Iris

Welcome

Welcome to The Executive Mom blog. You will find wonderful blogs about how to be a more efficient, empowered, loving, and happy mom while bringing peace, stabilty and consistency into your home. I will lend real life failures and successes, and I will share my wisdom. I hope that you will feel encouraged and excited in your mommy journey. Please head over to my blog tab, stay awhile and read. 🙂

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Meal Planning: How to Make This Necessary Task More Efficient

We all have to eat and we have to eat everyday. And someone has to decide what the family will eat. Then, someone must put together a grocery list and buy the things on the list. Lastly, someone must physically make the meals. In my home, that “someone” falls to me.

I’ll be honest, cooking is not one of my passions. I don’t particularly enjoy it. I do it to keep my family alive and because I love them. I would rather scrub a toilet than make a meal, if I am totally honest. I feel cooped up in the kitchen, and it feels like a time waster since it’s an everyday task. Why can’t it take two minutes instead of thirty minutes? Anyways, that’s probably a different blog for another day. 🙂

Since it’s not something I enjoy doing like organizing, teaching, or cleaning, I try to make it as streamlined as possible. My organizational skills do come into play often with planning meals. Here is how I prepare meals each week. I hope you can use part of all of this to make your process easier too, especially if you don’t like to cook like me, or you don’t like to organize, or you dread the grocery store.

  1. I keep a list of all of my recipes in an excel sheet. I write the date each time I make a meal. That way I can see if it’s a favorite and being used more often and how often each meal is being prepared. Right now I have about 60 recipes, and they get used every eight to nine months. I also list what cookbook the recipe can be found, what page, how long it takes to prepare, how long it takes to cook, the category (Mexican, Italian, American, etc.), what meat (if any) it uses, and whether it’s a crockpot, stovetop, or oven meal. This allows me to keep a variety of meals going each week for my family.
  2. Next, I plan at the beginning of each week. I am actually planning right now, which is what prompted me to write this blog. I don’t want to pull a recipe together last minute and hope I have the ingredients. I also don’t want to plan or shop more than once a week. I keep all of my recipes in an app on my phone. I share it with my husband so he knows what’s on the dinner plan for the week. I write the name of the meal in the app, the page, and what cookbook contains the recipe. Then, I check the recipe in the cookbook, and make a grocery list.
  3. My grocery lists are online (Walmart online) and in an app on my phone (same as the one I use for planning meals). I shop at two grocery stores each week. One is a health store where I get my produce and as much as I can in other areas, but Walmart online fills the holes since they are a big chain store. I also believe that shopping online has stopped many of our spur-of-the-moment non-essential items. It really does seem to be saving us money.
  4. I only shop once a week. With little kids, it’s important to save as much time as possible. I shop at the stores in the same order, and I rarely (maybe four weeks out of the year) make a second trip. I want to be efficient and maximize my time. If my planning is thorough enough, there is no reason to visit the grocery store in-between intended trips.
  5. I stick to my recipes during the week, and use what I’ve purchased. This again saves money. Sometimes on the weekends we wing it, but during the week especially, I stick to the plan. It’s less thought, time, and I don’t waste food meant for other recipes.

Since eating is necessary to stay alive, why not make it easy to eat and to cook food to eat? It’s like the saying, “Why work harder when you can work smarter?” I am all about efficiency and making life easier so I can enjoy the things in my life that matter: family, friends, hobbies, sleep, and fun.

I hope you can glean some ideas for your family and life. I hope you are encouraged to make the process of getting food on the table easier. And most importantly, I hope you can find something that works for you and your family!

Daddy’s Coming Home

Yes. I realize what I’m about to say is a little old-school, but hey, it works. Don’t worry, though, I am not about to suggest that you put on an apron and high heels. There’s no need to go crazy. What I do think it important is that you, as the executive of your home, create a calm atmosphere for the family to come into harmony with one another. You have that power, Mommy, and you can use it to create and keep a peaceful home.

You and I both know that children can be a handful, and they can act crazy sometimes. You and I are also more acquainted with the craziness than your husband because we are inundated with it all day. Now, I’m not saying that we moms don’t lose it from time to time, but if you are like me, I can talk to my husband, finish dinner, and have a young child pulling on my pants and whining to be picked up all at the same time. Hey, this is my life, and it feels strangely normal to me. To my loving husband, it can feel like absolute madness. Therefore, I try to create a peaceful home when he arrives.

