Wednesday, August 31, 2016

What's Up Wednesday

You guys, it is the last day of August. I can't believe it! This summer seriously went by in the blink of an eye. At the risk of sounding terrible, I am not too terribly sad to see this summer go. I love having a precious little babe, but it really makes getting out and doing much during the summer months (or any months) a challenge. And, I was homeless for the majority of the summer ;-) Bring on fall and all of the warm fuzzy things that come with it! Linking up for What's Up Wednesday today, as well as with the regulars Jenn and Jessi, to see what all of you ladies have had going on during this last month of summer!

1. What we're eating this week
We did something we almost never do during the week and went out for dinner on Monday for my nephew's birthday! And our whole night felt out of sorts afterwards ;-) Otherwise, a night of leftovers, shredded chicken enchiladas, and pizza, which is ALWAYS on the menu at least once a week. We would eat pizza every single night if we could!

2. What I'm reminiscing about
 After accidentally killing my iPhone on Sunday (still not working) I went back to my old phone, and so all of my old messages and such were saved. I saw some pictures of Jackson from about a year ago when I got the phone, so I have been having some fun all week sorting through old pictures and messages while cursing time for being such a thief.

 3. What I'm loving
The cooler weather! Last weekend was pure bliss, with high temperatures around 70 degrees. This week has warmed up again, but now the highs are back to being just below 80. But what I am really loving is the mornings, it is my favorite when it is chilly enough in the morning to need a jacket, but warm enough to enjoy playing outside during the day!

4. What I'm dreading
We decided to start Lincoln in daycare this month, and while I am not dreading cutting my pickup/dropoff process in half, or having my boys be together every day, I am dreading the fact that there will inevitably be more sickness in my house. So many germs, but worth it to see our boys get some social interaction!

5. What I'm working on
Oh, just trying to furnish an entire house from scratch. Can someone just send me all of the things, or all of the money? Next on my list is dressers for the boys rooms, an end table for the living room, and nightstands for our bedroom. You don't realize how badly you need an end table until you have nowhere to set your drink!

6. What I'm excited about
 Fall weather! Pumpkin things! Football on Sundays! #sobasic I am also really looking forward to seeing Lincoln continue to grow, he is at that age where he is changing so much every single day, and I know by the end of next month he is going to be doing so many new things. Keeping it real, I think my baby hates being a baby. He is just not content, and gets so frustrated at not being able to do things. That being said, I think he is probably going to do things earlier than his brother did, because he is so determined! I am eager to see if becoming a bit more physically independent will improve his frustrations at all!

7. What I'm watching/reading
Reading does not exist in my world currently. Unless it's blogs, which I try to read when I can find a few minutes. I am watching lots of Wallykazam and the Baby Channel ;-) Mike and I watched 'It Follows' last weekend, and it was okay. It was a scary movie, but not so scary that I couldn't sleep for days or anything, and kind of weak plot development. Apparently it won all kinds of awards though? I also have been on an HGTV kick, so lots of Fixer Upper, Flip or Flop, and Property Brothers!
8. What I'm listening to
Again, since I am back on my old phone, I also have my old music and playlists. I have been loving hearing things pop up on shuffle like Leeann Rimes, the Backstreet Boys, and even some Christmas music (shh! Don't tell!)

9. What I'm wearing
I seriously have been wearing one of these tops tucked into one of these skirts nearly every day this week. I just ordered these pants from Old Navy, as well as these and these, and have my fingers crossed they work out so I can start mixing up my work wardrobe a bit more.

10. What I'm doing this weekend
Still up in the air! We have a few options on the table to enjoy the Labor Day weekend, but nothing solid yet!
11. What I'm looking forward to next month
Hmm, well September is my birthday, Mike's birthday, and we have a wedding the weekend in between. So we will hopefully be enjoying a few nights and meals kids free, and cake too! So, in the world that I currently live in, I am definitely looking forward to the month of food and cake.

12. What else is new
We finally got our modem for internet this week! Of course that then required hours of work for Mike to hook it up. So, I should *finally* have actual internet at home this week and am thrilled! What was life before we had Netflix?

Bonus** What is your favorite summer to fall transitional piece in your closet?
I love love LOVE my jean jacket. Especially when working in the summer, I love to throw this on for more casual days over a dress in lieu of a cardigan. Once fall hits, you will find me living in my jean jacket. I purchased mine five years ago or so at American Eagle, but this is an adorable option! For a fun twist, I am loving this mixed fabric option, too!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Toddler Table

