Category Archives: Family

Little, Big Boy….or Big, Little Boy?

So, Thatcher turned 8 yesterday.  And, lucky you, since I haven’t down one of those l.o.n.g parenting-is-crazy type blog posts for a while…I’m due.

This birthday has hit me.  I’m not sure why.  It isn’t a biggie as far as birthdays go.  It isn’t an “oh my goodness, my baby is already old enough for Kindergarten!”, or an “I can’t believe my baby is now double digits!”, or a “how is it possible that my baby is officially an adult!”.  It is none of those.  It is just 8.  But, as with much of parenting, I was blindsided.  I was completely surprised at how sad…well, not really sad….maybe nostalgic….I was.

I should say, for the record, that I’m totally ok with my boys growing up and I’m kind of loving this age. All the more reason that I was surprised by being upset.  I loved the baby stage and thought my boys were tremendously excellent during the toddler and preschool ages, but I have to admit that I have enjoyed watching them grow into full-fledged boys now that they’re both elementary school age even more.   I was incredibly happy that I honestly felt “done” (not in a holy crap, shoot me, I’m done kind of way, for the record….but an two kids works for me, I don’t have the slightest itch for a third kind of way).  I did a victory dance and end zone celebration when they got out of diapers (both right at 2 1/2 thank goodness), when they were finally able to buckle and unbuckle their own car seats (AMEN), and when they switched from tubbies to showers.  I have also been absolutely smitten by the fact that I can travel light.  By “travel” I’m not speaking about actual vacations…..just your everyday trip the store, beach, or even restaurants!  No more packing 800 snacks and 1,000 activities to keep the boys quiet and well behaved.  It is now seriously as easy as “Brush your teeth and get in the car.”  AND…as if that isn’t cool enough…they’re even helpful sometimes.  Mind blown.  They now unpack their lunch boxes and backpacks after school, fill their own water bottles EVERY time before leaving the house, feed the dog, take care of the rabbit, fill the bird feeders (kind of), and water the plants.  Shot, score!  I am also totally enjoying the fact that we enjoy the same music (for the most part), like some of the same shows (watching The Voice and Amazing Race together has been pretty cool), and the same sports.  While the Bruins have held their interest for years already, this is the first year that they’ve really enjoyed watching the Red Sox on TV.  Thatcher can tell you the starting line-up, the pitching rotation, and some of the more interesting stats. Yeah, me!!

So, it has been good.  It has been easy.  It has been fun. We’re in a pretty awesome place. We’ve started to enjoy each other on a slightly different level.  I’m not explaining it well…but, it is no longer us entertaining them…it is us experiencing things together….and with A LOT of great conversations.  They’ve developed senses of humor that aren’t just super cute like when they were little, but are actually funny….like, for real.  So, why so teary?  I still don’t know.

It started to hit me when I went birthday shopping.  I was looking for something in the sporting goods section of a large toy store.  As I walked from the front left corner of the store to the back right corner of the store, it occurred to me that Thatcher had outgrown every single isle in the entire store other than the sporting goods.  I thought that simple fact would be cause for a happy dance, but instead I felt a tiny pang….a little bit of a loss.  Oddly enough, I don’t even like shopping in those large toy stores anyway….so why care that he’d outgrown it?  And then, all day yesterday, as if aware that he was suddenly older on a different level….Thatcher acted like he was 15 all day long.  We were kind of riding the fence between little kid and bigger kid for the last year or so and I feel like, all of a sudden, he not only hurdled the fence, but then ran so far away from it that I can’t even see the darn fence in his wake.  Like, when (although not my proudest moment) he asked if we had arranged for the Patriot cheerleaders to bring out his birthday cake at dinner.  What?

