Ep. 81: 9 Ways to Help Your Kids Love Reading

Ep. 81: 9 Ways to Help Your Kids Love Reading

Ep. 81: 9 Ways to Help Your Kids Love Reading 1
Hey friends, welcome to today’s show. I am really excited about today’s topic. We’re going to talk about how to make reading happen more with your kids.

This is something I am very passionate about, and I’m really excited to talk about. So I’m going to start off with a quote. And this is by Sarah Mackenzie. She is the author of “The Read Aloud Family.”

And here’s what she says.

“Home is the only place in which our children have a fighting chance of falling in love with books

I’m gonna read that again, “Home is the only place in which our children have a fighting chance of falling in love with books.”

Now I want you to think about, do you think this is true? Did that statement, kind of hit you in a different way than you expected?

I know when I read it, I initially I was like, huh, that is interesting. I wonder if that is true. And I started looking back at my own life and in my own education and thinking about did school make me love reading? No, probably not.

What made me love reading?

So I want you to do that for yourself. Look at back at your own education. Did school make you want to read, or did it feel more like homework or something you were obligated and you had to do?

Last week’s episode, that’s episode 80. I talked all about how to read more as an adult. We talked about looking back at your own timeline for reading what it looks like for you growing up and and what was the foundation for you to love reading or to not love it?

It’s really important to think about what kind of timeline are we setting our kids up for? I know for me, I talked a lot about how my parents made reading part of our daily life. And it was something that I loved. That foundation was why I love reading today.

I don’t think my love of reading came from going to school or taking classes in college about education or things like that. That wasn’t the thing that made me love reading. It was that foundation that my parents gave me.

As a parent, we have a huge opportunity to show our kids what reading is all about and to make it something that they will enjoy for us to their lives.

So this book, I just recently read “The Read Aloud Family” where I referred to that quote. Really has changed a lot of my perspectives on reading to my kids. I’ve read a lot of books about how to increase reading in your family and ways to make this happen and practical things to do. But this book really is amazing and it gave me some, some ideas that just hit in different place. I think sometimes you’re like, you know this, but hearing it, it’s just like, oh, it’s good.

One of the things that she talked about as a parent, we want to prepare our kids for their future and the life ahead of them.

But there’s no way to prepare them for all the challenges that they are going to undertake. Yet when we read books to our kids, they get to experience lifetimes of perspectives, of adventures that they don’t personally have to go through. They can live a thousand lifetimes before they leave our homes through the books we read to them.

Isn’t that amazing when you think of it that way. Like us reading to our children will help prepare them for whatever comes their way.

This is a quote from Sarah Mackenzie from the book. She says:

“When we read aloud, we give our kids practice living as heroes. Practice dealing with life and death situations, practice living with virtue, practice, failing at virtue.

As the characters in our favorite books struggle with through hardships, we struggle with them. We consider whether we would be as brave, as bold, as fully human as our favorite heroes. And then we grasp on a deeper, more meaningful level the story we are living ourselves, as well as the kind of character we will become as that story unfolds.”

Isn’t that powerful. I just love that. And I think that’s so true right now I’m reading to our kids, the little “House on the Prairie” series. This is the second time we’ve done this as a family. We did it two years ago and I think it’s going to be something we do every two years, because it’s so good.

Right now we’re close to being done with “The Long Winter.” And in that book, I don’t know if you’ve read the series, laura and their family they have hardly any food there’s blizzard after blizzard, they don’t have any, any wood in their home they’re having to use hay to create their own little like logs of wood made out of hay and they’re having to mill their own wheat with a little coffee grinder and their hands are cramping because they can’t keep on doing it. They have to do it at all times so that way they have some foods to eat for bread in the day. And they’re losing weight and all this stuff. And it’s like, oh my goodness. Their life is really challenging.

It gives you perspective on your own life how blessed we are to have food in our fridge and in our freezer and our pantry is full. We don’t even have to think about the heat and all these things that we just take for granted. It gives us perspective and our children perspective of what life looks like for other people. It helps us be grateful for what we have, and it helps us to have conversations with our kids of what would you do in this.

We’ve talked about, would you rather live in Almonzo’s home, which is Laura’s feature husband. Or live in Laura’s home. Why, why not? What things would you do in this situation? It gives us opportunities to talk with our kids about really important things. Preparing them for their future.

Today, what we’re going to do is we’re going to talk about nine ways to help your kids love reading.

The first one is to make reading a priority.

This is key. If you don’t make it a priority, your kids are not going to make it a priority because there’s a ton of other things that are more exciting probably for your kids.

Be an example. If your kids see you reading that shows them that reading is important to you. Read in front of your kids, read to your kids, be an example, show them that it is a priority to you, and it should be a priority for them.

You can make reading be something that you do as a family, create reading routines. Like maybe after lunch, everyone reads on their own.

That’s one of the things that she suggests in “The Read Aloud Family” book, which is amazing book I highly recommended. She also has a podcast, which is the “Read Aloud Revival.” If you like listening to episodes, that’s a great resource. How can you make reading happen on a daily basis?

The second thing to do is to read aloud as a family.

We do this a lot when our kids are really little, but the older our kids get, we kind of think, well, that’s something we don’t need to do anymore. Like they can read on their own. Why would I read as a family out loud? It is so powerful. Even when your kids are older and they can read on their own, it is so important to read out loud.

I look back at my own childhood, my parents read to us out loud for so long. I can’t even remember when that stopped. They read to us the “Lord of the Rings” books. We weren’t super tiny at that point. We had books read to us and it was something that connected us as a family. And there’s so much power in reading out loud as a family. It’s so good.

Here’s some ideas to do this. Read at the end of meals. This is something I’ve been doing with my kids, especially at lunchtime. I don’t know about you, but my kids take a long time to eat at the dinner table. I’m homeschooling my kids as well and I want to get reading in, in the pockets of time that we can.

So while they’re still finishing their meal and I’m done, I pull out books and I read to the kids until they’re finished eating. And a lot of times that’s maybe 10 minutes, but that’s better than nothing. It’s something.

We also do devotional readings at breakfast and at bedtime. That’s something that we just make part of our day.

