Saturday, July 21, 2012

Week in Review

It's Saturday, which means you are probably looking for a review of our week. Well, I'll give you a quick run down, but I will also tell you that from here on out, it will mostly just be reading and library events and homeschool group events.

We fly out of here in exactly seven weeks. If I save week 7 for packing and getting ready to leave, then that means I have exactly six weeks to have every little thing planned and ready for school to start when we return.

And I mean really planned. It needs to be completely written out someplace because I know my brain will be mush when we return and I won't remember what I'd been thinking.

So, I have 6 weeks to plan. But, we still have doctor's appointments, dentist appointments, pet appointments, grocery shopping, Homeschool group events, library events and play dates in there as well. If I am really lucky, I might get 3 days out of each week to plan ~ that is only 18 days. Needless to say, my focus has shifted. My brain simply cannot hang on to two things at once like that. It's time to "close up shop" on 1st and 3rd grade and move on.

Anyhoo, here's a peek at what we did this week.

So, did I mention that it is Summer Time around here? Who can concentrate on school when there are pool parties to attend? We went to a fabulous pool party birthday party on Monday with our friends from our Homeschool Group. The girls spent the morning preparing gifts for our friend, M (for her safety, I'll leave her name at that). The Princess decided to give her one of her prized possessions, Napoleum (a nice and big horse that she loves). She spent the morning brushing her mane and tail, getting her all "niced up" for M. The Hippie spent the morning drawing M a beautiful picture of her (M) as a mermaid.

We also read chapter 45 in the Bible about the "grumbling Israelites" at breakfast that morning. You can read my thoughts on that here.

Other than the party and the gift-making, the girls spent the morning reading. The Princess read some more of The Prodigal Cat and The Nine Lives of Aristotle while the Hippie read some more of The Stray.

They also watched a Wild Kratts episode on Wolf pups and how they howl for communication.

To finish off an exhausting day, we listened to Beatrix Potter audio stories and perused our Complete Tales of Peter Rabbit.

Tuesday found us in Unschooling mode, for sure. We started the day by reading another chapter in our Wisdom and the Millers book. This particular chapter was about how when we trust and listen to God, we find ourselves in His comforting embrace. I believe I've talked about that many times here on the blog!

After our morning devotions and chores, Momma moved on to cleaning out the school room (a feat that will take more time, for sure!) while the girls moved into their Unschooling activities. They worked together for a bit on their giant World floor puzzle and the Hippie finished it up while the Princess moved on to playing Shut the Box ... perfect math facts practice for her.

Something inspired them both to get to drawing. The Hippie started making a book of the Sleep Fairies (I told her a story a few nights ago about the Sleep Fairies coming when I leave the room. They take her eyelids and gently pull them closed and then they flutter around and down her body, relaxing each and every muscle until she is off to dreamland). She drew King Valerian and made a Table of Contents, listing each of the other Sleep Fairies she intends to draw. We've got Queen Lavender and then their four children, Vanilla, Chamomile, Twilight and Lilac. King Valerian is an adorable little Fairy Man who has his hands on his hips and laughs like Santa Claus.

I guess this inspired the Princess to draw a Fairy of her own. I love the detail in the skirt and the ties up the legs like a ballerina. And, check out the braids in her hair? Too stinking cute!

During Quiet Time on Tuesday, the Hippie read for an hour in the Book of Peace and read for 30 minutes in Freaky Friday. She tells me that Freaky Friday doesn't make any sense to her at all. She says the writing is all over the place and it is hard to understand what is going on and who is thinking what. But, she perseveres and is determined to finish the book.

The Princess read one more chapter of The Prodigal Cat and finished reading The Nine Lives of Aristotle. This is a big accomplishment for her. It is a long book ~ 86 pages. It is not an "Easy Reader" and does not have chapters to divide it up for you. It was a big deal. She loved the book!

We had a wonderful play date with friends on Wednesday. Generally speaking, people who favor Waldorf Homeschooling (which is us ... more on that in a future post) have a hard time finding anyone in real life who shares their educational views. We not only have some friends in real life who homeschool 100% in a Waldorf way, but they have 2 girls, almost the exact same ages and they live in walking distance to our house. How lucky are we?