So, my first little guy is now a big guy.  He had his choice of how to spend his day yesterday and, in typical Thatcher fashion, his choices summed up his love of life as he knows it.  He knew right away….with zero hesitation…that he wanted to catch minnows, go to the beach, definitely NOT skip hockey, eat some sushi, and maybe grab an ice cream on the way home.  Who could say “no” to that?  So, he opened his presents (over a plate of fried dough and bacon), we packed for the beach, he caught hundreds of minnows with Finn and a couple of his best buds,  raced home for quick showers, played 90 minutes of hockey, hit the Studio for some sushi and a Chocolate Torte with fresh Raspberry Coulis…and a candle, and then headed home for bed.  The only thing we didn’t fit in was the ice cream on the way home.  No room in the birthday boy’s belly.  Maybe tomorrow.

After we said our last “Happy Birthdays” and “Goodnights” I heard him rustling around in his bed.  When I asked what he was doing he said, “I can’t find Hospital Bear.”  Hospital Bear is a little stuffed animal that we put next to Thatcher as soon as he was born….and whom he has slept with every night since.  We found the little guy under the blankets and as I walked out of the room I heard him say, “Happy Birthday, Hospital Bear.”  Maybe he isn’t all grown-up after all.  Maybe that fence is just a little bit back in sight.

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Thatcher and “Hospital Bear”

Who's 8?  This Guy!

Who’s 8? This Guy!

Minnows!

Minnows!

Birthday Wish

Birthday Wish

You’d Be Crazy To Not Take Advantage of This Red Sox Package

I know that I’m super fortunate that my boys have had the opportunity to experience some pretty awesome days at Fenway Park and with the Red Sox, but I also know that it can be REALLY difficult to score tickets that don’t break the bank…never mind actually feed the kiddos while you’re at the game.

If you’ve always wanted to go, but couldn’t justify spending that kind of $$$….or even if you’ve gone 100 times and simply want to go again….this is a SWEET DEAL!

Read all about it and BUY your tickets HERE

JUNE 1, 2, and 3 ONLY!

4 Game Tickets, 4 hot dogs, and 4 sodas ALL FOR ONLY $75!

A great deal for families! Bring the whole crew out to Fenway Park to watch the Red Sox take on the Twins. Courtesy of our friends at Aramark, $75 buys 4 tickets, 4 hot dogs, and 4 sodas.*

* Tickets must be presented at concession stands to redeem food/beverage. No substitutions available.

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Throw Yourself to the Wolves

When I did my “Picks” post yesterday I wanted to include a fun event at the one and only Wolf Hollow, but I wasn’t able to confirm until this morning that it is indeed happening.  Didn’t want to steer anyone in the wrong direction!

This Sunday, May 24th, Wolf Hollow will be hosting “Family Fun Fest”.

The event takes place from 11:00-3:00 and includes activities such as:

Educational presentations every hour

Children’s games and activities

Pizza from Ipswich House of Pizza

Snow cones from the Kona Shaved-Ice Truck

AND, last but certainly not least, free samples of local brew served up from the Ipswich Ale Brewery. Not for the kiddos though.

Read all about Wolf Hollow HERE

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Nichole’s Picks for 5/23 and 5/24

Pick #1

They’re open, they’re open.  Thatcher and Finn have been asking me for weeks when Maritime Gloucester will be opening for the season and I can finally tell them…and you…that their aquarium and exhibits are opening for the season on May 23rd!

Check out Maritime Gloucester HERE!

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Pick #2

The Newburyport Spring Festival!  Read all about it HERE 

Held Sunday & Monday of Memorial Day Weekend. Celebrate the season in downtown Newburyport! Enjoy great live music, art, fine crafts, and food from Newburyport’s best restaurants.

EventPhotoFull_Spring Fest 2015 logo

Pick #3

The Peabody Essex Museum.

This is always a fantastic place to spend the day, but I’m super intrigued by a new exhibit that they have on display and I can’t wait to go see it.

Read about the exhibit here:  Stickwork:  Patrick Dougherty

Check out more of the artist’s incredible work here!

Patrick Dougherty bends, weaves and flexes saplings into architectural sculptures that dynamically relate to the landscape and built environment around them. Over the last 30 years, he has created more than 250 works throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia. Constructed from saplings collected by area volunteers, the natural structure will provide dramatic counterpoint to the highly finished wood-frame Crowninshield-Bentley House that dates to the early 18th century. This is the first time PEM has commissioned an outdoor sculptural installation.

