Adventures in Babysitting

Monday, March 30, 2009

I'm being kept a little busier with my babysitting tonight. Still, I did manage to make one scrapbook page. I'll add the journaling later. After making SO many girly pages, it was a bit of a paradigm shift to make a 'sophisticated' page for a 6 year-old boy. I haven't scrapbooked anything exclusively for Mr. Boy in years! It's been girls, girls, girls.

When Mr. Boy was born, a fellow scrapbooker convinced me to limit the amount of scrapbooking I did for my first born. She assured me that I would never be able to maintain as high a tempo with subsequent children and the younger children would complain loudly that their scrapbooks weren't as big, or that there weren't as many pictures of them. With the advent of digital cameras, not having enough photos isn't an issue. People take zillions of pictures now. Not like back in the days when you needed to buy the camera, film and flashes to take pictures, and had to pay to develop all of the pictures, even the crappy ones.Remember these?

I decided to keep Mr. Boy's first year scrapbook to under 15 double-page spreads, one for each month, plus a couple for my pregnancy, his birth and a couple of special 1st birthday pages. In subsequent years, I ended up with about 12 double-page spreads per year. I fit everything for him up to starting junior kindergarten into one book.

In my own album, I have lots of pages of the kids, and now that I'm digital scrapbooking, I can make a page for myself and make as many copies as I want. That's one of the things I love about digital scrapbooking. Losing all of my supplies and having corrupt files. No so much.


Digital scrapbook challenge #1

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Christine suggested we start a digital scrapbook challenge to inspire us and keep us honest on making pages every week. What a great idea!

The challenges will never be overly complicated and we won't need to buy anything special to complete them. We'll post the page from the previous week and the new challenge on Sundays. Anyone who wants to participate can link up to us in the comments.

I get the honour of posting the first challenge. It'll be really easy.

Challenge #1
1. Use pink!

Look to Christine' blog alternating Sundays for the next challenge.


Sweet Pea's Page

Yesterday, I did a blatant scraplift of Christine's Jump Up! page. I love how it turned out. I plan to turn this into a double-page spread with Sweet Pea's birthday celebrations on the other side of the page.

It's a rainy day today and I'm giving it a go inside the house without my crutches. So far so good. With the snow mostly gone, I'm itching to get outside and garden a bit, but the rain and my sore leg will keep me inside today.


Creative Juices Flowing

Saturday, March 28, 2009

With all this free time on my hands (I can't exercise or do sports because of my knee), I have found a little extra time to do the creative stuff I love so much. I promised myself I would do more scrapbooking. I am so far behind, I have to use the technique where I start with recent pictures and work backwards. Last weekend was the end of the winter, so I did a double-page spread of fun outdoor stuff we had done. As promised, I used a template, Katie Pertiet's Right Here Layered Template. I used some of her frames and winter brushes. The background paper is a Lynn G chat freebie. I tend to go for high contrast pages, but I was pleased with myself for keeping to mostly blues in this layout. If my coat werre blue, the page would be even more monochromatic.

I've also started knitting again! I inherited a TON of knitting needles and I have patterns and a bit of wool lying around. I'm working on something already, and I borrowed a book from the library which had some really cool, modern patterns in it. The book is called Knit One, Embellish Too. Really cute. I want to make the daisy hat, the berry bramble hat; one for each daughter, the neck scarf and the 'wristers' which are fingerless gloves. Better start now so I can finish them before the cool weather comes back next September.

I'm scrapbooking again today and have another page almost finished. It's based on Christine's wildly popular Jump Up page, which already has 515 views over at Designer Digitals.


Oh Woe is Knee

Friday, March 27, 2009

Knee - My knee is still swollen even though I've been on the crutches for over 5 days. Now that the swelling has gone down a bit, I can feel a bit of pain in two different places in my knee. I think I'm in trouble. I have a sinking feeling that by Tuesday, when I see the doctor again, I will be on a waiting list for an MRI, and after that, on a waiting list for knee surgery. An MRI clinic in this area opened up last year where you can get an appointment right away and pay cash for the test. But at $750 it's a bit pricier than the free MRI I can get, if I'm patient enough. Gotta love the Canadian health care system!