All the kids enjoyed a wonderful day of playing outside, a lovely real tea party complete with hot apple cider, vegan banana bread, nuts, veggies and hummus and fruit, lots and lots of creative play including dress up and playing vet, lots of drawing and some crafting. The Hippie decided to make a doll out of wool roving and made her some clothes from fabric scraps. We then got out the beeswax and Mr. J (again for the safety) made the Princess a cat while the Hippie modeled a swan, a baby bottle and a ring. Momma enjoyed the day just as much, getting some much needed Momma talk about school and life ... and lots of baby cuddles. :) Ms. J has a new little baby and was happy to have the help, so I got lots of time bouncing around a 6 week old baby boy. Good for all.

Thursday took us out and about. We realized first thing that Daddy had forgotten his sunglasses and ipod ~ both necessities for his job. :) So, after some cleaning around the house, we headed out to take him his goodies. Then, we meandered over to a different library to explore for an hour or so and then spent the afternoon doing some grocery shopping. When we got home, the Hippie finished reading Nim's Island (for the bzillionth time) and the Princess read three books cover to cover and worked some more on The Prodigal Cat. She got excited when she made the realization on her own that it was going to be like The Prodigal Son from the Bible because the cat had gone out and about to various homes, but was coming home to the original home in the end. Oh, and we can't forget the toilet paper tower building. And, the math involved in figuring out how tall it was ~ each roll is 4 1/4" and there are 11 rolls ...

We finished out the week with a full day of free play while Momma immersed herself in planning. Not specific planning just yet, but in the learning part of the planning. As I explained to the girls, teachers go to college for several years to learn how to teach and Waldorf teachers go to even more specialized school to learn how to teach in a Waldorf way. I am just their Momma, who loves them more than anything and wants to teach them at home, but I have to learn a thing or two myself in order to make that happen. I spent the day listening to a couple of podcasts by Melisa Nielsen.  I listened to over two hours about 4th grade, just getting a good feel for the year. I already knew the main elements of the 4th grade year, but it really helped to hear her talking about it in such a gentle way. I also listened to some about planning and read a bunch about rhythm and planning. A big day for me, for sure!

Oh, and there was the Wild Kratts episode about Draco lizards and the Wisdom and the Millers chapter about Proverbs 15:1. We had a nice talk about how when we use kind words when someone is angry with us, we are much more likely to get away without a fight, but if we answer anger with angry words, it will only escalate.

I also spent the afternoon putting together the Princess's First Grade book. I placed all of the things she'd done this year into page protectors and placed them into a binder. I've got some more work to do and I'd like to write up a "First Grade Recap", print it and place it in the binder. But, I think it will be a nice keepsake. I also need to do the same for the Hippie's Third Grade book. Much to do, much to do.

How is your summer going?

Until next time,

   ~ Irie Momma


Monday, July 16, 2012

On trusting God and being thankful ...

I always found it silly that the Israelites continued to doubt God after He showed them time and time again that He was real and that He was taking care of them. First, He gets them out of slavery in Egypt, passing over their families when He took out the first born of every Egyptian home. Then, He parts the Red Sea to let them through when the Egyptians were coming after them. Then, He made it rain bread from Heaven, every single day to feed them when they were hungry.

He showed them repeatedly that He would not let them down. Yet, they doubted Him and feared the future at every turn.

When they first left Egypt, they found themselves in the desert, thirsty and tired. They were thrilled to find running water in Marah, but then quickly turned on Moses when they discovered that the water tasted bitter.

After a month or so, they began to complain about their lack of food, saying that they wished they were still in Egypt. Never mind the fact that God had led them out of slavery; their journey was less than perfect and so they complained.

God blessed them now with Manna from heaven ~ their daily bread, free, a gift from the Creator who loved them and cared for them.

When they came to the land of Canaan, they complained again to Moses that they had no water to drink. You would think that they would have learned by now that God would take care of their needs. As usual, God provided them with cool, clear water that they could drink and drink.

Not long after that, God gave them His Ten Commandments ~ His only wish was that they keep His commandments and in return, He would continue to care for them.

I'm sure you all know that one of those commandments is not to make any idol to worship. God asked something so simple ~ "I am the Lord, Your God, who brought you out of Egypt... You should have NO OTHER GODS before Me."


