Thursday, March 26, 2015

Strawberry Kefir Ice Cream

Deep down I would like every meal to be ice cream. I've honestly been dying for a Sonic Blast (with Reese's & Oreo's) for days now but haven't willed myself out of the house to get one. 

If you keep up with my Instagram at all you'd remember that Jeremy got me an ice cream maker for my nearly out of my 20's birthday. 

It's shocking to think that I can't refer to this as mid-20's anymore. It's officially super late 20's around here. 


That being said, nothing says "I'm breastfeeding and starving half to death every second of the day" quite like having the freezer constantly stocked with homemade ice cream.

I had to make at least one healthy batch, the Dole Whip and Soda Pop flavors are far from healthy.

Unless you consider that  tiny bit of pineapple in the Whip enough fruit that we can rationalize this on a Weight Watchers diet. Speaking of which I better soak this up while I can, because once May hits I'm taking up the Dukan Diet once again.


Strawberry Kefir Ice Cream

Ingredients::
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar (or whatever substitute you prefer)
14 fl oz canned coconut milk, full fat
32 oz Lifeway Strawberry Kefir
diced strawberries, optional

Directions::
Combine all ingredients except the fresh diced strawberry and pour into your ice cream maker. When ice cream is frozen mix in the strawberries. Transfer to a storage container and allow to harden in the freezer.  (I got ahead of myself and didn't add the strawberries to mine, I was too busy eating this out of the ice cream maker)

You can easily make this with any flavor of kefir and change it up, I'm going to experiment with plain next time and see what craziness I can't add to it! I am seriously contemplating a cookie dough flavor. 

Oh and the Dole Whip I talked about, here's what I put in mine... and no I don't have exact measurements. 

Dole Whip
1 large can of pineapple juice
1 small can of crushed pineapple in juice
1 piny of whipping cream
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla

I'm pretty sure that's all I put in it, and when I saw a large can of pineapple juice I mean a large can. This made two batches in my 1.5 quart ice cream maker. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

I Heart Pinterest - Spring Cleaning

Spring has definitely sprung down south, our grass is a pretty green and the bushes in our flower bed are full of pretty pink flowers.

That makes me think one thing, cleaning.

Here are some of my favorite cleaning finds I'd dug up on Pinterest lately to help boost that spring cleaning mood of mine... maybe the baby will nap long enough that I can finally clean those ceiling fans.


This is a biggie on my cleaning list this week - as soon as the dishwasher quits running I'm going to see just how well this works!

I love this idea, neve thought to wash pillows before Pinterest existed. I used this for our throw pillows, but took all of our bed pillows and used bleach in the washing machine. It did wonders for the color and they smelled amazing. 


I have this one printed out and in my planner -  not to transfer it to the fridge and follow it to the T!

I'm pretty sure the grout in our kitchen was never sealed. That makes a huge difference with color and the amount of dirt it seems to hold onto. I used this trick by the back door where the previous owners dogs had tracked in mud and caused the grout to look muddy and disgusting. It worked like a charm and I can promise you this is going to happen to the entire kitchen over Easter Break!


I know they carry dusters designed for ceiling fans, but they seems to spread dust throughout the room more than anything in my honest opinion. Putting a pillow case over the blades to clean them sounds like a genius idea, but who knows how we'll clean that crazy high fan in the living room!


I alternate between this recipe and bleach water to clean the tile in our house. 

Here's my personal recipe for laundry detergent. We make this about once a year and it costs $20, I'd say that's not too shabby. Granted when Harrison's clothing starts getting washed with ours and not with baby detergent I'll probably have to make it more often, but for now once is year isn't bad at all.

I've been sitting on ths dryer sheet to clean baseboards pin for ages, this might be a Easter Break project as well. Now that I'm not insanely pregnant and all!

And to finish it off, here are a few more of my recipes for green cleaning. I try not to use a lot of store bought chemical sprays because they irritate my allergies. I feel like I have a serious cold if I use more than this and bleach to clean the house. 

What are some of your favorite cleaning tips? 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Chocolate Macaroon Oatmeal

I like to eat oatmeal anyway, but considering it's a great food for breastfeeding I've started having it every day.

You can really only have it the same way so many times though, hence my need for chocolate flavored oatmeal this week!