Basement - the granite countertops are in. They are beautiful and are installed perfectly. Once the toilet, sinks and faucets are installed and the paint is touched up in a few places, our basement will be done! Did you hear that? Done! I'm pretty excited. Can you tell?

Skiing - It looks like the ski season is over. It wasn't the best year for skiing, but DH did manage to get the kids out every week and they're getting pretty good. Next year we'll get Precious out on skis and I can go along, too. Unless I'm waiting for knee surgery.


The Kindness of Strangers and Co-workers

Monday, March 23, 2009

I'm beat.

Walking on crutches is very tiring. My car has a standard transmission, so I had to take the bus to work. I got off the bus near work, and I dropped my bag crossing a busy intersection during rush hour. A woman who had also got off the bus came to my aid. She carried my bag all the way to the front desk of my building. I was very grateful.

My co-workers were great. They whisked my lunch to the fridge, and filled up my water container. I got a box and some pillows for propping up my leg. Bob even got me a cup of tea.

After that, the scary knee surgery stories came fast and furious. About half of the people I talked to knew someone who had knee surgery or they had had it themselves. One person concluded I must have torn ligaments in my knee. If that's the case, I guess I won't be playing hockey or soccer this summer. I'll see the sports medicine doctor tomorrow (no reason to clog up the emergency room) and see what's up.

My other co-worker, who lives in my neighbourhood, left work at the same time as me so he could ride the bus with me and drive me home from the park and ride lot. I ended up on my local express bus so I didn't need the ride, but the offer sure was nice!

Some good news on the basement front - the owner of the reno company assures me the basement will be "150% complete" by next Friday, April 3rd. The granite countertops go in tomorrow. I can't wait!


Say goodbye to 10% of me!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I've finally decided to do it. I'm going to lose those last few (18) pounds that have been hanging tenaciously in all the wrong places. DH claims the extra pounds are clinging right where they should, but he's biased.

I was on Facebook yesterday canvassing my friends for a workout/weight loss buddy. I got one offer the same day, and we aren't too far from each other and we both have memberships at Goodlife Fitness. Only problem is, my schedule is never all that certain, and I never have the same workout twice. She has four kids, so I'm sure she's busy too. Besides, working out isn't really my problem. I usually do something fitness-related 3, 4 or 5 times/week, but I think I need to add weights and maybe run one extra time per week.

The big thing that needs to change is my eating habits. Yesterday, I tried to eat normally and just write down what I ate. I was surprised at how quickly I figured everything left on the kids' plate after lunch belonged to me. Also surprising is that I only had three servings of fruits and vegetables all day!

I used to follow Weight Watchers, and lost 32 pounds on it after I had baby#2. I was at my goal weight, and I got "Lifetime" status at WW. I kept it off until I had a car accident which seriously affected my ability to exercise. That left me with an extra 5 pounds, until I got pregnant with baby #3. Because of the complications with the pregnancy, I spent the last 2 months on the couch. I was barely allowed to go to the bathroom, let alone exercise. I gained a lot of weight and was really out of shape when Precious was born.

After Precious was born, I lost a bunch of weight pretty soon after she came home. I was about 10 pounds from my goal by the time she was about 18 months. Then, instead of continuing to drop, my weight went up! I had been to the naturopath complaining of poor energy levels. She suggested I add more protein to my diet. I bought a bunch of nuts and started eating those throughout the day. My energy seemed to go up, and I wasn't constantly hungry like before. The battery in our scale had died. Once we got a new battery, I weighed myself. I had gained about 5 - 7 pounds in two months! I was about to go back to work, and I really had nothing to wear. Actually, one skirt and one pair of pants fit me, and a few sweaters and blouses still fit.

So here I find myself, 18 pounds over where I want to be. My new eating plan starts today. I'll be basically following WW on my own, keeping track of what I eat, and trying to plan out my meals so I don't overeat. I'll dig out some of my favourite healthy recipes and start making those again.

The only wrinkle in my little plan is that I wrecked my knee last night at soccer and I'm using crutches to get around. That might put a damper on my exercise plans for the next little while. At the very least I can eat better until my knee improves.


I made a page!!!!

Friday, March 20, 2009

How exciting. I made a scrapbook page. I started with a recent photo and used a template. I came across a few corrupted files and I got the teensiest bit frustrated, but I did it!!!Katie Pertiet's Year By Year Memories template

Maybe my 'scrapper's block' is done!?



