshop on organizing and simplifying our lives for night RS." I wrote.
"I'd love to serve on the board and head a committee for that event." I was giddy!
"Please ask me my opinion about your upcoming business decisions." I offered.
"Are birthday parties optional?" I begged.

Too many events requiring too much preparation all came due this month and by Tuesday morning I was maxed out. Totally and completely maxed out.

Josh could see the breakdown coming and did everything he could to relieve my stress. Except that he was stressed about his own overwhelming responsibilities.

I sat on a couch and cried. Sobbed. Sniffled. Whined. and mostly mourned over the life I had caught myself trapped in again. I keep thinking I can do all these things so I offer and accept the invitation and get excited about it. And then when it's go time - I cry.

Because all I want to do is snuggle up with my babies in bed and read them stories until they're asleep or bored. Not until I have to leave.
I want to take them for walks on our trail and watch the sun set together.
I want to spend John's naptime shopping for a piano online and have time to play it when I find the perfect one.
I want to know that when Josh comes home it's time to shut down the productivity machine instead of ramping it up.
I want to go on a date with him without feeling guilty for leaving my boys again when all they want is to stay home with me.

So I cried. And I felt like an idiot because I'm the one that agreed to do it. And really these things should be manageable. Plenty of people are dealing with plenty of other harder horrible things.

In a somewhat surprising move Josh solved a few of my problems, going well out of his comfort zone to take on some of the responsibility for me. He gave me great ideas about what I could say or do. He helped me manage and took the kids during some crucial moments that I needed to manage on my own.

But I still felt insufficient. So I beat myself up about being a pansy. And I beat myself up about taking on too much when I'm trying to slow down. And I beat myself up about letting down these people who are counting on me to deliver the thing I said I would.

And then a voice I trust said "you should tell the Mary & Martha story." And the voice inside me cringed because I hate that story. And my mind remembered a version* that brought me to comforted, loving tears.

So last night after talking for 45 minutes about how to organize your stuff to a few awesome women in my ward, I told the good version of the Mary & Martha story, and reminded myself (and them) that there's only one thing that matters.

I came home feeling a typical post-event high - feeling good about life and confident that I can manage the rest of the month. But I am equally confident this feeling is fleeting. I'll likely crumble under the stress again and require a reminder. Feel free to e-mail me sporadically through the month and remind me. OK? But don't expect a response because I'm busy putting my head down and plowing through the craziness.

*This story as told by Goldberg in The Five Books of Jesus changed it for me forever. I highly recommend it and the kindle version is cheap. Even free to borrow if you have Prime. And you do. Because it's awesome.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

10 new meals = sucess

Sometimes Often the 29th of the month rolls around and I go "Crap! A goal! I've been looking at that goal on the top of my daily calendar for 29 days now and I'm out of time!"

Sometimes it magically happens and I win.
Sometimes it doesn't and I don't.

And both are OK.

But this month? This month I. NAILED. It.

My goal of cooking 10 new meals was to get me out of my inevitable food rut. Even in January I knew I'd be in a food rut this time of year. Lo and behold, I think the month of July had me making pasta or sandwiches at least 8 times/week. And mac 'n cheese filled most other empty meal slots.

As it turned out my friend Charisse hosted a freezer meals activity and told me I could bring my boys if I'd come and we made 5 new meals in one night!

Plus I had zucchini and yellow squash coming out of my ears and Ruthie had the same problem and gave me a few new recipes to try with my garden haul.

Then when I was telling my family about our awesome freezer meals activity they got all like "I wanna try too!" and so we did, and I made 5 more new meals.

And just like that, my freezer is stocked, we tried a bunch of new things, and I met (and exceeded) my totally awesome goal for September.


Friday, September 20, 2013

When it rains....

Well we live in Utah, which I'm told is a dessert. So when it rains we go out to play!

My favorite thing about this was when I posted this photo and my next door neighbor's adult son (expecting his first baby! a girl!) Kade commented saying that he played in this exact same pool when he was this age. Something about this "pool" caused by the horrible sidewalks of Pleasant Grove city has been here for 20 years and being enjoyed for that long makes me so so happy.

