Friday, December 27, 2013

7 Quick Takes: How about 12?

We're into the 12 Days of Christmas.  Christmas Eve and Christmas Day blew in and blew out more quickly than we expected or would have liked.  For that reason, we're trying very much to enjoy these 12 Days of Christmas even more this year.  Although, it's difficult.  Matt has to work.  Instead of the full holiday, he's only has both Eves and both Days off.  This used to be pretty normal the first several years he started working.  Now, I've been spoiled by the full week or more of vacation - glorious days with ALL of us home, ALL of us celebrating and ALL of us relaxed. 

In all the hustle and bustle, I've neglected to post recently.  To recap, here are 12 quick takes.

1.  The week before a holiday break at school is insane.  An entire week of celebrating for Joshua in first grade.  A week of cramming in the ends of chapters and units then testing for Matthew in fourth grade.  It ended on a high note for everyone with the annual grade level sing-a-longs and parties.  This is Matthew's last year in elementary school and last year for a class party.  I think he liked me being there.  He was sitting by himself, saving me a seat at the sing-a-long immediately after, so I take that as a sign that he's not too cool for Mommy...yet. 

2.  There's a cutie who's sweet on my Matthew.  This is strange to me.  The megawatt smile and blinky blinky eyes she makes at him leave me perplexed.  I mask my confusion my ribbing him good naturedly, then firmly reminding him of our "No dating until you're 16" rule.

3.  We won the best double door decorations for the neighborhood!  We were flabbergasted...and excited.  Josh pointedly remarked that there must not have been many double doors decorated or participating. 

4.  We were happy to have the boys' Opa and Nana staying with us for the holiday.  I think it's the longest they've stayed with us.  The boys loved having them here and our only regret was that Opa had so much work to do.  They passed the time playing with Nana on her new ipad. 

5.  Opa taught Josh how to play blackjack.  This is how my family rolls.

6.  We completed the O Antiphons this year.  It really was a great way to up the ante that last week before Christmas.  Our Advent wreath and the O Antiphons are what we did together as a family.  The boys were quite happy to do their Nativity calendar and Lego City Calendar just the two of them and miraculously kept track themselves whose turn it was each night.  

7.  Christmas Eve Mass was lovely.  Our Church was beautifully decorated with the most stunning Nativity set I've ever seen.  The boys thoroughly appreciated Father's homily centered around The Little Drummer Boy.  Then we celebrated a modified Wigilia with their Grandma and Grandpa.  Matt hopes to lobby for Wigilia rights for next year.  I told him that when he plans to wager that war, to leave me well out of it. 

8.  Instead of whiskey, Santa had blackberry brandy this year.  We also had to quickly make a fresh batch of reindeer food - oats and glitter - because we misplaced the 3 bags we made over Advent.  Santa and his reindeer were well fed at our house.  There were cookie crumbs in the fireplace and "rein"deer tracks all over our back yard and around where the food had been left.  All the food was gone.  I expect some other neighbor was surprised to find glitter laden "rein"deer poop in their yard.

9.  Santa came.  Santa conquered.  Santa left the boys what they wished and hope for most.  Evey year the boys make a list for Santa which Santa, Mom and Dad discuss.  But they really only ask Santa for one very special present.  Matthew asked for and received a remote control Apache helicopter.  Joshua asked for and received a light up green light saber just like Luke Skywalker's. 

10.  The boys gave each other a Rainbow Loom.  We have 2 looms, lots of Legos, a convertible game table and many more new, fun things to play with, read and build.  So far, they've been building Legos, playing air hockey and making bracelets non-stop for 2 days.  Today I had to buy more black and white bands. 

11.  Yesterday, with Matt at work and Opa and Nana on their way to Kentucky, I cleaned the house.  It was Thursday which is bathrooms and kitchen day anyways.  I added the floors.  With the great crowd we hosted on Wednesday, the food, cookies and unwrapping, it was needed.  The boys and I had a deal.  If they entertained themselves and stayed out of my way, and there was absolutely no fighting, I'd just pretend they were at school and get all of the work done myself.  One slip up though and they'd have chores to do.  I neither saw nor heard them all day - minus lunch.  My husband also mysteriously returned home when the chores were done! (Just teasing.  He came home at his normal time.  A quarter past 'I needed you home to help with dinner before karate.')

