When the struggle… ain’t real

So here’s the thing they forget to mention when ALL YOUR WILDEST DREAMS come true….. you should probably prepare yourself for a bit of an identity crisis.

Here I am a year and a half into motherhood… presumably crushing it, but there’s something odd kind of twitching at my gut. I spent 10 years living a life where I wasn’t even capable of losing sight of the primary goal! I had something to dream and something to focus on. And now…. Now I find myself kind of shrugging and trying to figure out…. Now what!!? There’s no “struggle” I mean other than trying to convince my 1 year old that shoes aren’t optional (THAT struggle IS real) but there’s no like major antagonist or villain in my world. No big baddie to beat down and no real hurdle to overcome.

Don’t get me wrong being Luna’s mom is amazing – and at times SUPER challenging – she’s a toddler – the whole thing is just a dumped out Sensory bucket covered in Playdoh, rainbow rice, dirt, and something sticky. I mean seriously, holy hell the reality of parenthood is A LOT. Certainly more than my fantasy of it was ready for. And now, without a constant ear splitting, soul crushing drive to keep PUSHING I find myself sort of …. At a loss.

Obviously, the goal, the real one is to:

  • Cherish the every moment
  • Keep my human alive
  • And provide the love, support and childhood I always wished I had

That all goes without saying, but here I said it anyway. But as I suspect most parents do (and why the hell aren’t they speaking up) I feel sort of like I’m disappearing into being Luna’s Mom and I’m not quite sure WHO I AM outside of that – especially after identifying in the struggle of infertility for so long???

I can’t really find “my narrative” and it’s just a super weird, out of body experience. I guess it’s all part of the journey, and my goal is to figure out what the new goal IS and start crushing THAT. I certainly have no shortage of talents to draw from (*toot toot beep beep* oh sorry that’s my own horn)… but finding the TIME and energy after a full toddler day… well that’s the rub! Better take it one step at a time.

One thing is for sure, I should make time for writing as it’s one of the things that really does help ME in the long run. To feel like my voice, and my life matters. You really never know what someone is struggling with and it always helps to find you’re not alone. I can only imagine how many mothers, stay at home, working and whatever else in between feel the way I do in losing a piece of their own identity in becoming a parent – no matter how much they may have fought to get there!

And you know what… that’s ok.

It’s ok to struggle. It’s ok to admit you’re struggling. It’s ok to admit that the reality is different than the dream. It’s all ok.

Thanks to whoever might be reading this. It really is nice to get the feelings out of the bottom drawer of my brain!

AngelMom, TTC

The Snow-globe

I wrote this excerpt about 6 months ago. Not sure why I didn’t feel comfortable sharing then – maybe I thought I did then something motherhood pulled me away, but it’s perfect. It’s a lovely reminder, a glaring one just how perfect life just is some times!! Some days, it’s like I don’t even realize that life ever existed! The one entrenched in constant pain, longing and rejection- but it did! NOW life’s more of a struggle to make it all count, do all the things, and do them as EXTRA as I possibly can! ❤️ Now, enjoy some insight from “Past Me”.

In the throngs of motherhood life is exhausting. It IS awesome—filled with baby giggles, bubble bath splashes, all the adorable outfits and basically no sleep ever Hahahaha!!! *nervous laughter*

After a particularly grueling day of all the usual 2020 pandemic life BS, I settled my head on a pillow for a quick meditation before relieving my husband from baby duty for bedtime. I picked a seemingly innocuous “motherhood” meditation and hit the play button.

Feeling relaxed and at ease the meditation took a very surprising turn… leading me to look into a snow globe that appeared in my mind. Inside the snow globe I’m told I can “see the exact family I picture in my future. The perfect family.” And that family is the family I am currently a part of. The meditation goes on to remind me that my struggles with infertility are over and that all I feel is pure joy.

**que sobbing**

It’s never lost on me that I have overcome tremendous struggle to obtain the life I now enjoy. But it is hard and I’m not gonna lie that grateful attitude gets tamped down at times as I struggle to check all the boxes, and meet all the marks I set for myself as a mom and as a human- I’m always too hard on myself and I should practice that daily gratefulness more diligently!


Holiday Pause

I’m sitting here in Luna’s room…

It’s easy for me to be thankful right now even in the midst of 2020 where damn near nothing is easy – or enjoyable for that matter. 2020 is a thief of joy, but it’s got nothing on me or the joy I feel this year!!