This means that first of all, I don’t ask him to help with the kids right away. There are days I would like to hand off the kids and leave for a weekend spa retreat, but I wait to give him time to leave his work stress at the door. I try to greet him with a smile, even if I want to strangle one of my children. After all, he’s been slaying work dragons for us all day long.

Another good practice is to allow your husband to vent. Sometimes, and I’ll be honest, I don’t care about his day because I feel like my day has been twice as bad, but I still try to listen. Even if I don’t actively listen, I still try to absorb the main points, and ask questions here and there. He likes this, and I make him feel valued. Sometimes by just listening, his stress melts away.

Which brings me to my second point, allow your husband to enjoy coming home and melt off his stress. The sooner he melts his stress away, the sooner your family will enjoy being together. Also, the sooner he will be able to help with the kids. The sooner everyone will laugh. Listening to your husband is something I cannot emphasize enough! You are his leading lady, and he will listen more easily to you. Make him laugh, make him smile. For goodness sake, hug and kiss the man. And, show affection in front of your children.

Lastly, don’t allow your children to come to Daddy with problems as soon as he walks in the door. If the problem is big enough, Dad will get involved at some point in the evening. Again, allow the melting period to happen before home problems become known. The typical man will struggle with dealing with a home problem if he has not melted away the work problem.

Your job? Be the buffer. You will create less stress for your entire family. As the executive mom, you have the power and ability to create this landing pad, so to speak. You know your husband and your children best, and you can, like a smoothie, blend all pieces together to make a tasteful treat, or evening. This is your privilege and your skill set. This is one of the many reasons you hold the position of executive mom!

I hope you enjoy these other related blogs about daddy overload, vacation planning, and how to stay in touch with your husband during the day.

Who’s Your Boss?

Do you remember the TV show “Who’s the Boss” that aired in the 1990s?  Do you remember how funny the show was?  I enjoyed this sitcom and probably watched just about every episode that was created, but what stands out to me about this and every other sitcom is that every struggle, issue, and disappointment was solved in 30 minutes…including commercials.  This doesn’t reflect my life.  Is it consistent with your life?

In real life, we have struggles, conflicts, issues, emergencies, unexpected situations, to-do lists, events to attend, people with which to spend time.  We have situations in life that must be handled by us, or they will never be handled.

Who is the boss of your schedule…you or circumstance?  When I was a Life Coach (before I had kids), I told my clients that either you will have control of your schedule or your schedule will have control of you.  Today, who is in charge?  You…or your schedule?  Do you choose when you want to complete a task, work or personal?  Do you decide when you want to work on a hobby?  Do you decide when you will spend time with a spouse, significant other, close friend, child or family member?  Or, do you perceive that your schedule is running you ragged?  Do you feel like you make decisions out desperation rather than by choice?  Would you like to change this?

In a recent blog, I gave you three practical ways to organize your life.  This is a great start, but the key to keeping control of your life is to be consistent.  Are you being consistent in your life today, this week, this month?  Here is a better question.  Are you being intentional?  The definition of intention from dictionary.com says a “purpose or attitude toward the effect of one’s actions or conduct.” There is purpose in intention.  Do you have purpose when you plan your day, your week, your month, your year, your life?

Right now I am writing this blog while my children nap.  Why?  I have an intention to write and post a blog today, and the only way to do this is by making time in my schedule.  The result?  I am in control of my schedule, I will have more relaxing time this evening, and I will feel a sense of accomplishment.  I do not suggest that you drive yourself crazy or become burned out.  Instead, I suggest that you use your time wisely.  I encourage you to use your resources wisely.  I hope that you will learn to know your limits, and push yourself a little in life.  I truly believe most people are capable of doing more than they allow themselves.

I realize that there are situations with kids that we can’t fully control. I know the our spouse needs our time. I realize that accidents and emergencies happen. I sometimes feel as a mom that half of my life is mishaps. However, in general, we have more control over our lives that we realize, give credit to, and take charge of in our everyday life. I am challenging you to take control in this area of your life.