12. Today, we braved Peach Street to get Joshua to his best friend's birthday party.  I planned errands since I'd be up that way.  I didn't consider that everyone else is still on vacation.  Stores are a mess.  Roads are sloppy.  And both JoAnn's and Hobby Lobby are just normally a disorganized mess with nary a sign nor label to be found anywhere but would be more aggravating with all of the additional wandering and lost shoppers.  We came home with MOST of what I needed, exhausted and with a headache.  The three of us took a Christmas cookie break and are now waiting for Daddy to get home. 

And that is that with not a smidge more.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Rewind....7 Quick Takes from LAST Week

Wow.  It's Tuesday.

We are exactly one week away from Christmas Eve Day.

Last week was a rough one.  Hence, the delayed recap.  Although I hardly expect anyone was waiting with bated breath.

1.  Our week can be summed up in one picture.

The only thing missing is Joshua's antibiotic.  It tastes better if it is stored in the fridge.

2. - 7.  Nope.  That's about it for last week.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

It Wasn't Kosher, But...

 Last weekend, Matthew studied the Ten Plagues.  He made an origami pyramid and we glued images representing each of the plagues on the outside.  He learned that God was showing the Egyptians that He is the One, True God.

Tonight, we had a Seder/Passover Celebration.

Well, a mini one. We made up a Seder Plate.  We prepared some recipes my cousin shared with me.  We flipped through the pages of the Haggadah I borrowed from the library.  We talked about the preparations before, that kosher means things were specially prepared and blessed, and walked through the whole celebration.  We stopped to read the parts about the questions and the answers.  We read through the play.  We did certain things like dipping the greens in the salt water, washing our hands and drops of wine for each plague.  We talked about the symbolism of all these things.

The light bulbs went on as we read through the play.  It was everything Matthew has been working on in his text, learning about Salvation History.  Then, when we came to the end, at the 4th Cup it  seemed to click.  The eyes were wide and he was bouncing in his seat a little as he answered questions.  The Passover.  The Last Supper.  The Eucharist.  He's been taught all this before.  We've talked about it.  But sitting there with the cup in his hand, finishing our walk through this Haggadah, this book that Jewish people use for Passover, that it clicked.  The connection between Salvation History - all these people he's learning about, the pictures he cuts out and glues on his timeline, Church every Sunday, the Eucharist that he receives so solemnly and adores.

Matt teased me as I was trying to roast an egg and figure out what was what and which was which on the Seder plate and realized the matzoh I bought wasn't kosher, "You know, we're not Jewish."  No, we're not.  Our cultural, ethnic background is not Jewish.  We're just not Jewish.  Period.  But the oldest root of our faith?  They are Jewish.  The ancestor of our Christian faith, is Jewish.  This Seder meal is a part of our faith history.  And to fully understand the Eucharistic meal that we are blessed to receive and share, we must understand and appreciate the Passover. 

But I did rock the charoset.  Kosher or not.

Friday, December 6, 2013

7 Quick Abbreviated Edition...Sort of

This week went too quickly.  I know it went too quickly because I have to vacuum and dust again.  It can't possibly be Friday that fast?!

1.  Happy St. Nicholas Day!  St. Nick traditionally brings the boys a new Christmas book and I make them pajamas.  St. Nick used to bring pajamas until the year he mistakenly waited until November to buy them and there were none to be found.  Anywhere.  Now, Mom makes the jammy pants and sometimes St. Nick contributes a shirt.  We've added a new tradition to our St. Nick's Day celebration.  The kids pick dinner.  I should have planned more carefully.  It messed up my grocery budget.

2.  My kids like sushi.  And Chinese food.  Any excuse to use the chopsticks...or stab things with a stick..or play with your food at the table.

3.  We still haven't finished decorating.  This means there are still boxes piled in the living room.  This means I feel like my brain is about to explode.  This means I still have work to do on that whole perfectionist/control freak/pride thing.

4.  I have a friend who makes 15 kinds of cookies for Christmas.  I would like to make 15 cookies. ... I had to buy cookie ingredients today.  Stupid grocery budget.

5.  I have to call a guy about trumpet lessons.  I hate using the phone.  If there is a social anxiety disorder specifically pertaining to the phone, I probably have it. 

