So it turns out that I have a LOT a LOT of favorite birds–but only a few pictures of them. These little critters always herald spring, and their bright eyes and unique hopping make me smile.
“MOM! I found an EGG and another EGG and another EGG! I found another golden egg.” No, my kid was not running around outside, or even inside. I downloaded an app* on the tablet. Talk about instant joy. I did it mainly for my 5 year old, but apparently the 2 year old learned how to play “Hidden Egg Hunt” by herself anyway. You can hear a high pitched voice right now, can’t you? She was so excited each time she found something. She didn’t worry about the time ticking down. She didn’t worry about the game being over, or how many eggs she found. What was important was this egg. right now. Kind of reminds me of the old adage about the boy tossing beached starfish into the sea. It matters to this one. I’m certain the same thing will happen when she attends a ‘real’ egg hunt. She’ll be so entertained by this one that she won’t keep running for more. By now big sister has it all figured out and she’s going to be in with bigger kids for the community hunt, so we’ll see how that goes-but you know she’ll be wanting to get as many as possible because she’s competitive. She knows there’s candy in there. She knows she gets to eat the candy. She has motivation beyond the hunt. The 2 year old though? Her motivation is in the finding. This time? I’m going to enjoy her finding. I’m not going to worry about bigger kids knocking her down. I won’t worry about how many she finds. I’m going to enjoy the fun that she has in finding another one mommy. Another one.
I can’t believe that this lesson is one I have forgotten over the years. It’s not a competition. It’s for fun. I’ll be having a talk with my 5 year old about that, before we go. I’ll be watching and making sure we get pictures, too. This joy is so… fleeting. I want them to remember it in years to come. Happiness can be found when you just let go and focus on this one. This one day this one hour this one minute.*It was the Garanimals blog that pointed this app out. Get their other recommendations here. They’re all Easter themed and good for kids. I’ll admit, I tried a couple of them out, but being ‘free’ because we’re cheap, they do have a few pop up ads. This one generally only does them at the menu and it’s not super intrusive.
Temperatures continue to be cooler than normal. It pours down rain for days. Mud everywhere. I could do with a bit more warmth, honestly. I’m tired of the heat running and drying everything out. Flowers are coming up but no blooms yet. The grass is finally green. Matt mowed over the weekend so with the rain it’s really finally turning honestly green. The kids are loving being outside though. I found a ‘shoe size’ marker in the mud in the hallway indicating that Keeley was the culprit of mud leavings..kind of funny. Sweeping 10x a weekend isn’t funny. But..there are QUIET moments that make it worthwhile!
I’ve completely fallen off the 40 bags in 40 days bandwagon. I have most of the diapers sorted. I did some toilet cleaning and mopping, although those didn’t require bags, they had not been done in a long time. I also cleaned the hair out of our shower drain. I’ll be doing that one or two times a month for the foreseeable future. Post-partum hair loss sucks. It itches your head and your back and neck, and when you’re in the shower you lose a bunch and it slides down your legs.. ugh. I swear I’m in the shower 5 minutes longer just trying to get the excess hair off of me. Readjusting my ponytail means a handful at a time…
Laundry stacks up, and then gets done and not folded.. at least the diapers are getting washed, so there is that. My dryer ate a snap off of a diaper. Talk about mad. Not enough to get a new dryer, though, since it still works, so I’m hanging the snap diapers to dry. I have plenty so it’s no big deal, just extra laundry hanging around and more time taken up with ‘stuff’…and a need for snap pliers and snaps. I have 4 broken ones now.
I have done nothing for me in ages. I really want to get a haircut and highlights and my eyebrows done for once. It’s an expense, and I’ve only had highlights once before.. 7 years ago. I used to have my brows done every other month or so and it also hasn’t been done for almost 7 years. It’s about time. I guess you could count going to the doctor as ‘for me’ because the steroid shot in my arm helped a lot. It doesn’t hurt unless I abuse it, so I can type now and wipe my own tush, and fasten my bra which is a great improvement! Woohoo! Sad, right?
I’m still avoiding candy..so I guess there is that. Prayers are going up whenever I think of specific ones. I wish I had written out specific things to pray about daily, that would have helped.. maybe next year.