As every mother experiences, little ones grow and change so quickly that it often seems as soon as they develop one new habit, they are dropping it for another one. When I delivered Nu-Val for the Nu-Mom, my son would try just about anything that was placed in front of him. Vegetables, casseroles, fruits, and meats were all fair game. Then, this past winter, he realized he has opinions. And lots of them, I must say. Suddenly, if it was not a chicken nugget, hot dog, or strawberry, it was not happening. Throwing his food to the floor to feed the dogs became a favorite mealtime activity. And don't even think about sneaking in mashed potatoes between his bites of banana. The tantrum that follows will send you running!
the toddler table
While we often succumb to the toddler demands (because after all, we do need to feed him something after an hour long standoff of him refusing his dinner), we do have some strategies that have helped us ensure our little guy is receiving adequate nutrition. Does he eat five fruits and vegetables every single day? No, he does not. Do we try to at least make it a possibility? Yes! Here are some of the tips, tricks, and determined decisions used in our household to make sure we are serving up variety and expanding our son's culinary horizons.
  1. Always serve what we are eating first. This was a bit of a struggle for us, because it became so easy to feel defeated when our child refused to eat. For awhile, it became easier to have a couple of chicken nuggets prepared and ready to go from the beginning, to save ourselves from the added stress of a mid-meal meltdown. We realized we couldn't keep that up, and made the commitment to always serve to Jackson what we are eating. This has meant lots of scraps thrown to the dogs, meals where he may not get a balance of all of his food groups, and certainly some tears, but we have also been utterly shocked by his willingness to eat every single vegetable in stir-fry, and even meatloaf! We don't win every battle, but we give it a solid twenty to thirty minutes before serving up a backup meal.
christmas 2015 050  
Our picky eater trying out lots of veggies on stir fry night.
  1. Try, try, and try again! Kids are fickle little beings. One day they love macaroni and cheese, and the next day it might throw them into a fit of hysterics, as happened in our household. With that being said, a vegetable that they refuse to try on Monday may very well be fair game the following week. Don't dismiss a certain food because it failed once. It may just become a favorite menu item the next time!
  2. Know that not all meals are the same. While we often will incorporate new foods into lunches, we are a household where both parents work, and so we really put the bulk of our focus on 'introducing new' at dinner time. We stick to nutritious favorites like frozen mini pancakes and scrambled eggs for breakfast most days, and 4-5 days per week lunch is served at daycare, so dinner is really where we seize the opportunity to increase the variety of foods our son is eating. This is where I say you need to pick and choose your battles; allow those that care for your child during the day to serve up newly approved foods, but do your best to get creative with one consistent meal every day!
  3. Try different preparations of the same food. Raw red peppers may not be high on the 'yum' list for your little ones, but take that same vegetable and saute or bake it, and the reaction you receive might be totally different. Don't be afraid to shake things up; as long as they are eating it, you can chalk it up to a parenting success!
  4. Keep tried and true staples on hand, because sometimes your child truly will refuse to eat everything on their plate, and in good conscious I cannot justify sending a 17 month old to bed without dinner. We do our best to keep strawberries, clementines, string cheese, and the highest scoring NuVal chicken nuggets on hand, when there is simply nothing else that will work.
  5. Share snacks. When all else fails, if it was refused at the dinner table, there is a very good chance that it will become a culinary delight when he is eating it directly from our hands away from the table. We often share apples, oranges, granola bars, and other snacks outside of mealtime. While we do not try to make a regular habit out of this and value sitting down for our meals, this is also a great way to pack in a little bit more nutrition (for both parent and child!) before or after dinner. As long as I do my best to keep them healthy, I usually feel good about sharing my treats!
As I have mentioned before, my family lives in the real world, and we face time constraints, busy schedules, and demanding toddlers that make eating healthy something that can become a bit of a challenge. Every child is different, so try new things, be persistent, and continue to do your best to ensure they grow up to be the healthiest version of themselves possible!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Weekending: RIP Iphone

Well, I did have aspirations of doing a weekend recap. However, we are STILL without internet at our new home (supposedly it is getting set up today, fingers crossed! Mama misses her Netflix!) And, the cherry on top of the weekend was Sunday morning. Lincoln was laying in bed with me, and when I picked him up I noticed soaked sheets. Little man had leaked out. I didn't totally mind, because there is something about fresh sheets on a Sunday night to start out the week. So I got him changed and cleaned up, tore all of the sheets off the bed, and threw them in the wash. Fast-forward ten minutes, and I could not find my cell phone. I retraced all of my steps from the past few minutes, and eventually, with a ridiculous amount of fear, paused the washing machine to find my beloved iPhone taking a tumble with the sheets. So, yesterday included a trip to Verizon, where I went back to my old phone. It's an iPhone 5, and I had only upgraded out of greediness versus necessity last year haha, so it still works well. But I was not only without regular internet, but also my cell Wifi for most of the day yesterday.

This morning is Monday, I have a late work meeting, and it has been downpouring. So, cheers to a new work week, and cross your fingers for me that the bag of rice where my beloved phone is currently residing works some magic!

Linking up with Biana today.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Five on Friday

Happy happy Friday! I know I sound like a broken record, but weekends are so much more exciting when it actually means a day off from work. And, now that we are in our own house, I am really enjoying the opportunity to organize, cook, and just do errands for things like toilet paper for my own space. It's the little things, guys. Our weekend may include things like picking rocks from our yard, but I'm okay with that because it means I am one step closer to having grass instead of dirt. Yay!

1. House Closing
We officially close on our house today!! We have been moved in now for two weeks, but the bank likes to take their time on things and so today we sign all of the papers to roll our construction loan into our home loan. I am so excited to be DONE with the process, and while I don't exactly like handing over my paychecks to cover a mortgage, I am excited to finally establish some more structure in our spending and be able to plan more on a fixed number. After a summer of covering heating and plumbing costs out of pocket (which did save us money in the long run) and writing out random paychecks for kitchen sinks, a scheduled, anticipated monthly payment doesn't sound too bad. That, and the fact that the house is officially totally 100% OURS after today!

2. Old Navy Sale
You all know by now that I love a good sale at Old Navy. I desperately need some new pants for work (all of the hems on mine are falling out or torn up from years of use. Unfortunately, the pants I have been eyeing up were 'Everyday Steals', which all of you ON shoppers know means that it basically isn't eligible for any of their sales. So yesterday, I got an e-mail announcing 40% off everything, no exclusions. You better believe I ordered up five new pairs of pants that I am hoping will be great to add to my work wardrobe. I bought this classic pair, as well as this fun option of the same style in black dots. And, I am trying out these rockstar jeans in a few different colors, perfect for fall and also okay to wear to work! And, I made the decision and to be able to wear both on the weekends and to work, I went with this option for a blush pair. So excited! The sale runs through Sunday night, so if you have had your eye on anything there, don't miss it, because it's a good one!

3. Snapchat
You guys. I haven't been on Snapchat for probably two years or so. I just could never get into it. Now though, it is so fun to see other bloggers on their, and I love getting more of a 'real life' look on people. Filtered pictures are great, but sometimes I think it is so cool just to even hear the voice or see the mannerisms of these people that we follow. Anyone else feel the same way? Also, the last time I used it there weren't filters, and I can't stop won't stop using them. LOVE IT.

4. Bath and Body Hand Soap
It was done yesterday, but this week Bath and Body Works had 6 for $18 hand soaps, and I was all. over. it. I had a coupon for 20% off on top of it, so each soap came out to only being like $2.25! Now that I have three bathrooms and a kitchen, I realized I need a lot more soap! My absolute favorite lately is the black cherry merlot, but there are so many delicious vanilla scents right now, that are just decadent and smell like warm coziness. You know you are adulating hard when you get excited about hand soap.

5. Chalkboards
For those of you that missed it, I did a 2 year update on Jackson earlier this week. And figured I would share a pile of the outtakes from our little photoshoot to explain why the monthly chalkboards are no longer a 'thing' once the kids hit toddler age. I mean, I gave him the chalk, so I have no one to blame but myself...
With that, happy Friday! We are off to enjoy a weekend of cooler temps, hopefully some solo gym time (if the babies cooperate), and more organization of the new house!