Thursday, March 19, 2009

I'm babysitting my friend's son tonight and he's playing it cool (watching Backyardigans) so I have a chance to organize my scrapbooking stuff. I have been completely paralyzed on the digital scrapbooking front. I haven't done a page in months. I went on a scrapbooking retreat in October and did a bunch of pages. A couple of months later, I was sitting, waiting for my winter tires to be installed and I accidentally deleted all of my scrapbooking supplies. Luckily, DH is something of a computer whiz and he was able to un-delete a lot of it. I guess that's one of the downsides of digital. Your stash can disappear with two clicks.

After the un-delete, it looked like everything was back where it should be, but when I tried to use some of supplies, some of them were corrupted. I had done a back-up about 2 months earlier, but trying to figure out which files were not restored and had to be re-loaded was a real pain, and I'm not done. My approach is to scrapbook, and to make a list of elements which are corrupted and I'll restore them later.

One thing that didn't make it back from the ether was the spreadsheet I had of which scrapbook pages I had done, which were missing, which were printed, etc. Tonight, between watching my friend's son, and the hockey game, I'll try to put some order to things. I'm cataloguing all of my completed pages, as well as tagging all the pages that aren't complete. I have a lot of 2008 done, but none of 2009. I'm so far behind, I think I'll start with the most recent pictures and work my way backwards. I'll start with some templates (easy) and ease my way back to the more complicated pages. I'm a bit out of practice. Wish me luck!


Kiss The Blarney Stone And All That

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

How Irish am I? Not all that much. At one point, I figured I was about a quarter Irish, but nothing could be further from the truth. I'm more of a Heinz 57. All of my grandparents were born in Canada. On my mom's side, her dad's parents came from Austria. Her mom was born in Canada and was half (or possibly a quarter) French and half (or a quarter) Aboriginal. On my dad's side, there are a lot of people from Ireland, Scotland and at least a couple from England.

Luckily, my dad's Dad, Poppa, was really into geneology and he did research on his family. We have a fairly detailed family tree for that side, with information going back 6 generations from me, including dates and locations of births, dates of marriage and dates of death.
When you look back on my dad's side, you'll see that I have at least 2 great-great-great grandparents who were born in Canada, around 1826. That really surprised me. I colour coded everyone where the information was available. Red boxes are Canadians. Green are Irish. Blue are Scottish and yellow is English.

On my dad's mom's side, it is my great-grandfather (her dad) and great-great grandparents (her mom's parents) who were born abroad, so I guess it is less surprising that she had a bit of an Irish way of speaking. The first time I read Angela's Ashes, I was shocked to discover that the characters in that story spoke was just like my Nannie.

It doesn't really matter how Irish I am because everyone's Irish on St. Patrick's Day. Happy St.Patrick's Day!


Renovations Get Nasty

Monday, March 16, 2009

We're now in week 18 of our basement renovation. To help out the contractor, and to ensure a good quality finished product, we decided to send him a list of all of the 'defects' or unfinished parts of the basement. Nothing's happening right now as we wait for our countertops, which are expected this Friday or next Monday. After that, the plumber, painter, electrician and carpenter are all coming. We wanted to give the contractor as much notice as possible so he could get the contractors to fix the problems when they're here finishing up the basement. We asked if he could reply by email, so we could have a record of everything. He replied "The list of items will be address in person only and not via-email. thx".


DH ended up having a long phone conversation with him this morning, and he addressed everything on the list, but refused to put it in writing. Now I'm starting to get nervous. He is not too happy about how this project is going, and I think we're owed an explanation as to why dealing with him has become such a painful experience. If he is getting pressure from above, he could admit that to us. If he thinks we're doing something wrong, there are ways that he could tactfully address that. We don't deserve the treatment we are getting from him. It's really putting a damper on things. I'll be glad when this whole thing is over.



Sunday, March 15, 2009

My Precious can ride a bike! When she was born, we weren't even sure if she would need a wheelchair or if she would be able to walk. And here she is, riding a bike! This is a good reminder to me to never underestimate her.
Her head grew again, so we'll have to get her another new helmet. The special pedals we got for her allow us to velcro her feet to the pedals. The good part of that is that she can pedal and her feet don't slip off. Pushing down and pulling up both work to propel her. The downside is that I have to stay really close to her the whole time in case she starts to fall over. She can't just put her feet down. Once she gets the hang of biking a bit more, we can get rid of the adapters and she can just pedal the normal way.