She’s napping in my arms, the sound of white noise whirring in the background….. and I feel — actually FEEEL my heart swell!!!

That face is everything!

I’ve spent more Christmases than I care to count in the throngs of infertility! Needles, hormones, doctor appointments, ultrasounds, painful treatments, counting days, timing baby makin’, and just plain holding my breath in hopes that a future without all that bullshit would finally arrive -never really knowing if it would actually come… and that time is HERE!!!!

It’s so surreal to me that I finally after a decade of hurt … I finally get to live in a new chapter after it seemed like that last one would never end!!

In the end there’s a part of me that wishes people could feel this. I mean, don’t get me wrong I would never wish infertility or loss on anyone…. but it’s a real rare and special thing to experience parenthood now after so much pain. It makes each giggle and even the smallest insignificant milestone feel like the greatest moment of your life played on a loop!

I think back to those times… and for those out there still struggling…. I believe in miracles, I’m raising one. And that, that’s my wish, my Christmas Wish for anyone struggling to get their happily ever after like I finally have!!!

The Best Christmas Gift Ever!

Six Months, of Pandemic Parenthood

Oh my gosh you guys…. I know I know I’ve been a naughty little blogger and haven’t posted – just put it on my tab of things I feel slight guilt over. I write a lot for me, but it’s so hard to share the inner workings of my mom brain because half the time I re-read my half baked thoughts and realize somewhere down the line I’ve gone completely off topic (or fallen asleep mid thought) and just needed to vent – not publish!

Miss Luna is about to turn 6 months old and I am just so proud. Proud of how amazing, smart, funny, and beautiful she is. She makes me smile every single day and I seriously thank my lucky stars every day that I get to be her mom!!! The photo memories I take of this time rarely reflect the state of things…. you’d never know the moroseness of every day pandemic life just by her cute little face…. and that’s what I hope she remembers of her childhood.

It’s hard to feel anything but pride and joy when your world revolves around that smile!

2020 though, has not been kind or gentle to any of us. Like every other soul out there I am constantly having to make choices, and muddle through a reality that looks NOTHING like the world I fantasized about for YEARS while waiting to become a mom…. and I’m constantly drowning in the guilt that comes with pining for that fantasy!

Given the choice I’d chose her every day no matter what world we live in, but I can’t deny that I so hurt for missing out on so many FIRST things in this first year – or how different they look like when they do! I keep telling myself that those firsts will come, just later after the world resumes some semblance of normalcy again…. but as the days and weeks go by I wonder when exactly that will be.

We all hope that the measures and precautions we take will be enough…. and I struggle daily with making choices that may look a certain way and hope that any choice I make won’t cause the Caronavirus to cross the gates of Castle Loudon.

Filled with anxiety, and fatigue I made a choice tonight. A choice to put on a mask, to sanitize before and after …. to get a pedicure. A choice I’ve delayed for six months. A thing I routinely enjoyed as part of my own self care and wellbeing and tonight I could wait no more. Never did I ever think getting a pedi would be something I had to mentally negotiate with myself but here we are. Congratulations 2020 you’re the worst. Sidenote: I may have cried in the car in the parking lot feeling a variety of feelings but determined to enjoy an hour FOR ME!

Mommy Time 💜

Years from now…. I hope we can look back on this time and pinpoint some wins, I obviously won the baby lottery and will celebrate that victory – no matter the conditions I get to be HER mom and there is no greater honor.

As 2020 barrels on crushing us all beneath it I really hope that all the parents out there can find a way to care for themselves too. You can’t pour from an empty cup, and even in 2020 there’s gotta be a way to fill yours back up and keep on pushing!!

A closing thought… one I find comfort in. In the midst of all things 2020…. one thing I know to be true: Stars are born from chaos and I know she is that, a star!!

The Best Part….

I know I owe so many blog posts about a variety of topics – I have so many passages started and not completed. Not only for sheer lack of time and energy which is real but also my feelings tend to mutate on these fragile topics with the wind!!

For now, one thing I know for absolute certain is I’ve figured out my favorite part. Of the whole entire thing, and it’s not what you think. Motherhood, is amazing. Incredibly challenging and even taxing at times. My daughter is an angel, she has her moments, but honestly she’s a great baby.