However we are (mostly me) reading a book to the kids a chapter at a time, during lunch or dinner or before bed. I started a parenting type of book and like some of the ideas in it. Unfortunately if both parents don’t follow the same thing, then it doesn’t help much. Plus after a day or two, whatever I read is gone, so I need to re-read. I NEVER read parenting books, but I feel like I have 2 more kids coming that will be going through the ‘freaking’ 3′s and 4′s and 5′s… that are so awful so maybe an extra tool in my arsenal will make me feel like less of a tool. I’m not sure if it’s the groundwork I’ve been laying all along, or a talking to from daddy or me or the new parenting tricks from the book or what have you but Keeley’s been better behaved for a little while. Sometimes she slips back and it feels like betrayal. Is that awful? I have come to depend on her doing the right thing and helping me out.. you know so I can go use the bathroom without worrying that someone is going to get hurt…
I don’t know if it’s something I’m doing or if the pen I used to fill out the school paperwork was extra-germy or what but I’ve felt kind of gross since Friday. I had no energy the whole day, went to bed at 8 pm, slugged through Saturday with stomach troubles, made it through church and vehicle issues (got a new battery covered by warranty, which is good $$$) on Sunday with Matt not feeling well, and still kind of dragging yesterday. Still having stomach issues.
Casey rolled over fully dressed right before bedtime Sunday (6th) from back to belly but she still won’t turn her head to the side and just lays there and screams and doesn’t roll back over, either, so we’ve been putting her to sleep in her swing again. Better safe than sorry. She’ll figure it out soon enough…and she LIKES being on her belly or rolling over or both so she does it pretty much immediately now.. sheesh. So I have to keep a close eye on her.
Brennan is accepting that she is 2 and needs to cry over everything. It’s way more funny with her because she cries over ridiculous things and then gets over it very quickly. She’s not one to hold a grudge. Quick somebody knock wood! Whew.
Matt’s been working overtime, and they want him to align his hours to fit more with everyone else in his group. Which means less time with dad in the afternoons. That’s about it. He might get to sleep a bit later but that doesn’t really do me any good. No complaints really just.. how it is..
So that’s life. A bit of this, a bit of that… topped with lots of chilly weather and rain.
Well, Kindergarten screening was thoroughly unimpressive. I sat and did the paperwork and finished up just as she was done with everything. I asked if there was anything she couldn’t answer and she said she couldn’t rhyme RAIN. I’m thinking what would could she possibly rhyme with rain that would be common for 5 year olds? I failed her. Just kidding. Not kidding. Well kind of kidding. I figured she’d get it all 100%…but then again, except for writing her name, Brennan could do all the other stuff that Keeley reported that she did. (name colors and shapes, build with blocks, count to 5 and 10)….
I’m just afraid that she’ll get dinged for the rhyming thing and they’ll put her middle of the pack and she’ll end up bored and acting out and basically… yeah screw her up forever. I know I’m overreacting. Shut up..
I really do feel like I’ve failed..
Who asks a kid to rhyme rain?
This is my 5 year old, for those of you that have been around a while you might remember how I struggled with her birth, with the guilt over requiring a c section because she was stuck. How I was robbed of bonding time by jaundice and requiring of a bili bed in the hospital, how it hindered breastfeeding, and so I pumped for 3 months, until I got my ‘fight’ back. How overwhelming it was to have one child to take care of, and how I just wanted some sleep…
…and I really want to laugh. Then, of course, it was not even remotely funny. Eventually I quit that blasted pump cold turkey. I used it again only to pump enough for her when I had surgery, and then went on to feed another baby for nearly 2 years.. and a third for the past 4 months and no pumping. I got it. And when the third had jaundice, I just kept at it and got her taken care of…and took the fact that we didn’t get any choice at all on when she was born in complete stride…I’ve learned a lot in the last 5.5 years…
So, of course, has my oldest.
