Wednesday, April 30, 2008
an amazing girlfriend? You know, one that is just awesome in every possible way? If not, may I suggest that you find one...
We needed to find someone to watch the kids so that Hubby and I could go to the concerts this weekend. The problem with this Saturday is that it's going to be 12:30 or so before we get home. I called my friend this morning to see who she uses for a babysitter. You see, we don't go out much. I worry too much about Little Bug. The other two are fine... but I always worry about a teenager here with him. If he escaped, what would they do?
ANYWAY, I was talking to my friend, trying to pick her brain for ideas, and she offered to watch the kids. I told her no way... but in the end, she convinced me that it would be okay. She and her hubby will come over and bring their kids. They will play and hang out till everyone is exhausted. Then one of them will take their kids home. The other will stay with our kids.
I owe this gal BIG TIME!! I am so thankful for her willingness to help us out. Hubby has been working some really crazy hours lately. We haven't had a lot of time together. Now we get to spend an entire evening hanging out and listening to awesome music! I am so excited and so thankful!!
Any suggestions on how to repay this gal? I offered to pay her, but I know she won't take money... and I've offered to babysit her kids for EVERYTHING for the rest of their lives. Would you help me brainstorm some fun things to do for her and her hubby?
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
I always check my email before I go to bed. It's a habit that I've had for a very long time. Tonight I got an email in response to my entry for Stagecoach tickets... it said:
The bad news is, you just missed the cut.
Rats. But wait... what's that... there's more to the email...
The good news is, we had some extra tickets, so we're going to send you a pair anyway! Thanks for visiting InstantRiverside.com!
OH YEAH!!! Thank you so much Instant Riverside! Now I just need to find a babysitter... any volunteers?
Has anyone else had trouble with comment verification lately? The last few times I've had to type it in, the letters are so distorted that I can't read them at all! I've had to put it in over and over and in some cases, I've given up because it's just too wacky to figure out. So, if you haven't had a comment from me in the last little while, that might be why.
Maybe it's just me. Maybe the comment verification is out to get me by messing with my mind... it is going to attempt to slowly drive me insane and then it will eventually take over my blog! It will then subject you, my beloved readers, to random nonsense words - kind of like rap music. And in the end, it will drive you all away from me and I will be left alone. Curled up in a corner. Sucking my thumb. I think it's working already...
I did notice that some of you have recently removed the crazy comment verification from your blogs... and for that? I am forever grateful.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
This week was not too crazy... I guess. I tried to get the house nice and clean and work on a few projects... wanna take a look?
First we had the cupcakes for the Cub Scout Pack Meeting:Two all beef patties (Keebler Grasshopper cookies), special sauce (frosting), lettuce (tinted coconut), cheese (frosting), pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun (two Nilla Wafers with a light coating of pineapple juice and sesame seeds sprinkled on top).
They weren't too hard to make. The kids helped me and they were a huge hit at the meeting!
Then we had the table... remember how I wanted to finish it before my family came? Yeah. Well, I FINALLY got it done! I didn't really take before pictures... this photo is after I had started the work...It had a horrible groove that I cleaned out and filled with wood filler. Then we sanded everything... after that we painted them black. Then my family came and I bribed them with food to help me sand all the edges to give it an antique look. Then they helped get the first coat of poly on. I finished it up yesterday and this is the final result:(There are paper towels under the legs because I was afraid it wasn't quite dry enough when we brought it in and I didn't want the table to glue to my ugly rug)I am so in love with the way the table and chairs look! I just need to save up and get a different rug. I'm going to go out tomorrow and see if I can find three small square vases to put flowers or something in... I'll take more pictures if I can find what I'm looking for.
So, the mania has ebbed... for now...
Friday, April 25, 2008
Any country music fans out there in blog land? There is a huge festival coming to my area and I WANT TO GO!! Can you see how awesome this show is gonna be?
I have to admit - Friday night doesn't appeal to me as much. Shoot me, but I'm not much of an Eagles fan... sad, I know. The other two days though? I would love to go! It's a little more than we can spend right now for tickets, but I've entered to win a pair. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
I don't like to pass my fears onto my kids. If they are afraid of something, I want it to be through their own experiences, not mine. I have bent this rule a tad when it comes to bugs. Not just any bugs... bugs that bite. Such as Black Widow spiders and fire ants.