Cheating At Webkinz World, Part Deux

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I told you a while back that I considered cheating at Webkinz world. By cheating, I mean logging in as one of the kids and playing games to earn ‘money’ for them. I decided against it and nothing happened for several months. In January, we started a week-day media fast. By we, I mean the children. They don’t watch TV, use the computer or play any video games from Monday morning until Friday after school. In a show of solidarity, I don’t watch TV while they’re at home and awake.

The best part of the media fast is that they seem to be o.k. with it and they rarely ask me to break the rules which I wouldn’t do anyway. Being a parent is hard. You have to be consistent. Boo hoo.

I know the children won’t be on the computer during the week, and I know that Webkinz World has a game called Wishing Well 2. You can only play once a day. It’s hardly a game. It’s more like a slot machine for kids, with cute frogs, cherries, lions, wishing wells, etc. just waiting to make a gambling addict out of your child. In Wishing Well, the more matches you get per row, the more money you make. Wishing wells multiply your winnings. Sweet Pea once got three wishing wells across the middle row, which the grand-daddy of all spins. It was worth 1000 Webkinz dollars, which is a heck of a lot of money; or a special prize. I didn’t know she could opt for the cash, which she dearly needed, but I helped her choose a swimming pool for her virtual room instead. Because I came into the room part way through this transaction, I’ve always felt duped. She should have taken the money!

I’ve been logging into Webkinz world on both accounts and playing Wishing Well most days. I’m still waiting for the elusive three wishing wells across the middle.

I was logged in one time and I noticed that my child’s pets were hungry. And she had no money to buy food. One thing led to another and I played a few games to earn enough money to feed the pets. The pet wasn’t that healthy either, so I gave it a bath. It wasn’t that happy, so we had a conversation. It hurts me to see these virtual pets in ‘pain’ and I have the urge to fix them. I shouldn’t interfere, but Sweet Pea doesn’t notice when I do. Mr. Boy on the other hand, once noticed that he had more money that when he last logged out and he was thrilled! And his pets are well-fed, happy and healthy. Without my help.


Freshen Up!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

For those of you who read this on a reader, click through to my blog for my new header and colour scheme.

Spring is here!


Vanity is a Deadly Sin

In the fall, DH and I showed the designer a picture of the powder room we wanted to create in our basement. The photo showed green glass tile on the walls, a counter-mounted square-edged sink, a striped asian-inspired wood vanity, and sparkly wall sconces. We loved the vanity, but needed a bit more closed storage. I'm a big fan of hiding away the mess. I hate clutter. The designer drew out the vanity for us and divided the open shelf in half and added a drawer. We loved the drawing, even if it was just a 2-D drawing of the front view of the vanity.

When the vanity arrived, we weren't quite as happy. The vanity looked a bit like the inspiration photo, with a few notable exceptions. The most notable difference was the grain of the wood. In the magazine picture, the grain on the front of the vanity was horizontally. Our vanity turned up with the wood grain running vertically. The vanity was to have a recessed portion on the front (gables), but our vanity was flush all the way. We didn't like the look of the proportions. We mentioned our concerns to the contractor, and after a bunch of humming and hawing, the principal at the firm offered to make it right, at no cost to us.

The new vanity arrived last week. The countertop isn't in yet, and the sink is just sitting on it. The wall sconces aren't installed because the painting isn't done. We couldn't afford a whole wall of green glass tile, so we chose a colour close to green glass and we painted the walls and the ceiling. By 'we', I mean Daniel, our painter.the vanity in the unfinished bathroom - check out the cork floors!

All that is left in our basement is the countertops, installing the toilet and sinks, a few electrical things, and touching up the paint. Of course, there are a few defects here and there that will need to be fixed, but once the countertops and the powder room are done, we can really start using the basement. On the weekend, we moved a bunch of stuff into the storage room. We've already set up the spare bedroom. All that is in the room is our queen-sized spare bed and a bedside table. It looks great already and the spare room is BIG. It was hard to tell until the furniture went in. The room wasn't to be that big, but due to bulkheads, columns, and other fun basement obstacles, we had to make the room bigger to accommodate a closet. We had to forfeit storage room space in return. Wish us luck getting all of our stuff back downstairs when all of this is said and done!