*This post contains affiliate links

Thursday, August 25, 2016


It's Thursday, and that means that it is time for some confessions with Danielle! Also joining Annie for Thoughts on Thursday.

I confess..

The other night we FINALLY had our shower door installed, but we couldn't use it until the following morning once the door was set. So our only option was to take a bath. I turned the hot water all the way up, thinking it would offset the cold water from the first minute or so before the hot water kicked in. Well I was smart and didn't check it after a few minutes, so I had a tub nearly filled with chilly, semi-lukewarm water. So while this picture may look relaxing, it was not the most pleasant of baths. #youcantwinthemall

I entered all of my family members in birthday contests on some local radio stations, and my brother's birthday was on Sunday and he won! I got this in the mail yesterday, and definitely debated keeping it for myself because, hello, free pizza. But I instead texted him a picture and dropped it off for him this morning, and I'm pretty sure it made his day. Best sister ever award!
We had every intention of moving Lincoln into a crib in his own room as soon as we moved into our new house, but then Jackson miraculously started sleeping through the night most nights. And we are terrified to mess that up so Lincoln continues to hang out in our room in his bassinet.

Even once Jackson gets a bit more settled, I am terrified to move Lincoln because he was up four times last night and nursing him in bed is just a heck of a lot easier than climbing a huge flight of stairs four times.

I received an e-mail that as a perks member at Caribou coffee, I have early access starting NOW for pumpkin spice lattes. But I just don't know if I am ready yet. I am so excited for fall, but is it seriously already PSL season? Where did summer go?

I am still holding out for the Ikea Hemnes dresser, because I just can't find anything else that I like as much. So we are just going to live out of laundry baskets of baby clothes until it is finally restocked. Needless to say, the baby's room looks pretty darn bare.

I finally downloaded Snapchat, and am super amused by the filters. But I faceswapped Lincoln yesterday, and for whatever reason all I see when I look at him is Michael Jackson! Tell me I'm not crazy? #mjforlife #scary #yikes

That's all for me today. Happy Friday Eve!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Jackson at Two

I am going to start this off by being honest and saying I had zero intentions of doing a chalkboard for Jackson at age two. I did them monthly up through twelve months, and then progressed to updates every few months, but had let the chalkboard go. However, one day recently as I was working on a three month board for Lincoln, Mike asked when I was doing one for Jackson. To which I probably gave him a blank stare. Another chalkboard? Huh? And wouldn't you know, the father of my children enjoys these little posts and was a little upset that I didn't have a birthday board planned for our Jackson. So, although it isn't right on his birthday, I decided I could manage a once-a-year chalkboard for my babies beyond the age of one. As long as they will agree to them, that is!
Here you see the evidence of why I have let the chalkboards go. Fingers crossed that by age 3 he is more willing to pose for a picture without demanding a piece of chalk!

Two Years
Height: 38 inches. Per the old wives tale, this would put him at 6'4 full grown. Tall, dark, and handsome little guy that we have! He is wearing size 3T for shorts and pants and shirts, but we have moved onto buying 4T pajamas and shirts as we move forward. He wears a size 8 shoe, but I anticipate we will be moving onto a 9 sooner rather than later. He is in size 5 diapers, but we are working through our remaining stock and will then likely be wearing 6's, he is so long that the 5's are starting to seem a bit small!
Weight: a little under 33 pounds. This surprised me a bit, because he really has not gained much more than one or two pounds in the past six months, even though he grew two inches. He is definitely thinned out, he might just get the lankiness from his mama!
Milestones: He has finally added a few words to his vocabulary. He is definitely still pretty behind in terms of speech, but for MONTHS he would only say 'mama' and 'dada'. Now we also have bubble, tja-tja (tractor), hi, the letters 'o', 'm', and 't', 'yes', and a funny little grunt when you ask what the bear (or truck or Jackson) says. Despite his lack of speech, he is very perceptive and picks up on a lot. He can identify objects by color, can point out and identify just about any item in a book, and gets creative in getting what he wants (because we just can't break through the barrier to get him to use his words and ask). The other day, he was out in the living room while I was getting ready in our bathroom. All of the sudden he came walking in, with a diaper in one hand and the package of wipes in the other. He has no problems telling us he needs to freshen up! He is also really growing in his role as big brother, and it is so sweet to watch. He will grab his brother's blanket and cover him (unfortunately usually when his brother is already sleeping and content), or will try to give him his pacifier. He likes to hold him, but once he is done, be prepared because he will shove his brother right to the side and go about his playing! He still loves to give him extra slobbery kisses on the head, and whenever you ask him where Lincoln is, he will still smile like a fool and breathe like he is hyperventilating. So I guess that can go under speech too, right? 'Say Lincoln' gets the response of crazy fast breathing, so there's that.
In other huge news, he started daycare this month! We are only about two weeks in, and there have definitely been some rough mornings with tears, but they are basically always followed up with a text from his daycare provider showing a picture of a smiling, goofy boy. He also brought home his first cold from daycare (YAY). It is fun seeing him grow to know the other kids, and really start interacting more. Between daycare, mom going back to work, and moving into a new house, this little boy has really had a lot to deal with this month, but he has taken it all pretty darn well!
Sleep: We have definitely made progress in the sleep department in the past few months. He still wakes up, but he also sleeps through the night without us needing to go to his room at all a good chunk of the time. On the fourth night in our new house he had his first official time sleeping through the night, and woke up happy and chit-chatting over the monitor. So, while he doesn't let us sleep all night every night, he does at least give us about every other night-which I'll take!
He has also had a HUGE sleep milestone in that he is learning to put himself to sleep. Some nights, this means him getting up and out of bed, turning on the light, and playing in his room, but it is progress nonetheless. It is funny, because for two years we couldn't get him to lay down without one of us beside him, and now he loves to lay down, and once he thinks we aren't watching he shuts the door and turns the lights on! I am shocked to see the day where he is happy being alone in his room with the door shut. This has also given mom and dad a bit more freedom, because we are able to hang out upstairs in the loft and watch TV together for the first time in literally a year. So, huge successes overall in the sleep department just in the past few weeks!
Best Moments: There have been a lot of great moments with this little guy over the past few months. He lit up like a Christmas tree when he woke up from his nap and saw the kitchen decked out for his birthday party with Thomas the Train decorations everywhere! Hearing him say some new words has been amazing, and we do everything we can to praise and celebrate his accomplishments so that he knows how proud we are of him. Watching him love his little brother is one of the sweetest things I have experienced, even when it is often followed with him smacking Lincoln on the head with a car seconds later. Watching him eat his first s'more by the campfire on the Fourth of July was great. It was also great to watch him learn to love 4-wheeler rides this summer, go on walks with his grandparents, and enjoy being outside. Despite all of the crazy going on, our sweet boy has had what I would deem a pretty wonderful summer!
Worst Moments: He has developed a new habit of being very aware of when his diaper is dirty, and for whatever reason his reaction to this awareness is sticking his fingers in to assess the situation. Which has resulted in poop on little fingers and in the carpet on more than one occasion. I should at least be happy he hasn't wiped it on walls or all over his room (yet), but now the second we realize he has gone #2, we are all over it and changing his diaper immediately!
Health: Aside from an occasional runny nose, he really is a pretty healthy kid. We had our terrible bout with Influenza A this past winter (which was two full weeks of absolute misery for all) and since then he has had slight touches of a cold once or twice. He is growing great, is tall, thinning out, but right on track for everything besides his speech. We did decide to get him assessed again (which we did at 18 months) and will be doing so in the next few weeks, because if he would qualify for any extra help that will get him up to speed with his speech, we will take it. We want our sweet boy to have every opportunity to grow and thrive possible. Overall though, his health is pretty excellent.
Eating: He has gotten much better with eating. He is still picky, but dinner seems to be the meal where he is most willing to try new things. He absolutely loves pizza, which really comes as no surprise because after all, he is our child. He is all about hot dogs, and will eat them until you stop offering. He has also eaten stir fry, spaghetti, pasta alfredo, enchiladas, meatloaf, and a variety of other things. He also is throwing less of his meals on the floor now that we are in our own house and there is no known dog available to come pick up his mess ;-) He loves chips, and if he ever gains access to the pantry that is the first thing he will grab and demand be opened. He is wary of cold foods, which I find a bit strange. He will steal bites of our ice cream if we are eating it out of a bowl, but he is very skeptical of ice cream cones. And he pretty much wants nothing to do with freezy pops or popsicles. Seriously, what kid doesn't like popsicles!? I'm not sure if he just finds the cold shocking, or if maybe he has sensitive teeth.
Teeth: Sixteen teeth. At this point, I honestly don't even know when they are supposed to get more teeth, and how many more they are supposed to get before they hit kindergarten age and start losing them? We are enjoying the break from teething and all that goes with it!
Likes: Thomas the train, any train actually, tractors, trucks, cars, buses. Anything with wheels will provide him hours of entertainment! He also loves to cuddle, and still loves Wallykazam, as well as Thomas the Train and anything on the baby channel. He loves his brother (when he wants to). Loves his mama and dada. Recently he enjoys pushing his cozy coup all over the yard, and as a result it is often parked to the side of our house. He loves dogs, and will giggle hysterically when a puppy decides to play with him. He has grown to love books more than I ever imagined, and will read them for hours on end if you let him. He also loves to color, especially on mommy's chalkboard.
Dislikes: He is not a fan of daycare dropoff, but I am hoping we turn that corner quickly. Every day I have gotten reports that he is getting more and more outgoing and social, which makes me so happy. He HATES having dirty diapers, as is evidenced by him rubbing his poo in the carpet. He is afraid of the dining room light fixture in our new house, and refuses to sit anywhere near it. He also dislikes being told he has to go to bed. And staying in bed. He is not a fan of getting his fingernails clipped, so we have to strategically do it once he has fallen asleep.