Some bugs just gross me out, but I can't think of a good reason for her not to touch them. Yesterday is a perfect example of this...
Baby Girl: "Mom! Come and see what I found"
I knew by the tone of her voice that she was more than a little bit excited.
Me: "What is it?"
BG: "I found them! Oh, aren't they wonderful? Look at these lovely little fellas!"
Me: "Show me what you found..."
From that moment on I'm suppressing gasps and gagging noises as she opens her little fist to reveal two maggots. That's right people MAGGOTS!
BG: "Aren't they beautiful little white worms?"
Me - frantically trying to think of a reason that she shouldn't be holding these and coming up with NOTHING: "Yeah. They're great. You need to put them back where you found them."
BG: "But WHYYYYYYY? They are my friends!!"
Me: "Um... because... well, um... their family will miss them! They need to go find their mommy and daddy so they can be happy!"
BG: "OH NO! Their mommy and daddy will be so sad! I'm gonna put them back, okay Mom?"
I'm still shuddering at the thought of it. I went outside to see where they might have come from and couldn't find anything, thank goodness! Later on in the day she found a caterpillar and I was good with that...
What about you? Are there things that your kids enjoy but it makes you crazy?
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
... Little Bug to go to sleep so that I can too.
... the principal to write me back about that crazy assembly.
... pay day this Friday.
... some perspective about some current school situations.
... a phone call from a support group that is forming to help parents with special need kids within our school district.
... the day when I don't have to tell my kids to pick up after themselves, turn lights off when they leave a room or just in general behave like human beings.
... confirmation that a package has arrived at my parents house containing late birthday and early mother's and father's day gifts.
... the wind to stop blowing so that I can go outside and finish refinishing my table and chairs.
... the energy to go through and type up all the recipes I promised to post... actually, I will give you the fried candy bars one right now. Are you ready?
Candy bars with carmel/nougat centers worked best. Take the candy bars and freeze them. Then you'll mix up funnel cake batter:
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 quart oil for frying
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 cup milk
(The original recipe can be found here... we fried up the rest of the batter when we were done... it didn't make the greatest funnel cake... so if you have a recipe that you really like, use that one) Heat up some oil to 375. Dip the candy bars in the batter and then deep fat fry till the coating is golden brown. You want the centers to still be cold... like fried ice cream. They were good, but SO RICH. I only had three bites and that was enough for me.
And what do you know... in the time it took me to type out that recipe, Little Bug has fallen asleep. Now, let us all cross our fingers and toes that he will stay asleep. He's gotten into a bad cycle - asleep at 11:00 PM. Awake at 3:00 AM. Won't go back to sleep till 7:00 AM when I need to get up and start my day. I can't sleep while he's awake. I'm always afraid he's going to try and escape... even though we now have wonderful door alarms... I still don't like sleeping if he's not. So, I'm off to try and catch a few z's!
Monday, April 21, 2008
WARNING - this may be offensive to some... Lyrics to a song that was performed at my son's school yesterday:
Soulja Boy Off In This H*e
Watch me Crank It
Watch me Roll
Watch me Crank Dat Soulja Boy
Then Super Man Dat H*e
Now, Watch me You....(Crank Dat Soulja Boy)
Now, Watch me You....(Crank Dat Soulja Boy)
Now, Watch me You....(Crank Dat Soulja Boy)
Now, Watch me You....(Crank Dat Soulja Boy)
[Verse 1:]Soulja Boy Off In This H*e
Watch me Lean And Watch Me Rock?
Super Man Dat H*e
Then Watch me Crank Dat Robocop?
