Holiday Recap 2015

Happy New Year friends!

I know I was MIA over the holidays….but hopefully you were too busy with your families to really notice!  We hosted Christmas at our house again, with both Dave and my families coming into town for a few days.  The week was a blur of wrapping paper, Christmas cookies, giggles and snuggles….couldn’t have been more perfect!  So here is my little Holiday Recap:Holiday Recap 2015 from Palmettos and PigtailsWe held our annual Christmas Eve Brunch for our friends again this year, down at the Farmhouse {our community center}, and once again, Santa made room in his schedule to squeeze in one last visit.Holiday Recap 2015 from Palmettos and PigtailsLincoln was pretty tolerant of Santa, but this was the year that Millie was really intrigued by him.  Santa always sits the kids down and tells them the story of Baby Jesus’ birth and how Santa plays a role in Christmas too.  Holiday Recap 2015 from Palmettos and PigtailsHoliday Recap 2015 from Palmettos and PigtailsAnd sure enough, it didn’t take long for Millie to make her way up and stand by Santa’s side for the rest of the story!Holiday Recap 2015 from Palmettos and PigtailsBut the highlight of our party this year was that we were able to get a ton of family here in time.  In addition to my parents and grandma, we also managed to get about half the cousins on my mom’s side of the family in one big picture too!  Hard to believe that this is only half of us!Holiday Recap 2015 from Palmettos and PigtailsChristmas Morning was delightful when the girls realized that they lucked out with two American Girl dolls each!  Santa brought them new ones, and Mommy and Loo Loo also gave them the dolls that we had as kids, including their whole wardrobe!  Holiday Recap 2015 from Palmettos and PigtailsSo we spent the morning unwrapping, and undressing, and redressing, and combing and playing with the American Girls.Holiday Recap 2015 from Palmettos and Pigtails And as for Lincoln, he was more interested in the fruit and cracker tray that was put out for breakfast than toys, but he lucked out with a bunch of new balls and a push mower from Santa!  The kiddos loved spending time with all of their grandparents, and we loved having a full house again!

My parents took the girls for a couple of days so that Dave and I could renovate the playroom {and make some much-needed room for dolls!}….it turned out beautifully, but I still have a few finishing touches to make on it before I can show it to you…that’s on my to-do list for this weekend.

On Tuesday, we swapped out the girls for Lincoln, and my parents whisked him away to FL while the girls, Dave and I made the trip out to the Smokies for New Year’s in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.  We’ve visited Gatlinburg several times now, both as a family {before Millie was born!} and with friends {to ride the Polar Express!}…but nothing like this!Holiday Recap 2015 from Palmettos and PigtailsThirteen families from our neighborhood all rented one ginormous house and partied all weekend!  A total of 57 people in one house! We celebrated New Year’s together {at 8pm too for the little ones!}, watched Clemson rock the bowl game together, and spent time snow tubing and shopping together. Holiday Recap 2015 from Palmettos and PigtailsYou can see more highlights from our vacation if you check out {and follow me on} my instagram account.  Needless to say, it’s back to the real world now…the laundry is mountainous, the Christmas decorations are still up and I am still recovering from the late nights on vacation.  So, these have to take priority for the rest of the week while we get back to the grind.  And as for the first part of the year?  It might be a little slow for me here on the blog as I’m once again really going to concentrate on increasing inventory for Flowertown Festival and Etsy.  And since I’m doing some appliqué and embroidery now too, I’ve got my hands full!Holiday Recap 2015 from Palmettos and Pigtails

So hang with me this year, as I get back into routine.  Be sure to subscribe by email so you’ll know when I post, and follow me on Facebook and other social media to see more of my day to day life…it’s way easier to update that than write a whole post!  As for us, we wish you and your family a blessed 2016!!

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A Friendsgiving Celebration

We are transplants.  Dave and I both grew up elsewhere and moved to the LowCountry as adults, so we are considered transplants…and most of our friends and neighbors are as well.  So with most of our family living far away, we rely heavily on the support and love of our local friends…our little “village.”  So important and so appreciated!