I have an episode about the devotions that we love. If you are wanting to get some ideas on how to incorporate reading and adding devotionals into your day-to-day life, that’s a really good one to listen to it’s episode 47, and it’s called “Devotions for Kids that We Love.” And there are some amazing, amazing devotions I talk about in there, I would highly recommend checking those out.

A lot of times, if you’re going to just start devotion, you’re like, I don’t know which one I should do with my kids. What’s the best one? What would be good? Take a look at that and that’ll give you some really good ideas to go off of.

We also like to make sure that we read books to the whole family that we would all enjoy. Maybe not reading little picture books might not be the most exciting thing to do as a whole family.

These are the books you typically think of are, are longer. And maybe they don’t have as many pictures. These are more like the chapter books. I love reading classics to our kids. I feel like I don’t have to edit as much or be worried about are there going to be bad behaviors in it. Is there something bad in it?

So I really like reading classics because they are ones that are just tried and true. We love “Charlotte’s Web.” We’ve read that twice. We go through “The Little House” series, which I’ve already talked about, “The Secret Garden, “Ann of Green Gables,” “The Trumpet of the Swan.” There’s a bunch of different classic books that we’ve read. I don’t even know, probably close to like 15-20 of them.

And I really liked doing the abridged versions. There’s a lot of different abridged versions. There’s ones. I think they’re called the Lady Bug collection or “Lady Bird collection“, something like that. They’re really small and you can read “The Wind in the Willows” in less than a day.” Like really short.

If you want to get, even when your kids are really young, have them have some experience with these classics, they don’t have to be the full blown regular book, you can do some abridged ones and then work your way towards having the full regular classics.

So that can give you some, some ideas that there’s a lot of classics out there, and you can talk to the librarians and ask what they would recommend, but there’s a lot of really good ones out there.

The third tip I have for you is to let your kids do stuff as you read to them.

This is something that has really changed my perspective in the last several months. I never thought about letting my kids do anything besides just sit on my lap or sit next to me and we cuddle up and I read to them.

And I realized from the book, the read-aloud family, why don’t I let my kids do different things while I read to them? So, this has been really amazing for me because I have my kids draw or paint or they’ll use kinetic sand. They’ll do all kinds of different things while I read to them.

And this helps them pay attention a lot of times more and you could fit reading in because they’re able to do more than one thing at a time. They could do this while they’re sewing or crocheting, or knitting, all kinds of different things, things that they don’t have to really think about.

Just yesterday, I read to my kids while they clean their room and their playroom. I just read and that way I was still able to monitor to make sure that they’re getting their stuff done, but it made it a lot more enjoyable that they got their stuff done, and I got to read to them while they’re cleaning up. There’s a lot of ways that you can make this happen.

When we had our hot tub, I would bring books and I would read to my kids in the hot tub. That was something that we did on a regular basis. And I just made sure that there was no splashing and kept the books dry. You can make this happen in so many different ways.

Tip number four is to go to the library.

One of my pet peeves is going to the library and I hear this almost every single time I go. “You could only get two books.” Some parent is telling their kids. Only get a certain amount. You can only choose three books. That’s it. And I feel like it’s so important to not limit our kids with reading.

The library is a free resource. Why limit your kids with how many books that they can get? I let my kids check out as many books as they want. I give them each their own bag. We have a roller duffel bag that I normally use. And then each of the kids have their own reusable bag and they fill them.

And we go to the library typically every week, sometimes every other week. And we fill them up and whatever their bag holds that is their limit.

So that is a great way to just make reading happen. And I love that when we go to the library, my kids get to choose whatever books they want and if they don’t like it, it’s okay. We’re going to return the many ways.

My kids, they each have their own library card. They get a check out their own books. They get to keep the receipt.

They are all in. They return the books, you know, we’ve got the returner. They’re like beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, and it goes through and picks it up and like, they love it. They do all of it and they are fully invested in it. And I think the more we let our kids just be part of the process, it makes it really exciting for them.

And letting them just be able to choose whatever they want has been great. And so that’s one of the things that I really recommend, like you use this free resource. It’s amazing libraries are so much better than when I was a kid. They have so many resources out there available. Go to them and let your kids check out books.

We have a designated area in our house where we put all of our library books and then in the kids rooms. They have their little section where they put their library books. We don’t have any issues with them being lost or anything like that.

Figure out some kind of system and let your kids check out a ton of books. The more books they have, the more they’re going to want to read.

All right here is the next tip.

So this is tip number five. Join reading programs that have rewards.

It’s been really helpful for our kids to have a reading program where they’re being kept accountable. They have to record how long they’re reading to be able to go to a water park or a theme park.

Even libraries have systems where they give rewards for reading a certain amount.

Our library had a reading reward and Jonathan won his age group of reading. He got a $20 gift card to Lake Shore Learning and he picked out a helicopter and he was so excited that his reading got him the ability to get this helicopter. It was a drawing, so it was random, but it was amazing. He actually won it. But they also got a free book and they got coupons and a bunch of other things.

Right now, our kids are working on two different passes, one for a water park and a theme park near our home.

My daughter read for an hour yesterday on her own. And then the day before she read for two and a half hours on her own. She’s seven and I’m like, this is amazing. She’s having this amazing time, like where she is like, I’m so excited. I get to read and she goes into her room and she puts a timer on and she reads. And even if I go in there, she’s like, I’m on a timer I need to read and she’s just on a roll reading, all of these books that she wants to for her time.

And she has to read I think, 10 hours. So she’s going to get it really quick. But those kinds of reward programs can really help your kids have an extra incentive to read.

Even if you’re homeschooling, like we’re homeschooling, they still have those rewards for kids that are not in regular public school. If you are homeschooling ask around homeschooling co-ops, if there’s Facebook groups ask if there’s anything going on.

Typically they have those kinds of rewards for waterparks and theme parks and things like that. Look into those.

My sixth tip is to talk positively about reading.

Don’t let negative talk, come out of your mouth. When you talk about reading. This is so key. You have to be the example.

If you talk poorly about reading your kids will too. They catch on. If you think reading is challenging, if you think reading is not fun, your kids are going to have the same thought as you.

You need to make sure that what you’re saying is good and positive. Especially going to the library and hearing parents say, “Oh, you only can get two books.” You’re telling your kids limit how much you can read. And maybe I’m stepping on toes here, but that’s just something I really am passionate about. You want to let your kids have the opportunity to read as much as they can.