John couldn't stand to be inside, but cried every time he got wet. So I stuck him in the stroller to keep his feet dry and handed the kid an umbrella.

.....which quickly became the coolest toy in the yard.

And with no umbrella to play with, Little John discovered the joy of the pool.

In truth this storm was CRAZY. Crazy crazy. Lightening, thunder, floods all over the neighborhood, trees torn out of the ground. It was nuts. But once it calmed down a bit we went out to enjoy. 

The next day (Sunday) I went into the massage room so I could grab something out of the storage closet in there, and found this

Turns out while I was feeling bad for all the people affected by the storm, our basement was flooded and mudded. This is nearly 24 hours later. Josh and I mopped up the mud and water and moved on - reminding ourselves again how glad we are to be renting here. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Tommy started preschool this year. He really really loves it. He learns new songs and games and loves to show me what he did today. 

Plus I love the walk to school in the morning - his school is just shy of a mile away and it's a nice little walk for the boys. Tommy knows the way (a straight shot North of here) and Little John knows when he's allowed to get out and walk too.

We usually get there a bit early and the boys sit on the sidewalk playing together until it's time to go in.

Last week I drove Tommy and John was heartbroken when he realized that he didn't get to play. Poor thing. 

I wondered about putting Tommy in school - he has 2 years until Kindergarten, but decided last minute to put him in and I'm (currently) so so glad I did. We were lucky to find great teachers who he loves. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Producing Produce

Last Saturday I helped my mom can her beans in exchange for a few bottles.

OK a few means like 9 million....

I got there AFTER the picking (bless her heart) and we washed and snapped and boiled and bottled and pressure cooked 58 pints of beans. That's right, FIFTY-EIGHT.

I really love doing stuff like this - as long as the kids aren't mad at me for abandoning them. Mom and I sat on the sofa snapping beans and talking for like 4 hours and it was lovely. Plus I came home with 36 pints of those beans, then went out to pick my own garden and found these.

And two days later, I was lucky enough to be given raspberries to feed my freezer jam addiction.

Obviously raspberries are the very best produce anybody has ever shared with anybody - but the beans are a close 2nd. My boys are in heaven. John downs them like he does most things. I swear he'd eat anything.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Love. True Love.

Tommy and John tend to make each other crazy. One has the thing the other wants and the other snatches is the one screams and the other gets mad about the screaming and screams back and then they start pushing and wrestling and if I'm lucky I get there before the kicking and hitting starts.

But during the last week or so, Tommy has become Little John's best friend and greatest ally. They've joined forces and I'm here to tell you that together they are unstoppable.

The other day we were waiting at the park for Josh to get off work so we could pick them up, and these boys had a blast playing with each other.

When Little John got to the top of the slide he was too scared to go down, so Tommy gladly jumped in and "trained" down with him. These two cheered each other on and helped each other up and loved each other the whole time. Tommy would say "you can do it Little John! I KNOW ya can!" and Little John would giggle and laugh and clap. It was a thing of beauty.

Meanwhile our bedtime ritual has started to include The Snuggle Bed. Because it just feels mean to leave Little John in his crib while Tommy and I snuggle. So, we all snuggle for a while together. And the boys love this. They laugh and giggle and tickle each other. They sing and play and have fun. They are simply adorable. 

There is nothing like watching these two enjoy each other. They are beautiful, lovely, kind and thoughtful children and it is a joy to be their mother.

This phase has lasted almost a week. They've stopped trying to kill each other and started to be best buds. And although I know it's just a phase and they'll likely start snatching things and picking on each other again soon, I'm soaking up every second of their goodness.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


So we're growing a garden, and for some reason (I can't tell you what it is) it is going CRAZY.

Which is why we eat things like noodleless lasagna and zucchini bread and just plain tomatoes with nothing to even hide them.