What can you do today that will allow you to take back your schedule?  What can you do this week that will allow you more freedom in life?  What can you do this month to plan better, so that the plan does not get the better of you?  The best part about taking control of your schedule is that you will be able to plan time for yourself, for others, for your passions/hobbies…the sky is the limit.  I hope you will choose today who will be the boss of your schedule.

You might also enjoy reading How To Be a Micro Manager (Of Your Schedule), creating a mission statement for your family, and being the mom.

To Have a Friend, You Must Be a Friend

I remembered as a child receiving a bookmark from my best friend with the words “To have a best friend, you must be a best friend,” and a poem about it.  All I could remember at the time was that I was someone’s best friend.  I was content.  Today as an adult, I realize there is more.  The saying is so correct that we must be a friend to have a friend.  I am no longer content just with “being” a best friend, I want to “do” and step into an action to build into my friends.

Life gets busy. Kids activities, sickness, personal schedules, school, vacations, etc. can make friendships tough. I have not always been the kindest or most fun person to be around either. I can be preoccupied with the future, worry, stress, and sometimes this comes across negatively to others. But over the years, what have I learned about friendship? If I build into someone else, I have a better friendship.  Not only do I have a better friendship, but I feel better in my own life.  That friend also builds back into me, and they help me in life.  I may not always feel like I have the time, but in the end, there are many more benefits to building into a person than being self-absorbed or lackadaisical.

Have you been too busy to build into a friendship?  Are you holding back from people in your life?  If so, I want to ask you, what might they benefit from if you were to build into their life?  What wisdom could you share, what encouraging word might make their day, what positive effect might you instill into them?  Are you holding back because you are lonely?  Do you feel so exhausted that you have nothing more to give?  Do you feel like you would have nothing positive or wise to say to your friend?  The truth is, we as humans, need to help others.  It’s a deep conviction many people have. Helping others fulfills a longing in our life, it makes us “feel” better, it drives us in life.  You have the power to create a positive affect that can make the world better. And you never know just when someone could use a text, phone call, hug, or time spent together. You reaching out could be exactly what your friend needs right now!

I hope you will enjoy these other blogs as well about getting alone time, how to control stress, and finding and achieving goals on your bucket list.

Secrets: Insider Trading Is Bad News!

I have been given the pleasure of being a part of many secrets in my life. Between influence and personality, I am the kind of person people confide in. I’m highly empathetic and caring, and people tend to pour out their heart to me. I like being that kind of person in someone’s life, and I do honestly enjoy being on the inside.

When I was in high school, I learned an important lesson of not sharing secrets with others. I didn’t learn it from a specific memory, but I slowly learned that secrets don’t make friends. I liked having the power of a secret, but I quickly learned how much it hurt a relationship when it came out to others who were not supposed to know a secret.

And let’s be honest, who doesn’t like a secret? Who doesn’t like to be on the inside? Who doesn’t like to know a juicy tidbit about someone else? I know I do. However, is it worth the hurt and damage to a friend if the secret comes out when it shouldn’t? I don’t think it’s worth it. That is why I don’t share secrets, and haven’t for many years.

Sharing a secret is like insider trading: bad news. It can get you into a lot of trouble. You may not go to jail, but it can cause a backlash of unintended consequences. Just like with insider trading, you have to be careful what comes out your mouth. Just like insider trading, you are giving someone information that you don’t have permission to share. And just like insider trading, it puts your reputation on the line.

When people tell me a secret, I tell them that I won’t share the secret with anyone unless they give me permission. It’s a boundary I won’t cross. And I say, “If I didn’t start the secret, it’s not mine to pass on.” I truly 100% stand behind this saying. If I didn’t create the secret, choose who to tell the secret, have to live out the secret, how is it my right to pass it on? Sometimes I like to say something silly. When the secret teller says to me, “Please don’t tell anyone about XYZ.” I reply with, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” That is my code for, it’s stuck in my head only.

Gossip can be fun, but it’s only hurtful in the end. I like to live by the golden rule, so if I don’t want others sharing my secret, why would I share someone else’s secret? Simple, right?

As the executive in your home, you have to act like an executive. Executives don’t share insider company info, they don’t burn bridges, and they think long-term/strategically. I want to encourage you to think the same way. Be wise in your decisions, and show your loyalty to friends. After all, aren’t they worth it?!?