Chocolate Macaroon Oatmeal

Ingredients::
serves 1
1 banana, sliced
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup almond milk (or whatever milk you prefer)
1 tsp chia seeds
1 tsp ground flax seed
1 tsp vanilla extract (I prefer Mexican vanilla)
1 tbsp coconut palm sugar (or whatever sugar you prefer)
1 tbsp coco powder
2 tbsp shredded coconut (I used sweetened)

Directions::
Combine oats, water, almond milk, banana, chia seed, flax, coconut palm sugar, and coco powder in a small sauce pan and cook at medium heat. Stir often, breaking up the banana, until the mixture comes to a boil. Once it comes to a boil continue cooking for 3-5 minutes until it reaches the consistency you like. (I go longer or for less time depending on how I want my oats that day) Transfer to a bowl and stir in vanilla extract and shredded coconut. 


What's your favorite way to eat oatmeal? 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

I Heart Pinterest Wednesday!

It's been ages, like since my second trimester kind of ages since we did a Pinterest Wednesday. 

Needless to say the midnight feedings have given me plenty of time to pin. 

Here are some recipes I'm dying to make, as soon as I've used up my freezer meals!


You could easily use fat free sour cream or greek yogurt to healthy this up even more. 

Considering the amount of sweet potatoes I have in our pantry this would make good use of them. 

I've eaten oatmeal every way I know how since it's so good for your milk supply. This would be a nice change of pace for breakfast. 

Irish Stew is something I've actually never made. Not even beef stew. 

Another great use of sweet potatoes.

Jeremy has always been partial to blackened chicken, so this would have to be a hit. I'd have to use brown rice though.

It just looks so good!

I haven't made Pad Thai in ages, now that Whole Foods is open maybe I can find the ingredients I need easier. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

My Pregnancy & Postpartum Essentials

I wanted to wait until after I had Harrison to even blog about what helped me survive pregnancy. I kid you not, I would rather have a baby than be pregnant.

Labor was an actual relief after 9 months of feeling awful.

I scoured the Internet and books looking for relief from every pregnancy symptom I was experiencing with no avail. I just didn't have mild symptoms and what everyone said to do was apparently for milk pregnancy sickness.

So today I thought I'd share a few things that worked for me, advice that actually worked, and some of the products I loved during pregnancy and right now in the postpartum phase.

Pregnancy

This one was the doozy.

During the first trimester I did everything I could to feel better. Lucky for me I have a husband who was willing to cook for himself and take care of me for several months while I was either asleep and trying to not throw up, or eating chips for every meal because it was the only appealing food at the time.

If I learned anything from the first trimester it is that you have found the right man if he is willing to literally pick you up off the floor to put you back in bed and then clean the bathroom after the horrific things that the first trimester of pregnancy just caused in there.

Everyone also talks about foods that worked for them, crackers were all fine and dandy until they became a food aversion. Eventually everything was a food aversion except for tortilla chips. I literally ate tortilla chips for a month for every meal.

1st Trimester Life Savers::
- pickle juice - I figured out that I could take my nausea meds with pickle juice and it wouldn't make me throw up. Odd, but it worked.

- Carb load - I was eating mostly Paleo when I got pregnant and meat quickly became the enemy. Accept that your diet isn't going to be the same and just eat what is appealing at the time.

 - Green apples were something I actually wanted for several weeks, later on I found out they are known to help with nausea.

- ginger candy, or whatever sour candy you can put in your mouth and not puke. I still had to teach and there were many days that I was constantly walking back to my desk to stick some food item in my mouth to keep from puking.

- Take the meds! I was on Zofran (yes I know there is suddenly controversy over it) and Diclegis, even with both of those I was insanely sick and had to take them with pickle juice to not throw them up.

- Sleep - If I started getting sick I had to go to sleep immediately or I would actually puke. Sleep was the only thing that could stop the puking when it started.

My second trimester was a breeze. The third is where life got tricky again.

At that point I found new things that kept me from getting sick. I had terrible indigestion/acid reflux and it caused the same symptoms I had in the first trimester.

3rd Trimester Life Savers::
 - Ice Chips - the ice machine at my school actually makes Sonic like ice so I was in heaven. I was unable to drink more than a few sips of water before it would make me throw up, but I could eat ice all day. This is the sole reason I didn't dehydrate.