From the PEM website

From the PEM website

For a more comprehensive list of family activities please visit our friends at North Shore Kid

Nichole’s Picks 5/16 and 5/17

As with last weekend, Pick #1 was a piece of cake!

Get out and get your Rockport On!

Pick #1

MOTIF NO. 1 Day is a can’t miss day of fun, for sure!

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PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR EVENT DETAILS!

AND, HERE FORE A FULL SCHEDULE OF EVENTS!

Pick #2

Such a great month of events for you history buffs…or for anyone who hopes to share this piece of American History with their children.

Revolutionary Revelry in Lexington

SATURDAY, MAY 16th

Lexington Battle-Green BBQ Festival
11 am – 7 pm, $

Let the Battle Begin!  BBQ and Summer Food Vendors, New England Craft Beers on tap and Live Music! Admission benefits The LABBB Collaborative Schools for Special Needs Students!
Once inside food and beer may be purchased from vendors.

$5 Admission Fee, Kids 13 and under enter free! Food cost additional
At the corner of 1557 Massachusetts Avenue and Woburn Street, Lexington
Lexington BBQ Battle

Artists En Plein Air
10 am -2:00 pm, Free

Local artists will demonstrate their skills along the Minuteman Commuter Bikeway.  Watch as they create unique pieces and discuss their artistic process.

At Minuteman Commuter Bikeway sites between Hancock and Woburn Streets, Lexington
Lexington Tourism Committee

Freedom’s Way Hidden Treasures
10 – 4 pm, Free

Hidden Treasures includes 45 towns in the Freedoms Way National Heritage Area. Free activities for intergenerational audiences to explore this area’s history, culture and nature. Lexington shows off the arts and culture “hidden treasures.” This event will spotlight Pop-up Art displays and performances, as well as guided, and self-guided walks around town and conservation lands.
Hidden treasure maps have been created for you to follow.

Along sections of the Minuteman Commuter Bikeway and at sites throughout Lexington
Freedom’s Way

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SUNDAY, MAY 17th

Lexington Battle-Green BBQ Festival
11 am – 7 pm, $

Let the Battle Begin!  BBQ and Summer Food Vendors, New England Craft Beers on tap and Live Music! Admission benefits The LABBB Collaborative Schools for Special Needs Students!
Once inside food and beer may be purchased from vendors.

$5 Admission Fee, Kids 13 and under enter free! Food cost additional
At the corner of 1557 Massachusetts Avenue and Woburn Street, Lexington
Lexington BBQ Battle

Freedom’s Way Hidden Treasures
10 – 4 pm, Free

Hidden Treasures includes 45 towns in the Freedoms Way National Heritage Area. Free activities for intergenerational audiences to explore this area’s history, culture and nature. Lexington shows off the arts and culture “hidden treasures.”  This event will spotlight Pop-up Art displays and performances, as well as guided, and self-guided walks around town and conservation lands.
Hidden treasure maps have been created for you to follow.

Along sections of the Minuteman Commuter Bikeway and at sites throughout Lexington
Freedom’s Way

Unscheduled and Unplugged

I don’t know about all of you, but I have found…this year more than ever…that our “down time” is fairly nonexistent.  We leave home at 7:15 to get to work/school and most days the boys and I aren’t home until 5:00.  Hockey was 5 days a week from October to almost April and now there’s baseball, t-ball, and some flag football.  Throw in some meetings, appointments, errands, etc. and we are out straight.  When we get home it is a somewhat mad rush to tackle dinner, showers, guitar practice, and packing the necessities for the next day (I am thankful every day that they don’t have “real” homework yet).  If there was a moment to spare the boys’ “go to” for most of the winter had been to grab their iPads or some zombie time in front of the TV.  I’d be lying if I said that I minded.  Facts are that I needed time to get things done and they’re incredibly active all week long…so I did’t fret when they stole those moments of screen time at all!  As the weather got nicer, however, I started to cringe a bit when they would hunker down, iPads in hand, to zone out.