Here are some articles you may like about how deal with hurt people , the importance of a legacy, and creating a board of influencers in your life.

The Life Coach In Me

I love being a full-time mom, but let’s be honest. We are all full-time moms whether at home all day or at the office all day, or any part-time or work-from-home combination. We are all moms all.the.time!

My professional background before kids started in outside sales which led to a project manager role. This led beautifully into my true passion with starting a business as a life coach. I was successful at helping women discover who they were at their core and what they wanted to do with their life, both professionally and personally. I was called the “Dating Yourself Coach.” That meant that women could reconnect with themselves so that they could better achieve what they wanted out of life with goals, priorities, balance, boundaries, strengths/weaknesses, and so on. I loved what I did, and I was thriving. Then entered motherhood.

With coaching, you meet over the phone with clients for fourty-five minutes once a week. Because of life schedules, there is no consistent schedule with coaching sessions. And I knew that I longed to be at home with my kids. I had a conflict. And I had to choose. So, I chose my baby. And I don’t regret this decision. I can always go back to coaching, but I can’t go back to the days of one child who does tummy time and blows saliva bubbles.

I write this, not because I think you should choose the path I took, but as a reminder that we all have to give up something (or multiple things) when we become mommies. Motherhood comes at a great price, and without many sacrifices. Some of those sacrifices are as simple as giving your youngest all of your blueberries at breakfast or some of your fries at the restaurant because you love your child and want him to not be hungry. Some of them are huge sacrifices like ending a business to be at home with your kids. But, I truly believe with every sacrifice comes an equal or better blessing. I am getting the chance to be with my kids up-close and personal every day. I have even begun homeschooling them in preschool. I never dreamed of doing this! And I am loving every minute of it.

And I still have this blog to reach out to women like you, and encourage you in your mommy journey. It’s not all bad.

What sacrifices have you made, Mommy? What sacrifices are you facing right now at a crossroads? What decision will you make? What will have long-term benefits and blessings? I think the best way to make a decision, besides prayer, is to think of the long-term benefits, blessings, and rewards. Whether it’s a job, school for your child, potential move, etc., what is the best decision and/or sacrifice for your family and children? After all, we are mommies, and we sacrifice constantly. Just make sure it is a great sacrifice that will benefit and bless everyone involved. As I used to end my blogs as a life coach, “To your success!”

Talk The Talk

If I were an executive at a company, it would be imperative that my employees get along. I would hire people who I thought would fit nicely into both the company culture and the team culture. I would focus team efforts, whether working together, getting together for lunches sometimes, and just getting to know each other and how each other are wired.

As a mom, I did not hire my children. I did not interview them. I didn’t even choose them from a line-up of other children. I did, however, squeal with joy when I found out I was pregnant with each of them. And as many people say, they are so different from each other. My oldest is cautious, a natural born leader, and is structured and orderly. My youngest, on the other hand, is all about fun. He does not feel a sense of responsibility, tries to get out of cleaning up, doesn’t mind being messy, and is not cautious in the least. For a company team, they don’t have much in common. They do love their family, so they have a similar strong company culture, but I am not always sure they have a strong team culture. So, I as the mom have to fill in the holes.

How do I do that, you ask? Well, it’s a lot of work, and it takes consistency. But, it works.

When my oldest was just three years old, you could ask him, “Who is your best friend?” His answer? His brother’s name. And even today, they are two peas in a pod. They play well together, they hug, kiss, and touch everyday, and they laugh together everyday.

It starts with me telling each kid how blessed they are to have their brother. Here is something I say, “Out of all the brothers in the world and of all the times in the world, God gave you this brother.” And if you step back, it sure is amazing that these two boys got paired up in life!

Another thing I do it point out the great attributes of the other brother. It goes like this: “Isn’t your brother so funny?” “How great is it that your brother likes cars as much as you do?” (when one brother is trying to take cars from the other. This helps dispute fights). “How blessed are you to have a brother as kind as him?” (pointing to brother). As they get older, it can get more specific too like, “Aren’t you glad you have a brother who stands up to you or includes you when others don’t?”

I encourage my children to touch everyday. Everyone needs touch whether male or female. I encourage my boys to hug before naps and bedtime. Even though the younger one weighs almost as much as the older one, he still likes his little brother to sit on his lap. And, sometimes with storms, my older son will try to hug and comfort the younger one. I notice little pats, kisses, and caresses throughout the day. I know eventually these will turn into jabs, light punches, and other boy touches, but the fact is that they do it on their own because they love their brother.