So, we were thrilled when a small group of our friends decided to have a little “Friendsgiving” Celebration right before the Thanksgiving Holidays.  We ended up traveling to Florida this year, but were happy to help throw a small potluck together at our neighborhood’s Farmhouse, and just love on our Framily a little….ok enough of the portmanteaus and mashups….on to the pictures!

Potluck Friendsgiving Dinner

Our decor was simple…a few of us brought some of our Fall-themed decorations {pumpkins and bunting and such}, for a little effect….but we wanted the emphasis to be on each other, not a Pinterest-worthy party.  For a table-cloth, we used a roll of brown butcher paper.  We set out Sharpies for the adults and crayons for the kiddos to decorate.

A couple of turkeys at our Friendsgiving Dinner

All of our kiddos were 6 and under {Jayna was thrilled to be the oldest…which obviously made her the bossy babysitter by default!}, and were so, so easy to entertain while the adults socialized.  I brought some toddler toys {Duplos, trucks and balls} for the littles, and glowsticks for the “bigs” who just wanted to RUN outside!

A bunch of turkeys at our Friendsgiving Dinner

I also found these cute coloring pages that turned into funny turkey glasses.  I think everyone {including many of the adults!} made and wore them!

Dave smoked 3 turkeys for the crowd, and everyone else brought side dishes and dessert to share.  I made Mulled Apple Cider in the crockpot and couldn’t pour it fast enough after dinner…so I packaged up the spices and sent some home with everyone.

A little jar of Mulling Spices for Hot Apple Cider was the perfect party favor for Friendsgiving Dinner

 It was a hot mess of hot cider, ladies’ laughing, pecan pie, kiddos running around and the men huddled around the fire pit.  It was perfect!

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GIVEAWAY! 4 Pack of Tickets to The Nutcracker Ballet

Quick Giveaway this morning!  I have a family 4 pack of tickets up for grabs to The Nutcracker Ballet at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center {PAC}.  The show is at 1:30 on Saturday, December 5th, 2015.  Because this is such a quick giveaway, your odds of winning are awesome!

GIVEAWAY: The Nutcracker Ballet Family 4 pack of tickets

The South Carolina Ballet presents Charleston’s favorite family tradition, Nutcracker.

Artistic Director William Starrett’s award winning choreography has been combined with a cast of more than 120 dancers, new costumes and enchanted special effects. The company’s 35 professional dancers will dance side by side with over 60 local children, ages 4 to 18.

GIVEAWAY: The Nutcracker Ballet Family 4 pack of tickets

The Nutcracker tells the story of a young girl named Clara who experiences a magical journey as a reward for saving the life of her beloved Nutcracker Prince. Paired with Tchaikovsky’s score, sugar plum fairies, mischievous mice and waltzing flowers will ring in the holiday cheer.

GIVEAWAY: The Nutcracker Ballet Family 4 pack of tickets

Here’s how you can enter!  The Giveaway ends at Midnight tonight!  Good Luck!

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                    The South Carolina Ballet will present Nutcracker at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center, December 4th & 5th. Tickets range from $27-57 and can be purchased online at www.northcharlestoncoliseumpac.com or by calling (843)-529-5000. For more information about the South Carolina Ballet, visit www.southcarolinaballet.com.

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Sunday Scripture: Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope your week has been full of family, laughter, peace and turkey!  We have had an unbelievably busy few weeks {and they will continue into December!}, including traveling to the Gulf Coast of Florida for Thanksgiving with my in-laws.  And although it was a process getting there {both physically and logistically}, the few days of rest were just what we needed.

We are so blessed with our life, sometimes we just need to have a few days of *nothing* to really appreciate it!  Here’s to you and yours!

Sunday Scripture: Thankful

This week’s Sunday Scripture is originally from Moms by Heart.  Head over there to see what today’s free printable is!

Have a blessed week!

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Apple Pie and Family {aka The Perfect Weekend}

* I was compensated and given the products mentioned in this post for free in exchange for a review on my blog.  As always, all opinions are 100% and my own!* 


A few weekends ago, we were finally able to get my entire family together for a Father’s Day celebration.  We had four generations in town, including my grandparents from Jacksonville and my aunt from Atlanta.  In the sweltering 100 degree heat, we lined everybody up and managed to still get some amazing pictures, courtesy of Rachel Weber Photography!