So….I couldn’t have been happier to come home from a run the other night and see them playing an ever so simple, and full of giggles, game of hopscotch with the neighbors.  I sat on the curb to watch…and once I overcame my embarrassment that they had somehow made it to “almost 6″ and “almost 8″ years-old without ever having played before….I took a few minutes to appreciate the moment.

Warmer weather has brought more hopscotch, bike riding, and some serious games of catch!

Motif No.1 Day 2015 (M1D:15) is Gonna Be Amazing

Five days away from the best M1D in 65 years (really). Film, Dance, Poetry, Music, Art, activities for kids and tons of community events are planned.

FILM: (look for GMG goddess Kim Smith’s clip!) The Red Shed Film Fest at the Rockport Public Library

DANCE: The T-Wharf tent featuring the Rockport Dance Academy and Fight or Flight Aerial Theatre.

MUSIC: The Dock Square tent features the Mari Martin Band, Pesky J. Nixon and Glass Onion. The Shalin Liu features a FREE community concert and an Instrument Petting Zoo.

WORDS: The School Street Tent: Magnetic Poetry Slam, Words Interactive, Words Before Dinner: the Poetry of Cape Ann.

ART: motif 2015 is a show featuring fresh, new work curated by Bob & Jill Armstrong of Iartcolony Gallery in Rockport. Artists from Cape Ann, Boston and beyond have re-imagined the Motif in everything from sculpture to paintings to video installations. A gallery walk will also be part of the festival.

COMMUNITY: Rockport Elementary School 3rd Grade Art Show, the M1D 5k & Fun Run to benefit Rockport Public Schools, Thacher Island Committee, Sandy Bay Yacht Club, Rockport Cub Scouts, Millbrook Meadow Committee, Addison Gilbert, SISU Fitness and more!

FOOD: Top Dog will have a food booth at the School Street Tent, Blue Lobster Grille and That Nutty Redhead will be set up in Dock Square, the New Year’s Rockport Eve Food Booth will be in Harvey Park.

FAMILY ACTIVITIES: Sidewalk Chalk Art Contest with prizes sponsored by The Ice Cream Store, painting, sketching, a Story Walk and Make-a-Book craft sponsored by the Rockport Public Library and much more!

Print out this handy Schedule of Events and bring it with you to Motif No.1 Day. The CATA trolley Park ‘n’ Ride will be running all day. Follow us on Twitter @rockportfest to stay up on the festival haps (do people still say that?) #M1D #rockportrocks www.rockportartfestivals.com

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Saturday May 16 One World Coffeehouse last show this season- Meridian and Charlee Bianchini

The One World Coffeehouse, 59 Main St, Essex, MA (street level entrance of  the U. U. Church), is pleased to offer a split bill on Saturday, May 16, 8 PM, with the singing duo Meridian and singer-songwriter Charlee Bianchini.  


Each group will play a set, with an intermission in between to sample the delectable sweet, teas,  and coffees.

Meridian, known for their intricate harmonies on traditional and contemporary folk music, consists of Gloucester’s Olivia Gale and Colin de la Barre. Meridian photo credit Jason Grow


Charlee Bianchini, has been making her mark as a gifted singer and writer, starting with her local roots, then branching out as she traveled meridian photo credit Jason Growoverseas and back home to her beloved Gloucester.

Both of these talented offerings for the May 16th will give the One World Coffeehouse audience an evening of breathtaking vocals and thought provoking lyrics. Don’t miss this chance to welcome Meridian and Charlee Bianchini to the stage.

Call 978-768-3690 for reservations, door opens at 7:20, $15, payment made at the door. WWW.oneworldcoffeehouse.org for more info.

Nichole’s Picks: May 9th and 10th

I’ve fairly certain that I’ve never had an easier time coming up with a perfect first pick!

Pick #1

The Gloucester Public Schools Art Festival

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Come one, come all to the Gloucester Public Schools Arts Festival on Saturday, May 9 from 11am – 3pm.

This fabulous showcase of art, music, theater, dance and technology from grades pre-school through 12th will take place throughout downtown Gloucester all day long. A ukulele concert, drama workshop, poetry reading, ballroom dance demonstration, art displays, and an outdoor community painting project are just a few of the day’s offerings.

