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Camping with a toddler

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Camping with a toddler

Last weekend, we went camping with our fifteen month old son. It was our third camping trip, but this time it was a bit different. We were one of about fifty families who were at the 2014 Sling Dads Family Camp at Sherratts Wood in Staffordshire. Sling Dads are a group who promote baby wearing and its benefits for dads. On their website, they talked about their reasons for planning a camp back in February.

On this blog, I’ve talked about baby wearing a few times. Last October, I blogged about going to a village called Sling to mark International Babywearing Week and also attitudes to baby wearing from around the world. In February of this year, I wrote about how taking our son to the supermarket in a sling had become a father and son bonding activity.

The previous time we’d stayed in a tent with our son, he was just under four months old. With him now being older and more mobile, I’d been a bit worried about how we’d manage to keep an eye on him and manage to put up our tent. Getting it properly assembled took us about an hour and a half the first time we stayed in it a few years ago, but we’ve got this time down to about 10-15 minutes now. Nevertheless, assembling it all can sometimes be a stressful experience that helps to explain why camping is sometimes referred to as an ‘in tents experience’. Thankfully our son happily played with a spare tent pole as we put up the tent.

Our son was son making friends with a few other toddlers of a similar age as he wandered around the site. As he’s at the babbling rather than talking stage, watching these interactions can be quite fun. Sometimes he just stands and stares at his fellow toddlers. After getting to know a few fellow campers, he was soon enjoying an outside bath.

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After falling asleep in a sling by the campfire, he managed to sleep soundly back in the tent despite a thunderstorm and several flashes of lightning. In fact, this is more than can be said for mum and dad! He was also kind enough to allow us what now counts as a Saturday morning lie-in by not wanting to get up until 7.30am.

Some of the activities on the Saturday morning were re-arranged due to heavy rain, but this didn’t really affect our son as he decided to have a two hour nap. After this, he accompanied us to a room where we were able to try a range of slings. He particularly liked the fact that his was taking place in a room meant he could do one of his current favourite things: climb up some stairs. We are gradually trying to introduce him to some other fun activities that don’t involve staircases but are taking it step-by-step.

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Our son tries to do an impression of a doll.

The rain that had fallen on Friday and Saturday ended up bringing some positives as it provided plenty of puddles for our son to splash about in on a path through the woods on the edge of the camp. In fact, he decided to splash about using both his feet and hands. To cap it all, he decided to sit down in a few puddles as well. Thankfully, we’d decided to put him in a waterproof suit so we just stood there giggling away rather than trying to discourage him from having some messy fun.

Our son enjoyed chasing some bubbles around and then had a quick game of football before dinner. After dinner, he was even kind enough to help me with the washing up before dinner (see picture below). After this, he seemed too excited to sleep so we sat with him around the campfire again and got talking to some of the other families. After a little walk in the sling, he finally nodded off. Popping him in the sling is the way that I normally use to get him to go to sleep in the evening when my wife’s out and breastfeeding him to sleep isn’t an option. I always love seeing and feeling him gradually drift off to sleep.

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On Sunday morning, our son was again kind enough to let us stay in bed until 7.30am. We then had a cooked breakfast in the fantastic food tent before it was time for a group photograph of all the happy campers. After packing the tent up, there was more time for exploring the campsite and jumping in puddles before it was time to head back home to North Wales. The weekend had clearly been an exciting one for our son as he slept for almost all of the two hour journey home.

Have you been camping with your kids? What do you remember of going camping when you were a child? Please feel free to share your views in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+.

Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also now a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it.

 

I’ve added this post to the following parent blogger link-ups:

Like father, like son

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Like father, like son

I was recently looking through some pictures of myself as a baby and was struck by some of the similar things that I did as a baby and that our son has done in his first fifteen months. Here are a few examples…

I’ve talked about slings in some posts on this blog, partly because we live near a village called Sling and partly because going round the supermarket with my son in a sling has become an unexpected father and son bonding activity. As it happens, I was a baby who was carried around in a baby carrier by my dad over thirty years ago…

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Another thing that I seem to have copied from my dad is wearing matching father and son stripey t-shirts. The one on the left was taken in Scotland in the early 1980s and the one on the right in Wales last year…

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Our son also seems to be following in my footsteps by developing an early interest in reading, or at least pulling books off bookshelves…

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…and he seems also to have developed my love of sand and sandpits.