Apple Pie and Family

It was amazing to have everyone together again, especially my grandparents…who are the ones who started it all!  My kids just love them, and I love that they are able to have a relationship with their great-grandparents.

Hot Apple Pie from Bi-Lo and a Family Reunion!

It’s so inspiring to see them together…that they are still so in love after all these years.  I can only hope that Dave and I are like that 50 years from now too!

Hot Apple Pie from Bi-Lo and A Family Reunion!

It’s always a welcome challenge to feed a houseful of people.  Since this was a short visit, and oh-so hot…we opted for grilled chicken, watermelon and corn on the cob for dinner.

And for dessert?  Hot apple pie topped with vanilla ice cream!

But there was no way I had time to bake a homemade apple pie…so I had to go for second best.  I picked up an 8” Fresh Baked Apple Pie with Caramel Drizzle from the Bi-Lo down the street.  For $5 {all summer long}, it was a great deal and fed our whole gang!

Bi-Lo’s Apple Pie is made with crisp apples, picked at the peak of ripeness.  Every apple is carefully selected, cut and blended with sugar and warm cinnamon for a real homemade taste.  And my favorite part was the delicious caramel sauce that was drizzled on top of the pie while it was warm that brought out an amazing flavor combination.  It was the perfect sweet ending to our little family reunion!

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* I was compensated and given the products mentioned in this post for free in exchange for a review on my blog.  As always, all opinions are 100% and my own!* 

Don’t forget to enter my Giveaway this week for a Beach Day Prizepack including some brand new sunglasses!!

The One and Only

My initial feeling is one of annoyance as my three year old climbs on my back as I attempt to do some one-handed computer work while bouncing the baby on one knee.  The microwave beeps for the umpteenth time {what was in there, again?},  and my five year old hollers for more toilet paper from the upstairs bathroom.  So. much. going. on.  And, if I could just finish this one email…. But, the annoyance quickly disappears as my little one’s arms slide around my neck and she nuzzles her face in my {slightly dirty} hair. “My Mama.”  She says it matter of factly.  Because to her, it is fact.  I am her world.  I am Mama…the fixer, the wiper, the scolder, the hugger.  Anything she needs, she knows she can count on me.

Things to remember when your kids are annoying you!

My kids need me on average, every 3.4 seconds of each day.  And most of the time it is for silly, trivial, {annoying} little things.  But.  My three-year-old now insists on getting her own water out of the “fountain” in the fridge door.  She takes her merry old time, but can now officially buckle herself into her carseat.  And her hair.  Ermagard, her hair. It’s always a mess, because she insists on brushing, headbanding, and pony-tailing it herself.  And once again, I am reminded that she will not always need me.  The days of complete independence will soon be here, when friends and iPhones and sports will take the place of her time with me.  So why is it such a constant struggle for me to remember this daily?!?

Things to remember when your kids are annoying you!

I may not always have a smile on my face as I stop in my tracks to fix the seam on her socks.  Again.  I can’t promise that there won’t be a little attitude or sarcasm in my answer to impossible questions {over, and over, and over again} while I’m trying to concentrate on traffic in the car.  And I can’t promise that I’m not secretly rolling my eyes as I hear the high shriek of “MooooOOOOOOM!” from the playroom…..to think, they were playing so nicely together for the last 2 minutes!

Things to remember when your kids are annoying you!

So, once again….I remind myself to put that negative attitude away and appreciate these little moments….snot in my hair and all.

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Christmas Traditions

Happy New Year!

Hope the start of 2015 has treated you well so far.  As you know, I don’t really believe in New Year’s Resolutions, but we do have a couple of projects coming up that we are excited about.  My parents gave us the gift of peace this Christmas by whisking the girls away for four days immediately after Christmas, so Dave and I could get some stuff done around the house.  Our first big project of 2015 is the Playroom Renovation…more to come on that later.