Check out the Gloucester Education Foundation for more information HERE

AND…see the entire SCHEDULE OF EVENTS HERE

Pick #2

Ride the Water Shuttle

Cape Ann Harbor Tours, Inc.

With nice weather finally here, get out on the water and see the sights!  Hop on, hop off.  Grab a bit to eat, check out the galleries on Rocky Neck, enjoy a cocktail or an ice cream, etc.

The prices can’t be beat and season passes are now available.

Get all the info you’ll need HERE!

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Pick #3

Visit Long Hill Gardens in Beverly

As a member of the Trustees of the Reservation, Long Hill is a must see at some point, and why not this weekend?

If you’ve never been, Long Hill is a glorious 114 acres of gardens, trails, and wooded areas.

http://www.thetrustees.org/places-to-visit/northeast-ma/long-hill.html#t6

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As always, for a much more comprehensive list of family activities, please visit our friends at North Shore Kid.

Bowl For Free All Summer Long!

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You may already know about this unbelievable deal, but I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t mention it just in case!

KIDS CAN BOWL FREE ALL SUMMER LONG…

if you simply log on and follow the simple steps to sign them up at www.KidsBowlFree.com

The link will give you all the necessary information (obviously), but here’s the quick skinny…

You register your kids, pick a bowling alley (Cape Ann Lanes in Gloucester is a participating center!), and then every Sunday evening…all summer long…coupons will be emailed to you for the entire week.  The coupons are good for 2 free strings per child.  You do need to pay for shoe rentals, but the bowling is totally free…no gimmicks!   AND..if you want to bowl with the kiddos..you can pay a one time fee on-line of $28.95….and sign up 4 adults.  If you choose to do so, coupons will also be mailed to those 4 grown-ups each Sunday.  So, whether your kids are with mom, dad, a steady babysitter, a grandparent, etc. the adults can bowl free too!  And, TODAY ONLY, enter the code cinco5 and they’ll take $5 off that price too!  So, the kids always bowl free, and for a one time payment of $23.95 four adults can bowl free with them…all.summer.long.  Just pay for shoe rentals.

We’ve done this for the past couple of years and, in addition to the free bowling all summer, we usually get coupons and offers emailed to us during school vacations and holidays also!

Truly a NO BRAINER!!!

Assumptions

Dear Super Observant Man at the Pool,

Please allow me to begin by saying that I completely appreciate the fact that you took the time to let me know how much you enjoyed watching my husband frolic and play with our boys in the pool.  He certainly does have fun with them and they adore his attention.  He is indeed, as you so quickly noticed, a fantastic dad and I too get the warm fuzzies watching the boys climb all over him while giggling incessantly. Coincidently, I had just entertained some of those very same thoughts myself while watching them all play! It was very kind of you to stop me as I was walking by (with wet towels, 2 pair of flip flops, 1/2 of a sticky smoothie…made to order…dripping down my arm and off my elbow, a boogie board, a bag of pool toys, and the wad of gum that Child #1 accidentally left on his beach chair), to let me know that you found it incredibly refreshing to see a parent so completely engaged in unabashed fun with his children.  He sure is special and I’m so glad that you noticed.  It was so kind of you in fact, that I almost didn’t notice when you took a dig at me by adding, “You must feel very lucky that he entertained the boys for so long while you sat in your chair and relaxed.” I almost missed your raised eyebrow and the slight change in the tone of your voice.  I also almost missed your wife’s horrified, albeit subtle, cringe when you went just a little bit too far.