Yet, when Moses took a little too long on the mountain, they grew impatient and weak. Again, they doubted God. So quickly they created that golden calf to worship in the place of God. I mean, really. What was wrong with these people? Were they really that dense that they still didn't get it?

As if that weren't enough, they continued to be ungrateful. God continued to send them their daily bread, Manna from Heaven, but do you know that they eventually complained about that as well? They grew tired of the Manna and wanted meat and vegetables and herbs and fish.

Here they were, being given food on a daily basis, directly from the hand of God, and yet they felt sorry for themselves. They were not satisfied. They were not content with what God had given them.

I've always found it interesting that these people took so much for granted. That they continued to doubt God, who continued to provide for them and take care of them and love them. It has always struck a nerve with me that these people behaved the way they did.

But, isn't it easier to see the wrong that others do (even those who came thousands of years before us) than it is to see what we do each day?

While I've always seen the wrong in the Israelites' behavior, I never equated that with my own daily behaviors.

Think about it. We all do it. God blesses us each and every day with a home to call our own (even if we are renting), food to eat, love of family ... just the simple fact of another day. And, yet, if we aren't careful, we can get grumbly just like the Israelites.

God gives us Manna, but we want vegetables and herbs.

God gives us a home, but we want more space. He gives us food to eat, but we wish we could afford to go out to eat. He gives us happy and healthy children, but we wish they would just listen better. He gives us everything we need, but we still find things to complain about.

The key is to truly find contentment in what you have been given. To know that all good things come from God and that we should be thankful for each and every gift He gives us.

Not only do we need to be thankful, though, but we must remember to trust God. Just as He continuously provided for the needs of the Israelites, He continues to provide for our needs, so there is no reason for us to doubt Him.

Today I am thankful for my home. It has its quirks and it most definitely isn't perfect, but it is a home.

Today I am thankful for my family. My children do not always obey immediately like little robots, but they are two of the kindest and most loving children I know. I get compliments on them constantly. I am always being told how well-behaved and well-mannered they are. I am always being told how kind they are to other children, how they make sure to include everyone in everything. They do listen to me and love me and respect me. They do vacuum the floors and do laundry and clean the bathroom and wash dishes ... and rarely complain about it. They shower me with hugs and kisses and more joy than one person could possibly ask for.

Today I am thankful for my husband. He works hard and loves me more than anything. He treats me like a Queen, even when I don't deserve it. He respects me and truly appreciates and gets all that I do.

Today I am thankful for my mother. I know with complete confidence that she loves me. If it were up to her, she'd talk to me every day. She is a good mom and I am lucky to have her in my life.

Today and every day, I give thanks to God for all of the amazing blessings He continues to bestow upon me.

Today and every day, I remember to trust God. He has gotten us this far, why on Earth would I ever doubt that He won't continue to provide for us on this Narrow Path that leads to Him?

Do you find yourself doubting God? Do you find yourself fearful of the future? Do you find yourself discontent with your life? If so, take a moment to think about the Israelites. Remember that He brought them out of Egypt, He gave them their daily bread, He provided for them. Do not doubt Him. He will do the same for you. Do not get grumbly. Give thanks!

Week in Review

Oops. Once again, I sort of missed the boat on my Week in Review. Of course, we're not doing school in the "school year" sense, so they aren't particularly important, I guess. But, I still enjoy sharing what the girls are doing. Plus, this is a place for me to keep a record of the learning that takes place around here. Saturday just sort of got away from me, what with all the cleaning and what not. :)

I still have no good way to take and edit pictures. That makes me sad. One of my favorite things about the blog was always the pictures. One of my favorite things about other people's blogs has always been the pictures. Ever since I had to get a new computer, it doesn't have the same editing program on it and I don't like the one that comes up on here now. Plus, my good camera is full of pictures but I need a USB cord for it. Ugh.

Whether I have the pictures to prove it or not, we are in a really nice, relaxed groove around here these days. My main focus over the past few weeks has been establishing a good rhythm. That has been very successful. I can talk about that in a separate post. I know that would be helpful to some of you. In the meantime, let me just share with you some of what the girls have been doing.