Dave and I also have joined a couple of Bootcamp programs to get rid of the baby weight that we’ve gained.  Dave’s program is especially cool…it’s called F3 and is new to our area.  It’s completely free and stands for Fitness, Fellowship and Faith.  Basically a Bootcamp Bible Study!  Wish they had a women’s one….

Christmas was kind of a whirlwind this year.  Both sets of grandparents traveled in from Florida for a few days.  It was great to have the kids surrounded by their grandparents…and I loved that we, once again, got to continue most of our little family’s Christmas traditions this holiday season.  That’s my favorite part about Christmastime…the traditions.

Christmas Traditions from Palmettos and Pigtails

None of them are groundbreaking or terribly creative, but they mean so much to our family.  For instance, we begin celebrating Christmas by decorating the house the day after Thanksgiving.  Dave always puts the tree up, while I decorate the rest of the house.  The kids hang their handmade ornaments on the bottom half of the tree, while the fragile ones go more toward the top.  All the while listening to Christmas music.

Christmas Traditions from Palmettos and Pigtails

Our favorite tradition is our Christmas Eve Morning Brunch.  It started out as 30 of our closest friends and neighbors gathering in our house for a potluck brunch with a last minute visit from Santa.  But this year {our 4th year}, we finally had to move it down to the Farmhouse {our neighborhood clubhouse} to accommodate the 120 people that showed up this year! And with our kids getting older, we finally had to retire our Santa’s helper that used to come {Dave} in exchange for the real deal…who comes in his red car and has a real beard!

Christmas Traditions from Palmettos and Pigtails

On Christmas Eve, we enjoy crock-pot chili, the Night Before Christmas, and new Christmas jammies after visiting our church for their 5:00 service.  I love “Silent Night”, but the glowsticks are the highlight for the kiddos!

Christmas Traditions from Palmettos and Pigtails

And much to the dismay of my father-in-law, we make the kids WAIT to open their presents on Christmas morning.  That’s right…I am a mean mommy who insists on brushing her teeth, starting on breakfast and grabbing a cup of coffee, before settling down on the couch to enjoy the kids arriving downstairs to begin the all-morning process of opening gifts.  We are also a one-gift-at-a-time kind of family.  I’m thrilled that the girls are just as happy to hand out gifts to everyone else, as opening their own.  And they actually take time to play with their new toys and appreciate them before tearing into the next.  It may take us all morning to open everything, but I think that the whole family enjoys the leisurely buffet while watching the Jayna and Millie show!

Christmas Traditions from Palmettos and Pigtails

Christmas Traditions from Palmettos and Pigtails

Christmas Traditions from Palmettos and Pigtails

Later that day, while the “guys” smoke turkey and pork on the smoker and then promptly take naps, the kids play with their new toys and I start fixing supper.  We eat around 4:30 or 5 each year, since we’ve just been snacking all day.  And I just love that time in my kitchen, surrounded by the ladies that raised me, encouraged me and inspired me.  And although my feet are killing me by the end of the day, it’s all worth it as we gather around the dining room table to celebrate the Lord’s birth together.

Next year, we will have the same crazy schedule.  Despite all of my careful planning, we’ll get stressed about the amount of people coming to the brunch.  I’ll panic as I realize that I forgot three ingredients crucial to the feast I’m making for Christmas Day.  We’ll fight tooth and nail to get the children in their Christmas best, hair done and shoes on…AND get to church on time.  But when it’s all said and done, I’ll sit back with {just one more} Christmas cookie and a coffee with Irish Creme, and thank God for all of my blessings!

Christmas Traditions from Palmettos and Pigtails

Hope y’all had a wonderful Holiday too!

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Merry Christmas 2014

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!  Here is the Christmas card that I finally decided to go with from Minted.com…it wasn’t one of the ones I showed you originally, but I’m super pleased with it!

Merry Christmas from Palmettos and Pigtails 2014

And now I’m off to spend the rest of this year with my family!  We have folks coming from all over the South to celebrate with us, and it’s the highlight of my year being surrounded by family!  I wish you and yours the happiest and healthiest holiday season!  See you next year!