Motherhood, and all that comes with it had been quite a rollercoaster. Today, my daughter is 2 months old, officially and it’s just been a blurry amazing WHIZ of a moment in my life. The speed at which time travels now is insane. Not at all fair, but I’m soaking up every coo, cuddle, snuggle, and everything in between.

Oh yes – the point let’s get back to it shall we?? I figured out the best part. My favorite part about my daughter. While I’m obsessed with her gorgeous eyes, jelly rolls, the adorable mohawk she’s has since she was born, her “taquito” toes, and every single other detail about her…. I have to say the single best part is her left cheek.

I find myself paying special attention to that little left cheek. It’s always the one I kiss every time I pick her up, it’s the one that snuggles right into my own left cheek when we cuddle and when she feels extra clingy and just needs her mama…. that little left cheek, who knew. Sometimes I worry I’m gonna wear that one side down cause i can’t help myself it’s just THE BEST PART!

*pause to kiss left cheek as I rock and type this passage as she sleeps on my chest*

While I’m sure it does, I just can’t help but think it does not ever get better than moments like this… and this is all there is right now!! Thanks to a global pandemic, this is basically the entirety of my existence right now… I mean… there’s a lot of moving cogs to motherhood starting around 3:30 am this morning with our first feed of the day leading back into bed for her and an hour long pumping session for me, my day basically starts at 3:30 now but honesty…. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. A single brush against that left cheek fixes everything…. everything.

For now, that’s it. I gotta get back to that cheek. I haven’t kissed or rubbed my face on it for at least a minute so we’re due here, but I wanted to update you on this beautiful life…..❤️


A Birth Story

I figured I better write it all down in case one day I can’t remember every detail…. as if one could forget.

My due date was approaching and though every day of that last month felt like it’s own tiny eternity I was not really any closer to going into labor on my own. Thanks to my “advanced maternal age” (36 apparently makes me OLD AF) the doctor told me she would encourage induction on or around my due date. A thought that early on, made me kind of anxious. I had wished (back then) to spontaneously go into labor on my own — however thanks to a global pandemic in conjunction with feeling like I’d been pregnant for 84 years —— I got over that pretty quick and was more than ready to get things moving!!

I mean… this is the face of someone who was SUPER ready to be done being pregnant!!

Taken the night before my due date….

We “scheduled” induction for my due date of April 9th, and due to the additional restrictions from COVID19 that meant that as soon as the hospital had a bed for us they would call and we’d have to rush on in. This call was supposed to come some time between 6am on the 9th or by 6am in the 10th. We were so excited the night before. We ordered takeout, had the house to ourselves, and spend the majority of the time giggling and telling each other fun stories from our own childhoods and just being in awe that we’d soon be parents!!!!

The following day…. we waited. I had an ultrasound in the morning – one where we laughed as Luna refused to participate in any kind of photo opp… for our last ultrasound the one and only souvenir would be this very detailed photo of an ear….

We spent the remainder of the day equally divided by napping and staring at my phone willing the hospital to call us…. which they never did! Finally when my eyes popped open on the 10th at 6:01am I had enough and decided to call them myself. We were apparently next in line, and were asked to be there in an hour! Fire drill!!!! Go time!!

We hustled ourselves ready- half awake – and the anxiety began to set in, for both of us! Months… YEARS had been building to this!!!!!!

We arrived at the hospital and checked in, settling into our birthing suite around 8am. I LOVED our day shift nurse Alex! She was just awesome, very encouraging, entertaining and supportive of my goals to deliver naturally if at all possible! We came up with our action plan to get things started and began the waiting game!

Now, I’ve heard horror stories about Pitocin, and needing additional interventions so I asked if we could try some other things first before we jump to that one and happily was obliged. We settled on 25mcg of Cytotec which was a tiny pill they insert next to the cervix to help encourage dilation and effacement. I was already about 80% effaced and 2cm dilated at checked in.

After that we hung out, chilled, it was pretty boring actually…. but at about noon…. Dawson was cracking a joke about something and all the sudden I felt it…. SLOOOOOOSH…. “Uummmm …. either I just peed the bed…. or my water broke!!! Can we get Alex in here to verify!!!!” Lol that little nudge was all it took to get my perfect natural childbirth rolling!!