Some bad, some good. Mostly educational. I spent from September 1st to December 1st attempting to teach her how to sit still and focus on a task. It wasn’t until she built up a lot of confidence (through being told she was doing a good job, trying hard, and actually putting the effort into it) that she started improving in all areas. Part of that was me starting to ask her for help with Casey. Just in the last couple of weeks, she has really bloomed. I want her to be the best version of herself that she can be. I try as often as a teachable moment occurs to remind her of how older children treat her and that she should be as kind to her toddler sister as she wants to be treated. I asked her not to answer questions immediately when they come on TV (I refuse to feel guilty about letting my kids watch TV that encourages them to explore other languages and other educational topics) so that her younger sister could give it a try. I sit nursing the baby and see if Brennan can answer the question and if not, then Keeley can. Maybe it’s watching her sister learn that’s helped as well. I’m sure she wants to be able to know more than a 2 year old! ..and perhaps she’s just aging out of a lot of the acting out. She doesn’t want to be seen as a baby and knows that ‘real’ school is coming. 5 year olds aren’t terribly good at logic, but even the 2 year old KNOWS that if she throws a fit ‘she gets in trouble’… just having them say that out loud diffuses a LOT of the issue. Being able to verbalize possible consequences is an awesome learning tool. I have no idea if that’s what other people do, but so far both of them have learned this particular skill and it’s been invaluable….and maybe it took me giving her a break and allowing her to pick her exercises (within reason) from what I give her for a month as to which she wants to do on a particular day (for instance I printed out a ton of spring/st patricks day activities and she worked at her own pace)…and letting her read, do puzzles, watch tv and play with toys several days a week instead of pressing her to sit still helped… and maybe just maybe it was that she has gotten to ‘stay up’ during nap time and get some 1:1 attention that she wasn’t getting before. Instead of causing trouble for 2 hours, she watches tv, or reads, or plays educational games on the tablet, or tries to get her baby sister to smile. She’s doing older kid stuff that her toddler sister doesn’t…and maybe me seeing her in this way has led to a lot of the changes above. She cried at one point and told me that she didn’t feel like she was getting enough ‘praise’.. (obviously we’d had talks about getting positive and negative attention and how her sisters get praise for pooping in their diaper or the potty, respectively, but that she’s bigger and needs to do more than just use a facility in order for us to be impressed-lol). I never thought much about it before, but I guess in a way she was feeling quite invisible. Even though I was sitting with her and helpin gher for 2 hours straight, she didn’t find that ‘enough’…Other friends take their kids for ‘mom dates’ one on one, and I figured my husband doing the 1 on 1 was good enough…I guess I was wrong-the kid who was ‘treating me so badly’ was really just wanting time with mom. Again, not logical. Instead of seeing her as a pre-schooler who needs to learn to sit still, I’m seeing her for the big kid she’s slowly been turning into. Since I see that now, I’ve been giving her the extra attention during quiet times and giving her things to do to help me out, and she’s growing like a plant to water. Do we still have fights over ‘just do a couple of math problems okay?’ Yes. But I think a summer of running and playing outside, and enjoying watching her baby sister start to move and grow will make a huge difference in her maturity.
So…we’re all learning and growing together. From being an unsure twenty something who didn’t even know how to feed and care for one child, to a thirty something with 3 kids and a lot more experience, I still find I have a lot to learn.. and my other 2 kids will benefit from this learning, too. I’m not sure if all of this was preparing her for Kindergarten, or preparing me for it… but it wasn’t until the last couple of weeks that I realized that I’m ready. I was worried that she wouldn’t be able to handle a classroom, or that she would fall behind, but now that she’s adding and subtracting, I feel like those basic skills will take her pretty far if she actually tries, and that knowledge has eased my mind. My husband doesn’t want to let her go (he doesn’t want me to home school her though, either)… but I’m getting ready. I’m more ready than he is at this point. She needs FRIENDS. She needs activities that I can’t provide for her. She needs to get along with other people. She needs to experience doing things without mom and dad there to catch her. It’s incredibly scary..and back then when it was all terror and why does she cry, this seemed so far away.. and now, it seems just.. right. She’s got the basics, she’s excited….
and today we have our screening…
fingers crossed she is put with a teacher ready to handle our sassy, smart, sensitive girl.