Be an example, talk good things about books that you’re reading. Make it something that is enjoyable, what you say matters and how you say it matters.

When your kids finish a book, when they’re starting to read, be excited, show them that this is a huge deal. Like you’re reading a book. This is so exciting. You know, this is.

This is awesome. We need to be an example.

My seventh tip is don’t be so busy.

Reading helps you slow down. Our kids want us to be present. They want us to be there. And if we are consistently on the go, you’re going to have a hard time making time for reading. You need to make sure you are prioritizing it, and maybe you need to make some cuts.

You can add reading into all these little pockets of your day. You can make it something that’s really part of your life. But we also need to make sure that we leave some white space for our kids to be able to be imaginative, have time to read and be on their own for that. It’s really, really helpful.

Here is my tip number eight: Give your kids opportunities to read to each other when they get older.

This has been powerful. When I am recording, like I’m recording right now, I have a list that I give my kids to do while I am in here. My husband’s in the house so it’s not like they’re totally unintended or anything.

But I have a list of what they need to do and every time I’m recording, one of the things I have them do is I have my daughter be to my son.

I write down that she needs to read three books to him. It’s really good for both of them. My daughter gets to practice reading out loud to someone else.

There’s a lot less pressure when you’re reading to a kid younger than you than reading to a parent. Even if you feel like there shouldn’t be pressure for her reading to me, but there is. It’s different when you’re reading to someone who’s younger than you.

Then for my son to see, “Wow, my sister is able to read this book.” He’s learning new things and it’s just so good for both of them. Have your kids connect and use this as an opportunity.

Our neighbor would have our kids come over and have their youngest kids practice reading on our children. You can do this with neighborhood kids if your kids are really young. It’s a great way to have both kids get a lot out of it.

My last tip for you today. Is to make reading time cozy and inviting.

I don’t know if you’ve heard of Hygge, but it’s H Y G G E. It was pretty popular a couple of years ago. I don’t see it as much anymore, but it’s a whole way of being, and, and it’s, it’s really, it’s.

It talks all about how to make your life cozy. And. And inviting and it’s, it’s a Danish word and it’s what people in. What the.

So Hygge is a Danish word and it really means to be cozy and just work on the environment to make it something very inviting. Like they light candles, they have mood lighting, like the lights actually matter. All of these little things that you don’t even think about having really comfy blankets, just make this something really cozy, especially in winter time.

Think about how you can make reading Hygge. How can you make it something that is just so inviting that you just like, Ugh, it feels so good. How can you cuddle up with your kids and snuggle up with a blanket and read to them?

I have a designated spot in our house. We’ve got this Pillow Sack. It’s a Love Sack thing that I sit there and my kids are on both sides of me and I have this really furry blanket and I sit there and I read to my kids and it is just amazing.

A lot of times when we’re at the table and I read to my kids, I have a candle lit and we even do that for doing schoolwork. We have a candle on a lot, and it’s just this way to make it more cozy and inviting and make the environment more exciting for reading. A place where we just really feel like, oh, this is a way to connect.

My kids love reading so much. We do date night with our kids every Wednesday night. And my husband, I just switch off with each of our kids and almost every single week, whoever I have as the kid that I have a date with, they asked for me to read to them.

That is one of the things that they long for, even though I do it every day, like they want to do one-on-one time on their date with me reading to them, which I think is amazing because that’s something that they feel so connected to us when we read.

When I look at my own life, when I feel the most connected with my kids, it’s when I read to them. Hands down. That is when I feel so connected with them because I’m not doing anything else. I’m not distracted. I have them on my lap. And it is just them and me and we’re reading and we’re doing a story together and I talked to them through it and it’s just magical.

My hope is that you have that experience, that the time where you feel most connected with your kids is when you read to them. It is something that connects more than anything else. It is so powerful.

And I really hope that that gives you some ideas and makes you want to read to your kids more because it is amazing and I want you to taste that for yourself.

I have a podcast episode all about how to create a family culture that loves to read that’s episode 23. If you want to get some more ideas, that’s a great resource to look into.

And if you are trying to figure out, well, I don’t know what books to read to my kids. And if your kids are younger, I have created a list of books that we love. I was trying to think about how many kids’ books. I’ve read. And I don’t even know. I’m guessing it’s probably thousands upon thousands. I have no idea really. I can’t even try to figure that out.

Like we’re at the point that the transportation section in the library. I’m like, we’ve checked out a lot of these books, like three to four times we have read the whole section from front to back. It’s kind of crazy. My son is just all about the transportation stuff.

But there are a ton of books out there. And if you want to get some ideas of what books we love. You can go to richlivingonless.com/books. And I have created a list of books. It’s a free download. And that can be a starting point for you because we’ve read a ton and these are our favorite favorites.

And that can give you some ideas of what to start with. Let’s start reading.

I wanted to end today’s episode with two quotes. From Sarah Mackenzie from the “Read Aloud Family.”

” We read with our children, because it gives both them and us and education of the heart and mind of intellect and empathy. We read together and learn because stories teach us how to love.”

It’s so true. I just feel like that is just so powerful.

And another quote from her just to end this and give you some ideas and encourage you to read to your kids more. Here it goes:

“A book, can’t change the world on its own, but a book can change readers and readers, they can change the world.”

So, go, read to your kids, and enjoy this week.

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Ep. 81: 9 Ways to Help Your Kids Love Reading 2

MIS-C Symptoms & 3 Things You Need to Know from My Daughters Diagnosis

MIS-C Symptoms & 3 Things You Need to Know from My Daughters Diagnosis

The Diagnosis: Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children

Christmas with MIS-C

I never would have dreamt that my six-year-old daughter’s fever and vomiting would land her into a five-day stay at the Boise Children’s Hospital during Christmas. 

At first, I wasn’t overly concerned with my daughter’s symptoms. We already had COVID-19 a month prior, so whatever she had must be just a bug.

I was so wrong.

After a six-hour ER visit with an IV for fluids, ultrasounds, heart x-rays and the works, my daughter and I were taken by ambulance to the nearest Children’s Hospital. 

The Symptoms of MIS-C

One of the first questions the doctor at the Children’s Hospital asked was if Selah has had COVID. 