6.  I thought it'd be a good idea to make my niece Christmas jammies this year.  Even a top!  This was not a good idea.  I was bemoaning the trials of setting in sleeves to Mimi.  She chuckled.  This made me feel better.  If she chuckles and shakes her head in that way while I describe wrestling with my machine, fabric and pins, then re-wrestling to try to conceal what a crap job I did, this means that sleeves really must be a pain in the bottom.  It's not just me.  Tomorrow, I plan to complain about buttonholes. 

An aside, I make a fabulous buttonhole on scrap fabric.  This bodice however isn't scrap fabric.  It's the real thing, painfully made and finished with sleeves, gathers, a neckline and everything.  It is also tiny.  This means that the sleeves, gathers, neckline and everything all get jammed up under that stupidly long buttonhole foot.  The fabric doesn't slide right on the little moving tread thing.  Then, instead of a buttonhole, I end up with 7 pounds of knotted thread on the back of where the buttonhole was supposed to be.  After 4 trys.  4 rip outs.  And one stabbing myself in the cuticle with my seam ripper - I cut those bad boys and sewed them by hand.  They aren't perfect - but you know I'm working on that whole perfectionist/control freak/pride thing.

7.  I found the Gummy Lifesaver books today.  I am officially and totally done Christmas shopping.  Now I have no excuse for not baking cookies. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Yarn Along...Mittens in Hurricane

After knitting the boys' Christmas hats, I've begun work on the mittens.  Pop top mittens.  I'm working from a mitten pattern I have had for years.  I found it somewhere online, cut, paste and print it.  I don't even remember what site I found it on but I know it was before I was ever on Ravelry.  I knit up to as far as the kids want the fingerless hand to go, then finish with a rib and standard cast off.  Then, I pick up the row of stitches where I want to attach the pop top piece, cast on the additional stitches, join and knit in the round until it's long enough to finish.

I made a pair of these in this way a couple of years ago.  At the time, I picked up the stitches and knit the first row.  This time, I picked up the stitches and purled the first row.  I'm much happier with the look and think that the pop top part lays much better.  I also picked up that row of stitches just above the thumb gusset so that it would have enough of an overlap when the boys want a full mitten.

The reason I call these Mittens in Hurricane?  I made Matthew a Hurricane Hat.  (It's already packed in a box for Christmas.  I'm sure it will make an appearance hereabouts sometime soon.)  When I started the stockinette portion of the mitten, I counted half way into the body and started doing the same purled hurricane detail on the mitten body.  Just one stripe, not several.  But I think it's enough.

I have nearly finished the pair and then will begin work on Joshua's.  Hopefully next week, I'll have those finished and be on to finishing a certain little sweater that's been put on the back burner too many times to count.


I'm reading two different books.  I've been working on Scott Hahn's Signs of Life little by little for a couple of seasons now.  It is that sort book.  It needs to be digested.  I recently finished the Sisters Grimm series, so went fishing through the stack of second hand books I've purchased at the library's used book sales.  I pulled out a book called Resurrection Men by T.K. Welsh.  I have a thing for young adult fiction....I LOVE it.  This is a pretty good read, as evidenced by how quickly I've been reading it.  But it won't likely make the cut and remain on the shelves when I'm done.

And that is that.

Small Thing's Yarn Along....the main site.

Friday, November 29, 2013

7 Quick Takes....A Week in Review

1.  We survived the build up to Thanksgiving.

2.  We survived Thanksgiving.

3.  The kids don't appear to be scarred by the half naked woman on the billboard behind the parade that they watched for 3 hours yesterday.  But I do agree with the sentiments expressed in this blog...Momastery.  It didn't belong there.  It doesn't belong there.  And just because my kids didn't seem to notice it, doesn't mean then didn't notice it.  I know my sons.  They noticed it.

4.  We didn't shop on Thanksgiving.  Oops....actually we did.  Matt and I purchased a Christmas present online while we were drinking our morning coffee, discussing who was left on the list and debating what to gift them.  But we did not shop on Black Friday.  We don't.  We won't.