Some days I cannot believe our little baby is already two years old, and some days I feel like he has been two forever. He is the sweetest little boy, and we just cannot get enough of him. He smiles nonstop, and it is contagious. He is hard to stay mad at, because he knows just how to melt your heart. We love you so much, Jackson, and can't wait to continue watching you grow!

Friday, August 19, 2016

5 on Friday

I could not be happier to see Friday this week! After moving last weekend, this week felt a bit like unpacking and organizing had to get put on hold after full work days, dinner time, bath times, and bed times. We have BIG plans for this weekend (actually we don't) which include putting together a dresser, grocery shopping, and just soaking up some quality time at our new house. My husband is thinking of 'picking rocks' in the yard too, which I think may unfortunately end up overlapping with whenever I decide to feed Lincoln. This mama doesn't want to pick rocks! But it needs to get done! With that, how about some Friday favorites!?

1. Postpartum hair loss
Okay, this is not a favorite. But it is something that is totally happening. I have actually wondered a number of times over the past month or two when I would start losing some hair. I remember it happening with Jackson, because for real, hair everywhere. There is no way to deny when it is happening, because you are seriously covered in hair. Well, it literally kicked in within the past 48 hours, and I am strangely relieved? Because it can't be over with until it starts, may as well get the show on the road!

2. Bedroom Furniture
We have the Ikea Hemnes dresser in white that we initially purchased for Jackson's nursery in our old house. We decided during the moving process that it made more sense for us to move it into our master bedroom, because all of our trim and detailing is white and gray. The rest of the house has a dark stained oak. So when I saw the Hemnes dresser came in a black-brown, I couldn't wait to buy another one for Lincoln's room. We gave Jackson the room with the walk-in closet, so it made sense that we would buy Lincoln a larger dresser for all of the baby things, and then just get Jackson something smaller. Well, wouldn't you know, while it wasn't one of the recalled dressers, customer service informed me they are still being proactive and modifying/improving safety features, so it is currently out of stock online, as well as in the Twin Cities store. BUT it is literally in stock at every other store in the country. I just want my dresser, is that too much to ask!? So, in order to get by, I did purchase this dresser for Jackson's room after reading countless reviews, and figured we will share/improvise until my beloved Hemnes dresser is back in stock. Because that is how much I love that dresser. You seriously can't beat the quality for the fabulous price!

3. Improvising storage
So speaking of storage, since we are without dressers I seriously have been living out of laundry baskets for storage, mostly for the boys. Yesterday I swung through Target to grab a new broom (exciting new house purchases!) and saw the most perfect hanging storage cubbies in the dollar spot for $5! I definitely threw one in my cart without thinking, and put it up in Lincoln's room. It will be great for smaller items, onesies, hats, and shoes! I seriously LOVE the dollar spot at Target!