“We all had it in the middle of November,” I told her.

I tested positive for COVID-19, but the rest of my family didn’t get tested. Selah was barely sick then. She only had a fever for a couple of hours and that was about it. Meanwhile, I had it bad, I felt like I had been hit by a freight train.

The doctor told us that in rare cases, 4-6 weeks after having Covid, some children become very sick with fever, vomiting, rashes and an inflammatory response in their organs.

The timeline and symptoms added up. Selah was diagnosed with MIS-C (Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children). 

Typically, children who contract COVID-19 experience mild symptoms, or no symptoms at all. However, a small portion of children who are infected with COVID-19 end up developing MIS-C, a life-threatening condition that can affect a child’s heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, and other organs.  (intermountainhealthcare.org)

I had never heard of MIS-C. I just sat there in disbelief with no battery left in my phone to contact my husband. I was in shock.

If I’d known I’d be spending the night at the hospital, I would’ve packed a toothbrush, but all I had was a water bottle. I was so unprepared for this.

Feeling clueless, I had no idea what to expect with this diagnosis. We were about to embark on a whole new journey I never wished to be on.

I watched my daughter get poked and prodded countless times, she was put on oxygen, had fluid in her lungs, was given an infusion and was monitored every 15 minutes. 

My daughter’s experience with MIS-C hasn’t been sunshine and rainbows.  It’s felt more like a hailstorm on a hot summer day -so unexpected and yet so damaging.

It was downright scary trying to sleep on the uncomfortable hospital sofa bed while her monitor would ding because her heart rate wasn’t consistent. Nurses and doctors would rush in throughout the night to check vitals, do tests, and administer medication.

I’ve never been in the position of seeing my daughter this sick ever. Oh, I wish I could have taken her place. I felt utterly helpless. Yet, my six-year-old daughter was so strong and brave. 

Because of COVID-19 precautions, only one parent can come and visit at a time and no one else is allowed in. Thankfully, my mom came into town to take care of our son, so my husband and I could take turns being with Selah at all times.

We were like ships in the night, running on little sleep and big doses of emotional exhaustion. I longed to process everything that was going on with my husband. But it felt like we were in a baton race, only having time for a quick embrace before switching shifts.

Treatment for Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children

All my plans for Christmas went flying out that hospital window. Christmas of 2020 will be one that I’ll never forget- spending the best holiday of the year in the hospital will hopefully never be repeated!

My sweet family of four weren’t allowed to be in the same room, but we made the best of it and took turns with our little girl. We made FaceTime calls to family and friends.  Videos were sent to Selah to cheer her up and wish her a Merry Christmas. Our friends brought us a delicious Christmas dinner that made our day feel more festive than eating the less-than-appetizing hospital meal. 

After a five-day stay in the Children’s Hospital, we were finally able to take our sweet girl home. Driving home felt like freedom. Tears welled up in my eyes as I recounted what we had just been through. I was so glad she was well enough to go home. We could celebrate Christmas together as a whole family, and our kids could actually be in the same room. When we arrived at home, Selah started opening some Christmas presents, but she was too exhausted and just fell asleep.

Reye’s Syndrome: The Risks That Come with MIS-C’s Treatment

Before we were discharged from the hospital, the doctor told us the risks our daughter will have with the medications they prescribed her.  We have to be super careful that Selah doesn’t get the flu or chickenpox. With the heart medication she is on, she is at risk of getting Reye’s Syndrome.

Reye’s (Reye) syndrome is a rare but serious condition that causes swelling in the liver and brain. Reye’s Syndrome most often affects children and teenagers recovering from a viral infection, most commonly the flu or chickenpox. (mayoclinic.org)

I had never heard of Reye’s Syndrome before (I’m so not a medical professional). It’s super rare, but can cause permanent physical and mental disabilities, and has a 30% fatality rate.

Gulp, that’s super comforting for a parent to hear. 

So, the doctor said the best way to keep Selah healthy and lessen her risks is to quarantine ourselves and wait three days before anything comes into our home while she is on her medication.

We took our doctors advise seriously, and made some big changes, since her prescription was for at least 6-8 weeks.  It’s not worth messing around with our daughter’s health.  Their hope is that Selah will feel back to normal within two months. 

Tough decisions had to be made. We decided to pull Selah out of public school, so she would not have added exposure.  Plus, we wanted her to have consistency in school for the rest of the year.  So now, I am a homeschooling mom which has been a big change, and a good one.  

My husband works from home only now, which is quite a shift from before. We are all home now 24/7, which has actually been really nice and challenging.

Right now we are over three weeks past her diagnosis, and she still isn’t herself yet.  We have people visit outside our window and when they bring gifts or groceries, we wait three days before any items can enter our home. 

Selah still has side effects from the steroids she was on.  She doesn’t look like herself, but she’ll get there. It’s a slow journey.

Rare and Unknown Disease

The Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children diagnosis has been a roller coaster ride in the hospital and at home. MIS-C is scary for a multitude of reasons, especially since this new disease is so new.  The unknowns of the disease are a hard pill to swallow. Doctors are scrambling to understand it, and they have no idea if there are lasting repercussions. 

Because MIS-C has only recently been identified, the medical community is still trying to understand what causes it, as well as why it appears to affect only children. […] Fortunately, it is also rare, and the vast majority of children affected by it survive. (yalemedicine.org)

No one will know if there are lasting ramifications from MIS-C for the next several years. I’m hopeful that she won’t get this again or have any other health issues from having this new disease.

MIS-C Symptoms are important to know

Now, I wanted to share our story not so that you feel sorry for us or to freak you out.  I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, but the more you know what to look for with your child, the quicker the diagnosis and recovery process will be. My hope is that I can help you know what to look for so if you are in the position we were in with your own child, you’ll know what to do.

Here are some important things you should know about MIS-C:

1. If your family has COVID, pay attention to your kids in the next 4-6 weeks.

It’s important to know the timeline for MIS-C, especially if your child has had COVID or has been exposed to someone who has tested positive.

MIS-C typically doesn’t show up for four to six weeks after first being infected with COVID-19. (intermountainhealthcare.org)

Honestly I was in disbelief that this was all from COVID, especially since she had such a mild COVID-19 case.  But after talking to so many specialty doctors, they said most of the kids with MIS-C had a very mild case of COVID-19 or didn’t even know they had it at all.