- Buy a support belt - it took some of the pressure off of my bladder, but it definitely helped with recess duty and being on my feet to teach.

- Ditch the Tums and get Prevacid - or whatever else your doctor will allow. Tums was a joke but I could take an OTC medicine for acid reflux and basically be good to go throughout the day.

- Maternity Pillow - I started using it in the 2nd trimester, but by the 3rd I had added two pillows under my feet in an attempt to reduce the swelling, and another pillow under my stomach & behind my back for extra support.

- Mountain Meadow Herbs Gentle Birth - I started taking this at 35 weeks and managed to progress to 2 cm and 50% effaced in the two weeks before I had to deliver. You're supposed to take it for 5 weeks, but having to be induced at 37 due to my blood pressure put an damper on that. I even took some before my induction and I attribute it greatly to making labor progress like it did, I was even able to manage my pain pretty decently up to 5 cm and could have gone longer without medicine.

- Heating Pad - Get yourself a decent one, I found one for $10 at Walmart and cuddle with it. I had a lot of upper abdominal pain from stretching muscles, as well as back pain and carpel tunnel. This saved my life.

- Pedicures - I only got clear polish once I couldn't reach my feet to take it off, but the main purpose of getting a pedicure was strictly to move fluid out of my legs and feet. This helped big time before the edema that nearly passed my knees set in.

- Detox Baths - I like to soak for 20-30 minutes in a good cup of epsom salt, 1/2 cup baking soda, and 3-4 drops of lavendar essential oil every night. It helped ease pain and I tended to sleep better afterwards.

Labor & Delivery

My initial goal was to go as long as possible, and even forgo the epidural, but I knew as soon as they said piticon I was going to need the epidural at some point. Especially since my contractions were less than a minute apart for probably 95% of my labor.

I attribute the birthing ball big time to helping progress my labor. I had been on Piticon for maybe two hours when my OB came in to break my water. At that point I was still 2 cm and 50%, I immediately got the nurse to help me out of bed and onto my birthing ball and after an hour of hip circles and bouncing on it I was up to 5cm and 80%.

At that point I asked for pain meds, but wanted something that would allow me to stay on the ball. The nurse strongly suggested I get an epidural if I had any plans on one just because we were seeing dilation progress so quickly. By the time I got the epidural I was having severe enough pelvic pain that I really attribute my ability to relax from the lack of pain the epidural doled out. Within another two-ish hours I was fully dilated.

Postpartum

 - Belly Bandit - I had an innie belly button within 4 hours of wearing the belt for the first time. It has helped majorly with back support and I should taken a photo, but by a week postpartum my stomach was no longer pregnant looking.

- After Pain - I wanted to use this so badly, and brought it with me to the hospital. I've heard amazing things about it, but I was in so much pain from my 2nd degree tear that I had to take some legit pain meds, if I skipped a full dose my blood pressure jumped back up. I wanted to go home... so the real stuff was needed. Next baby though, I'm giving this another shot.

- Honest Company Nipple Balm - I am swearing by this! Everyone talked about using Lanolin, but I really can't see putting chemicals on my boobs and then feeding my baby. Honest Company's Nipple Balm is food grade safe and you don't have to wipe it off. Plus, big plus, if I use it after ever feed I have zero nipple pain. It helps to speed healing and made a huge difference. I actually skipped about 3 uses back to back and could tell a major difference. I even used it on Harrison's face after he scratched himself and overnight the puffiness and mark has nearly vanished.

- Target Nursing Tanks - Get them, get several of them. I'm not going anywhere the first few weeks so by not wear something comfy that you can easily nurse in. Even bigger bonus is that they are comfortable to sleep in, and I don't say that about many things that mimic a sports bra.

 - Johnson and Johnson Nursing Pads - I've tried a few brands and this is the one my girlfriends swear by. I really thought Medela pads would be nice, but they were more life thick coffee filters. Lansinoh has a pink backing and when I soaked through them during the night they dyed my nursing tank pink. I still have a box of Nuk to try, but right now J&J is winning.