We read aloud:
  • The Child's Story Bible, chapters 41, 42, 43 and 44
  • Wisdom and the Millers, chapter 12
  • Old Mother West Wind, chapters 1 and 2
  • Trumpet of the Swan, chapters 7 and 8
  • The Wise Enchanter, chapters on U, V, W and X
  • Boy of the Pyramids, chapter 4
Both girls "narrated" (without realizing it) Trumpet of the Swan and Boy of the Pyramids really well one night by telling Daddy the entire stories from beginning to where we are. They filled him in on all of their favorite parts. It was great for me to see what they are picking up! The Hippie also narrated the Bible to me on the mornings we read it. Have I mentioned how much I am enjoying our morning discussions about God and the Bible? I am so proud of the people these girls are becoming!
We listened to (audio books):
  • Five Minute Animal Stories (8 stories while I brushed their hair)
  • Blueberries for Sal
  • Corduroy
  • The Emperor's New Clothes
  • Madeline
  • Beatrix Potter ~ The Tales of Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddle Duck
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
  • The Drum Calls Softly (includes some very cool Northern Cree singing and drumming, also listened to it in Cree)
We are really enjoying the audio books. I think it is similar to watching a show or something for the girls ~ to pop in that CD and listen to the sounds and voices and follow along in the book. But, I like it because books are always good ~ always better than TV. And, they give my voice a break. :) If you have a good library, you should really look for some books with CDs for a nice treat this summer.

The Princess read:
  • She finished reading The Fisherman and His Wife aloud to me
  • She read Breyer Stablemates "Lucky" from beginning to end
  • She read "Marley and Me" from beginning to end
  • She read "Sleeping Bootsie" from beginning to end
  • She read half of The Lad and the North Wind aloud to me
  • She continued reading The Nine Lives of Aristotle
  • She continued reading The Prodigal Cat
  • She continued reading Kitty Corner, Domino
The Hippie read:
  • She finished reading Swiss Family Robinson
  • She started reading "The Stray" and is currently in the middle of chapter 5
  • She started reading "Freaky Friday" and is currently in the middle of chapter 9
  • She started reading "Nim's Island" (for the bzillionth time) and is currently on chapter 10
We went out and about:
  • Eco Ed Science Program at the Library: OCEAN EXPLORERS (and the girls made it into the paper)
  • Pool Day with our Homeschool Group
  • To the library to check out yet another ton of books (we've been hitting the library up at least twice a week this summer)
  • On a lovely family bike ride at the beach
We enjoyed at home:
  • The girls caught a gecko, checked him out and then set him free
  • Classical music on Pandora
  • The girls made a paper family out of card stock ~ each girl made each member of our family. The Princess also started making animals for a pound. They both enjoyed playing with their paper families, driving them around in toy cars and stuff like that, tucking them in at night. :)
  • The girls spent some time on the couch, listening to audio books and sewing ~ the Princess made a dress for her little pony and the Hippie made a dress for one of her doll house dolls
  • Lots and LOTS of paper airplanes were made. The girls started out making their own paper airplanes. Then, I had a meeting on Thursday night and they chose to spend their "Daddy Time" making better paper airplanes with him. Then, I picked up a book at the library on making paper airplanes, and the three of them made about 15 different kinds yesterday. Then, we all headed outside and had a paper airplane flying contest ~ I had the honor of being the judge. The "Angry Finch" was the best one.
  • During the paper airplane making extravaganza, the Hippie made a swan out of the card stock or paper ~ origami without instructions ~ talent.
  • The girls and I did a really cool little project on Friday. I traced each of our hands on a piece of card stock. Then, each of us drew lines across the page ~ straight lines from the side to the hand, a curved line on the hand and then another straight line from the hand to the other side. We then colored in between all of the lines. The idea was that the hand would look sort of 3D or raised when you were finished. The cool thing to me was that the Princess didn't see the hand as raised ~ she saw it as pressed in. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn't see what I saw ... and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't see what she saw. Just like one of those paintings or pictures that can look like more than one thing. :)
  • Lots of creative play ... train set, wooden logs, legos, building of a farm and a town, etc.
We did:
  • The Hippie copied the third and fourth commandments.
  • The Hippie watched lesson 21 in math and then taught me how to do it. She did two practice pages for lesson 21 and then took the test.
  • The Hippie watched lesson 22 in math and then taught the Princess and me how to do it.
  • We did LOTS and LOTS of math in our heads ... big multiplication, division, addition and subtraction .. around the dinner table, as a game.
  • We played Chinese Checkers as a family and learned some strategies.
  • We cleaned out and organized the play room.