If I were you, I’d mark my calendar four to six weeks out, so you can start looking for any symptoms your children may have during that time period. 

2. MIS-C symptoms are all across the board.

The trouble with MIS-C is that it looks very different depending on each child.  Here are some symptoms to look for:

Patients with MIS-C usually present with persistent fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, skin rash, mucocutaneous lesions and, in severe cases, with hypotension and shock


Not all children will have the same signs and symptoms, and some children may have symptoms not listed here. (cdc.gov)

My daughter had a fever that wouldn’t go away, vomiting, and she had rashes that look like targets. MIS-C looks most similar to Kawasaki disease and that is how doctors have been determining how to treat it. The range of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children cases vary, but the worse cases lean more towards Kawasaki-like symptoms.

If you’re like me, you probably have never heard of this rare disease.

Kawasaki disease causes swelling (inflammation) in the walls of medium-sized arteries throughout the body. It primarily affects children. The inflammation tends to affect the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart muscle. (mayoclinic.org)

Selah’s lips would change colors, her tongue looked like a strawberry and was dotted, and her eyes were red.  Those are all classic Kawasaki markers.

3. If MIS-C is misdiagnosed or isn’t treated quickly, it can cause permanent damage.

I first called my daughter’s pediatrician, but they didn’t have any openings for appointments. If you can’t get into your child’s pediatrician, go to the ER especially if your child is dehydrated.

If you think that your child has MIS-C, you should contact your child’s doctor or pediatrician immediately. […]

A child experiencing serious illness should not delay in getting care and should immediately seek attention from their nearest emergency room. (chla.org)

The ER is the place to go if you think your child may have MIS-C.  Urgent Care is not equipped to do much with kids.  Plus, my husband spoke with a local urgent care doctor, and they had never heard of MIS-C. I’m so glad we skipped the Urgent Care and had a quick diagnosis from the Children’s Hospital.

If you suspect your child might have any of the MIS-C Symptoms, talk to their medical provider and bring it up.  The sooner the diagnosis, the quicker the treatment, and the better likelihood of positive recovery.

MIS-C Has Given Us Perspective

I hope you don’t have a personal experience with MIS-C, like we have. It’s been a difficult journey, but there have been many hidden blessings within it.  MIS-C has forced us to slow down, figure out our priorities, and become closer as a family

We have had so much support, prayers, and have felt very loved through the whole process.  Even with a not-so-pleasant diagnosis, we can see some good in it.  It’s a matter of perspective. 

MIS-C has been a reset for us. 

A good reset. 

A hard reset.

It’s given me the chance to take a deep breath, love on my children, and to cherish their health.

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4 Reasons Why You Are Not Good with Money

4 Reasons Why You Are Not Good with Money

4 Reasons Why You Are Not Good with Money

Do you believe that you are not good with money? Did you learn how to spend and save money at school?  Did you ever have a class in high school that talked about debt, interest, investments, and practical money tips?  

Well, I didn’t and most of us aren’t taught or exposed to how to deal with money in a positive way.  Most schools completely neglect to teach personal finances, how to balance a checkbook and basic money-management skills.

If children aren’t taught about finances and how to manage money wisely by their parents, they are going to have to learn the hard way. It’s not a surprise that most people make financial mistakes, especially when they are young, because they just don’t know any better.


4 Reasons Why You Are Not Good with Money 3

I remember during my first week of college there were tables set out by a few locals banks.  They were trying to reel in all the incoming freshman and any other college students with credit cards by using some cheap bait.  They tried to woo all of the broke college students with a free 6″ Subway sandwich and I almost fell for it.  A $3 sandwich was the entry point into a heap of financial mess.  

Banks and credit unions know that college students are an ideal target audience.  College students are young and finally have some independence.  Plus, they have no money and are paying for expensive tuition, books, food, and living expenses for the first time.  Of course, they’ll draw these newbies in with an offer they can’t resist even if it’s a frisbee or a crappy T-shirt they’ll never wear.

Now, I know laws have changed and banks and credit card companies can’t go onto campuses like they once did offering frisbees and subs for new sign-ups.  The CARD act is good first step. But how often do we get sucked into some ‘amazing offer’ that really isn’t that amazing?  If we don’t know any better, we’ll probably make a lot of poor financial decisions just like a typical college student.

4 Reasons Why You Are Not Good with Money


Lack of Financial Knowledge

Knowledge is power if acted upon.  If children, teenagers, and even adults for that matter learned the in’s and out’s of how money works and principles for building wealth, our society would change. 

Could you imagine if people were educated on the power of compound interest in terms of investments and debt? The amount of debt and financial blunders would most likely decrease or be completely avoided.

People would literally run away from every cash advance store in the country.  Maybe people would fully understand how much interest their student loans will accumulate over time.  Fewer people would run themselves into debt.

So, if you don’t know much about money management, immerse yourself in research.  You can find most answers online.  Check out my posts and other resources that will help you understand these concepts more.  And if you know someone who is good with their finances, ask them what they are doing.  I’m sure they would love to share and be a support to you.



 Schools Don’t Require Financial Literacy

Schools aren’t equipping students to understand and manage finances either. There are only five states in the U.S. that require all high schoolers to take a personal finance class.  Those five states are Utah, Alabama, Missouri, Tennessee, and Virginia. Clearly, this is a problem. It’s no surprise that most people are not good with money, because they weren’t taught about finances.

We can’t rely on schools to teach children everything they need to know in life.  As a parent myself, I want to educate my kids on finances because it’s important.  I want to equip my children to be able to excel in life and in the real-world.  So, I need to help prepare them by teaching them about personal finance. If they know better, they’ll more likely do better.

In an ideal world, all states would require personal finance classes and parents would also teach their children money-management skills at home.  But we all know that the likelihood of that happening is as like winning the lotto.

So if you’re a parent, make it YOUR job to teach your children how to manage money wisely, because you can’t expect them to learn these skills at school.  And the best way to teach these skills is by modeling them to your children and explaining to them what you are doing.

Let your kids watch you create a budget, calculate a tip at a restaurant, write a tithe check, pay bills, and the list goes on.  The more we equip our kids to be competent adults, the better.



