Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Well I started a post last night about my day, which varied between craptastic and semi-awesome. I started reading it over tonight to finish and publish it, but ho boy was it a snoozer! Like I was detailing my suit choice for the day down to the final shoe selection boring.

I'm pretty sure my intent was to share with you all that I woke up to Noah having a "poop emergency" in his pajamas. Yes, it was gross, and the only possible solution in my half awake state was to send him to the shower.

And then I got dressed (in a suit because I had to see a client) and found out my black pumps had been peed on (cat pee, not boy pee). My other cool black shoes all of a sudden feel about half a size to small. I ended up wearing my every day sandels and just hoped no one would look down at my feet. I have a date with Zappos at work sometime tomorrow.

The client meeting went fine, despite some directional failure getting there. It was nice to have some uninterrupted time to talk with my colleague about work and non-work stuff. The highlight of the conversation was when we were talking about clothes and how I envy her wardrobe. She always looks so well put together. I know she worries at times if she is dressing too young (which she doesn't) so I told her she is definitely a MILF. I think I made her day, especially after I told her what it meant.

Later in the evening when both Noah and Kiel were home they were just adorable together. Kiel wanted to play with these magnet toys that built things, and he wanted help. So I told him to ask Noah. Just listening to their conversations is adorable. "Chummie, help build please?" And Noah did and they were just adorable. Noah would ask him to do something and Kiel would say "okay Chummie."

Until Kiel started to get a little wound up and Noah wanted him to stop doing whatever it was. Kiel didn't stop, so I heard Noah say "Kiel, I command you to stop." Damn it if the little shit didn't stop.

I now know what my next comeback is going to be when Noah isn't listening.

They ended the night by hugging and Noah saying to Kiel "I love you." It just warmed my heart.

Then this morning Kiel was up so early and he was playing in our room. Noah woke up at 6:15 and came in and got Kiel and took him downstairs. I kind of knew it was happening, but was in that sleep stage that allows for denial. They did awesome though. Noah made Kiel chocolate milk and they watched TV together.

It was family visitation day at camp, so Rich went for the morning and he said Noah did great. Noah came home in a great mood and continued to be helpful and kind with Kiel.

And Kiel continued to charm me all day with his adorable "OK mommy" even when he didn't want to do something. Or singing his "clean up, clean up" song when he was cleaning up.

 And I'm just happy and content the last couple days, which feels good.

And you? Craptastic or fantastic day?


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Post Incident Analyzation

It appears the title of my last blog post excited some new readers to my blog. Sadly they were disappointed to find out I wasn't really talking about what they thought I was talking about. Sorry! No, really, I am sorry. Because that would be far more exciting for me too!


We've all calmed down. And when I say we, I really mean me.

Noah has been on his best behavior today since the post-Gatorade incident. This afternoon he presented me with one of his favorite pencils. "Here Mom, this is for you" he said as he handed it to me then walked back into his bedroom. A peace offering from a pencil obsessed 7 year old.

Tonight was our fortnightly* appointment with the attachment therapist. Knowing that helped me not over react much. And by "over react" I mean yell.

We've spent enough time with Miss C that Noah was able to reach a point tonight where he was able talk about his behavior. It was a little rough in the beginning, but at one point it was like a switch turned on, and he took a big breath, and his brain was on and clear and he just started talking.

He wasn't able to give any real detail about what happened other than a kid was saying his name over and over and it irritated him, so he stepped on his foot. Usually Noah can more fully describe what happened, even when he knows what he did was wrong and that he is in trouble. I'll check his story with the TSS tomorrow, just to make sure he's not playing me, but I really do think the Gatorade, just like when he has something with a high concentration of red dye, irritates his system so much that not only does he act out, but he can't clearly remember what he did.

I know, it sounds like I'm making excuses for him. And I am, in a way, but mostly I'm just trying to understand why he does these things. For so long we had no understanding of why. Now though that I am able to put the pieces of attachment in place, and have a better understanding of how those first six months of his life really did impact the development of parts of his brain, I feel like I'm starting to understand him. And since I can relate to fear and the need to be in control, his behavior makes sense to me in a way it never did before.

So no, I'm not trying to excuse it, but understanding it makes me less reactive (in a negative way) when he does act out. And hopefully it will help me find a better way to help him. Because I really think there has to be a way to retrain his brain; to make the connections that didn't form when he was an infant.

As a slight aside, this was one of the first times I was able to interact with him with another adult present that is an "expert." I mean interact with him when his brain is "on" and he talks like he does with us normally, but rarely does with another adult present. His thought processes are fascinating to me, but I really had no idea if they were "normal," not having much experience with other 7 year olds.

Truthfully, I really didn't think they were "normal." And certainly not the way he moves from one thought to the next, before he really finishes the first thought. His thoughts are connected, and they aren't totally off, but wow, they move fast. He probably takes in the first six words or so of what we say, and then he's off and running with it, even though we aren't finished.