Super Fresh, Now Watch Me Jock
Jocking On Them Haterz
ManWhen I Do Dat Soulja Boy
I Lean To The Left
And Crank Dat Dance(Now You)
I'm Jocking On Yo B*tch A**
And If We Get The Fightin
Then I'm Cocking On Your B*tch
You Catch Me At Yo Local Party
Yes I Crank It Everyday
Haterz Get Mad Cuz"I Got Me Some Bathin Apes"
[Verse 2:]I'm Bouncin On My Toe
Why Me Super Soak Dat H*e
I'ma Pass It To Arab
Then He Gon Pass It To The Low (Low)
Haterz Wanna Be Me
Soulja Boy, I'm The Man
They Be Lookin At My Neck
Sayin Its The Rubberband Man (Man)
Why me Do It (Watch Me Do It)
Let Get To It (Let Get To It)
Nope, You Can't Do It Like Me
H*e, So Don't Do It Like Me
Folk, I See You Tryna Do It Like Me
Man That Sh*t Was Ugly
Yes, letters have been written and I am more than annoyed at the situation. I'm not really up on my rapper language, so I Googled the meaning of the song. It's so nasty that I refuse to repeat it here. I feel bad enough having the lyrics up.
My nine year old came home singing this because a group of high school students sang it at an ASSEMBLY yesterday. I guess there is some kind of dance that goes with it. We fill our kids with music like this and then we sit back and wonder why we have teenage pregnancy and so many high schoolers with STD's.
I'll let you know if/when I hear back from the school...
Just a quick rundown of this last week...
Friday, April 11th: I ran to Wal-Mart for some last minute items before my family came. While I was there, insanity struck (this usually happens when I visit Wal-Mart). I had been wanting to refinish my kitchen table and chairs and thought "I could do that real quick before family comes tomorrow...." WHAT WAS I THINKING? I bought all the stuff and came home. I cleaned out the nasty groove...
Filled it with a wood filler....Started sanding...Man - it was a beautiful day... blue skies, light breeze... just amazing...I got three chairs done and then we called it a night.
Saturday, April 12th: Hubby helped me get the rest sanded. Then we started painting. I don't have any photos of the rest of the process... we got everything painted and it took FOREVER. I thought it would be a quick slap of paint, but I was wrong. We finished not too long before my family came that night! We had corn chowder and home made bread for dinner... yummm....
Sunday, April 13: Went to church where I taught the lesson in Relief Society (the women's organization at our church). It was a hard lesson to teach... it was on baptism. But I got through it okay. Then we came home and made Puerto Rican chicken and rice (recipe is forth coming, I promise) and had chocolate trifle for dessert. SO GOOD! We played Scattegories and just hung out.
Monday, April 14: BEACH DAY! See previous post for pictures. I loved that my SIL joined me out in the briny blue. We were a tad on the cold side at first, but then the water completely numbed us and we were fine :) We ate at our favorite spot in Oceanside - Mary's Resturant. So good!
Tuesday, April 15: My brother surprised my SIL with a trip to Disneyland! They had a lot of fun! Mom and I took Baby Girl and went to Kohl's to return a few things... and buy a few things ;) Then we went to Red Robin for lunch. Dad stayed home and waited for Red to get home from school (early release day) and they played Play Station and had a ball! I can't remember what I made that night... maybe we had leftovers... hmm...
Wednesday, April 16: Mom, SIL and I went to the PREMIUM outlet malls. We went into the Armani and Gucci stores and tried so hard not to laugh at the prices. One t-shirt had been marked down from $300 to $150. A T-SHIRT!! We also looked at a pair of sandals for $200... insane... We were going to go into Dolce & Gabbana, but there was a guy in a black suit at the door and it was kind of intimidating. Needless to say, we didn't purchase much that day. Although, I did get my ears repierced. Almost 9 years ago I quit wearing earrings. Red was fascinated with them and just about ripped my earlobe off several times. But, my kids are old enough now that I don't worry so much. The gal gave me the wrong earrings though... I wanted the tiny silver balls... she gave me the cheap little diamond looking ones. You know, the ones that the 8 year old girls pick? Yeah. Oh well... 5 more weeks and I can wear whatever I want! We had a yummy chicken and black bean concoction for dinner. I would share the recipe, but it's one of those "Throw things in till it tastes good" things... and it did taste good! Carmel apple pie for dessert...
Thursday, April 17: We sanded the edges of the table and chairs. It was hot and a lot of hard work. My family is so awesome! Then we went shopping at the local mall, JoAnn's and Costco. That night my parents offered to babysit so that we (my brother, sister-in-law, Hubby and I) could go out to eat... and of course, I chose PF Changs! That place is so good! I had the honey seared chicken and it was delish (thanks for the suggestion Lauren!). We shared meals and everything was so yummy! I'm making myself hungry just thinking about it! Then we hit Wal-Mart and they bought us Ben and Jerry's ice cream. It was a fun evening. When we got home, Mom had done 3 loads of laundry! THANKS AGAIN MOM!!