The Majority of Americans Can’t Pass a Basic Financial Literacy test

In fact, more than two-thirds of adults can’t pass a basic financial literacy test. That means that the majority of Americans don’t understand the math behind interest and other financial principles. It’s no wonder that people are drowning in debt and the weight of their financial choices. If you don’t understand financial principles, of course, your going to make some bad financial decisions.

Most people start making poor financial decisions when they leave their parents home. What would our world look like if high school students understood how taking out student loans will affect their lives?

I know so many people who regret taking out student loans on a degree they’ve never used. It’s downright tragic. The US has $1.5 trillion in student loan debt and 45% of those millennials wish they would’ve never taken out student loans in the first place.

Take some time to look at the interest rate you’re paying (debt) and earning (investments).  Look at the math and see if you need to make changes.  You might want to check into a financial advisor that will help you look at your finances and help you get to where you want to go.  This is a financial advisor I’d recommend, Liftoff Financial Planning.


We Are Taught That We Shouldn’t Talk About Money

One of the biggest reasons why people struggle with money is because we don’t talk about it.  We need to quit making money a taboo subject and start talking about how to manage our finances wisely. 

People put money in the same category as politics and religion as a big no-no to bring up. This is yet another reason why most Americans have little to no financial knowledge base.

If people felt comfortable talking about money, they would be more likely to ask for help and ask questions.  It’s just assumed that you just figure out money on your own, but it really doesn’t work that way.  Finances are complicated.  There are many different facets like investing, saving money, retirement, real estate and so much more.

So don’t shy away from talking about money.  Ask questions.  Talk with people who know more than you.  Read and research what has you stumped.  And if you’re married, TALK to your spouse about money.  Look at your finances together, because you don’t want money to be the divide between you and your spouse.

Needless to say, we shouldn’t be silent when it comes to finances. The way we spend and save money must be addressed because money impacts every area of our lives. I wish this wasn’t the case, but finances make a daily impact on us and it’s our job to manage our finances well.  

It’s time to stop saying that we are not good with money. You can have a different future. You can stop generational poverty in your family.
Talk to your kids about money, ask people who are making wise financial decisions what they do, research on your own the topic.  Because if you want to see a better financial future for you and your children, you have to start being proactive.  

What is something you can start doing today to help your financial situation?  I’d love to hear your comment below!


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4 Parenting Tips from Brene Brown that Changed How I Parent

4 Parenting Tips from Brene Brown that Changed How I Parent

4 Parenting Tips from Brene Brown that Changed How I Parent

I love reading parenting books. They give me ideas and inspiration to help me be a better mother and raise my kiddos well. Each parenting book I read gives me more tools in my parenting toolbelt.  I just listened to probably my favorite parenting audiobook ever. Brene Brown’s audiobook “The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting: Raising Children with Courage, Compassion & Connection” is a true gem. In this post, you’ll see four parenting tips from Brene Brown that will challenge and encourage you to level-up in your own parenting.

This audiobook doesn’t give you phrases to say to your kids or a step-by-step program. This book is different. There isn’t extra fluff added here and there.  Every word is noteworthy.  “The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting: Raising Children with Courage, Compassion & Connection” challenged me to become a better example for my kids and equipped me with new parenting tool for my toolbelt.

4 Parenting Tips from Brene Brown that Changed How I Parent 4

4 Parenting Tips from Brene Brown’s Book:


Shame versus Guilt:

Most of us know what shame and guilt are, yet I didn’t fully understand the difference when it comes to parenting. And I sure didn’t realize the different outcomes of shame versus guilt on children as they grow up.

Brene is a shame researcher. She distinguishes shame versus guilt in this way. Shame says I am bad and guilt says I made a bad choice. Do you see the difference? Shame-based parenting puts the negative behavior as who they are, while guilt-based parenting focuses on the behavior.

Shame-based parenting is what was the norm in past generations. It’s slowly becoming less popular as new parenting methods are becoming more prevalent.

What blew me away was the long-term effects of shame-based parenting. Those children who are raised with shame are more likely to be depressed, drop out of school, be involved in risky sexual behaviors, drugs, and alcohol. While children who were parented using guilt are more likely to graduate and be involved in less risky behaviors. This is a big deal and the biggest factor between the shame-driven versus guilt-driven kids is the way they are parented.

Obviously, Brene Brown recommends that we should parent using guilt, not shame.  She states, “I’m just going to say it: I’m pro-guilt. Guilt is good. Guilt helps us stay on track because it’s about our behavior. It occurs when we compare something we’ve done – or failed to do – with our personal values.”  This is what we want our children to experience- guilt, not shame.


Developmental Milestones to Look for:


Brene Brown talked about a study that was done in the 1960’s where they put 12-18 month children with their mothers in front of a mirror. They put rouge on the mother’s nose and watched what the children did. The children would look in the mirror and try to wipe off the rouge off of their own nose, not their mothers.


From this study, they determined that young children cannot distinguish themselves from their caregivers (attachment theory). But when children hit around the age of two, they are able to see themselves as separate from their parents. That’s why when you ask your two year old to come they run the other way.


Brene’s husband is a pediatrician and he wants to hear that the two year old is being a challenge. If a two year old isn’t being defiant and doing the opposite of what you ask them to do, he’d be concerned about their developmental stage.  What we see as frustrating behaviors are often times developmental milestones that should be celebrated.  


Since I have a two year old, this really resonated with me. It changed my perspective and gave me a better understanding about his behavior. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t give our children limits.  Brene says our job as parents are creating limits and boundaries and sticking to them.  My big takeaway was understanding why my child’s behavior is really a developmental milestone.



The Power of Play

Obviously playing together as a family is important, but I’ve never heard research that backed this up. A violence researcher studied case after case of people who are incarcerated because of violent behavior. He was trying to find a common factor from their childhood, and his conclusion was that there was a lack of play as children.

This research was really interesting to me and encouraged me to play more with my kids. Brene Brown wanted to put this into action in her own family, so she had a family meeting where each person talked about what activities they enjoy so much that they lose track of time and laugh to the point of tears. They were able to determine what they love as a family and they plan activities and vacations around those activities. I love this idea.