- Tea Tree Essential Oil - I'm not pushing the brand hype everyone is into, I've bought what I use at the local health food store for ages. That being said, the edema left my legs insanely itchy and caused these odd little liquid filled blisters. Tea Tree Oil, applied to a cotton ball and wiped over my skin, really helped to speed healing and reduce the itching that hydrocortizone wouldn't stop. Also, be aware of what essential oils you use during pregnancy, there are many articles that say not to use Tea Tree while you're pregnant which is why I held off until after I had the baby. I had the same symptoms from the edema the last few weeks, but suffered through it because I didn't want to use an oil I needed to stay away from.

Now, I've shared some of my favorites.

So tell me, what are some of your favorite pregnancy and postpartum products! 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Scenes from the Hospital

It's amazing how two days with each one errand can completely take away the time to blog.

I had every intention of having this up Wednesday, but we will settle for today. Just know that I'm not sharing pictures of myself because I think I look good, I was swollen with a capital S! Thank you 3 bags of Pit and at least 2 of IV fluids that I counted.


The nurses were asking Mom if they wanted to take pictures sooner, but with my gown and goods all out and about for skin to skin I decided to wait until I was sewn back up. 



It's so difficult to have someone else take pictures for you, I started to do camera settings and figured that since I was in fact still being stitched back up I should just let Jeremy shoot on auto and call it a day. 


My grandfather and my baby! This makes 4 great grandchildren, all boys.


Mom and Pop, Dad somehow eluded photos. This was the one time in my life I've seen Jeremy willing to take photos and completely miss Dad. 




First bath.



See, swollen - I'm swollen, Harrison is swollen... Jeremy is just sitting there with perfect skin mocking us all! I took the pic with him, not because I wanted to, but because he wanted to and I would eventually regret it. 


Going home and IV free!



Tuesday, March 10, 2015

H's Birth Story (Part 2)

If you didn't catch the "not so fun" that was part 1 you can find it >>> here.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

As I assumed would happen Saturday morning, I couldn't sleep and woke up at 3am. That wasn't so bad considering we had to call the hospital at 4 to make sure they had a room for me.

The plan was to eat breakfast at a diner before heading to the induction, that didn't work out at all.

What I really wanted was going to take too long so I just settled to get a waffle from Waffle House. Well, they had a bad night and we were showing up the same time as a bunch of barely legals. When the girl said it would be 45 minutes for a waffle we just decided to leave - I could go home and make one in less time that that.

Somehow we landed on Burger King, but not before I had laid eyes on the hospital. That's when the anxiety set in. I got a smoothie, not as carby as I wanted, but I was on the verge of throwing up just from the site of the hospital next door!

Checking in didn't get rid of the anxiety either.

In all honestly having an emergency appendectomy at 5 was traumatic enough that I've dreaded ever having children for the sheer purpose of having an IV put in yet again. Or even worse, having to have a c-section. The pain from a 90's appendectomy was enough for me, no thanks to the open belly operations.

Once we were settled into the room Jeremy went to get my bag and giant birthing ball out of the car.

All the better for him, because once the nurse started on my IV I lost it. Completely lost in, grown woman having a meltdown ugly cry kind of lost it!

I got it together after that, but it brought all my suppressed emotions to the front and I couldn't control them anymore, I was terrified about what was about to happen.

As if I wasn't already freaked out, they started the blood pressure machine.

Just to make it clear, I knew to have things go as close to how I wanted it to throughout the day I had to do some hardcore yoga breathing to keep my BP in a reasonable range.

Like I said yesterday, it wasn't about the baby's health at this point, it was mine.

So in the midst of deep breathing my not so light hearted nurses started telling me that I had to be put on magnesium and have a catheter placed in, and that I wouldn't be able to leave the bed.

Um, no!

We never discussed this!

I know my husband insisted I not argue with nurses, but this time it paid off.

The nurse started in on how I should have already discussed this with my OB, and I gladly informed her that we never discussed it. In fact quite the opposite was discussed, my OB told me to bring in my birthing ball because I could sit on it hooked up to the pitocin with the monitors on me.

I wasn't about to let them put that magnesium mess in me, I was just told two days prior that my blood work was FINE!

So I insisted she recheck her paperwork. Well turns out the order wasn't even in my doctors handwriting, so they called Dr. H. Woke the woman up from sleep to find this out, because I was not taking that medicine without them clubbing me over the head first.