4. Jammies
You all know by now of my obsession with baby jammies. I got Jackson the cutest little pair from Carter's, and saw that it also came in a baby size and knew I had to, for the first time, coordinate my boys. I tried to get a picture. Lincoln posed, Jackson refused to look. I can probably count on one hand the number of photos I have gotten where both boys are actually looking, and I don't see that number getting much better any time soon. Boys. Speaking of jammies, I am also thinking it is a must to do some Halloween coordination with this darling pair from Old Navy. I just can't help myself!
5. Blush Skinnies
I have been wanting a pair of blush skinnies for a long time, but my tall girl problems often make it difficult to find styles I like in fun colors. I was browsing the Old Navy site and came across this pair and I seriously have to have them! My only thing holding me back is that the distressed detail (which I love) would make these a definite no for work. There is this pair as well, I am just not sure about the corduroy? Thoughts?

Enjoy your weekend, ladies! Can you believe there are only a few left until September!? #gimmeallthebasicthings

Thursday, August 18, 2016


It has been awhile since I linked up for some confessions, but now that life is finally (kind of sort of) settling down, I figured I would jump back in! I am a working mama, so you know I do plenty of things that should (or maybe shouldn't) be confessed!

I confess..

I make a TON of milk, and have to pump on top of feeding, not even for the sake of building a stash, but for my personal comfort. And sometimes I have gotten lazy and not bagged milk, it has gone bad, and I have dumped it. I AM SO SORRY OTHER MOMS!! I know so many ladies struggle to even produce enough to cover feedings, but I seriously make so much that I have come to not appreciate the 'liquid gold' and totally do not respect it the way I should. If anyone knows of an easy donation program or ways to put excess milk to good use, I am all ears because my freezer can only store so much.

I am having a hard time justifying buying ANYTHING for myself now that I have two kids and a new house. I wanted to buy this shirt something fierce, but every time I went to pull the trigger I just couldn't.

After deciding to not buy the shirt above, I went ahead and finally purchased Jackson this comforter in the red and blue stripe for his bed (that for the past six months has just gotten by with sheets and random quilts), and this crib skirt for Lincoln. Priorities, right?

I drink too much caffeine. Considering I am breastfeeding, I should still monitor my intake and limit it. But do I have two babies and half of the sleep that I should? Yep. Is caffeine necessary for my survival? Yup.

I have been beginning the hunt for a new mirror as well as jewelry organizer for our new bedroom, and came across this. this genius or what!? I am dying to know if it is as great as it appears to be.

Jackson has a cold, and when I am sitting on the couch and comfortable, I will sometimes wipe his nose with his shirt, my shirt, or any random piece of clothing or blanket that is in the area. Because sometimes throwing things in the wash in a few hours sounds better than walking across the room for a tissue.

Unpacking makes me so anxious. I know it takes time and is a process, but I just want everything put away! We have all of our every day items in place, but even those need organization. I would love to just have everything in its place so I can really start decorating.

We have an entire house to furnish, as in my boys don't even have dressers in their rooms, but the day we moved in as soon as we had everything moved into the garage Mike and I ran to Best Buy and purchased this TV for our bathroom. And you better believe we had that baby hooked up by the end of the weekend. Because TV in bathroom is clearly more important than storage for clothes. AND it is white and matches the bathroom and is seriously a pretty TV. WIN.

Linking up with Annie for Thoughts on Thursday and Danielle for Confessions today!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

More Life Changes!

Despite my best efforts, the blog continues to take a backseat to our every day life. For those of you that follow along, you know that life is plenty crazy over in our neck of the woods. Bringing home a new baby and building a house, which required Mike to be gone nearly all weekend every weekend for a few months, left little time for me to sit down and dump out my thoughts into this little space. The free time I have had, truthfully, has been used to shower, watch the Bachelorette, and spend what little quality time with the hubby that I could manage.

So, of course I couldn't help but throwing something new into the mix. I was offered and accepted a new position at work! So, after twelve weeks of glorious (or ridiculously stressful, depending on the day) maternity leave, I returned to a new title, new office, and new job. Why, you may ask? The decision was actually a pretty easy one. As you may know from reading in the past, I completed my MBA back in December. I am pretty determined in regards to my career, and knew that I want to continue to grow and rise to new challenges early on. I didn't do all that work including weekend projects and late nights away from my baby just to sit on a degree, after all! So, while I was on maternity leave I thought it was, in fact, a great time to explore and pursue new options if they made sense. And wouldn't you know, a position was posted within my company that called upon my past skill set, was a step up and therefore a promotion, and in a department that more directly reflected the type of working role I aspired to move into.

In quite the whirlwind of events, I had both a first and second interview in a matter of days, and was offered the job with about two weeks of maternity leave remaining. Upon accepting, I was able to get it worked out so that on my first day back, I was able to come straight to my new role, so there was no short-term return to my old position. It worked out perfectly, as I had really tied up loose ends and passed off tasks back in May before going on leave.

I am now into my third week in the new role, and am really enjoying it. I love the new challenges that are in front of me, and am enjoying having more creative and decision making power. I have some big visions for what I am going to do for my new department, and I cannot wait! So here is to a new job, new house, new baby, and hopefully settling into some semblance of normalcy this fall for the first time in nearly three years!

Linking up with Jenn and Jessi for 'What's Hap-pinning' today!

Friday, August 12, 2016

So You Want To Build A House?

I thought the time would never come, but we are closing on our house in a matter of days and I could not be more excited! In honor of closing being so close, I thought I would put together some thoughts on the whole home building process. A new home, whether purchased or built, is such a huge step for anyone, and our process was unique to us, our wants, and the life we are building.

The thing with a house, is whether you rent, buy, or build, it requires a lot of thought and consideration. What is best for some is not necessarily best for others. Going a step further, what works best for some will not work for others. Every family is unique and different, and coming to the conclusion to build a brand new home is no easy task. So, while we are nearing the end of our journey, I thought it would be good to provide a bit of insight as to our story, how we got to where we are, and my recommendations to anyone who is looking into a new construction!

1. How did you decide to build?
Really, we never wanted to build a house. We did know a few things with certainty, though. We knew which school district we wanted to be in, and we knew that we wanted to be out of town, on at least 2 or so acres. The district we are in and our land demands create for a challenging home search, plain and simple. With a great education system and beautiful community comes a price. We actually watched the housing market like hawks for a solid two years from around the time we got married. In that time period, two houses were listed that were enticing enough to look at, one we seriously considered, but ultimately, to get the land and privacy we were looking for, we were going to have to do some pretty significant sacrificing on the interior of our house. It was looking like a small kitchen, no master suite, tiny bedrooms, and other details were what we would be looking at to purchase a market home.