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As I mentioned in a recent post, our son has tried to water our chickens while walking around our back garden with a watering can. Judging by the picture below on the left, it looks like my parents took steps to make sure I didn’t get too close to chickens whether or not I was carrying a watering can!

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Finally, it seems like my son and I also share a love of swings. Here’s a photo of baby, daddy and granny in a play park…

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What did you think of this blog post? Do your kids do things that you used to like doing when you were younger? Please feel free to share your views in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+.

Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also now a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it.

 

I’ve added this post to the following parent blogger link-ups:

My First World Cup as a Dad

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World Cup Baby

The first football World Cup that I vaguely remember is the 1986 tournament in Mexico and the first that I got really excited about was the 1990 event in Italy. During France 1998, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend three matches and in 2002 I took into account the schedule of games in Korea and Japan when planning revision for my final year university exams.

This year’s World Cup in Brazil is the first one since I became a dad last year. As I mentioned a while ago in a post entitled My First Football Season as a Dad, our son has already been introduced to football and in particular Bangor City. He had a Bangor City baby grow before he’d reached a year old and has already been to watch the team twice. He slept through and remained awake through the second, although he seemed more interested in watching the crowd than the game.

He may not know much about tactics yet, but he seems to have the sweeper system sussed.

He may not know much about tactics yet, but he seems to have the sweeper system sussed.

I thought that it would be nice to do something to mark this year’s World Cup for our son and was initially struggled for ideas. At first, I considered trying to feed him something related to a different World Cup team each day during the tournament. It would have been quick enough to tick off countries such as Spain (tapas), France (omelette) and Mexico (tortilla wraps). However, I sensed that teams such as Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran and Ecuador might well have posed a greater problem as I was less familiar of their national cuisine and their baby-friendly vegetarian options.

I momentarily thought that if I made something that counted as ‘global fusion’ food, then I could tick off any of the World Cup countries. This could mean that whilst vegetarian lasagna would cont for Italy, vegetarian haggis lasagna could potentially for any country I fancied. As this seemed somewhat contrived, I decided to focus on other ideas.

Our son's caxirola

Our son’s caxirola

By chance, I ended up getting our son a ‘caxirola‘ whilst at our local supermarket. Before my trip to the store, I had no idea that the caxirola was a small percussion instrument that was the official musical instrument of the 2014 World Cup. Nor did I know that the caxirola had actually been banned from all twelve of the World Cup stadiums hosting matches in Brazil. Our son thankfully didn’t seem to mind and has been happily shaking his caxirola whilst walking round the living room.

When I was discussing the World Cup with a colleague recently, they remarked that there had been a lot of child-like behaviour on display. The most notable example so far has been Uruguay’s Luis Suarez biting Italy’s Giorgio. I can’t remember whether or not our son was in the room while I was watching this game, but he has tried to bite my wife and me on the leg a few times recently. As a fifteen month old toddler, he can at least blame this on teething. Such an excuse is certainly not something that Suarez could use as a justification of his behaviour.

He's not exactly Lionel Messi, but he certainly knows how to leave the living room pretty messy.

He’s not exactly Lionel Messi, but he certainly knows how to leave the living room pretty messy.

As this World Cup has progressed, it’s been fun to see our son toddle around chasing after a little football. His skills are definitely improving and he is now able to kick the ball rather than just pick it up, throw it and trip over it. If he continues to progress, I’m sure that scouts from the big clubs will soon be in touch.

 

Do you remember the first time that you watched the football World Cup? What do you do to mark the World Cup and celebrate it with your friends and family? Please feel free to share your views in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+.

Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also now a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it.

This post is part of the Multicultural Kid Blogs ‘World Cup for Kids’ project.