What is free time? Moms these days rarely have any! We’ve all heard that essential oils like lavender are great for relaxation and others help boost mood in a natural way. Kelly Johnson, the mom behind Parker Time Potions, believes that Pediatric massage is an essential way to bond with your baby, so she combined the 2 ideas and developed a line of natural massage oils for day or night. Moisturizers leave baby’s skin feeling brand new. There are 3 different kinds of potion to choose from:
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Looking for theme ideas for my kids. I think Casey’s will probably be ‘caterpillar’… because.. you know. duh. Brennan really loves her stuffed pig… REALLY. She wants to take him everywhere.. so I’m thinking something pig-gy for her. But Keeley.. well we’ve done:
2. who’s two (owl)
5. roundup (horse)
I’m not sure whether we’ll let her have ‘friends’ over or not, she’ll be in school for her birthday this fall. I don’t want 20 kids running full tilt, but I’m not sure how the school handles birthday party invites or if they even care. We definitely won’t have them over when family is, because that’s just too much, our family is too big…wondering what other people do.
So anyway…thoughts? I saw something about a mad hatter tea party on pinterest and different teacups..which would be pretty neat. I know other kids around the same age have done ‘rainbow’ and ‘unicorn’ or ‘my little pony’ or ‘hello kitty’…then there’s always ‘any’ disney/princess or character like Doc McStuffins (she’s a doctor for stuffed animals and toys you know)… we have years of 3 girls to go through…so I want to try and not duplicate overly much, while still allowing Keeley to have something she likes.. obviously she wanted years 4 and 5…she tried changing her mind last year the day BEFORE her party and it was like.. um.. no. I already had everything bought–which wasn’t much, for sure, a couple of cake toppers/toys and a balloon, but still.
Anyone have any great ideas? I think when she’s a bit older but still in grade school I’d love to do something Halloween-y, but not at Kindergarten level…would love some ideas.. they can be completely general…basically just balloon for her chair and something to make the cake ‘into’….
I was watching as on TV this mom of 2 (less than 2 years apart) who had just battled cancer and was wearing the same drab stuff day after day teared up, saying ‘I want to look better, but I don’t even see myself in the mirror’…and the person helping her (with a quick makeover) said, you’re just emotionally… exhausted.
Hearing those 2 words was like a light bulb going on inside my head. Adding a third child has been absolutely wonderful, and yet it’s only now that I have trouble getting a shower. With one child, I drug her into the bathroom with me, or showered during her nap and all was well. With 2 kids, I let the older one watch tv, and drug the 2nd one in with me or nap safely tucked away and got a shower. Enter baby #3–The big kid picks on the little one and screams the house down. Someone falls and bleeds or cries, or breaks something. Seriously, you can’t leave them in the same room together. I’ve tried it and had to run through the house dripping with a towel or less because I thought someone was surely dying from the thumps, screams, and cries. If the baby was napping? She wouldn’t be anymore. Then there’s the baby. You can’t leave her in a room with the middle one because she doesn’t understand ‘gentle’…and the older one doesn’t take a nap. So prime time for showering is when either a. everyone is in bed before 7 a.m.– but that’s tricky because if it’s too close to wake up time, then you’ll inevitably wake up someone too early and they’ll forget to sit on the toilet, and either wake up everyone else, OR pee on the floor–or if you can get the younger two to nap at the same time, and keep the oldest one quiet. Again, nearly impossible. When the heavens do align, or when my husband is home, you probably wonder, why not shower THEN?