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Practicing Gratitude as a Family Tradition:

We live in an age where entitlement is a huge concern for our children.  Brene says the cure for entitlement is practicing gratitude. Her family makes this a practice when they eat dinner.  They say a prayer before the meal and then each family member says something they are grateful for that day.

She says that they have had deeper dinner conversations because of this technique.  Sometimes her kids reveal something that they are dealing with like ‘I’m thankful for my grandparents.’ Her child who said this had a friend who was dealing with a grandparent that just passed.  I’ve loved this idea and have started incorporating this gratitude practice into our dinner routine.


Brene Brown‘s audiobook “The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting: Raising Children with Courage, Compassion & Connection” is full of so many wonderful parenting ideas.  This isn’t a book you’ll just want to skim- every word is powerful! I listened to this audiobook three times, it’s that good! Plus, it’s only two hours long.  

I recommend listening to this audiobook with your spouse. It will give you valuable information and great talking points to help you both approach your parenting together. So if you’re looking for a refresher in your parenting or a good dose of encouragement, I’d highly recommend Brene’s book.  

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Feeling Judged as a Parent?

Feeling Judged as a Parent?

Feeling Judged as a Parent?

I’m calling all you perfect parents out there, those with Ph.D.’s and parenting expert titles. If you have children that listen the first time you ask, who eat all the food on their plate, and who never have a tantrum, please do share your insights with us.

But for the rest of us out there, parenting can be a struggle of figuring out what works and what doesn’t. And once you think you’ve got your parenting methods down, your child changes. And let’s not forget about adding more children into the mix with different temperaments and personalities. Our kids are constantly changing, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that we can struggle parenting a moving target.

Feeling Judged as a Parent? 5

I’m not a parenting expert by any means, but I do try to be the best parent I can be. I think most parents would admit that they are trying to raise their kids to the best of their abilities. (I’m not referring to parents who are neglecting and abusing their children.) Yet, why do so many parents (including myself) feel like the way we are raising our kids isn’t good enough?  Most of us are feeling judged as a parent.

Parenting is challenging as is, and then the way we parent is often judged by othersThere are so many labels out there making parenting even tougher waters to navigate. Am I too much of a helicopter mom? Or am I a tiger mom? Maybe I’m just a #badmom and the list goes on and on. Labeling just divides us and creates parenting shame.  

Brene Brown says, “Ironically, parenting is a shame and judgment minefield precisely because most of us are wading through uncertainty and self-doubt when it comes to raising our children.” Isn’t that so true!  My mother-in-law always says parenting isn’t for wimps, and I can wholeheartedly agree with her.

I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling opposition in the way I raise my own kids. As parents, we have so many decisions to make for our children. Should we vaccinate? Circumcise or not? Breastfeed or formula feed? Sleep-train or not? Spank? Do time outs? What about sleepovers? Give screen-time or not? Eat organic food? Y’all this list is endless.

Feeling Judged as a Parent? 6

As parents we make decisions on behalf of our children all of the time- it’s our job. And that makes this parenting gig tricky. Often times our parenting decisions are different than the decisions our family and friends would choose. It’s easy to feel personally attacked when we see others parenting different than us, especially if they comment on the subject.

I’m not immune to those unpleasant comments that stop you in your tracks and make you feel like you’re a #badmom. I’ve had people confront me on hard issues like vaccinating my kids, circumcision, and so much more. Yes, I didn’t enjoy those conversations. At times, I second guessed our decisions that we were so adamant about.

But most of those conversations came from people who care about my kids. I doubt that they wanted to make me feel like a #badmom, they said what they said because they care. That being said, it’s hard to not take those comments personally. It feels like you’re being told you’re doing a bad job at parenting, and no one wants to hear that.

I don’t want to neglect the fact that sometimes we do need to change our parenting approach. If someone says something about how you parent that you don’t agree with, try not to take offense. There may be validity to what is being said.  If that’s the case, change what you’re doing.

We all should be teachable in every area of our lives. So, if someone has a helpful comment, use it. Our kids change so quickly, so we need to be open to changing our tactics. But if their comments aren’t valid or line up with what you and your spouse believe is best for your child, keep doing what you are doing and try not to get offended by it.

So How Do We Stop Feeling Judged as a Parent?

The sad reality is that I’m guilty of fueling this judgment fire myself. I used to have such strong convictions about sleep training to the point that I thought every parent should sleep-train. Hands down, the book “Babywise” helped me navigate the early years of my children’s lives. I thrived on the routine of the plan. Instead of feeling completely clueless when it came to parenting and what my infant needed, I felt confident in what to do. If you haven’t guessed, I love routines and schedules. Knowing when my kids napped gave me the freedom to plan my day.

Needless to say, my love of sleep training got out of hand. Because the Babywise method helped me so much, I thought I should start preaching about it as if it were gospel. I earnestly wanted others to reap the benefits I experienced, yet I’m pretty sure it didn’t come across that way. Looking back in my own life, I’m guessing that most people who push their philosophy or parenting techniques on others is doing it out of helpfulness, even if it doesn’t come across like it.

I began to notice that I started to look down on parents who didn’t have their kids on a schedule. My mind couldn’t fathom that kind of existence. Honestly, just thinking about the lack of routine stresses me out. Then I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t in the majority. Most parents don’t set eight timers on their phone to remind them when their child should be awake and go to bed. Many parents would probably cringe at the rigidness in sleep training. Nonetheless, I would tell every expectant mom all about how amazing Babywise was as I touted its praise.

Then my thinking shifted. I started having real conversations with moms who didn’t parent like me, and guess what? They are doing a fabulous job and they are trying their best. Just because the sleep-scheduling method I used worked well for me and my children, doesn’t mean that every child birthed into this world should be practicing the Babywise method.

It was a reality check for me. My narrow view shouldn’t be the only way, and could you imagine every parent parenting the same way? Goodness, our society would be so boring and predictable! I’ve started to recognize and correct myself when I start going down judgment ally. It’s a nasty journey that harms others and myself.


I love this quote by Brene Brown about parenting judgment. She says, “If I feel good about my parenting, I have no interest in judging other people’s choices. If I feel good about my body, I don’t go around making fun of other people’s weight or appearance. We’re hard on each other because we’re using each other as a launching pad out of our own perceived deficiency.” Brene’s conclusion to the whole mom-shaming debacle is that we cast judgments on others because we aren’t comfortable or confident in the way we are parenting.