Guess what, Dr. H told them that wasn't supposed to be on there.

Told ya mean nurse! I had just rechecked everything with my doctor two days before.

Luckily at not long after hooking me up to fluids it was time for shift change and I got the absolute best L&D nurse I could have mustered up.

She came in, started the Pit line, and we all rested for a little while.

Or should I say Mom and Jeremy napped while I hunted down History Channel.

Why History Channel while I was in labor? I had to get my BP down and it's the most monotoned things I could think of. Seriously, if you can't sleep try it.

My all day History Channel watching had the nurses laughing at me, and in my labor delirium I seem to recall trying to justify why I was watching it to everyone.

Some time after 8am my doctor got to the hospital, and said something I did not want to hear  - "You're still 2 and 50% so I'm going to break your water."

Jeremy got really excited. I wouldn't call my reaction really excited.

I have to say, the sensation of wetting your pants every time you have a contraction is beyond weird. What made it stranger was that while the nurse was in, after the broke my water, I had her help me get set up on my birthing ball.

Now, from the position I was in I couldn't see the monitors anymore, I just had to hear the BP machine start up and start breathing.

Jeremy and Mom on the other hand were standing in front of me in clear view of the machine, discussing amongst themselves the fact that after a few minutes of rocking and bouncing on the ball I had less than a minute between contractions.

I remember being very concerned that my water would get on Jeremy's shoes. Every time I had a contraction it would soak through the adult diaper, hospital version of a puppy pad, towel, and then still make a puddle on the floor.

It was the most disturbing sensation ever.

Jeremy was more concerned after the fact that someone would Clorox wipe the ball down.

They were great though, I had Jeremy applying counter pressure with tennis balls during contractions.

What I did learn was that keeping your hands by your side while being injected with that much liquid will result in more swelling. Ick.

An hour later the nurse came in to add more paper to one of the machines, by then I was in so much pain - and I mean my pelvic bones being ripped from each other pain - that I started discussing the side effects of Nubian with her... knowing how I react to Demerol.

She decided to check me, and I kid you not in an hour I went from 2 cm and 50% effaced to 5 cm and 80% effaced.

Thank you birthing ball!

So I got an epidural.

Did I originally plan to definitely get one, no. But I also didn't plan to get Pitocin and feel like my hips were being taken out of my body.

I was really worried about progression with the epidural and didn't want to land in the operating room if I could prevent it.

As a side note, anyone who ever tells you the epidural was awful is a lie. The IV hurt way worse then the epidural. The scariest part of it was that I had to sit still and I was in so much pain, and my contractions were so close together that I was afraid I would jerk while she was putting it in.

At that point, I just cried out of fear of moving. Not from the pain.

Now why they insist on asking you a million questions while putting the epidural in is beyond me. She asked my name, I said I don't know. Birthday? Again, I had no idea. I finally managed to blurt out through the pain at Jeremy to start answering the questions because there was no way that I could.

10 minutes later - sheer happiness.

I was officially bed bound like I never wanted to be, but the pain was so intense I had no choice.

Once my pain was under control we were back to joking around. I may have even slightly napped. I can't call it a full nap because that dreaded IV hurt too bad.

It was in my right forearm by the way, my dominant arm, and when I gripped or did anything with that hand I was hurting once again.

There was a bit of lag time and around 3pm my OB checked me again and said we were 10 and 100%, but... but the baby was face up.

So they positioned me on my side and had me stay there for an hour in hopes of Harrison turning the right direction. Guess that explained the back labor.

A good 45 minutes of that hour totally sucked. My epidural was still working in my legs and stomach but had worn off in my pelvic area. We were back to the hips being ripped apart sensation.

For that entire 45 minutes I cried during contractions while Jeremy put pressure on my hips and attempted to remind me to not hold my breath.

Finally, 15 minutes before the doctor was coming in and we were going to start pushing the epidural let me hit the button and get another nice dose of happiness.

Thank you Jesus!

Things didn't go nearly as fast as I had hoped. I pushed for and hour and 45 minutes because of his position.

Now in that time frame is where the comedy club came in. I ended up with 4 nurses hanging out down there, all of whom continuously commented on how fabulous my epidural was because if they put my legs in place I could pick my bottom up so they could change out whatever was going on down there.