We had decided to list our home last summer, with the mindset that if we sold, we sold, and would figure it out from there. We didn't want to miss out on any potential opportunities that might come up, because we knew from experience that quality listings sold ridiculously fast.

We did also watch the 'land' market during that time, but not much came up. Like I said, we live in a high demand area. One day last fall, one of the lots I had casually bookmarked had a drop in price, so I mentioned it to Mike. He drove by one afternoon, and despite being the one who would usually put together a laundry list of  'problems' with any given property I sent him, all he had to say was 'I think we should call the realtor'. So I did. We walked the land that we had overlooked for the past year or so, and in standing out there, it just felt like home. I could picture us playing outside with the kids, looking out the windows as the snow falls, and planting a garden in the back. Pretty impulsively, we made an offer, and in a funny twist of fate after three months on the market with no bites, we received an offer on our house. We closed on both within a week of each other. It seriously was like the stars aligned. I hate to be that cheesy person who talks about fate and signs, but it truly felt like God was telling us this was the right move.

2. What were the first steps to getting started?
We did things pretty backwards of what a lot of other people do. In my experience, the majority of builders have lots they already own, and more often than not, they will meet with a new client, go over location options, standard floor plan options, and let the buyer choose from there. Our first step was buying the land, because that is what all of our decisions were to be centered around. After that, we discussed the 'must have' details for our new house, took those to a local lumber supplier, and sorted through their floor plan selection. We had to go through this process twice after a setback, but once we had a finalized floor plan, we purchased it and proceeded in selecting our builder.

3. How did you select a builder?
We took into consideration recommendations from family, friends, and our realtor, but I can tell you that our realtor hit it out of the park with his recommendation. We initially were planning to go with someone else, but consistently felt as though they weren't listening to us, didn't understand our needs, and just in general weren't meshing well with us. After some frustrating events with them, we decided to look elsewhere, and on a whim reached out to the builder recommended by our realtor. After meeting with the sales and design staff, and we were sold. We walked away feeling as though he knew exactly what we wanted, and could visualize and put into place what we were dreaming of without us even having to say it. He has also been wonderful with providing us options that can cut costs, and input as to whether something is worth any extra cost or not. We really trusted his judgment and have been nothing but satisfied with his company thus far.

We have been slightly less impressed with the project management side of the company, but at the end of the day, we have been happy with our experience. There are a lot of moving targets when building a home, so if you truly want to make sure that things go as smoothly as possible and stay on track, I highly recommend being as involved as possible. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Don't be afraid to point out things that seem to have been missed. Project managers are great, but they are human. If you are like me and have a husband who could probably have done the job himself, utilize that knowledge and ensure your builder is living up to their end of the deal. You hired them, and they are working for you. Keep this in mind and don't be afraid to advocate for what you want, because when all is said and done, you are the one who will be living in the house!

4. Were there any hidden surprises?
Um, yes. As I mentioned above, we had a floor plan selected, and at the time of selection were given an estimated cost to build. The first builder we met with agreed that the pricing was accurate, so we proceeded in making adjustments, modifications, and tweaks to the plan until we were ready to take it to bid. This builder was not good at listening to us, so we wasted a lot of time going over minor details they couldn't seem to get right, only to have the plan eventually go to bid and come back WAY out of the estimated price point. We are talking a whole new class of house price point. So, we went back to look at plans, found another that still had everything we wanted, but that we were assured would actually come in closer to budget, and had to go from there. Our new builder was very up front about what certain things would cost, why a bid would come back higher, etc., but selecting a new plan did push us back about a month in our process. Never be afraid to ask for specifics, and be as up front as possible regarding what you are able and willing to do to ensure that this doesn't happen to you!

5. Does it cost more, less, or the same amount as buying a pre-owned home?
More. without question. Think of it this way; usually when you are buying a home that has already been lived it, things are out of date, appliances are closer to needing updating, and there is likely work to be done. When building new, who wants to deal with poor quality, or not having exactly what they want. We certainly have had to discuss what we are willing to sacrifice, but at the end of the day, we just knew we wanted the french door refrigerator, and I knew that I wanted painted versus stained trim in the master suite. We went with the doors that are sturdier and require less upkeep, and other minor things that you wouldn't even think of, like rounded edges on the walls. These little things add up, but we decided that if we are going to build, we are doing it right and aren't taking shortcuts. I do like the fact that everything will be new and high quality, meaning in the long run things will hold up better and hopefully require less maintenance.
6. What were your biggest road bumps?
Definitely having to start over with our floor plan! That was just the worst. We had a week or two there where we really felt like everything was falling apart, and I was convinced I would spend the rest of my days living in someone else's basement. Of course, we trucked through, found our perfect alternative, and are at a good place today. We have also had to simply deal with things like figuring out how a construction loan works versus a standard home loan, how to roll our current land loan in with the new construction loan, and how to most efficiently do this.

We also learned that a lot of banks require a much larger down payment for a construction loan than they do for a home loan. Our builder recommended a bank that totally worked for us, but that was another scenario where I definitely got stressed. I assumed a home and construction loan were relatively the same, but that is most definitely not the case. It is a good idea to know your local banks and options, how their specific loans work, and what you will be capable of doing.

7. Where to splurge?
We wanted to be as cost efficient as possible when building our house, and decided that a lot of things can be upgraded. Countertops, flooring, and carpet can all get switched out, and likely would be due for an upgrade in ten years or so after lots of wear and tear from two busy boys :-)

With that being said, we did not cut corners in our master suite. We knew we wanted both a shower and a jet tub, and that was pretty much non-negotiable. I also want white trim and painted cabinets, and so we are going that route in that room only. We also like the idea that our space will then be a little bit different and unique from the rest of the house. We will have a tiled shower, a tub that is way bigger than we need, custom cabinet designs based on what I fell in love with on Pinterest, and although really not a grand or large investment, I walked through a model home that had a TV in the bathroom and immediately Mike and I decided that was something we have to have. It is a total little luxury that we don't need, but I am already daydreaming of soaking in the tub with an Angry Orchard in hand while watching Netflix. I anticipate the hubby and I may fight over who gets to spend more time in our new bathroom, which in and of itself tells me that the splurging is totally worth it.