If you are feeling judged by the way you parent or feeling like you’re not good enough for the job, I want you to cling onto this. The truth in the matter is that God chose you, yes YOU to be the parent of your children. There is a reason your children are yours. God has equipped you to make those decisions for your children. Instead of playing the comparison game with all the other parents you see, lean into the fact that you are your child’s parent for a reason.

I truly believe that we need to stop viewing other parenting techniques and methods as the enemy that needs to be battled or debated to death. Instead of feeling like we have to have impenetrable armor and our parenting methods as our weapons, what if we became vulnerable and walked alongside other parents? What if we talked openly about our struggles without fear of feeling like a failing parent? Could you imagine having that kind of support even from parents who parent differently than you?

Feeling Judged as a Parent? 7


There is no Holy Grail parenting book or method that has all of the answers. Let’s stop viewing the way we parent as a competition. All parents struggle. We have good moments, and we have ones that we aren’t proud of. The thing is, we all are trying to raise our kids well, yet we see so many different ways to parent. It’s so easy to judge others who parent differently than we do and often times we feel like we are on the receiving end of judgment from other moms.  Check out my post all about mommy judgment here

So let’s quit labeling our parenting and feeling guilty for being a bad parent. What if instead of viewing other parenting ideas as competition, we gained insight from other perspectives? We need to focus on raising little humans that will be a positive influence on the world. We are the example our children see. So let’s stop the name-calling, judgments, and rude comments.  Let’s come alongside other parents as we are raising the next generation.

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This Christmas Tradition Turns Your Kids into Santa and Teaches Generosity

This Christmas Tradition Turns Your Kids into Santa and Teaches Generosity

This Christmas Tradition Turns Your Kids into Santa and Teaches Generosity

Santa is kinda controversial. We all know that most Christmas traditions include Santa, but every parent has to make that decision for their own family. We all want our kids to have a magical Christmas, but should Santa be in the mix?

I grew up without having Santa because my parents felt like they would be lying to me and my siblings. They wanted us to focus on the true reason for Christmas- Jesus. When I was growing up, I never felt like I was missing out without having Santa. 

My husband, on the other hand, grew up with Santa and enjoyed the whimsy of it all. He even sports a red t-shirt with Santa on it that says, “I Believe.” Ah yes, this is a recipe for a disagreement in the making. We had quite a few discussions before we landed on some middle ground, and honestly, I love how we ‘do’ Santa in our house.

This Christmas Tradition Turns Your Kids into Santa and Teaches Generosity 8

So how did we reconcile our polar views (no pun intended)?  

My husband, who grew up with Santa, views him as a fun make-believe tradition that helps children exercise creativity. However, I couldn’t shake the feeling that if I go along pretending that Santa is real, I’d be setting my kids up for disappointment.  What will happen when our kids eventually find out the truth? Will they start doubting other things we say that are real, like Jesus? 

So instead of the classic Santa approach of focusing on being good so you get presents, we are teaching our kids to BE Santa.

In reality, Santa is a modern-day parable of Jesus (if you tweak it right). Jesus is so generous to us and doesn’t expect or need anything in return. He meets our wants and desires even if we don’t say them out loud.  

We want our kids to practice BEING Santa to others. When our kids give to others, without expecting anything in return, they BECOME Santa. So instead of our kids getting tons of toys from Santa on Christmas morning, they are given the opportunity to give.

This Christmas Tradition Turns Your Kids into Santa and Teaches Generosity 9

Let me put it plain and simple, this is how we DO Santa:


The Gift

Our kids get a little stocking from Santa with a few pieces of fruit in them, plus a card with a $5 bill. We didn’t do this with our son last year since he was only one, but we did it with our three-year-old daughter. The card tells our kids that they get to BECOME Santa.

The money they were given can’t be spent on themselves. They need to buy something for someone else (preferably someone in need) with that money.


Be Santa

Last year, we talked to our daughter about who she would like to BE Santa to.

At the time, one of the ladies in my weekly Bible Study had just passed away from breast cancer. My daughter would play every week with her children, while all the moms met up and shared life with each other.

My sweet girl wanted to be Santa to her four children and her husband. Let me tell you, it was a proud mom moment, and it was totally her idea.


Buy the Gifts

As you can guess, five dollars doesn’t go very far to help a family of five (you could use any amount), so we pretty much had two choices: The Dollar Store or Goodwill on their Monday $1 day. She chose Goodwill.

My daughter took her $5 and went up and down the aisles looking for the right color tags and what our wonderful friends’ kids would love.

She found a Little People princess castle, a big dump truck toy, a pretty dress, and BSU football shirts for the oldest boy and dad, all for a whopping grand total of $5. Our girl was so proud when she handed over her $5 bill (I paid the tax) to the Goodwill clerk.


Preparing the Gifts

We came home and washed everything up and my sweet daughter chose to add some of her own Little People to go with the princess castle.

She ended up wrapping the presents as best she could on her own. Martha Stewart would cringe at the masking tape she used, but it’s the thought and effort that counts.

She colored them a card and everything. We made a meal and brought that over with the gifts ‘Santa’ (our daughter) wanted to give them.


Giving the Gifts

Let me tell you, tears flowed by pretty much every adult there. My husband and I told the family the whole backstory. My sweet daughter was able to see their kids open the presents she worked so hard on. The kids loved their gifts. It was such a blessing to see the pure generosity from the heart of a child, even a three-year-old.


My kids will remember BEING Santa, and my hope is that this kind of generosity becomes their DNA. In our family mission statement, one of the Rich family traits is generosity, and BEING Santa gives our children the opportunity to practice giving.

For children, the classic way of doing Santa isn’t focused on generosity. Santa detracts from the real reason we celebrate Christmas, but BEING Santa aligns with the character of our Savior, and I’m all for that!!

We still read the occasional book about Santa, but our kids know that Rudolf and the whole gang is pretend. Our kids sat on Santa’s lap for pictures with our kids’ cousins, and we’re totally fine with that. But on our way to see Santa, I overheard my daughter telling her grandma that she IS Santa. Yes, my sweet child, you ARE Santa, and all of us should be.

Does your family do Santa? What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions? Let me know in the comments below…

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