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A Minted Christmas Card – A Vote

We are a week and a half out from Lincoln’s Baptism Celebration….and then four days later, Thanksgiving.  And then the Christmas Season.  Because around here, it truly is its own season.  Every weekend we have a party or event to go to.  School days are filled with Christmas crafts, Operation Christmas Child, and Nativity programs.  And my evenings are spent planning, sewing and shopping.  Y’all, where does the time go in December?

But, it’s not December. Yet.  So as far as I am concerned, I’m ahead of the game.  For now.  This week, I’m starting to think about Christmas cards.  Those beautiful little reminders of how blessed we all are.

Blog Christmas Card

This was my homemade Christmas card from 2012.  This year, I’m teaming up with Minted.com to share their 2014 Christmas Card line.  They are giving me a chance to try some of their gorgeous Christmas cards to send out this year….but I’m having a hard time deciding!!!

That’s where you come in.  I need your help!  I’ve chosen a few of my favorite styles {it’s super easy to Pin and to Favorite each card you like on their website}, and was wondering if you can weigh in with your pick.  Leave me a comment with which one you like best!

Choice #1: Year in a Nutshell

Year in a Nutshell Photo Card from Minted.com

It’s a little more modern than I typically do, but I love that you can add your “stats” and highlights too!

Choice #2: Love Tree

Love Tree Christmas Card from Minted.com

Choice #3: Very Merry Flourish

Very Merry Flourish Christmas Card by Minted.com

I like that the shape is different and pretty….but it’ll be hard for me to find a vertical picture of our family that I like!

Choice #4: Bright Days

Bright Days Christmas Card by Minted.com

So here’s a compromise that is pretty and horizontal!

Choice #5: Heart, Halo, Hooray!

Heart, Halo, Hooray! Christmas Card by Minted.com

Keep in mind that if you click on the link in each card’s name, you can play around with the color of the lettering and the cut style of the card.

Which one do you think I should choose?

Check out this week’s awesome deals: 15% off Holiday cards and 20% off Foil-pressed cards.  Click here for details.

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Stay-at-Home Mom: A How-To Guide

I am so very blessed to be able to stay at home with my three kiddos.  And although I loved my job before having kiddos, and completely respect those hard working moms who work outside of the home….I wouldn’t trade my life now for anything.  I have a couple of friends who are, for the first time, now able to stay at home with their kids too, and so I thought I’d give a few tips on how to gracefully make the transition.

Be A Stay-at-Home Mom: A How-To Guide {Tips and Tricks for transitioning from the workplace to staying at home with your kids} - Palmettos and Pigtails

My husband’s advice: stock up on BonBons and Soap Operas.  He jokes around about me sitting on my butt all day, but he knows perfectly well how hard of a job it is to be a stay-at home mom.  And I love to remind him of it on the weekends, by leaving him with all three kids for a couple of hours!

I recently ran across this article on Babble about how being a stay-at-home mom is actually a luxury for your spouse.  I saved it because I find that it’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling like you aren’t doing enough.  As a working mom, you stayed busy with non-household related tasks for 8-10 hours a day before coming home to your family…and now, your primary job is family and household.  And now, in the days of Facebook, Pinterest, oversharing and helicopter parenting…it’s easy to feel guilty about not having a pristine house, themed lunches, and crafty playdates.  Not to mention, a healthy homemade dinner on the table every night.  Sorry, but that’s just not realistic!

Be A Stay-at-Home Mom: A How-To Guide

You may be a Super Mom, but you are still human, and dealing with some very unstable little people who will throw a kink in any plans you make.  So underestimate the amount of “stuff” you’ll get done in a day, and you won’t disappoint yourself.

Be A Stay-at-Home Mom: A How-To Guide

Talk to your spouse about your changing roles in the household.  Establish what “jobs” you will take over, and what he’ll be in charge of.  Dave and I have kind of figured it out by trial and error, but I really wish we had done this.  A specific sit-down chat to determine each other’s expectations of the other will put everything on the table, and hopefully prevent misunderstandings and resentment in the future.