I think that about covers it. Our main focus these days is rhythm and chores and reading and the library events and our Homeschool group and creative play. How is your summer going?

The Swan the Hippie made out of paper

The Hippie's Family ~ Daddy, Momma, Hippie, Princess (l to r)

The Princess's Family ~ Princess, Hippie, Momma, Daddy (l to r)

The Princess


The dress the Hippie made

Back of the dress the Hippie made  

Until next time, 

  ~ IrieMomma

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Week in Review

WOW. This is supposed to be a WEEK in review ... it has turned into THREE WEEKS in review.

Oops. Sorry about that, folks.

Of course, there isn't as much to report during this season. We are most definitely in summer mode, which means MUCH MORE RELAXED as far as school. Most of what we've been doing is reading and going to the library and spending time with our homeschool group and just allowing the girls time to play and create. I really wish I had figured out this whole camera thing. Three weeks and no good pictures. Ugh.

Alrighty then. What have we been up to around these parts?

Week One (6/19-6/23)

We read aloud:
  • Trumpet of the Swan, chapters 4 (the Hippie narrated) & 5
  • Boy of the Pyramids, chapter 2
  • Tomie DePaola's Book of Bible Stories, Noah's Ark (the Princess narrated)
  • The Wise Enchanter, chapters on N, O, P & Q
 The Princess read:
  • Kitten Crowd, silently (she is still working on this chapter book)
  • The Fire Cat, 1 chapter, aloud to me
  • Other cat books, silently
The Hippie read (all silently):
  • Voyage on the Great Titanic; Diary of Margaret Ann Brady
  • A Lion to Guard Us (she narrated these to me)
  • Emily's Runaway Imagination
We went:
  • To an amazing Nature Center with our Homeschool Group
  • To the library where the Hippie read aloud a story to the other children for Story Time
We enjoyed at home:
  • A play date with friends
  • Art books on Mary Cassatt and Renoir (the Hippie)
  • A memory game made of ART that Nanu gave the girls from Europe
  • Playing Star Count (a multiplication game) ... the Princess won
  • Studying the Florida Field Guide (the Hippie)
We did:
  • A bit of copywork
  • A couple of language lessons
  • A bit of cursive (the Hippie)
  • A Math Test (the Hippie)

Week Two (6/25-6/29) 

We read aloud:
  • We finally got to the Ten Commandments in our Bible readings. We had a wonderful conversation about this, but of course I can't remember the details at this point. All I can say is that I just love having the opportunity to read these stories and the Millers stories with these girls and getting into deep spiritual conversations with these "little people". They may be small, but their minds and hearts are BIG on God!
  • Boy of the Pyramids, chapter 3
  • The Wise Enchanter, chapters on S & T
The Princess read:
  • The Fire Cat, to herself, she finished this book
  • The Fisherman and His Wife, aloud to me
  • Several other cat books from the library, silently
  • Mr. Putter and Tabby, 1 chapter to herself
  • The Prodigal Cat, to herself (she is still working on this chapter book)
  • Meow: A Day in the Life of Cats, aloud to me
The Hippie read:
  • A Lion to Guard Us, chapter 16-19, she narrated these to me
  • Emily's Runaway Imagination, she finished this book
  • Goddess Girls: Athena the Brain, she started and finished this book
We went:
  • Eco-Ed Science Program at the Library: FINGERGPINTS
  • Owl encounter Program at the Library
  • To get passports for our family at the post office (fun!)
  • To the BEACH with our Homeschool Group
  • On lots of errands
We enjoyed at home:
  • Classical music on Pandora
  • Baking CHEESY SNAILS from scratch, halving the recipe (lots of math, fractions, division, etc.)
  • Drawing cats, kittens and God (the Princess)
  • Some classic movies like Freaky Friday (the original with Jodi Foster), Herbie, The Incredible Mr. Limpit
 We did:
  • A Unit Test for Math on the first 17 lessons (the Hippie)
  • Old Testament Drawing (the Hippie)
  • Began copying the Ten Commandments (the Hippie)
  Week Three (7/2-7/6) 