And yes, she confirmed that his thoughts are very scattered much like this post compared to what would be typical at this age. But scattered because his brain is processing things so fast that he really has moved on to the next thought before he fully finishes the previous one. It does make talking with him exhausting and confusing at times.

We talked tonight about what he could have done differently, and what his plan is for tomorrow. He told us he would like to write the good options on his hand and arm so he could look at them if he needed to. I thought that was pretty clever actually.

I do think he will have a great day tomorrow. And from there we will keep moving forward. And hope the camp continues to work with us and that we can get him through five more weeks.

I told Rich tonight that I feel very confident that by the seventh or eighth week we'll have worked out all the kinks, and the ninth week should be smooth sailing.

Thank goodness Rich and I can still laugh together over this shit.

*Why do we have no good word for "every other week" in American English? "Every other week appointment" just doesn't flow. Biweekly is such an ambiguous term, which I've always interpreted as twice-weekly. Fortnightly sounds a bit affectatious** doesn't it?

**And yes, I did just make up the word affectatious! Refudiate it if you must.***

***This late at night, after I've taken an Ambien, I crack myself up, and really don't care if no one else thinks it is funny. I probably won't remember I wrote this tomorrow anyway.


Fucked myself right good with that post, didn't I.


Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha

and fucking HA!

Did I actually type those words last night that Noah hasn't been kicked out of camp yet?

OK, well, technically it is true, he hasn't been completely kicked out of camp. Yet.

But today I did get a call at work around 9:45am from the head counselor, telling me Noah had pushed (or hit, I'm not exactly sure now) another camper while in line to go to the first activity. So I was asked to come pick him up, since they told him the last time this happened he would have to go home.

I get there to pick him up and he walks up to me head hanging low. You could see he was upset with himself, and probably with everyone else.

I asked him what happened but didn't get a clear explanation from him, other than the other kid was irritating him.

And then I saw an almost empty bottle of Gatorade in his backpack side pocket. I did not send him to camp with Gatorade. In fact, I told his counselors that he should never be allowed to drink Gatorade, so not to let him get it from the soda machine. And I purposely never send money in with him so he isn't able to buy it, even if he wants to.

Apparently I forgot to tell his TSS that we thought Gatorade, like red dye, was irritating to his brain and negatively impacted on his behavior. Fuck me for that oversite.

And yes, the incident did happen after he drank the Gatorade. I'm not blaming it on the Gatorade, because Noah has to learn to control his impulses no matter what, but I do think it is interesting that it happened after he drank something we know is problematic.

It turns out he went to camp with a pocket full of change this morning (not sure yet where he found it, but I'm sure somewhere in the house is a busted piggy bank). He wanted a Coke, but his TSS said no. And of course since I hadn't told him, why would he think Gatorade would be a problem, especially since it wasn't red. Oh well.

So we are both home. He's spent a lot of time in his room. I told him no TV, no computer. He looked at me and had the nerve to say "but what am I going to do?"

Not my problem kid, not my problem. I have real work to do that I'm not able to do at my office, since I had to leave work because of your behavior. (OK, I didn't say any of that to him.)

I hope this is the most boring day he has ever had.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Random walks in Crazy Town

Some random updates because rational thought processes have been hard to come by lately.

Noah hasn't been kicked out of camp yet. I did have to go pick him up early on Monday because he was complaining his stomach hurt. I am fully convinced he did not have a stomach ache, but wanted to come home and play computer games. Man was he PISSED when I told him if he was so sick I had to leave work to come get him that he needed to lay on the couch or in his bed. Boy was not happy. Boy made a miraculous recovery about 30 minutes later. Boy still did not get to play on the computer.

Last week Noah earned his orange belt, and I earned my blue belt in karate. Pictures to come. Right now we are both doing high intensity training (HIT) for the summer. I'm doing it because I'm going to miss about six weeks of training after my surgery in October, so this will keep me from losing a rotation and falling behind a belt. Noah is just working on more advanced moves, like spin kicks. Next week he will learn with nunchucks.

Kiel is convinced there is an alligator living in our bedroom. He points him out to me every night. So we have a routine we go through now, saying hi to the alligator, asking him if he misses his family, asking him if he's lost, and then telling him it is time to go home and go to bed.  Kiel indicates we have had various success with the alligator actually leaving. Since I have yet to see this creature I have to rely on Kiel.

We are in the middle of a thunderstorm. As a child I was terrified of storms. I was sure that a tornado was imminent and was going to blow us all away like Dorothy. Flying monkeys and witches scared me too.

Even now, as an adult (ha) they make me twitchy, especially when the wind starts whistling through the windows. I try very hard not to let the boys know I don't like storms. I really do try my damnedest not to teach them my crazy. At least they don't get it genetically so there is hope for them.

I'm about to finish reading The Necromancer, the fourth book in the series of The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott. It's a fast, enjoyable read. But when it is done i have nothing lined up to read next. That also makes me a bit twitchy.

Any book recommendations my friends? I prefer to be entertained, not necessarily enlightened. Or scared to the point that my insomnia is the least of my non-sleeping worries.