 I’ve also added this post to the following parent blogger link-ups:

 

15 thoughts from my 15th month as a parent

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15th month as a parent

This month of parenthood has involved sheep, streamers and shoes…

1. We seem to always forget to bring our son’s bucket and spade with us when we go on an outing to the beach. As if to make a point about this, he has spent a lot of one day recently wandering around our front room with his plastic spade.

2. Our son enjoys helping out in the garden. We have had to teach him that he’s supposed to water the plants and not the chickens.

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3, Laundry pile jenga is our son’s new favourite game. It involves walking up to a pile of laundry on a chair, tugging at it and seeing if he can knock it all over before mummy or daddy notice what he’s doing.

4. Another one of his favourite games is playing ‘peek-a-boo’ with daddy’s t-shirts.

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5. We were really impressed when our son recently started responding to the question ‘where’s your nose?’ by touching his nose. However, he recently also responded to the question ‘where’s dad?’ by touching his nose.

6. Rather than staying inside and watching the World Cup on television, we have been taking our son out and about to exciting local events. Here is a sheep shearing competition at Sioe Dyffryn Ogwen, a local agricultural show. We didn’t see the conclusion of the event as we needed to change his nappy (what us UK folk call diapers!). The same thing happened in the last few minutes of the World Cup match between Argentina and Brazil, meaning that I missed Lionel Messi’s winning goal.

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7. We recently bought our son a box full of blocks with letters on them at a jumble sale. I’m currently wondering if there are enough to spell the name of the famous local village of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.

8. Here’s the answer…

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9. Our son’s still not sleeping through the night on a regular basis yet but he was kind enough not to get up early on either Saturday or Sunday of a recent weekend. He woke up at 9.30am on the Saturday and 10am on the Sunday.

10. I bought some streamers that I was going to use to decorate our house for our son’s birthday a few months back. I forgot to actually put the streamers up but our son demonstrated his dexterity by managing to find one of the packets a few weeks ago before opening it and having lots of fun!

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11. Animals and food have been two things that we’ve tried to teach our son about. One weekend, we had to stop our sun trying to eat cat biscuits and then an hour or two later try to prevent our son from having part his flapjack eaten by chickens.

12. Baby led weaning can get messy, especially when a 14 month old insists that he wants to hold the spoon himself while having porridge. Indeed, things can get even messier when he decides to grab a clean baby grow and rubs porridge onto it as well…

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13. Our son has recently added the words ‘bath’ and ‘splash’ to his vocabulary. I still have ‘dad’ noted down as his first word though.

14. Our son enjoyed getting his first ever pair of shoes recently, mainly because he was able to pull lots of pairs of the shelves. In fact, he had more fun that the last time he went to a soft play centre.

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15. My wife and I have finally got our son’s hint about trying not to forget his bucket and spade when we go to the beach. We got him a new bucket and spade at the beach recently so as he has one set to keep in the car and another to keep in his sandpit in our back garden.

 

What do you think of this post and what do you remember from your first year and a bit as a parent? Please feel free to share your views in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+.

Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also now a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it.

Similar posts

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6 things I’ve learned in 6 months as a parent

7 thoughts from my 7th month as a parent

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11 thoughts from my 11th month as a parent

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I’ve added this post to the following parent blogger link-ups, check them out to see a range of posts by fellow parent bloggers:

Reading with baby on Fathers’ Day

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Fathers' Day

Despite being only fourteen months old, our son is already showing an interest in books. Sometimes this involves pulling them off shelves rather than actually reading them, but I still see such acts as small steps on the pathway towards literacy. Before he could walk, one of our son’s favourite activities seemed to be crawling into our spare room and trying to empty the entire contents of a set of bookshelves onto the floor.

He also tried a similar trick on a visit to a library event for toddlers and little kids at which I energetically tried to pick up books as soon as he’d thrown them on the floor. I think that this was a game that he quite enjoyed in fact. Indeed, he seemed to like it even more than playing with any of the many toys that the library had. When I was small, I also enjoyed messing around in libraries. I once left part of the bottom of one of my trouser legs in a library – it was a turn-up for the books.