Spring Had Sprung

Monday, March 9, 2009

I am Canadian, so I should have expected it. The weather got warm last week. It was above freezing for a couple of days. All of the packed ice at the end of my driveway (where the plough goes by and where the ice gets packed by cars driving over it) was melting. I could wear just a spring coat. The sun was shining. The snow was melting. It was absolute bliss!

Last winter at this time, we had had over 10 feet of snow. I had shoveled the driveway more times than I could count. The snow was so high on the snow banks that I had to climb them to put on more snow! This year, we've only had 7 feet of snow. Wait. That sounds like a lot now that I see it written down. Truth is, it hasn't been that bad this year. It seems like every time it has snowed, I haven't had anywhere to go. That's the worst part of the snow - driving in it.

Last year, in early February.This winter, in early January. There is what is basically a dusting of snow. Very unusual.

I got pretty excited during our sunny, warm weekend. So much snow melted. The light was glorious. it was warm. This morning, I awoke to below freezing weather and 5 cms of snow. I knew it wouldn't last. I should have known.


Generation Why?

Friday, March 6, 2009

I had an eye-opening experience this week. I've always sort of fancied myself as one of the 'young' people at work. Since I work for the government, the demographic is skewed out to the older end of the workforce. I started working there almost 20 years ago, but I have rarely encountered people much younger than me. I usually work with a bunch of people in their 50's (read: conservative). I'm sure they find some of my behaviours, fashions, and work methods strange. They are too gracious to say anything, but I'm sure they have had plenty of chuckles at my expense.

And I finally know how they feel.

I was in a meeting on Monday and a rather young man was there. He seemed about 25, but honestly, my ability to judge the ages has never had a span of more than 10 years on either side of my own age. I see young people and they could be 16 or 26. I have really no idea without talking to them, and even then...

This colleague, with his decidedly Gen Y name, which I can't put in print as it is too distinctive to be anonymous, sported what could only be described as a Flock of Seagulls-Lite hairstyle.Mike Score from A Flock of Seagulls

He wore a very traditional blue dress shirt and tie, with black pants, and some old-school Adidas shoes, which he took off during the meeting, so he could sit cross-legged on his office chair.It was a pretty intense meeting, so we took a break after about an hour and a half. Two of the people in the meeting went to another floor in the building to buy coffee. The Gen Y guy commented that the coffee maker had a lot of plastic parts and that their coffee was full of estrogen. I had bought a Pepsi in a can because I didn't know where to buy a decent cup of tea. Thank goodness the news that pop cans are lined with BPA didn't hit the news until after the meeting. I'm sure he would have mentioned that I was endangering my health.

Even though we were working very hard and didn't have much time for small talk, Gen Y guy still had time to mention that his boss' vehicle is a gas guzzler and that he drives a compact with good fuel economy.

If only we'd had time to discuss the merits of recycling, thrift store shopping, snowboarding and vegan cuisine, we would have hit every cliché in the book!

What I find interesting was my reaction Gen Y guy's behaviour. I immediately felt compelled to take his side and show him that I was still 'with it' enough to 'get' him. It is a bit of a protective thing that I find myself doing again and again. I want him to feel comfortable, so I find some common ground for us. I'm looking forward to our next meeting. In a show of solidarity, I was thinking I might wear neon green slouchy socks with stirrup pants and high heels and with a matching neon green stretchy headband. No wait! Legwarmers! Oh, I can't decide.


Read All About It

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I read every chance I got last week to finish The Night of the Gun by David Carr before my three week borrowing period was up. I didn't quite make it, and I now owe the library $2.00. Used to be that getting a fine at the library really, really bothered me, but now I can even talk about it without getting upset. And it's only a $2 fine. Heaven knows the library needs the money more than I do!

Dell (sp?) from the school lent me Breaking Dawn, the last book in the Twilight series, last Friday but I couldn't start it until Sunday or Monday, and I'm almost half way through. I can't really comment on this book because I don't want to spoil it for anyone. All I can say is that I always swoon for Edward.