Friday, April 18: My family decided to stay another day! They were supposed to head home this day, but changed their minds. I was so glad! Everyone came out and helped get the first coat of poly on my table and chairs. They were so helpful on this trip! Another trip to Wal-Mart for traveling goodies and another can of poly for the table. We ordered pizza and had fried candy bars that night. They were sooo rich! But a fun treat. The boys played Nintendo on the projector and we all just kind of hung out.
Saturday, April 19: Sigh. Never fun to say goodbye. They headed home and I bribed my kids with toys to get them to stop crying. It worked. We got the second coat of poly on the chairs and then watched our friends kids for awhile. Then we rested.
Sunday, April 20: Church, home, naps. Then we went to a friends house and played games and ate treats. Early bedtime for me
Which, brings us to today. I was going to finish the poly on the table, but it's windy today. I don't want bugs and such in the finish of the table, so, I'll wait. I'm going to attempt to get around to a few blogs today, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to do an "all read". I won't tell you how many posts are in my Google Reader... I hope your last week was wonderful!
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Sorry I've been MIA. I have not blogged and haven't really been able to read any blogs either. Want to see what I've been doing besides eating yummy food? (I promise to post recipes when I get back)That's my sister-in-law and I boogie boarding!Hubby, Red, SIL, and myself attempting to catch a few waves...While I was out, a gerber daisy floated past me! Not sure where it came from... thoughts? My only thought was rather morbid... maybe I'll share it later...Someday I'll be a real surfer girl... but for now, I just like to pretend! Tomorrow we are hitting the outlet malls. Should be a lot of fun! I'll probably be back in bloggy action by Saturday or Sunday! Have a great week!
Friday, April 11, 2008
Whenever my family comes, we try to have lots and lots of good food. It's how we bribe them to come down here... well that, and our lack of snow! One of my favorite things to make is desserts... who doesn't love a good dessert? I've started to make a list of all the super sweetness that will fill our bellies...we have carmel apple pie, chocolate trifle, Cocoa Crispie ice cream dessert, and strawberry shortcake. I'm still deciding on a few others... maybe a peach crisp or perhaps we'll do a cobbler in the Dutch oven. I haven't decided yet.
The dinners are also gonna be super yummy with Puerto Rican chicken and rice, Navajo tacos, corn chowder, hamburgers with onion strings, tacos with homemade tortillas, and a myriad of other concoctions! They are only going to be here for 5 days, so we have to make the most of our eating time together.
Do you have anything special that you like to cook when family comes to town?
Thursday, April 10, 2008
I would just like to take this moment to thank you for reading this blog. And as a reward, I would like to give each and every one of you one of these:
If you'd rather have a Stanley Nickel, that can be arranged. Please keep in mind that the rate of exchange between the Schrute Buck and the Stanley Nickel is the same as unicorns to leprechauns.
HAPPY THURSDAY NIGHT!!
This is one of my favorite little things...
I have three little things that run around my house and I love them all. When they accomplish things, my heart cheers. But, when this one accomplishes something, my heart does somersaults and back hand springs!
Yesterday he brought home this paper:We figured that "no help" meant that they had sat there with the crayons, handed him the color, pointed to the spot and he colored it on his own. But, Hubby wanted to see for sure. So, he grabbed a piece of paper and wrote a bunch of colors on it. Got out the crayons and had Little Bug come sit down. Hubby pointed to "red" on the paper, but didn't say the name, and asked Bug to find that color. He grabbed the red crayon and not only did he put the red crayon on the word red, he traced the letters in the word! (Ignore the craft-astic mess in the background)He got every single color right... but he wouldn't use the white. He picked up the white crayon when we got to that point, but then he just stared at us as if to say "The paper is white... this won't work." And then he put the crayon away.Oh how I love the little things!April is National Autism Awareness month. I have been meaning to blog about it, but I'm never sure what to say. Many of you are probably aware of the numbers...
1 in 144 kids will be diagnosed with autism.
3 out of 4 of those kids will be boys.