While we didn't splurge on the materials, we did definitely stick to our guns on our floor plan. I knew I would forever regret not having an island in my kitchen, and I also knew that, if possible, I really wanted two story ceilings over the living room. So again, while we could have had granite countertops, custom cabinets, and elaborate detailing throughout our house with a simpler floor plan, we knew that all of that could be changed down the road, but the pitch lines and our roof could not

8. How do you make sure everything works together?
It is SO important to stay organized when building. You will select HUNDREDS of items, and of course you want it all to match! Get samples of your trim with the stain color. Get swatches of paint. Take pictures of EVERYTHING so you remember the style of your lights, the shape of fixtures, etc. If you have a good idea of the color scheme and style you are going for, I will say it becomes easier because you tend to gravitate towards things that will likely go well together anyway. But by the end of the process, we had a binder and an e-mail folder filled with product details, swatches, samples, order receipts, the works. In the end, trust your gut, and know that you get to do a final walk through to assess if anything needs to be changed, fixed, or replaced ;-)

9. Did you add any unique features?
Yes! There are so many options you don't realize exist until you build a home. We did rounded edges on our walls, which may seem odd when you first think about it. But, coming from the person who as a child sliced her lip on a wall edge (true story), rounded corners with two rough and tumble boys was genius to me.
While not exactly a breakthrough feature, we did upgrade to having sliding shelving in the kitchen for our pots and pans, Tupperware, and garbage.
As I mentioned before, we made sure we had wiring for a TV in our master bathroom!
We built out our fireplace, and didn't extend it up the wall, so our mantle is HUGE. It can literally function as a decorate table, of sorts. I made sure we had wiring for an outlet put in there as well, so this space will function as, what I picture, a fun seasonal d├ęcor area.

10. What was the hardest part?
Honestly, I didn't mind the meetings, selecting items, and the beginning process of construction. However, the final month of building is ROUGH. Everything is nearly completed, and I swear the final 3-4 weeks felt longer than the 3-4 months prior. I think because you are not as busy making selections and consulting with sub-contractors, and everything is SO close. I drove by the house for two weeks straight and the darn stone on the porch wasn't completed. And every day that I saw this, I became progressively more angry. Did I know it would eventually get done? Yes. But was the carpet already laid, the inside cleaned, and that darn stone was the finishing piece to me being allowed to move in? YES. I just think by the end of the process seeing your house being basically liveable but not being allowed to live in it gets tough. When the light at the end of the tunnel is practically blinding you because it is so close, you might get a little bit antsy :-) I compare it to the final week or two of pregnancy-time feels like it is at a standstill!

I have wanted to rip my hair out and cry a number of times throughout the process, but in the end I would absolutely build again. There is nothing like walking into a house and knowing you were the mind behind it all. If you have any questions that I didn't touch on, feel free to send them my way, I am happy to answer!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Lincoln: 3 Months

It is so crazy to think that our little man is already three months old! He has grown and changed so much this past month, and his personality is really starting to shine through. He has the sweetest smile, loves to coo and talk, and also loves to scream when things aren't to his liking ;-) He is just the most precious little thing, he melts my heart every single day with the sweet looks that he sends my way.

Age: three months
Height: 26 inches. 99th percentile. Ask me how surprised I am to once again have a huge baby?
Weight: 18 pounds. 99th percentile. Again, he may have more of daddy's gene pool for looks, but mamas genetics for hanging out at the top of the charts are winning!
Milestones: Nothing major this month, but he has really calmed down quite a bit with his fussiness. He definitely still has fussy times, but less frequently than before. He also has let out his first belly laughs! He loves to be tickled, and when you give his belly a little shake he will giggle and it is just the absolute sweetest.
He has started to recognize people and sights from  further away, and I have noticed he now will watch the TV, is amazed by some of Jackson's electronic toys, and will watch his brother play with a precious smile on his face.
Sleep: Nowhere close to sleeping  through the night! This month we really got at least a bit more predictable with sleep, and typically he is up around midnight-1am and then again around 3 or so. As long as we get that first decent stretch in it isn't too bad! We are moving any day now and plan to make the move to him sleeping in the crib (which is currently disassembled and he has never used) the first night we stay there. It will be so nice to finally have a separate room to rock and feed him!
Best Moment: Those sweet giggles! And while he has always been generous with the smiles for mama, it has taken awhile for others to experience his charm. Seeing him finally start enjoying his dad and brother a bit more has been great. 
Worst Moment: Nothing major this month! I suppose we can say those 2 month shots. Never a fun experience for baby!
Health: Growing and thriving! The only real issue is he still seems to have plugged eye ducts so they get 'goopy', especially when he cries or has watery eyes. Nothing to be concerned about or that we can really fix, just hoping they clear up soon because crusty eyes are no fun for baby!
Eating: Eating is his favorite. He is just a BIG baby, which likely is why he wakes up a few times a night to eat. A lot of eating needs to happen to grow that much! 
Teeth: None, but the drooling has begun. Who knows when he will cut any teeth, but we have definitely whipped out all of the bibs on the regular. 
Likes: Surprisingly, the dreaded diaper changes are now his FAVORITE. He is all smiles during every single change. He loves to be talked to, tickled, and swayed when he is laying down. He will hang out in his swing or bouncy chair for hours at a time. He loves watching Jackson's new Thomas the Train toy. Likes background noises, especially the vacuum cleaner! We may have let him taste a Dilly Bar, and I'm pretty sure he likes that, too ;-)
Dislikes: Bathtime, but he is finally coming around on that one and has made it through a few without having a total meltdown. Still hates the car. He is very aware of his surroundings, and gets upset whenever mom or whoever is with him gets out of his sight. 

Life with Lincoln is getting sweeter every day, and I cannot wait to see him really start to develop a personality and his own ways in the next few months! We love you, Lincoln!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Friday Favorites: Gap Friends and Family Sale!