We read aloud:
  • Wisdom and the Millers, chapter 11 (both narrated)
  • Trumpet of the Swan, chapter 6
  • The Laziest Man fairytale (again ~ they liked this one)
  • The Child's Story Bible, chapter 39 & 40 (another EXCELLENT discussion about God)
  • The Emperor's New Clothes, audio book as told by Vince Gill (amusing country adaptation)
  • Is Your Mama a Llama?, audio book, listened to it in English and then again in Spanish
  • Papa Piccolo (I read this to the Princess)
  • The Cat of Strawberry Hill (I read this to the Princess)
The Princess read:
  • The Nine Lives of Aristotle, this is a long one and she is on p. 29, reading silently, narrated to me by choice
  • Little Lucy, all 48 pages, aloud to me
  • Kitty Corner: Domino, a chapter book she is working on, she is on chapter 2, reading silently
  • The Prodigal Cat, another chapter book she is working on, she is on chapter 9, reading silently
  • Lots of other cat books from the library
The Hippie read:
  • Swiss Family Robinson (Great Illustrated Classics edition), started on Monday and is on chapter 7, p. 101 now
  • A Lion to Guard Us, finished this book, narrated this to me
  • E. Nesbit's "The Book of Beasts"
  • Saving Audie (a book about the pit bulls rescued from Michael Vic)
  • Lewis and Clark: A Prairie Dog for the President
  • That's Why We Don't Eat Animals
  • Several shorter books from the library
We went:
  • To the library to get books about cats, dogs, Robert Louis Stevenson, Shakespeare, audio books, animal stories
  • To a friend's for some pool time and grilling on the 4th of July
  • To our city's big 4th of July Fireworks show
  • To an awesome "Bounce House" to jump on inflatable fun thingies with our Homeschool Group
We enjoyed at home:
  • A family game of UNO ~ lots of math here, adding up score by grouping pairs that add up to 10 and then counting by 10s
  • A 100 piece CAT puzzle (the Princess), two different times
  • Playing school ~ The Hippie teaching the Princess
  • Two Wild Kratts episodes ~ one on Apes and one on Raccoons and Wolves
  • Crafts ~ this is going to sound weird, but the girls made people and the Princess made a cat out of .... the cotton from inside a tampon. :) I had nothing to do with that other than saying YES to the request to use a couple of my tampons.
  • Playing school again ~ The Hippie teaching all of her dolls (much more willing students than her sister)
  • Weaving a pot holder from a weaving loom (the Hippie)
  • The Hippie went all out creating a restaurant for the family last night. She made menus, served us, created a center piece, cleaned the kitchen all by herself afterwards, charged us and counted change when we paid (math).
  • The restaurant opened for business again this morning with more ordering and counting change. Note to self ~ we need to work on the values of each of the coins!
We did:
  • Math lessons 18, 19 and 20 and tests for each (the Hippie)
  • Taught me lesson 18
  • Copywork ~ Ten Commandments (the Hippie)
The girls have both also joined in on the library's summer reading program. Here are their lists so far (I will not allow the Hippie to put anything that isn't a longer chapter book, even though she's been reading the shorter stuff like crazy).

The Hippie:
  1. The Voyage on the Great Titanic: The Diary of Margaret Ann Brady
  2. Emily's Runaway Imagination, Beverly Cleary
  3. Goddess Girls: Athena the Brain
  4. The Book of Beasts, E. Nesbit
  5. A Lion to Guard Us by Robert Clyde Bulla
The Princess:
  1. Toby the Tabby Kitten
  2. All About Pets: Cats
  3. Do You Like Cats?
  4. Too Many Cats
  5. When Cats Go Wrong
  6. Cats are Like That
  7. Meow: A Day in the Life of Cats
  8. Mia and the Dance for Two
  9. Cats Meow
  10. The Fire Cat
  11. Guess Who Purrs
  12. Mr. Putter and Tabby Fly the Plane
  13. Friday the Scaredy Cat
  14. And I mean it, Stanley
  15. Little Lucy
  16. Is Your Mama a Llama?
  17. The Cat of Strawberry Hill (Momma read to me)
  18. My New Kitten
  19. Papa Piccolo (Momma read to me)
I believe that about sums it up. The main focus these days is working on habits and schedule and chores and structure ... and reading a lot. What have you been up to in your homeschool these days?

Until next time, 
   ~ Irie Momma
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