I emailed a few close relatives to tell them about my blog. I've been blogging for almost a year now, and I thought they might find it interesting. And, there's a lot of stuff about the kids. My Aunt Jackie saw my references to reading and got very excited. Being a reader herself, she couldn't contain her excitement and she shared her favourite titles with me. I was excited to have some new authors to try and also to have a shared interest with my aunt.

Among other books, she mentioned The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. There's a waiting list for it at the library, and also for McCall Smith's Tea for the Traditionally Built, which on sight made me think of stout ladies with child-birthin' hips, drinking tea. I reserved both books, but also found Espresso Tales sitting on the shelf. And since there isn't a waiting list for this book, I can take my time reading it. I can have it for nine weeks if I want. I expect to be transported to modern-day Scotland. DH has always wanted to visit Scotland, and maybe I'll want to too, once I read the book.


It's Awfully Quiet Around Here

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Mr. Boy's at school. Sweet Pea's on a playdate. Precious is sleeping. There is nobody working in my basement. Ahhhh! Silence.

I was off to Home Depot this morning to pick up a 50W Halogen light bulb for one of my pendants for the basement (one bulb was broken). I was also picking up the special order 18" round stainless steel undermount sink. It was the third try at getting the right sink, and don't they always say the third time's the charm?

A few weeks back, my contractor mentioned that we'd need our undermount sink soon. I had an overmount sink already purchased, but he assure me an undermount would be much nicer. I headed over to Home Depot and hoped I could get a sink off the shelf. No such luck, but a special order would take around 7 business days. I figured I had enough time. I got a call about 4 business days later saying that my sink had arrived. I picked it up, remarking that the box was huge, and brought it home. I went straight downstairs and opened the box, only to find a 12" sink. An oversized box, with a sink that was a little too small, and definitely not what I ordered.

I went back the next day (or the same night, I can't remember) and told them that I had ordered an 18" sink but this one was 12". They checked the serial number and told me it was the sink provider's mistake, and they would re-send my order, and ask for a rush delivery. About 2-3 business days later, I got the call that the new sink was in. I asked DH to pick it up and I asked him to open it at the service counter to make sure it was an 18" sink. He forgot to open it at the store and when he got home, it was a 12" sink. A little too small, and definitely not what I ordered.

DH graciously went back to Home Depot the same night and explained the situation. At this point, we knew we needed the sink shortly, but we didn't have an exact deadline from the contractor. DH straighted the whole thing out at the store, and they figured out why the wrong sink kept coming back. I suppose the serial number was wrong or something, even though it said 18" on it. They ordered the bigger sink and got the expedited service again (I think) and they didn't even charge us for the bigger sink, because of all of the hassles we had been through. The funny part is, that when the guy was helping me order the original sink, I was a little sceptical that he would get it right because his apron was perfect and still had creases in it from being folded. He looked like he had just started working there. I guess I was right that his inexperience might cause us a problem.

We finally have the correct bar sink. Our re-worked bathroom vanity is coming today or tomorrow, and the guy who will measure for the countertops will be here on Friday. We'll wait about 10 days after Friday to get the countertops, then the plumber can install the sinks and the toilet. The electrician can finish installing the rest of the lights and plugs, and the painter can come and touch up the paint. Then we'll be able to use the basement! Yeah!


Shiny Shiner

Monday, March 2, 2009

Mr. Boy fell down a few stairs at Kiera and Riley's house on Saturday night. He cried 'bloody murder' and DH ran to his aid. There was blood on the couch, the carpet, and Mr. Boy's pants. His nose was bleeding a lot and he wasn't too happy about the whole experience. He clung to Daddy for an hour or so, and turned down the chance to skate on the backyard rink. Eventually, the Guess Who boardgame was brought out, and it was a good enough distraction that Mr. Boy forgot about his nose. We stayed for a few hours past supper, and Mr. Boy's nose was swollen a bit. The next morning, he woke up looking like this. Downright lionesque.
Thirty-six hours after it happened, he looked like this (below). He went to school, and got a lot of attention for his black eye (and black nose). One side is definitely black and the other side is a bit 'gray'. He claims his nose doesn't hurt at all, but it sure does look bad!


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