I haven't done a Friday Favorites post in awhile, but I couldn't resist sharing today.
First of all, #truth. First full week back to work=done. Time to enjoy a stress free weekend of packing, furniture painting, and a birthday party. #yikes
 While there is so much hype surrounding the Nordstrom anniversary sale (and with good reason-deals are crazy good!), I need to show a little love for one of my absolute favorite stores. Gap! The Friends and Family sale opened yesterday for cardholders, but will start today and go through the weekend for everyone else. It applies at both Gap and Gap Factory, too! To receive, use promo code FFSALE :-) A few years ago, our town ditched the regular Gap store (womp womp) but they put in a new Factory store. Most items in that stores are ALWAYS on sale at least 20-30% off, if not more. And with this sale, everything is an additional 40% off! So some items may be marked at 50% off, and then you take another 40%. This is when I stock up on fall items for my little guys. What is better-Gap Factory, which almost never has free shipping when you shop online, is offering free shipping this weekend! So, if you have any $$ left over after all of your Nordstrom splurges, check out some of my favorite items listed below!

1. Chino Pants
I am really loving the look of Chino pants. They are dressy enough for work, but with the cropped and rolled bottoms they transition well for more casual days. I LOVE this gorgeous pink color, and you can't go wrong with this classic color. For a bit more fun look, this railroad style is adorable too. And HELLO, already on major sale plus 40% off. Practically free, right? (I don't think my husband understands my mathematical equation to determine free shopping).

2. Baby Jams
Any of you who have been reading my blog for awhile likely know of my love for jammies for my littles. There is just nothing cuter (or more squishy) than a baby in pajamas. I have my eye on this fun shark set. Jackson is obsessed with basically anything on wheels, so I am thinking this pair is a must! And I can't forget about my sweet Lincoln. We have swaddle blankets from Gap, and this pair will perfectly match one of them. Nothing better than coordinating blankets and jams!

3. Dresses
Now that I am back to work, I am slowly working my way out of the jean shorts and t-shirt look I rocked all summer. Nothing is better for transitional months than dresses when it comes to work. You can pull off the bare leg during the early fall, and once winter comes, just throw on a pair of tights and some boots and you are good to go! I really don't know if you can beat a classic t-shirt dress, and the words 'soft spun' are winning me over. Throw on a jacket or a cardigan and a cute necklace with one, and you're golden! Chambray is still in style and likely won't be leaving anytime soon, so a fun shirt dress like this one is a must. And I really think I HAVE to have this popover dress. I love the print, color, and style, and think it will be so cute and versatile throughout all of the seasons!

4. Jeans
Gap has great jeans for the entire family. My absolute all time favorite jeans for Jackson have always come from the Gap. They are just SO cute. I love the elastic band on these, which is so much more comfortable for the kids and easy for mom! The detailing in the lined material on this pair is so precious and perfect for keeping baby warm. And you can't forget about you! I have been loving boyfriend style jeans lately, they are so comfy! And offer some forgiveness for that postpartum body, ifyouknowwhatimean. This pair has a great wash, and is another #saleontopofsale item. WIN. For a darker wash more appropriate for fall, you also can't go wrong with this classic color.

5. Outwear
I know, I know. It is sweltering outside and the last thing anyone really wants to think about right now is their winter coat or jacket. But HELLO I live in Minnesota and it is freezing approximately 8 months out of the year. It really pays to stock up on these items when you can get them at these great discounted prices! I love every.last.detail. about this trench, the color, cut, and detailing are just spot on. And that price for a trench? YES please! For a more fun look, I really am dying over this leather moto jacket. It seems well worth the investment, and something that could be worn for years to come. Gap always kills it on their puffer vests, and think I may have to add one to my wardrobe this year. Jackson had a Gap coat last winter and it was great, warm, thick and durable. I am thinking I will definitely be investing in another one for him this year, and love the blue color on this one!

What are your must haves for fall? I am so ready to transition into warm, cozy clothing in another month or so! With a pumpkin spice latte in hand, of course. #sobasic Happy weekend, all!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

A Letter To Jackson-Happy Birthday!

Jackson. My sweet, precious Jackson.
It just does not seem possible that you have been with us for two full years. And then again, life without you is something that is impossible to comprehend. You turned our world upside down in the best way. Neither me, nor your daddy, truly understood what it was to have something to live for until we had you. Every smile, every milestone, and even every naughty action are all moments we are lucky to be a part of, because it means we are a part of something with you.
You have changed so much since your brother was born. Or maybe it is just the way that we see you that has changed. You seem so much older, so big, I often find myself forgetting that you are still just a baby yourself. You love to give him kisses on his head, even though he does not like receiving those kisses one bit. Whenever you are preparing to love up on Lincoln, you start to breathe as if you are hyperventilating, and while it usually means some scolding and timeouts are coming after you disrupt your brother, it warms my heart so much to see how much you love him.
You are one tough little guy, that is for sure. You have fallen and skinned your knees, will jump into a pool and go all the way under, and have had your fair share of bumps and bruises. Nine times out of ten, you get right back up and keep going as if nothing happened. You are so risilient, and I am both proud and terrified, as literally nothing seems to scare you. I predict you might be that teenage boy driving a bit too fast, or jumping off of the highest jump at the quarry park. Your free spirit is what makes you, you, though, and I wouldn't have it any other way. 
In addition to being fearless, you are also a lover. Your bear hugs and kisses are something I can never get enough of. Anyone who knows you will likely agree that there is nothing better than when you break into your silly little run to jump into someone's arms for some lovin. You are truly a little ham, and will smile and talk to anyone who gives you attention, whether it be your grandma, a waitress, or a random lady in the grocery store. Your smile is infectious, sweet boy, and everyone who meets you is powerless to your charm. 
While a little bit of my heart breaks to watch you come to the end of your 'baby' days, there is nothing better than watching you become your own person. You are affectionate, stubborn, emotional, silly, and an absolute joy. It is hard to remember life without you, but I'm certain it had to have been dull. Nothing makes me happier than watching you play, listening to your silly jabbering, sharing my treats with you, and holding your hand during car rides. I hope you always look at me with the love you do now. There is no greater reward than watching you grow and knowing I have the best title there is in being your mama. 
I pray that you continue to grow into the charming boy I know you will be, and I pray that your daddy and I will be guided to raise you in the best way that we are able. You and your brother are the reason we work hard and strive to be the best versions of ourselves, and we hope you always know that nothing is more important or sacred to us than being the best mommy and daddy that we can be. 
'You are my Jackson, my only Jackson
You'll be my baby for all your days
You'll never know dear how much I love you
My Jackson Thomas Stang'

I love you so much my squershy boy, happy second birthday! 
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