I had been in bed/monitored for about 6 hours when I finally had hit a wall. I needed UP! I negotiated with Alex for some non-bed laboring —- and a snack which I desperately needed!! She brought me a birthing ball, and saltines and peanut butter, as far as I’m concerned she’s a literal angel!! Both items were WONDERFUL!!

Contractions were steady at that point and I was handling them so much better on the ball than in the bed! I used 4/6 breathing technique for this stage breathing in for 4 seconds exhaling for 6 seconds and doing very little talking. Music was playing and I was just very focused. Dawson would come sit on a stool behind the ball and hold me or rub my shoulders …. we kind of ROCKED at labor!!!!

The next phase I was checked and had dilated to about a 7 and the contractions were starting to feel way more intense! Upon their suggestion I took some IV pain meds to take the edge off and hopefully curb any need for an epidural. 🤞🏼

It was about that time that the nurses changed out and I had to say goodbye to Alex and welcome in the new nurse that would help us welcome our baby, Alicia. Alex was so sweet, she told us as she was leaving that if it wasn’t her only day off she would have stayed and dula’d for me — she really was so sweet. I’m sure it was partly due to her encouragement that I was able to make it through labor without that epidural!!

Now once those super intense contractions hit I switched to vibration breathing. Sticking to the 4 second inhale but vibrating my lips making a soft sound on the exhale. Very effective for pushing through those sharp contractions.

Now…… once I hit 9cm dilated. I forgot how to human. I forgot how to breathe…. and I was just plain ready to grab my pants and head out the door!! I have no idea how I made it through after that point but I did! The kicker was, Luna had turned herself a bit and they wanted to get her in a different position for birth so… they asked me to get up on the bed, on all fours and labor for a while to encourage her to turn….. oh sure yah no problem!! 😳😵 Not that I was super concerned at the time, but there really is no graceful or lady like way to execute this maneuver and I can only imagine what it must have looked like from the “goal face”…. I was basically crowning at that point!!!

No clue how long I was actually stuck there in doggy style labor … but looking back now the remainder of it all went pretty quickly! At some point they had me flip back over and the stirrups came out and it was time for “practice pushing”. Again, still not knowing how to breathe or human at this point I just remember crying and whimpering through every contraction.

I do remember overhearing some conversation between Dawson and the nurse about pushing, and his reply was something like “yah I know she totally has a few more of those in her”…. to which I said “the fuck I do!!!!” One of the only verbal things I actually said during labor! lol

A few of those “practice” pushes and I remember screaming that I felt burning and it was right at that moment the doctor came in with the oven mitts to catch! I think I did a total of 4 big pushes …. and she was out. Purple…. chubby… adorable and amazing!!!

Luna Mae…. 8lbs 9oz of perfection

It’s true what they say, as soon as the baby is out the pain stops! Thank GAWD!!! Delivery of the placenta was super easy because I was staring at my daughter and they could have done ANYTHING to me at that point and I wouldn’t have noticed or cared!!

The one part of labor I really hadn’t counted on was tearing. I believe my contractions were pretty long at the end so they had me push super fast causing a 3rd degree tear and a gaggle of stitches – she literally ripped me a new one!!! lol I’m thankful though the healing has not been horrendous. Painful for the first 2 weeks really but not bad after that and I had full range of motion and was able to walk directly after birth. I even walked myself out of the hospital at discharge because the wheel chair was taking forever!

The whole thing was pretty amazing.

I got to have the birth that I wanted. The one I worked for, and prepared for. I spent the last several months of pregnancy focusing on meditation, mindfulness and preparing myself to be flexible for whatever birth Luna needed, and it was perfect.

Honestly it feels like a lifetime ago – real time it’s been 3 weeks and change. Time is now the weirdest thing. I get lost staring at her…. trying to remember what life was like before her…. motherhood is the scariest, most wonderful journey of my life!!

I can’t believe I get to be her mom!

Our very first selfie 📸

Once Upon A Time Warp…

One thing is certain…. at any moment… of any day ever, everything you know CAN change. One day you might wake up and find that everything you’ve ever dreamed has suddenly come true! That day…. is this day for me.