1.5 million Americans have autism.
We watched a show last night that said that the number of cases of autism has jumped almost 10% each year for the last few years.
And no one knows why.
I don't know what I am trying to say... learn a little more about autism. Be aware of the kids in your communities that may have autism. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Most parents are more than willing to tell you about their kids. I know I am. I love it when people ask questions because it means that they now have a little better understanding of why Little Bug acts the way he does.
I'm not going to tell you how many times I have had people glare or mutter about "that brat" because of melt downs in a public place. Before you wonder why that parent doesn't "do something about their kid", consider the possibility that there may be nothing they can do...
Just food for thought.
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Back in January I went to the dentist and gave him every penny to our names to have a little work done. A root canal was the biggest thing they did. They took all the sticky nasty impressions and put on a temporary crown. I was supposed to go back in a month for the permanent crown. But, my appointment came at the time when we were so sick. So, I rescheduled for March. Went in and the crown was the wrong size. The lab had not gotten it quite right. It felt huge in my mouth and the dentist couldn't get floss between my two teeth. This, I guess, is a bad thing. More goopy impressions were taken and another appointment was made for today.
I get in there and they put the new crown in. It feels great to me ... but then the dentist comes in and proclaims that it's still not right! Grr... he walks out of the room without so much of an apology or "We'll see if we can get this fixed as soon as possible" nothing. So, I waited for him to come back. I was ready to start talking about a partial refund! Because if it were any other industry, a discount would be given. But the guy never came back in! The dental assistant took care of everything else... but you can bet that when I go back in three weeks I'm gonna bring it up!
What would you do? Would you say something? Or would you bite your tongue with your temporary crown and just keep going back without mentioning it??
Monday, April 07, 2008
Little Bug is one smart kid. He is patient. He knows how to watch and wait for the moment to try and get away with something. These plotted activities are always things that he knows he shouldn't do. He waits for me to be preoccupied and then makes a dash for it!
For example, when we lived in Oregon he got out the front door. But, I didn't know he had gotten out. I had been folding laundry. He had gone out, taken his clothes off and was trying to play in a little ditch that ran past the house. An officer was driving by, noticed the little naked boy all alone by the busy road and stopped. He asked Little Bug where he lived and what his name was, but, of course, Little Bug can't talk. A friend drove by, saw the cop car and stopped to see what was wrong. She told the officer where the naked little turkey lived and then picked him up and brought him to the door. I had no idea he wasn't in the house.
A few days later he got out the side door. I looked everywhere in the house. I ran hysterically up and down the street. A neighbor got on his bike and started searching. I started knocking on doors. Then I headed home to get in the car to start looking for him... and there he was. Sitting in the van giggling as he shook plastic Easter eggs with rocks in them. After that we got latches on the tops of the doors and alarms. He never figured out how to undo the latches, but if we ever forgot to hook them, the blaring siren let us know he was outside!
We thought the Houdini stuff was over...
Till yesterday. We had friends over for dinner and to play some games in the evening. The kids were all playing when I noticed that the front door was open. We immediately started looking for all the kids, but couldn't find Little Bug. I peeked out the back window and he was outside... on the other side of our back fence. You see, there is a kind of walk way behind our house and you can access it from a little park in our neighborhood. He had gone out, walked down the road, into the park and behind all the houses. I was not a happy camper.
Tonight? Hubby and I were folding laundry. He went out and tried to run into the road when a neighbor kid grabbed him and kept him out of the street. I brought him in, locked the door, sat him on his bed, scolded, tried to get him involved in some toys, and went back to folding. He got out again and got into the neighbor's back yard... the one with the swimming pool. This whole post makes me sound like a horrible mother. I really do try to keep my eyes on him, but I can't follow him around all day. He's so sneaky! He will wait for the opportune moment and then run like mad!
But, now that I think about it... 3 out of 5 escapes have been while I was doing laundry... hmm... I think it's a sign that I should never do laundry again... what do you think?
P.S. - We will be getting some kind of alarm on the doors. We would do latches, but we are renting and I'm not sure the landlord wants us putting holes in the doors... I'm going to call him, just to check... any other suggestions besides never eating, sleeping, doing housework, or going to the bathroom so that I can follow him around every moment?