Next, establish a daily/weekly routine.  If you don’t create some sort of organization to your time, you’ll go crazy.  Start simple, day by day.  Personally, I do one major chore a day.  Monday is laundry day, Tuesday is vacuuming, Wednesday is grocery shopping, Thursday is decluttering, and Friday is bathrooms.  So, if I am able to get everybody up, dressed and fed, and do that one chore….I feel like my day has been a success!  I also try to do as many of the Cleaning Calendar chores that I can…not always in order, and some days I am able to do more than one, other days I can’t do any.  My schedule often loosely looks something like this:

5:00 – change and feed the baby
5:30 – shower and get dressed {even if it is just yoga pants!}
6:00 – get Jayna ready for school and Millie ready for the day
6:30 – put Jayna on the bus and eat breakfast with Millie
7:00 – while Millie plays, change and feed the baby, put him back down for morning nap
7:30 – check email and clean up kitchen
8:00 – do daily chore somewhere in here, while Millie is playing and baby is sleeping
8:30 – play or do some sort of project/cooking with Millie
9:30 – change baby, play on the floor with him
10:00 feed Millie a snack
10:30 take the kids out for a bike ride/walk
11:00 while Millie plays, change and feed baby, put him down for lunch nap
12:00 feed Millie lunch
12:30 put Millie down for a nap, change the baby, grab a bite to eat, clean up the kitchen
1:00 blog or sew while baby plays in exersaucer
2:00 finish daily chore if needed and do a cleaning calendar chore
2:45 get Jayna off the bus and get her unpacked and settled in for quiet reading
3:00 change and feed the baby, put him down for afternoon nap, Millie wakes…play with girls
4:00 while girls play together, start prepping dinner, check email
5:30 dinner on the table

It’s funny, as I write this, it seems like there is so much time in the day.  Up until now, I’ve never written down my “schedule.”  In fact, it took me quite a while to think about what I actually do on a daily basis.  So when I wrote down the minimum things in my day, there seems like so many gaps.  But then fill those gaps with potty breaks, tantrums, tying shoes, tears, hugs, time-outs, fussiness, tea parties, lap sitting, boo boos, reading books, etc.  No wonder I don’t get more done!

Be A Stay-at-Home Mom: A How-To Guide

Some of the ways I keep organized, are by planning out my meals.  I do this in a variety of ways, from preparing freezer meals ahead of time, to participating in the eMeals program {and letting them do all the meal planning for me!}.  Either way, I use a Weekly Meal Planner worksheet to get a visual of what I’ve planned for the week, which also helps Dave on the nights that I need him to start dinner for me.

Another important thing to remember is that although it’s important {and your job now!} to spend more time with your kids, don’t feel like it all has to be structured.  As a former teacher and a mommy-blogger, it’s second nature to me to want to have a project, craft or game ready for the kids at all times.  But you have to remember that by having structured activities or even excursions {think zoo, children’s museum, etc.} all the time will create expectations and dependency from your kids.  It’s good for them to play alone or with each other.  It’s beneficial for them to learn to leave you alone sometimes.  And it’s a valuable skill that you may need to teach them, since they will be SO EXCITED to have you at home with them.  All. of. the. time.  I try to balance structured activities {from simple painting to complex slime recipes and scavenger hunts} with free play, and adding the occasional “field trip” excursion about twice a month.  {And the grocery store counts as an excursion, right?!?!}

Be A Stay-at-Home Mom: A How-To Guide

And my final thought is, don’t feel guilty about taking some “me” time.  Whether it’s in the evenings or weekends, when your spouse can take over for a bit, or during nap time, make sure it happens.  It’s easy to get so wrapped up in daily duties and childcare that you forget to take care of yourself.  And if you are stressed out, tired or burned out, you can’t be a good mom or wife.  So don’t feel guilty about that hour on Facebook or Pinterest…I guarantee your working friends and spouses spend at least an hour during the day surfing the internet!

Be A Stay-at-Home Mom: A How-To Guide

And last but not least, enjoy!  Your kids will grow up.  That temper tantrum will only last about three minutes.  That snuggle on the couch will be fleeting.  Soak these kiddie moments up, because there will always be dishes!

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