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As it happens, one of the first Christmas presents that I bought for our son was a book called Dilyn Dilys. The title is Welsh for ‘following Dilys’ and tells the story of a sheep called Dilys who goes for a walk and encounters various different birds and animals along the way. As someone who has learnt Welsh as an adult, I sometimes come across words in Welsh language children’s books that I do know. Indeed, I discovered the Welsh words for bees, thistles and fluffy thanks to Dilyn Dilys.

In addition to providing an opportunity to enrich my Welsh vocabulary, I also see reading kids’ books as being part of quality father and son time. My dad and my mum both read to me as a child and I’m sure that my wife and I will both read to our son as he grows up. We’re bringing up our son bilingually and this normally involves my wife speaking English to him and me speaking Welsh to him. By exposing him to books in both languages, I hope that our son will be able to take pleasure in the cultures and traditions that are associated with the Welsh and English languages as well as taking in the words (and pictures) in his books.

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As I started learning Welsh as an adult after moving to Wales back in 2007, reading to my son has meant that I’ve generally not been using the very same books as the ones I had read to me when I was small. In some ways, this might seem like a bit of a shame but it is also a source for me as I get to discover new books. Indeed, I’ve quite enjoyed looking through the kids’ books at a fantastic local independent bookshop that stocks a great range of titles in both Welsh and English.

Our son seems to be showing quite a bit of ambition when it comes to reading despite being very small. On a recent trip to a library with mummy and granny, he decided that the books for babies and toddlers weren’t all that interesting and instead kept grabbing books about things like dinosaurs and robots from the shelf for older children.

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I’ve also tried to keep ahead of the game when it comes to reading and parenting. As I mentioned in a post entitled Bilingual parenting means learning lots of jokes, I have been stocking up on joke books in both Welsh and English so as I can take on the traditional paternal role of sharing puns, one liners and other forms of rib-ticklers in different languages. Some might say that I don’t tell many good jokes in English so shouldn’t have trouble failing to tell decent jokes in Welsh. However, I feel that I would be failing in my paternal duties were I not able to tell dad jokes in both languages.

I’m not sure what’s in store this weekend for Fathers’ Day but I’m looking forward to spending some quality family time with my wife and son. Last year we went out for lunch and then on to a local pottery shop where we got our son to decorate some plates with paint footprints and handprints. He was so calm and relaxed about it all at the time, but I think things would be a bit different now that he’s walking and running all over the place. I certainly wouldn’t be relaxed taking him into a pottery shop anyway!

 

I’ve written this post as part of the #DadsRead campaign that is being run by the Zoobean blog and the Good Men Project. To see more posts on this topic, search for the #DadsRead hashtag on Twitter.

 

What are you looking forward to this Fathers’ Day and what books do you like reading with your children?  Feel free to share your views in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+.

Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also now a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it.

 

OTHER POSTS FROM THIS BLOG ABOUT BOOKS AND READING

Bilingual parenting means learning lots of jokes

Happy World Book Day!

Babies, Books and Blogging

 

I’ve added this post up to the following parenting blog link-ups:

Being a bilingual parent in Wales

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I recently appeared on Olena Centeno’s fantastic podcast Bilingual Kids Rock to discuss my experiences of being a bilingual parent. You can listen to the interview if you click on the image below.

 

In the interview, I talk about the Welsh language, how I learned Welsh and why my wife and I are using it to bring up our son. As our son is just over a year old, it’s hard to know how well we’re doing yet as he generally babbles rather than talks. However, I’m sure that there’ll be plenty of fun just round the corner as his speech develops. He’s starting to copy gestures and sounds more and more and I’m sure that he’ll be chattering away before long.

One of the things that I’ve enjoyed most about listing to the Bilingual Kids Rock podcast has been hearing the range of different ways fellow parents and parent bloggers have gone about raising their kids bilingually. There have been so many different languages, methods and issues discussed in the fifteen episodes that have been recorded so far.