5.  The Christmas decking of the house has begun.  I still don't know where to put everything.  We still don't know how best to dress our double front doors.  But we do have a second Christmas tree to set up this year...a fancy one in the living room.  I didn't finish the embroidered tree skirt like i planned to, but I do have an odd white tablecloth that is shortly going to be sliced, diced and converted into a tree skirt.

6.  Matt had to work today.  This sucked.  He will also have to work over Christmas.  He only has Christmas Eve day and Christmas day off.  I am grateful that he has an excellent job.  I will be happy when the massive project that is sucking up these holidays slow down.

7. This is the breakfast of champions.  Note, lean sausages.  It honestly can't be any worst than a stack of pancakes or french toast.

Twas the Day Before Thanksgiving....

Today was one of the days where I forwent any and all other activities to bake pies.  Baking is not one of my things.  Cooking, I like.  Baking, I tolerate.  But Thanksgiving finds us all alone and all on us.  So bake I must.

I snapped a photo as I was nearing the end of assembling all three desserts.

It doesn't truly capture the mess that I made.  On the left, the stove and its adjoining counter tops is cut out of the picture.  That area was also covered in various pans, bowls and food stuff.  It was a feat that took me most of the day - the preparing, the baking, the cleaning.  Two days, if you count the fact that I made and froze the pie dough yesterday.  We'll find out tomorrow if it was all worth it.  Joshua claims it was, having already stuck his finger in the pumpkin pie.

Pioneer Woman's Scrumptious Apple Pie

 This a blueberry crumble recipe from the boys' Redwall Cookbook.

From Scratch Pumpkin Pie
You really do need the pumpkins from the front porch to make this one authentic.  Josh has been waiting for me to do something with those pumpkins since the day after Halloween.

 The Pie Crust 

Being the Night Before Thanksgiving means our family made the trip downtown for the annual Festival of the Trees.  A boatload of beautiful trees, little girls dancing to The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, futile raffle tickets and debates over baskets and a visit with Santa.  It's what we've done the night before Thanksgiving since Matthew was a baby.  The only thing missing was the large display of Nativity sets from around the world.  I was sorely disappointed that this exhibit wasn't included this year.

We capped the night off with dinner downtown.  This seems to be turning into a new tradition for us, grabbing a bite at a little well known - or not - place downtown.  Tonight we had a certificate for an Asian cuisine place.  Sharing a plate of sushi and eating noodles, fried rice and orange chicken family style at the end of a long and busy day was a good ending.

.....A dirty martini would be a perfect ending.....

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Short on Time

I feel so short on time as these holidays approach.  I keep staring at the calendar and asking Matt, "Is Thanksgiving late this year?", "Is Advent short this year?",  "How is St. Nick's Day only a week after Thanksgiving?",  "How is it the kids only have 2.5 weeks of school and then they're off again for Christmas?"  I don't like the feeling of being rushed or that time is shortened.  It kicks off feelings of not having time enough to do all the things we'd like to do.  It also makes me fear that everything will fly by so quickly we won't have time to enjoy the things we are trying to do or do manage to do.  That being said, I'm grateful that after several busy weeks of errands, appointments and just not being home for one reason or another, I have today and tomorrow with nothing to take me away from the house except for morning drop off and afternoon pick up.  This means I can wear my sweat pants and catch up on laundry.  I can finally sit down and plan out a few more weeks of the boys' Religious Ed lessons.  I can sit down and sew something without breaking it into ten minute intervals of work.  I can sit down. 

In other news, Banshee is becoming a closet couch dweller.  She's been caught many a time when we return home and now also in the mornings when Matt gets up.  We can hardly blame her.  With all the hard floors, even with her various pillows and blankets, it can be cold on the floor.  We can hardly get upset.  She's not one to scratch things up.  The worst that happens is a tell tale pile of white fur.  Unfortunately for her, my lovely two days at home are going to seriously mess with her napping schedule....unless she gets brave!

Sunday, November 24, 2013


We are "homeschooling" the boys' Religious Education classes.  This isn't when I want to write about why or how that works for us.  I only want to share what the monkeys were up to today to celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King.

We had to start with their Unit 2 tests. These were quickly done and out of the way, leaving us time to talk about the readings and Gospel at Mass this morning and the activity they did in Children's Liturgy.  They created crowns.  Check!  I had planned to do that at home, and I'm not foolish enough to make them do it twice. 