Enter emotional exhaustion. It’s when you finally have the ‘power’ to do something, but your body and brain just join forces to keep you in the same sweat suit, yoga pants, gym clothes, pajamas that you were in the day before. It’s why you don’t have a date night, why you don’t like looking in the mirror, even if you have lost that baby weight.. it’s just…you’re stuck and you can’t put forth the effort to actually do anything for yourself, even if you have the TIME. The time with my husband is so short anyway, and now that it’s getting warmer, he goes outside with the bigger kids and I’m stuck inside or basically 10 ft from the house with a baby monitor. So we get one hour together ‘alone’ before he has to be asleep and that usually includes a baby who needs nursed for 30 minutes of that time. Taking a shower would be great–but it would eat into the only adult conversation time I get in a day. The clock has ticked over to 2 days without a shower. I feel so GROSS. Post-partum hair loss, dry skin, certainly not smelling the best.. it’s just all aligned to awfulness. The moment I feel like ‘yes I can go shower’… someone yells and wakes someone else up, or slams a door, or, you name it. Since kids are generally untrustworthy, it’s basically best for your own emotional state to let yourself fall to the bottom (or off) of the list. At least you know that they aren’t killing each other the minute you leave the room, and yes, it’s barely worth it to the use the bathroom these days since they’re so awful to one another. I TRY and keep the older 2 apart as much as possible. They are angry at me for this, but not enough to be nice to one another. It’s emotionally draining to even think about getting up to shower, let alone putting on clean clothes, doing hair, etc.
I decided to write this blog since I couldn’t let the 5 yo be outside for 20 minutes without supervision, and that’s how long it takes me to get the shower warm, jump in, wash hair, get the stink off, dry, deodorize, moisturize, brush and yank back hair, and get dressed without dripping milk all over the floor. It’s like a breast milk tango… oops, don’t step there, move the towel.. and on and on.. and of course, the toddler is in bed, the baby WAS napping, and she cried THIRTY SECONDS before the 5 year old came back in… *sigh* so with door slamming I’m not sure she’ll get back to sleep, and yet she’d only been in there about 15 minutes. My window closed before it could open… if that’s not depressing or emotionally exhausting, I don’t know what is.
I hate it though. I need new clothes. I have donated almost all of my winter clothes and most of my old summer stuff, but even then the summer stuff isn’t breastfeeding friendly. Or post-baby body friendly. I really love my nursing tanks, but the ‘girls’ are out of control and don’t fit into my tops anymore– and I am okay with that at home, but I do NOT want to show them off at church or the grocery store. I have 2 pair of jeans that fit.. kind of. At least they stay on my hips for the most part. But that means if i go somewhere Friday and Saturday, I have to do laundry before church on Sunday. If I only wash the one pair on Saturday, then I have to wash again by Sunday afternoon to have a pair for Monday, and so on and so forth, and no I really can’t wear them twice. But shopping for jeans with 3 kids is out of the question. Let alone tops that you have to decide ‘is this going to show my belly, is it going to ride up, can I nurse the baby in it’.. and on and on.. so I wear the same 3 or 4 ‘geeky tees’ in men’s large. They are fun, but they swallow me and certainly don’t make me look like a lady, you know? But when you’re tired, and your brain won’t even fire on enough cylinders to allow you to get a shower every day? Sometimes that’s all you CAN do… throw on an old shirt, or roll out of bed in the same thing you wore the day before…
I used to think people were kidding about not getting a shower. Right up until my life became… a three ring circus..
The answer is: not a whole lot.
I’m behind in just about everything and trying not to let it get to me. I’m still fighting sinus issues that either leave me with a headache or raw throat or random sneezing that’s not a cold, not really anything, but just.. blech. Not enough to bother me, but enough to be annoying when it happens. I have some other health issues too, that, well they’re annoying to possibly bad. Probably not life threatening bad, but.. you know. I’ve had things before (appendix) that the doctors ignored and yet it was eating me away inside, so I suppose I can just go in and see. I have to take the newbie in for her FOUR MONTH! check up anyway, so I swindled my way into seeing her pediatrician (family doctor) too, so we have a double appointment on Thursday. My friend noted that when I mentioned one problem that…well moms often go to the bottom of the list, but I was taking myself off the list. At first, yeah I was annoyed. But like most things, it’s hurtful because it’s true. I started ignoring my hand/wrist after birth because it had been dealing with carpal tunnel throughout the pregnancy so a little bit of pain didn’t bother me too much. But then about the time of my friend’s oh so true statement, it got real: when you can’t hardly wipe your own ‘self’ after you go to the bathroom, and when you can barely hook your bra… it’s time to go in. I’m okay with having trouble opening things, or the random pain…but let’s face it, if you can’t wipe your own @$$ then you’re not much good to anyone, and my goal is to be there for my kids. If something is in the way of that, then I need to have it looked at, whether I want to or not. I’m just not the ‘go to the doctor’ type. We never did as kids unless something was broken, needed removed, etc. This has carried over to adult life, and let’s face it, being responsible means taking action on your own illness and injury, whether you want to or not. My motto has long been ‘I don’t see doctors, I have surgery’… but if I can avoid surgery by going to the doctor, or at least put my mind at ease, then I guess it’s worth it. Because of course not knowing is driving me up the wall. I’m crazy like that.