It blows my mind to think back just one year and how very different things were for me. One year ago I wrote a very difficult passage, about Mother’s Day. My heart was broken, I wanted to believe that good things were coming, but after a decade of things never being different and enduring so much heartache, it was really hard for me to just keep believing! Looking back now, it’s probably one of the best things I’ve ever written. I was proud of myself for being able to share the grit of it all yet still somehow find the hope I needed to keep pushing on.

Today… I look back in amazement one year later. As I frequently do, I wish I could go back and talk to my past self. I wish I could look her in the eyes, and give her a hug and let her know it’s all going to work out- or to keep pushing because you’re almost there!!!! Today, as I peel my eyes open for a 3am feeding … I am a mother!!! My daughter is a mere 3 weeks old, but here I am. On the other side of the rainbow…. and the view is spectacular. I wish I could let my past self know…..

It’s impossible to quantify the emotions and reality that is motherhood. I no longer have any concept of time… all the time before her is now compressed behind me. Just like I had always wished, I can finally close that chapter and that book. The one where we just have to wait, and blindly hope that things will work out because in our case they did! We did a ton of work to make our dreams come true – and at the end we decided to do the work knowing that life, and the universe would deliver the outcome it knew we needed and they may look different than the life we had imagined.

I’m so thankful that I wrote during the hardships we faced. My brain might have archived what it was like to go through that and I’m glad I will always remember the struggle and pain we endured to get here. Life is forever changed, and though it was filled with so much pain – I would do it all again to know the absolute euphoria of watching my daughter drift to sleep on my chest – the only place she cares to sleep.

To anyone struggling to make your dreams come true… I’m living proof that sometimes dreams do come true. Keep believing, keep fighting to make a life you can fall in love with. Tell the Universe to what you want… put it out there and let it figure out the details for you… and love yourself hard while you wait because you’re worth it!

pregnancy, TTC, Weight Loss

Sliding into a New Year

It usually takes me about a week to really figure out any New Year… between the last of the holiday commitments, chores, cleaning and resetting plus all the work holidays thrown in I literally can’t even find my feet until that first week of January is over.

This year is no exception, and it seems more scattered and chaotic than it normally is- perhaps cause there’s two of us here now trying to figure out the New Years grove??

I’ve felt very chemically edgy lately, which is new. I’ve seen some emotional spurts and a few random mood swings with pregnancy but honestly it’s been a pretty smooth road so far. Lately though, it’s been building…. Very small things, and even some unexpected large things have really thrown me emotionally and I’ve had quite a time sliding into the new year with all of that gurgling inside.

I’ve amped my meditation time up, at the urging of my heath advocate and like it always does (and I’m always skeptical somehow) it helped tremendously. I don’t know why I resist that tactic so much, maybe because it seems like something so simple like ones breathing and inner monologue shouldn’t be so powerful… but it totally is.

Today I woke with a clear head, and laced up my shoes for a treadmill session. I haven’t been completely absent with my fitness since I got pregnant, but between the holidays, feeling physically trained and now emotionally drained I just haven’t had it in me. It felt great. A little annoying how all that lovely stamina you build up when you’re in it goes away if you “fall off the wagon” but it was more about taking that time to reboot and just get a check mark on the day for me.

I don’t typically care for New Years Resolutions – usually because they’ve been the same for me for years! Lose Weight, and Get Pregnant…. And this year… well?? I did it right!? I’m probably always going to be one of those people who has to think about and constantly work toward keeping their weight in check, but at least I know how to do it now.

My main goal is just to be a good human. Be a good example of what I want my daughter to see in the world, and be better. Be better than I was the day before.

So far, today I’ve done that.

Typically in my life I care too much and devote too much energy into stuff that DOES NOT MATTER or serve me…. I’d like to do less of that…

While searching for an inspiring quote… I found this and it made me laugh out loud!! I mean aren’t most of us???? I relate to this so hard!! 😂😂😂


The WHY I write…

Three years ago…. I wrote from a hospital bed. I wrote because I was broken. I wrote because I didn’t know what else to do. I couldn’t bare to keep it in anymore. I decided that to suffer silently wasn’t only too much for me to carry, but it’s not fair to every other woman, man, couple that struggles with infertility who feels like their voice doesn’t matter. That their struggle should be kept silent.

The first time I ever opened up about our struggle:

I truly don’t know why it feels like we should keep our struggles to ourselves. Maybe because a lot of it deals with sex? Your personal life? Being vulnerable? Expressing feelings, feelings of failure?? Not wanting to bring down the mood??