Then the BIG project for the day.  We learned about the Liturgical Year.  The boys put together a poster representing the cycle of the Liturgical seasons.  Then we filled in the dates, starting with the upcoming season of Advent - the beginning of the church year!  We filled in some important feast days and holy days of obligation around the circle.  We talked about the main colors used in the seasons and did a little "quiz".  I also took the opportunity to talk to them about Advent, why it was once called "Little Lent" and what we can do during this time to recapture that time of preparation for the birth of Christ.

Our family has traditionally done a lot of great Advent things.  We have nightly readings from Matt's childhood Advent book and light our Advent wreath.  We have a beautiful Advent calendar sewn by one of the boys' Aunt.  Each night an embroidered animal or person is put in place.  By Christmas, it is a gorgeous Nativity scene.  This year we are going to abstain from meat during dinner on Monday nights.  We are also going to make time to go to Reconciliation next weekend.  Joshua is a little peeved, because he hasn't made his First Reconciliation yet.  But as we discussed at dinner, there are other sacrifices he can no more gimmies, no more additions to his list, no more mention of his list.

The hardest part of this season is being patient.  It seems so long to the kids and far too short to the grown ups.  It is only one piece of the liturgical cycle.  A small piece as the kids saw a little more clearly today.  But it is one of preparation, preparing for the birth of a King.

Friday, November 22, 2013

7 Quick Takes...A Week in Review

Apparently it will take a bit for me to get back in the habit of blogging.  This will do for now....

Several blogs I enjoy do a 7 Quick Takes post on Fridays.  They link and catalog other people's posts.  I won't be linking or cataloging, or participating in those others.  But I like the idea of a Week in Review, for the purpose of keeping family and friends up to date, forcing myself to make time to actually write these things down and some weeks just to look back and remember that yes, that really happened this week.

1.   My boys are bright.  I am grateful to God for their many gifts and talents.  I am thankful that they enjoy school and learning, it isn't so much a chore for them and our biggest dilemma is sometimes making sure they are challenged appropriately. 

Joshua brought home a packet of 1st grade sight words lists.  We were to review the lists nightly, stopping when we reached a list where he missed 2 or more words and practicing that particular list for the evening.  Lists he did well on don't need to be repeated.  The first night he flew through the entire packet.  All 50 lists of 10 words each.  I had to stand there as he rattled off 500 words, huffing and rolling his eyes as he did so.  His teacher sent home the next packet - the first batch of 2nd grade sight words.  I wrote her a note so she knows to send home the next set of lists. 

Matthew is bringing home awesome grade after awesome grade.  He works hard for each one and is developing some great study habits.  He is seeing the benefits of Mom and Dad forcing him to study a little every night.  He only has to study a little every night, including the night before the test, and he's "passing with flying colors, Mom!" 

2.  The temperatures are supposed to plummet this weekend.  This means my foot is probably going to ache and I needed to bring out the down comforter.  Banshee was tickled pink at this, already trying to claim it as her own.  Again.

3.  Today, Matt and I are going to meet with a lawyer.  We are finally being grown up about stuff and writing a will, including guardianship for the kids should something terrible ever happen.  I will be perfectly happy when this is over and I can forget all about it. 

4.  I stutter and never know exactly the best and quickest response whenever asked if I stay-at-home during the day.  This is a loaded topic and deserves it's own brain dump.  But it's on my mind because I've been asked twice this week - in a positive context.  But not all contexts are positive when it comes to this question.

5.  I'm tired of pumpkin spice.  It's time to bring on the peppermint mocha.  ...I will admit that I miss living 5 minutes from the nearest Starbucks.

6.  Almost all the good Halloween candy is gone and we still have too much of it. 

7.  The boys have outgrown their school shoes.  Matthew will likely outgrow his clothes before the winter is over.  In length only.  Joshua is trying to outgrow all of his clothes faster than Matthew outgrows his, forcing me to buy him new clothes because I can't pass on to Josh what Matt is still wearing. 

And that's that.  7 quick takes and a cup of coffee.  

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Yarn Along: Finishing and Beginning

Last night, I stayed up far too late finishing the Hoot Cardigan.  I made the size 6 month but because I generally don't worry about gauge for children's things, I am pretty sure it came out a few sizes bigger than my goal.  Babies grow.