My latest attempt at 40 bags in 40 days started last week with clearing out and downsizing our cloth diapers. I’ve done some of it, but not all. This is what I started with:
There is still some work to do. We sorted through the oldest ones, I kept most of the newer ones, and I just have a few details to iron out before I change my mind and donate a bunch. Some haven’t been used since Keeley because I never wanted to pay for them to be fixed. Now I feel like a jerk. I should have done it, but never did. Oh well. You live and learn, right? So anyway, this will have to count for several days worth of 40 bags, because they were in boxes, and bags, and buckets…I have a solid number that I am keeping, and a few more I might sell or donate just depending on how it goes.
I’ve been weeding things out as we go, stuff that we don’t use being tucked into the giveaway box for the church thing in the fall. I’ve been rotating short sleeved items into the kids’ drawers and long sleeved items that are too small back out and into storage. Since we’re not sure if we’re done with kids or not, we’ll just have to hang onto the smallest stuff for a while longer. Even some of that (cuss-ed snap sleepers anyway) will be donated and a fond farewell knowing they will go to a baby in need, whose parents need them to be warm and don’t care that they snap instead of zip because their baby is clothed. I can be picky and I thank the good Lord (and my husband’s paycheck and very kind friends!) for that. So anyway….little bits at a time.
One thing I have learned in the last 4 months, that I keep learning over and over again is that slowing down is okay. I’d love to sit and weed through the kids clothes all in one day and have them tidy, but the weather, lack of storage and oddity of sizes (oh B, you are still so tiny at 2.5!) has me sorting each season, going back for things from the last year for the middle one, digging through hand me downs or hand outs for the oldest, and sighing when we’ve only worn half our 3-6 month onesies because it’s been too cold and it’s likely they won’t get used again. So I do it in fits and spurts and attempt to keep the kids in something they like that’s appropriate! Bless their hearts they just go with the flow for the most part. One day it’s 70 and the next 35 and there’s just no rhyme or reason. The bad thing is that once summer stuff is out, I’ll be having to desperately check fall items for school.. oh the injustice! Every time I start a project, it gets interrupted by a kid who screams and wakes up a baby who really needed that nap thankyouverymuch. Again, I just have to patient and try and do things as time allows. It might not be perfect, but at least I’m trying, and that’s what counts!
I’m doing less for ‘me’ than I wanted to, but see above. There’s not always a lot of time. At least not time where I can do things for me without disrupting the whole household. I’m continuing to pray and fighting off the jones for candy, but man…jones is a tough b@$tard. Give me chocolate! One thing that actually stays pretty well caught up is laundry. I still don’t have it perfect, but at least everyone is in some sort of clothing.. and that’s my last of my challenges for myself, so there’s your update: laundry, sweets, clean, pray, me.
If I need a pick me up, I can always turn on 5 seconds of Hoarders, or Maury and suddenly feel so much better about my own life. Truth? Truth. (I do this sparingly because it is so horrifying, but I do it, yes, yes I do!)
How are you doing on any Lenten challenges, or what’s going on in your life?
I hate greasing a pan because my fingers always feel greasy even after washing them. Some recipes call for greasing and flouring though, and so I have 2 ways to do this. Use a margarine/butter wrapper, or use a bit of plastic wrap, dip it in the fat, and grease the pan. Crisco would be an example of what you could use that way. I used some of the ‘self stick’ wrap, stuck it around my fingers so it stuck together and held, and my fingers stayed clean and I didn’t have to scrub them afterward and was immediately able to flour without taking a break. I suppose you could use a clean flour sack towel as well, but I don’t feel bad about the tiny piece of plastic I used when it saved me so much water and time!