I discourage the unkind talk while encouraging the good, loving, and kind talk. It is not always easy, and it doesn’t always work (but then what does always work with kids, she writes as she rolls her eyes). I see the benefits of my consistent work. I hear the laughs, I see the playtime, and I witness the love. And at the end of the day, it’s worth the work I do to encourage my boys to be best friends. I often tell them, “Your brother is your best friend for life. Treat him right, and you’ll be friends for life!” And it’s true.

You make like these articles as well:  rotating toys, room time,  and vacation planning.

Just Say NO!

The phrase, “Just say no,” is a common phrase for kids warding off peer pressure.  However, when you become an adult, how many times do you hear that phrase?  In 2008 a movie came out called the “Yes Man” starring Jim Carry. In the movie, the main character is no longer able to say no after making a promise at a conference.  How many times as adults do we feel like we have promised to never say no again?  We feel that if we do, we let down our family, co-workers, friends, and perfect strangers.  We have a balancing act going on.  “Sure, I can handle one more thing, just place it on top of the other ten things I am already carrying.”  Are you exhausted?  Are your arms tired yet?  If you are exhausted in life, I encourage you to ‘just say no.’

I have a personal conviction in my life.  I will only say ‘yes’ to you if I can follow through 100% of the time. This means I will only say yes if I can fully commit.  If I can only commit 90%, I will tell you ‘no’, and I will not feel badly about this action.  Do you know why?  If I can only commit almost all of my time, effort, and energy, but not 100%, I am bound to let you down at some point.  I have decided, though, that I would rather let you down at the time of the first request than at the end when you have invested time, effort and expectation into the situation and me.  I know that it is more respectable and reliable to let you know what I can and cannot handle.  What a freeing feeling to say ‘no’ and feel good about saying ‘ no’.  When is the last time that you have ever felt good about saying ‘no’?  Well, starting today you can feel good about saying ‘no’, and you can learn your limits at the same time!

Being busy can be a negative place in life, and saying ‘yes’ too many times can lead to burn-out.  What in your life must you do right now?  Responsibilities like family including a spouse, children and an elderly member, job, taking care of a house, paying bills, sleeping and eating are high priorities in life and need our ongoing attention.  What do you want to do with your spare time?  This could include volunteering in your church or local community, hobby, projects and friends.  What will not change if you said no?  This might include extra hours at work, excessive time on projects around the house, too many activities with children, purchasing extra “toys” that bring more stress to pay and keep functioning, and anything that would cut into time with sleeping eating, working, and family.

Are you beginning to see some areas where you might be able to say ‘no’?  Are you seeing that if you say ‘no’, life will still go on?  Do you see that you might, at this moment, be letting someone down and unnecessarily stressing yourself?  Are there one or more areas that you could say ‘no’ to right now that would bring you feel relief, provide more time for higher priorities in life, and maybe even help repair relationships?  If so, JUST SAY NO!

Here are some other article about keeping your child safe in a parking lot, how to be the mom, and and keep a legacy.

Three Practical Ways To Oranize Your Life

Three Practical Ways To Organize Your Life

Life is so busy and time is so short!  Does this describe your life?  There seems to be a shortage on time to relax and organize life, but there doesn’t seem to be a shortage on “things” to accomplish in one day.  Do you ever feel overwhelmed?  Do you feel like you do not even know where to start?  Do you think that if you could organize your life it would eliminate stress?

I would like to suggest three ways to organize your life that you can implement today!  And, they are not difficult or time consuming, which is even better.