But my favorite thing is when the boys follow me out and eat the teeny tiny tomatoes right off the plant. They devour them. None of those poor itty bitty tomatoes have ever even been inside our house. Or past the edge of the garden really.

That's how I know that Little John loves tomatoes. Also because he growls at them - as he does everything he loves.

But today after picking the garden I was up in a tree cutting down dead branches and being all kinds of proud of my kids for getting "out from under me RIGHT! NOW!!! or else you're gonna have a tree land on you and it will hurt."

When I got to the back porch where they were dutifully sitting quietly, I saw what was keeping them quiet.

One bite of each of my tomatoes. Just one.

Lousy vampire children sucked all the juicy seedy goodness out of the tomatoes.

They're lucky they're cute.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Lazy Man

Lindon City had a Lazy Ironman this year and on a whim I thought it sounded like fun. You do an Ironman....over the course of 2 months.

Only I didn't hear about it until halfway though.

So I signed up and asked Josh to be on my team. We'd share a shirt.

And what do you know - we actually finished it!

As far as a physical challenge a lazy man isn't really something to brag about. And splitting one with your spouse really isn't something to brag about. But I'm doing it anyway because GO US!

Plus there's something about meeting a common goal and working together for something...more reasons I'm glad we did it.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Both Ends of Murdock Trail

I had given up on a super long bike ride this year because I've been busy focusing on other things and biking wasn't part of my daily (or even weekly) routine and I'm a sissy and doing long hard things all at once without preparing isn't really my cup of tea.

And with no super long bike ride I didn't really see myself at both ends of our trail. Because...lame.

But 2 weeks ago Josh and I were going to see a movie and had a spare hour before we left, so he talked me into going for a bike ride. So we rode. And rode a little further, and then because the boys were happy we did a little more.

Until we were got to the place where the trail turns into Art Dye trails instead. Since we were kindof in a hurry (movie, hot date, no kids, babysitter, these are not things you pass up in my world) we headed turned and biked our little tails off on the way back.

Then all of a sudden I was accidentally halfway to my goal. Where one trail ends, another begins, and since we were at the beginning of the Art Dye trails, that meant the end of Murdock! I'd seen one end and all I had to do was reach the South end.

On Thursday when it was time for Tommy to go to school, he vetoed the scheduled bike ride to get him there and opted for he and I to walk alone while Daddy and Little John went for a bike ride. And when you have a bike trailer with just one non-fighting baby, you just go and go until the end of the world happens. Which is how Josh found the OTHER end of the Murdock trail, which really isn't that far.

So on Friday morning, I was convinced that we'd all go for a ride to hit the South end of the trail and unexpectedly meet my goal and feel all sorts of cool about myself.

So we threw the kids in the trailer, and headed up death hill to the trail and went on our merry little way.

Before I knew it we were at the end of the trail. An easy and quite enjoyable ride. (Said the girl who wasn't hauling an extra 55 pounds of kid in a parachute behind me.)

At the end of this trail, there is a busy road (800 N), then .8 miles before the next rail (Provo River Trail) starts. I vetoed the "ride along the busy road to see the next trail" idea and we called this the end. Which I think it technically is. 

On our way back I was on a "I did an awesome hard thing!" high and started talking about how we could probably go down to the other end today too, and see it all in one day and how cool that would be.

Josh cringed while I talked about it, and the boys screamed and poked each others eyeballs and started jerking the trailer back and forth and the decision was made. We wouldn't do it.

But then Josh had a brilliant idea. He'd take the whiney kids home and I'd hit the other end of the trail so I could feel all cool and stuff.

Long before we got home my butt reminded me that I was ill-prepared for this ride and I started second-guessing this brilliant idea, but Josh encouraged me and when they left I continued down the trail.

When I got to the Art Dye sign I was unreasonably proud and excited. Because BOOYA! I nailed it!!

And then on my way back I saw that I didn't nail it at all. I didn't stop to take a picture, because the sign nearly brought me to tears. Murdock Trail goes on another 10 miles before meeting up with Jordan River Trail. It just overlaps with Art Dye for a little while too. So I felt like an idiot (I knew that - DUH!) And hurried home so I could get ready for work knowing full well that I didn't have time, energy, water, or desire for another 20 miles.