I used Alpaca with a Twist's Baby Twist.  It is beautiful with a soft fluffy quality that makes this sweater just perfect for a very special baby.  It was great to knit with if not a little challenging on the dpns.  And after washing and blocking it last night (early this morning...ahem), my hands were covered in fuzz. 

Now I need to find the perfect buttons and make up a little hat to go with it for a matching set.  Add that to the stuffed owl and a copy of The Owl and the Pussycat, and I'm ready for an upcoming baby shower!

Reading.  I'm still reading O'Reilly's Killing Lincoln.  I am enjoying how it reads like a novel.  It makes for very pleasurable reading.  Although, I'm a bit out of practice following battle maps and strategy in my head.  9 years ago this month, I walked out of the classroom for the last time as a teacher to stay-at-home with my growing family.  I traded in maps, textbooks and curriculums for Playhouse Disney, KinderMusik and an entirely different way of life. 

Today, I have added Scott Hahn's A Father Who Keeps His Promises to my reading list.  It was the first day of my new bible study and we are doing Hahn's Genesis to Jesus.  I'm excited for the new study but apprehensive about my new small group.  Making new friends is difficult.  Making new friends is actually very stressful and exhausting and the perfect antidote is casting on that hat!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Could have been a snow day....

Today is one of those days that has my Facebook newsfeed all abuzz.  Today should have been a snow day.  Today could have been a snow day.  Why isn't today a snow day?!  I am a little on the fence.  When I first woke up, I would have liked it to be a snow day too.  Another day to keep the kids to myself.  As I shook off the sleep, I realized that while it could arguably be a snow day, I have gone to school in worse conditions.  And a snow day today only means a school day on some other day that could be equally lovely to have the kids home. 

Then I heard coughing.

The youngest is home today.  He is sick.  But not too sick.  Sick enough to camp out, drink cups of tea and honey with PBSKids.  But not so sick that I have to dig out anything more than the tea and some extra blankets.  Not sick enough that he isn't trying to retell me stories with wild gestures and the occasional dancing around.  He might have fallen off the couch once already because he was so excited about Wild Kratts.  It is one of those days.  Could have been a school day. Maybe should have been a school day.  But instead it is a sick day.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Week Ends

In school, we're taught that Saturday ends the week and Sunday starts it.  In some ways, I feel this truth.  In attending Mass and receiving the Eucharist, I feel that I'm starting the week anew - with a little more grace and a little more everything to get me through the days to come.  However, as Sunday evening winds us all down, I feel that the previous week is coming to a proper close.  The week ahead is laid out in the form of to-do lists, appointments, bills to be paid, dinners to plan and the frantic running off to school, from school, to lessons, to class and eventually home again, to rest and wake and repeat.
A Monday off?  A holiday or snow day to "start" the week?  It throws a wrench in things.  I'm left feeling that either I'm a day behind for the rest of the week or an unnatural yearning for summer vacation in the middle of a January snow storm.  The kids underfoot hamper the normal progression of housework and laundry or I long for these slow mornings at the breakfast table to be our everyday routine.  It's the conflict between the two natures of my vocation: the Martha and the Mary. 
A Monday off?  Drives me nuts.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Yarn Along

It's been far too long since I've participate in the Yarn Along.  What I hoped would become a good weekly habit definitely was set on the back burner as we dealt with closing issues, delays, finally closing, moving, unpacking, settling in and immediately moving into the holiday season.  Now that is all behind us and we are settling into a more consistent and comfortable routine.

After a tri-athalon of Christmas knitting, I cast on for the Hoot Cardigan.  I was concerned at first because the pattern is not written in a way that I am used to and it does not have a chart, which I've recently become much better at reading.  But I have found it very easy to knit!  I have changed the buttonholes - knitting them in every 10 rows instead of the suggested 12.  I can keep track of that much easier!

I just recently finishing reading Mary Sharratt's Illuminations.  It was a beautiful story and very well written.  It was a gift from a friend in my last Bible Study group.  As the next one starts up in 2 weeks, I'm really interested to hear what the rest of our table thought of it!

I think O'Reilly's Killing Lincoln is next on my list.  It's on loan from my grandmother who swallowed it whole in less than a week, so I am anticipating a good read!