I’ve talked about bilingual parenting here on this blog quite a few times, so here’s a list of some posts that you might want to read if this is a subject that interests you:

Being a bilingual parent – read about how I went about learning Welsh and why my wife and I decided to raise our son using both Welsh and English.

Being a multilingual and multimedia parent – discover the different sorts of resources out there that can be helpful if you’re bringing up children bilingually.

Interview with Ana Flores about Bilingual is Better – read my interview with Ana Flores, one of the authors of the great book about bilingual parenting Bilingual is Better.

Bilingual parenting means learning lots of jokes – as I take the ability to tell dad jokes seriously, bringing up our son using Welsh as well as English has meant that I’ve had to learn dad jokes in Welsh as well as English.

I’ll be doing some more posts about being a bilingual parent in the next few months, so remember to subscribe to this blog so as you don’t miss them!

 

Please feel free to share your views about this post in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+.

Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it.

 

I’ve added this blog post to the following parent blog link ups where you can read lots more posts by fellow parent bloggers:

14 thoughts from my 14th month as a parent

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14th month as a parent

Daddy dancing, high fiving and food throwing are have all been part of my 14th month as a parent…

1. Our son is barely a year old but already quite good at imitating how my wife says ‘oh dear’ and I haven’t been teaching him to do it either. I’m wondering what his first daddy impression is going to be like.

2. Just over a year into parenthood and my daddy dancing has been mocked for the first time. I’m surprised that it’s taken this long.

3. If you ever hear me use the phrase ‘speaking with my blogging hat on’, this is what I mean…

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4. As our son is now one and quite good at doing a high five, we’ve decided that it’s time to try to teach him how to do our family fist pump. I was going to put a picture of this here, but our family first punch is top secret!

5. Our son recently blew a raspberry at me straight after I got home from work. We’ll have to train him to do this when cold callers knock at our door.

6. Fascinated about where I get all my jokes from, our son’s recently being trying to sneak a look at my book of dad jokes. If he thought things through, he’d have done this before he gave me this as a present for my last birthday. That said, he was not even seven months old at the time.

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7. Raisins are one of our son’s favourite foods. It is now almost impossible to sit down to eat cereal topped with reasons without him coming over to inspect it and see how many raisins I’m prepared to give him (…or he can just grab!)

8. Our son has started throwing food a bit more recently but rarely throws raisins or blueberries. When he does, we know that there’s something not quite right.

9. Our son is too old to have a tablet or games console, so instead I occasionally take him along to our local supermarket to play with the touchscreen weighing scales in the fruit and vegetables section while I try to decide what sorts of dips to get.

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10. In another recent supermarket trip, I bought our son his first football. I loved watching him cling onto it for most of the trip round the store.

11. On my most recent trip to the supermarket, I went without our son as I was on the way home from work. On the way out, I noticed that there’s a car wash near the store petrol station. I can’t wait to try driving our car through the car wash and seeing what he thinks.

12. Last month, our son discovered a new favourite game: throwing the plastic balls from his ball pool at granny and grandad. In the photo below, the grandparents are using their tablets to both take photos of this and also as protective devices faced with the onslaught.

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13. Since our son’s got his ball pool, I’ve quite enjoyed jumping into when I get home from work in the evening. If I had a bigger office, I might consider keeping one in a corner for when I felt the need to chill out for a few minutes.

14. Our son enjoys sitting in a a red and yellow plastic car that toddlers are supposed to push with their feet. He can get it to move backwards but not forwards at the moment. I have already complimented him on having such great reverse parking skills for a one year old.

 

What do you think of this post and what do you remember from your first year and a bit as a parent? Please feel free to share your views in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+.

Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also now a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it.

Similar posts

Being a dad – celebrating the little things

6 things I’ve learned in 6 months as a parent

7 thoughts from my 7th month as a parent

8 thoughts from my 8th month as a parent

9 thoughts from my 9th month as a parent

10 thoughts from my 10th month as a parent

11 thoughts from my 11th month as a parent

12 thoughts from my 12th month as a parent

13 thoughts from my 13th month as a parent

Baby’s first year in 12 photos

I’ve linked this post up with the following parent blog link-ups:

 

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