My family is coming to stay for a few days! I'm really excited to have them here. It's my parents and my brother and his wonderful wife! They are all a lot of fun to be with... it should be a great week.
And so, I will spend this week preparing. Scrubbing and cleaning and tyring to get things in tip top shape for our guests... well, actually, I probably won't work on it all week. You see, I'm inherently lazy. And on top of that, I'm a procrastinator... ILP (inherently lazy procrastination) is not an ideal combination, but there you have it. I find myself looking around and thinking "Wow, the bathroom needs to be scrubbed... but, then I'll just have to do it again before the fam comes... perhaps I'll just wait and do it Friday... maybe I'll sweep and mop the kitchen today... no, that can wait too... what about the laundry..." And the list goes on and on. So, my poor family has to deal with the dirt and the grime because I don't want to clean my house TWICE IN ONE WEEK. The horror.
Is there anyone else out there like this? Or am I the only person who suffers from ILP?
Friday, April 04, 2008
Yesterday I ran away from home. I called a friend and said, "I can't stay in this house for much longer! Let's hit the road!" And so we did. She came over that evening and we went out and about. We ate at this place... Where I realized that I had never actually eaten GOOD Chinese food before. I like Chinese food in general... but this? This stuff was amazingly good! My friend ordered the lettuce wrap appetizers pictured at the bottom of the photo here...I admit, I was skeptical at first, but these things are divine! I ate so much that I wasn't sure I'd be able to eat any of the other food they were bringing out! Our waiter was really great. Actually, now that I think about it, he may have been hitting on my friend... she requested extra lemon slices for her water and he brought them out arranged on a plate in the shape of a flower, he added extra meat to the fried rice, gave us fresh brown rice to take home, and was very good about checking up on us throughout the evening... hmmm...
ANYWAY! I ordered the sweet and sour chicken and my friend got the Mongolian beef. Both dishes were super yummy and we split the leftovers to take to our wonderful husbands who didn't even bat an eye when we said we were going out! (Thanks again!!)
After that we headed to JoAnn Fabric. You see, the one here in town is moving locations. So, they have put the entire store on clearance because they aren't going to move any of the old merchandise to the new store. It was like heaven! That is, if heaven were a concrete building filled with crazy women scurrying around trying to find the perfect fabric before someone else beat them to it... yeah... moving on!
Then we headed to the mall, but it was closed. But we weren't ready to be done for the evening... so we headed to Kohls and tried on all kinds of fun things. I ended up getting a new white camisole. Nothing exciting, but it was needed.
All in all the evening was fantastic! We laughed and talked and ate and shopped - it was exactly what I needed!
Thursday, April 03, 2008
So, I'm trying to get a few things cleaned up around the house and I need some help. I will never understand why people who own rentals paint it with FLAT PAINT! I have scuff marks and finger prints all over the place, but when I try to scrub it, the paint comes off too. I can get the markings off the wall, but then I'm left with weird faded spots everywhere. Any suggestions?
I have a great love for Magic Erasers and my Windex with Vinegar (awesome stuff) but I haven't really liked any of the other cleansers I've tried for my bathrooms and kitchen. I had one a long time ago called ZAP and it would eat hard water off of ANYTHING! It also ate holes in any fabric that it touched and burned like crazy if you got it on your skin ... for some reason, they stopped making it. That was a sad day. It was an incredible cleaner, even though it was a tad on the toxic side. I have yet to find anything that works that well... so, I turn to you. What cleaners could you not live without? Which ones work best where? Specifically, what ones do you use for your bathroom and kitchen?
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
I'm trying to do a few things that will help me feel a little better. I'm not trying to forget, just trying to raise my spirits a bit!
- Changed the music on my playlist. I'm hoping that some different songs will help put me in a better place.
- I read a good book yesterday - the second Fablehaven book. It was fantastic! The third one comes out in April and I'm really excited!
- I spent some time with the kids yesterday afternoon. We threw rocks in a bucket of water. They loved it and so did I.
- I watched some TV last night and truly just zoned out. It was nice.
- Hubby brought home this box for me... I've only had two so far...
I am doing much better. I am learning a lot about myself and trying to focus more on relationships. I'm still doing a little hiding out... but for the most part, I'm moving forward.