Since there were 4 of them, in and out, just seeming to enjoy the experience and cracking jokes once they realized I was in the same mood my main nurse left.

She went next door to check the other lady in labor and found the baby was presenting face first, something I saw a picture of in an Ina May Gaskin book and would never want to see in person. Poor thing came back slightly horrified as she recounted the event to the other nurses.

First she felt like she poked the baby in the eye.
The she was sure she felt his nose.
And it was for sure face first when the baby started sucking her finger.

Everyone was dying laughing and she had to retell it multiple times.

It didn't end there.

Keep in mind Jeremy is uber modest, and I am in stirrups with everything God gave me exposed for the world to see and I'm sure I was just a janitor short of having the entire hospital staff stick their hands up there.

One of the other on call doctors barges into the room to start picking on my poor nurse, acting out the eye poking thing from the 3 Stooges.

We spent quite a while laughing about her poking a baby in the eye.

Remember how I said my acid reflux had been bad, well they laid me flat on my back and as luck would have it I started gagging. And puking into that odd little blue bag isn't easy when you're flat on  your back.

After everyone decided to get me Zofran, oh old faithful Zofran friend, I finally convinced someone to let me sit up a little more during pushing just to keep the reflux at bay.

In that hour and 45 minutes, every single contraction I had not only had me pushing... but the petite blonde nurse they deemed to have "little hands" down in the catching position with both of her hands wrist deep in you know where with her hands on either side of Harrison's head trying to turn him with every push.

When my doctor came in... she did the same thing.

Finally we got to the point where they could see his hair... and as she announced that he had a ton of brown hair I yelled out that I won! The Puerto Rican genes prevailed over Jeremy's pasty blonde self.

Yes I was making color bets in labor, with 4 nurses and a doctor all up in my business.

We eventually got the little sucker out, one of the nurses asked if I wanted to deliver Kourtney Kardashian style (pull him out myself) but there was no way. I was super nervous.

The next part is entirely why I chose the hospital I did, right before he came out they pulled my gown up and then plopped him onto my chest.

And we stayed that way for an hour.

I got to do skin to skin and nurse before anyone took him away. No one else was able to hold him. I got to sit up a tiny bit more and the nurses helped me figure out nursing as my OB sewed me up for an hour.

Yes, an hour. I tore quite a bit with all the trauma of turning the baby, 2nd degree (just so I don't forget).

This is where I get fuzzy, but I remember asking for food immediately. I obviously couldn't have a sandwich tray delivered while I was being stitched back together... but Mom, former Girl Scout leader - always prepared Mom, had granola bars. I managed to get permission to eat a Gramfull S'mores bar.

I then apparently went on and on about how it was the best thing I had ever eaten. So much so that when we got home and I sent Jeremy shopping he came back with some, and I didn't even request them.

I do recall the nurses asking why I was downing so much water all of the sudden, which I had to explain that for a month I had only been able to take a sip or two without throwing it up from the reflux. So having the baby out gave me instant relief and allowed me to finally get to drink something!

Finally the nursery nurses came in and handled everything right in the room.

My Dad and Grandfather were able to hold him, we took pictures. It was all super sweet.

When it was finally time for us to move to the next room a nurse asked if I could walk.

Heck I didn't know, I sure hadn't tried.

I was then informed I would have to have the catheter put back in if I couldn't walk... turns out I could walk.

We all paraded down to the room and I got my sandwich, finally. I must say it was the best sandwich I had ever eaten, a full day without eating will do that to me. I could have been handed a cup of rocks and would give the same response at that point.

The first night in the room was a total blur, but Jeremy was great at helping me up and giving me the baby to nurse. I really did land a good guy.

I did have to laugh though because he spent 2 nights curled up on a two cushion sofa, he's over 6 feet. The day we left, I had already been discharged and we were waiting on Harrison, the pastors from our church came by to visit. Jeremy complained about the size of the bed and about how it wouldn't pull out... and come to find out it actually would pull out. Our worship pastor who recently had a baby showed him that... two days late. Why a nurse never took pity on him I'll never know, but it was funny.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Now this post has gone on long enough today, so tomorrow I'll be back with pictures. 
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