For the record,  I wouldn’t dare take a single word of your praise away from my husband because in that moment, and in many other moments, he is even more wonderful with our boys than even you described.  However, what you may not know, is that earlier that morning…and every other day of vacation…I took the boys for a long run/rollerblade as he enjoyed some peace and quiet.  You also may not know that, since my husband is out of the house and hard at work very early each morning, I have the pleasure of getting the boys ready for school, taking them there, seeing them throughout the day as I work my full-time (and then some) job as a teacher in the same school, picking them up, taking them to after-school activities, and then bringing them home late in the afternoon…every.single.day.  You also may not have deducted from your 30 minute observation of how we parent as a team, that until recently my husband was also hard at work on Saturdays so, that being the case, I have had the pleasure, for over 7 years, of taking them on countless excursions without him.  While he would have loved to have joined us, he simply wasn’t able. Likewise, as a teacher, I am incredibly fortunate to have the entire summer off with the boys.  It would be impossible to count all of the fun days that we’ve had…or even the quick overnight trips that we’ve taken…without him..during those long summer breaks.

I cannot emphasize enough how absolutely correct you were!  He was (and is…whenever given the opportunity) a fantastic, fun, and hands-on father to our two young sons.  I am beyond glad that you got to see him in his glory and that his awesomeness was not lost on you.  I do however wish, kind sir, that you had thought a wee bit deeper before evidently determining that I do not do the exact same 90% of the time.  While so quick to rightfully compliment him…you simultaneously insulted me with very little regard. Sadly, for his sake, my number of incredibly hands-on days with our children have had to outweigh his by a tremendously large number.  So, yes sir, when given the opportunity to allow him to relish in some of the simple quality time that is always so readily available to me, I sure did.  Selfishly, while relaxing as you put it, I was also admiring how adorable the three of them are together.

You caught me.  Sitting there in the sun…relaxing for 30 minutes.  Guess what?  I did it the day before that for a nice little chunk of time…and maybe even the day that before too.  The horror.  You might, but probably not, be interested in knowing that when I later expressed how bothered I was by your obvious criticism of me, my husband immediately laughed and said, “If only he knew how often you are off entertaining them on your own!”  Proving once again, how great he is.  I’ll also have you know that another very kind man echoed many of your same words the very next day….and, believe it or not, was able to do so without a hint of sarcasm or ridicule in regards to my parenting in his voice.  Imagine that.

Sincerely,

A very relaxed mom…thanks to a great dad…who is now ready to tackle a slew of solo activities until the day that I get the opportunity to sit and relax again.  (and when that day comes…you can bet I will)

Join The Ned Nugent & Mark Pelosi Duo for Brunch Today @ Alchemy Gloucester…12-3pm 4.26.2015

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http://www.alchemygloucester.com/

I’ve seen this duo recently and they are a pleasure to listen to.Plus the food, ambiance and service @ Alchemy Gloucester is so good….if they have that bubbly peach drink, I highly recommend it..

A Delightful Havdallah Evening at Temple Ahavat Achim – May 2nd

Temple Ahavat Achim

86 Middle St., Gloucester, MA

 

TAA presents a special event for members and guests:

A DELIGHTFUL
HAVDALLAH EVENING

 SATURDAY NIGHT, MAY 2

 

7:30 pm – Supper 

8:15 pm – Havdallah Service 

8:30 pm ’til closing –  A cabaret in three acts:

 

  • Danceable blues & rock with Bobby Kramer Trio & a special guest
  • Charlee Bianchini performing folk
  • Mark Arnold at jazz piano

Make your own sundaes to sweeten the evening!

$10 in advance or $12 at the door

WWW. TAAGLOUCESTER.ORG

RSVP is appreciated – it will allow us to know how much food to prepare!

Call Natalia at (978) 281-0739!

We look forward to seeing you for a night of frolicking and friendship!

Heath’s Tea Room … Re-opening Friday April 24th, 2015. Now accepting Mother’s Day Reservations for our 11:30 am, 1:30 pm & 3:30 pm seatings.

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Here’s a slide show of one of my visits. I highly recommend the cottage pie, quiche and the Roast Turkey with Stuffing  is to die for. https://www.flickr.com/photos/joey_grl/sets/72157626793853325/

visit their website> http://www.heathstearoom.com/Home.html 

Tourists from Washington D.C.

Grandfather, Father and Son 3 generations visit Gloucester from Washington D.C.  Father and son came up to watch the Red Sox play the Washington Nationals.

FYI – They were all Red Sox fans.  The young man also counted 537 Granit Blocks he walked on all the way out to the Beacon.

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