  1. Start by making a to-do list.  This list can be as fancy as a calendar in Outlook or a smart phone, and it can be as simple as opening a notebook and writing on lined paper.  Write out everything you need complete in a day, week, or month.  You can make the list as detailed or broad as you desire.  Write out items that pertain to your business and personal life.  Decide later if you want to keep them combined or have two lists:  one that you keep at work or on a work computer pertaining only to work and another personal list.  Once you have this list, make sure to keep it with you or in a location that can be easily found.  This will make you much more successful with completing your tasks.  Making a list should not take much time, and the more times you make a to-do list, the easier and quicker it will become. I keep mine in an app on my phone.
  2. Next, prioritize this list.  Next to each item on the list, put a one to ten, twenty, or even one-hundred.  One will be the highest priority.  This will enable you to know what item to do first and which to ignore for now when you look at your list.  For me, I like to put my top priority as number in my final list.  That way, I can go down my list and complete each item on the list easily without searching or remembering what was most important.  You will find that there might be items that seem important, but once prioritized are not as important as originally thought.  This will also deter procrastination, as you will complete the most important items, not the item quickest to eliminate.  Overall, this should eliminate or lessen stress! Then, you can reorganize them by number, so that when you look at your list, you can easily go down to the next item when you finish the previous item. For me, I make my list chronological by day. This allows me less time to think and guess and greater efficiency and ability to get more done with my multi-tasking day.
  3. Here is the best part of organization…reward yourself!  Set up a system, and when you achieve certain tasks or your entire to-do list, reward yourself for your hard work.  This will encourage the habit, and it will prohibit burn-out.  You can set tiered rewards, but make sure to thank yourself.  It can be as small as allowing yourself a night off, or as big as you want.  The reward can be monetary, time with friends, time doing nothing, or time working on a hobby.  Just make sure that the reward is something that will motivate you to continue organizing your life.

You either have control of your life, or your life will have control of yourself.  Which do you choose today?

You might enjoy other blogs like  rotating toysfolding laundry, and How To Be a Micro Manager (Of Your Schedule.

How Much Water Is In Your Bucket List

How Much Water Is In Your Bucket List?

I can’t believe that it has almost been more than half a decade since I went skydiving!  This experience had been my dream for over ten years, and now it’s a memory in the past.  I remember how excited and nervous I was as I was walking toward the plane before leaving the ground to jump into thin air, not to mention driving to the location.  I remember having butterflies in my stomach the week before the event every time I talked about it and thought about jumping out of a plane.  I remember how nervous my new husband was as well.  Now, I don’t often get the chance to talk about it with anyone, and my husband is much calmer…maybe he has even forgotten about it by now. It’s interesting how we make big plans, and later on, when completed, they seem as part of our life story, not a great adventure.

After completing skydiving, the next items on my bucket list were to go zip lining and travel outside the country (even though I had traveled, I wanted to do this again).  I am still contemplating deep-sea diving.  I also want to visit Australia (which is far outside the country), start a traffic jam (sounds fun to me!), start a family business, and see this blog change peoples’ lives.  What do all of these things have in common?  At the surface, nothing really.  However, you will find these items bunched together on my bucket list.  Do you have a bucket list?  Is it written out?  How many things have you marked out?

It’s very easy in life to get compliant and comfortable.  We get into a routine…wake up, brush our teeth, eat breakfast, check Facebook, complete your daily tasks for work, take care of kids, run errands, kiss our spouse when he gets home, make dinner, eat, clean the house a little or yard work, play with the kids, walk the dog, watch TV, go to bed.  Sleep for six hours.  Wake up, brush our teeth…  Is this really how we want to live life?  I sure don’t!!  I want to believe that I am on an adventure in life.  I want to believe there are exciting things ahead.  I want to believe that my dreams, goals, and bucket list ideas really can and will come true!  Guess who is responsible for this?  ME.  Guess who is responsible for your bucket list?  YOU!

When is the last time you got out a pen and paper (or your iPhone) and wrote a list of goals or achievements you want by the end of your life?  When is the last time you thought of the adventures you want to take in life?  When is the last time you thought of the items in life that you want to achieve?  Do you even know what you want to accomplish in life?  When is the last time you thought about whom you want to affect in your life?  When you are at the end of your life, what would you like to have checked off on that list?

What kind of life do you want?  Do you want a non-eventful, mediocre life that contains the same to-do list every single boring day of your life? Or, do you want your life to matter?  These items do not have to be daring, nor do they have to involve a life jacket or helmet.  Do you want people in your personal and professional life to remember you?  Why not make some of the goals centered around your family and/or your profession?

Why not start now with a list of things you want to do by the end of your lifetime.  Here’s the catch…we are not promised a certain timeline in this life, so start today and cross items off your list now.

Read more about finding your passionsupdating outgrown toys, and vacation planning.

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