So many of us who have walked a difficult road- whether it’s infertility, cancer, depression, anxiety, whatever the case may be — I bet you know this feeling. We keep quiet for a variety of reasons — some real, some imposed upon us by society. I didn’t know then the impact my writing would have, I just knew I needed to get it out. These feelings, this fight was a toxin in my system and I needed it OUT!!!

I began to write publicly about our struggles with conception, and loss and have for the last 3 years. It is hard. Just going through it is hard. There is so much you just have to figure out by trial and error, by failure, and by hoping others are sharing their experiences so that you can learn from their pain and failure without having to put yourself through that too!!! That’s why. That’s why I write.

A lot of it is self serving, the whole getting the icky thoughts out thing is real. But, for me every time I read something relatable I feel less crazy and I wanted to be able to give a little bit of that back to others that may need that level of comfort too!

Today, the life I’m living seems more like a dream than a nightmare. I mean, don’t get me wrong, even in infertility there’s a lot to be proud of, thankful and excited about in my life – I designed it that way! Spending a whole year with a Disneyland Annual pass sure made that particular year of healing palatable! But it doesn’t negate the fact that a lot of those years were spent struggling, worrying, crying and just generally being frustrated that I was locked in a phase I couldn’t seem to escape. Sound familiar??? So many struggle with some THING that makes you feel like you can’t move forward!! It’s a horrible feeling.

Looking back on it all now, where the view is sweet… it just takes my breath away. All those times I hoped and prayed that it really would all be worth it … not knowing if it truly would…. that, that is the real nightmare. I feel lucky to have survived it all, and to be able to provide any kind of comfort, insight or hope to anyone else is the real service.

For anyone fighting.

I see you. I hear you, even if your voice is quiet. I say keep fighting!! And if you can– turn that volume up. Whatever you’re fighting, you’re not alone. Someone else is clawing against the same demons, and sees themselves in YOU I guarantee it….


Retraining My Brain….

Sometimes it’s weird, like I live in this weird alternate space where I FORGET that all my dreams are in the process of coming true!!

A day like today probably would have CRUSHED MY SPIRIT HARD in my past life! Let me explain, after work I came home and I’m scrolling through the old internet (Facebook) and in the space of about 10 posts I swiped past 3 separate pregnancy announcements!!! Damn! Poor past me had MANY days like that… and they HURT. I’m still getting used to having a positive emotion when I see that in my feed instead of the preloaded one that used to happen!!

The other day, I walked into the ladies room and there were two women in line – both pregnant… one leaving the stall… pregnant and one washing her hands with her daughter — also PREGNANT. OH!! And me??? “OMG ME TOO – I’M PREGNANT” I thought!!!! How weird, that the first thing I thought of was how a moment like that might have destroyed me in the past. It’s so weird.

The last little story I’ll share, was on Halloween. I was dressed as Chewbacca handing out candy in the front of the house so my poor doggy didn’t go bizzerk every time the doorbell went off, and the neighbor lady came over to introduce herself. I’d never spoken to her before, she’s the mother in law of the gent that lives there. We’ve met him once, and always politely wave to him… even if he’s not wearing a shirt and letting his belly roam free for all the world to see…. 😳 In general though, we are not the “get to know your neighbors- neighbors…. ” so when she came over I was surprised, but friendly. She asked if we had kids, and as I felt the usual response start to come up I realized this was the first time I would actually get to answer this question differently — in over a decade!!!! I get to say YES!!! “Oh! I’m actually pregnant!” I exclaimed and no sooner did the words come out did this complete stranger start coming at my bump with her massagers! “Be cool” I thought, I mean she was old… and nice enough but it was a little odd having a stranger rubbing my belly in pure daylight on a Thursday…. just part of the gig I suppose and I’m here for it!!!

These things, these little moments are exactly what I’ve been waiting for- even if I didn’t know it!! It’s all just a crazy dream to me sometimes, one I better never wake up from!!! So many wonderful moments to hang on to in this, the most wonderful time of my life… that is until April. When it all gets exponentially more awesome-er!!!!!

I feel like I’ve been locked in the same chapter of a book for so long. Stuck in a bad dream… and all of a sudden everything has opened up and feels so much better! This chapter, of this life feels pretty great!