So I came home and did some research. The Murdock trail goes 17 miles total. That day I did 20 miles (because of the back and forth) and I still haven't seen the 10 miles at the North end of the trail. So, I suppose that counts as an epic failure, but I totally nailed the long bike ride which is the part that was easiest to give up on for me.

Maybe another day I'll do the North 10 and enjoy it. But technically this is a big fat failure. *sigh* There's always next year.

Friday, August 23, 2013


I know a lot of people who I seriously love and whose opinions I value who really don't love the scouting program. And I can see why, it's expensive and time consuming and not very likely to be successful. But Josh really loves it, and that makes me love it. 

Though spending $50 on an ugly shirt and spending an unreasonable amount of time sewing ugly patches to that ugly shirt is not my favorite hobby, I am a tiny bit unreasonably proud that I did it all by myself (with Charisse....thanks Charisse). 

And then I posted a picture on Instagram and my Aunt Sharon informed me (that's right, informed, not reminded) that in 4 short years I'll sewing patches onto Tommy's ugly uniform!!!! Which immediately launched me into the spiral about how 4 years after that he'll be all Deacony and 4 years after that he'll be driving around and hating my guts, and 2 years after that he'll serve a mission and before I know it I'll be the MIL reading posts about how his wife is sewing patches on his grown-up Scout Leader shirt. Now how's that for messed up?

Currently. Not. Blinking. (Except when I want to.)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The One Where Tommy Goes to School

As you may remember, Tommy was born in October which means he just misses the school deadline and will be old in his grade and young in his church class. Although he thinks he's "already 4" he's actually 3 and this was his first of 2 years of preschool.

I registered him last week when we finally stopped being afraid to commit because we realized school starts now.

Yesterday we went to meet his teacher and today he started class for the first time.

Yesterday we were probably the first ones there and when they asked him to find his name on the wall he froze. It said "Thomas" and the name he sees all the time and recognizes as his own is "Tommy" which he knew how to spell because we sing the letters to Bingo. "T.O.M.M.Y. and Tommy is my name-o" But then he started singing it faster and faster and now it's "T.O.N.O.Y" which is cute enough that I haven't tried hard to correct it.

Anyhow, he didn't see Tommy or Tonoy on the wall so I told him to find the one that starts with T and ends with S. After a bit more prompting he finally found it. I was surprised he had such a hard time finding it - but I don't really know if he's ever seen Thomas written out before. So, I guess we'll check off one thing learned in Preschool this week!

I was proud of him for being brave and amazed by how old he seems lately. He gets more and more capable every time I turn around.

After registering him for school last week I took him shopping for a backpack. For some reason I thought it would be hard for him to choose, but he took about .4 seconds to decide he wanted the Transformers backpack with flashing lights in the eyes. Awesome.

And since he loved it he wanted to make sure it was part of our first day of school photo shoot. Wherein Tommy played the role of director.

Cue pictures.
Hey T. It's upsidedown!

Muuuuch better - but I can't see your face!

Or my backpack!

Lookit' my cool transformers backpack!

And don't forget the garbage too mom!

And what about your face too mom?
This boy. I just can't tell you how I love him. It wouldn't be fair to try.

So why was I shocked when he jumped out of the car and I bawled like a baby?

There we were having a great time, talking about school and teachers and cool new backpacks and suddenly his teacher came out and he couldn't take his eyes off her. And when I opened the door to let him and his giant empty backpack jump out of the car he didn't even hesitate. He ran straight up the driveway, and turned around for a millisecond to wave goodbye and sign peace out.

I watched his empty backpack bounce up higher than his head and I couldn't stop the tears though I tried to smile through them as I waved to his teacher and drove down the road. They took me by surprise. I didn't expect to miss him or feel so proud.

But there I was - the pajammaed mom dropper offer sobbing over the loss of this baby.

And beaming with pride for this one.

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