I went on a bit of a shopping splurge last weekend because I was in desperate need of new summer work clothes.  I have now decided I don't like anything I bought.

And another big question: Is there an age limit in women where they should not wear leggings with cute summer dresses? Or a size limit?

Hmmmm, what else.

Well, I'm not going to BlogHer10 this year. It just wasn't in the budget with all the extra medical expenses we have had for Noah. Saving for college for him isn't exactly in the budget anymore either. We had to decide a while ago that it was more important to use that money now to get help, then not use it and find he never makes it to college. So with those expenses, and not saving into something I always thought was non-negotable, we aren't exactly doing anything this summer other than a day and night at Knoebels amusement park.

I guess that's it for now. Nothing else is coming out of my snot-filled head in a legible formet.


Monday, July 19, 2010

This is Not the Life Lesson You Think it is - A book club inspired post

 In my 42 years of life I've learned a few things about myself:

First, that when I write after taking Nyquil I should probably put up a big disclaimer that I can not guarantee it makes sense.

So, on to the things I've learned:

I really like to sleep.
I love reading in the bath.
I prefer the cake over the frosting.
I love music but am horrible at remembering titles and artists.
I'm a horrible house keeper.
I love my kids with a love I never thought humanly possible

And, when I want something I tend to do what needs to be done to get it.

And that may be one of the biggest life lessons I have learned from my 30's and early 40's (damn, why is it still so hard to admit that I'm IN my 40's?).

The lesson? Perhaps not what you think it is, because its not the lesson I was always taught that "if you work hard you can achieve anything." And I do believe that lesson. I have worked very hard to accomplish things in my life.

Sometimes though, sometimes...you have to just hold back a bit and let things happen as it will. You can't push everything. And you can't always expect people to work on your time line.

Now, I've learned this lesson the hard way a few times, mostly while dating. And I can't say I always remember to practice it. But, when I have remembered, things usually work out the way they are supposed to. Both of my children are perfect examples of this philosophy. Of course there was a lot of work and planning put into first Noah's adoption and then Kiels conception and IVF, but through much of it I was very zen. I did what I knew I could do, and I let go of what I couldn't control. And both times things happened the way they were supposed, I just didn't know in the beginning quite how the ending was going to be.

And that's the kicker, "the way they are supposed to." That doesn't always mean the way I want. And boy oh boy is that a hard one to deal with sometimes.

So when I read the latest From Left to Write book club book (formerly the Silicon Valley Moms Group book club), This Is Not The Story You Think It Is by Laura Munson, I thought to myself that she seemed to have learned that lesson somewhere along the way as well.

Faced with her husband's declaration that he no longer loves her, Munson announces that she just doesn't buy into the fact that he feels this way. And she doesn't accept that it is about her, or is her fault. So she gives him time to figure it out. Some may call her passive, but I think only in a way that she wasn't telling him what to do and what to feel.

I know as a woman and mother I want to fix things for people. If my husband came to me and said he didn't think he loved me anymore I would be crushed of course, but then my first reaction would be to try and fix it. To find out what is wrong with him. To find out how I can fix things for him.

Laura choose a different path and gave her husband time. No ultimatums, little pressure, just kept the home fires burning, but also continued with her life. And she chose to be happy in it. To find the happiness that was already there. Because you can't base your personal happiness on things that are entirely outside of your control. As Laura's therapist told her "that's insanity."

This post was inspired by the book This Is Not The Story You Think It Is which was given to me free of charge and without obligation by the publisher as a member of the From Left to Write book club writers group. 


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Some awesome and some damage control

We have had two wonderful and entertaining evenings with Noah. Well, Rich did tonight and we both did last night. The difference in Noah when he feels he is in a safe environment, and I think being with one or both of us helps make unfamiliar environments safer (which is a huge step forward for him), is akin to the difference between night and day.

The more I understand about attachment the more I understand Noah. Even when his behavior doesn't quite make sense, I'm becoming OK with the confusing pieces. Even if I can't quite figure out how to express it here.

Today Rich and Noah went to see the Union play soccer. I bought Rich the tickets for Father's Day. Rich said Noah was awesome (and yes, we are learning how to redefine awesome!). They went out to dinner after and Noah asked a lot of great questions about our family history and family tree. It's very cool to see him process that Rich and I have parents and grandparents and they had parents, etc. etc. And want to know about them.

That was the awesome! 

And then Noah said this tonight after they got home and I was answering some of those family tree questions.

"Why did Papa make us leave?"

And all I could think was "fuck" and I hedged a bit and said "honey, they didn't make us leave" and Rich said "it was just the right time for us to go."

And Noah said "No, he made us leave, because Derfy scratched me with his claws and I cried."

And again, I'm thinking "fuck"  This boy can't remember what we sent him to the next room to get, but he remembers something that happened over 18 months ago and in vivid detail.

So I told him a shallow layer of the truth. That Mommy and Mama and Papa argued and that because we didn't think we could all be nice to each other right then that Mommy and Daddy thought it was better if we came home.

And Noah said "no, Papa made us leave." 

I tried to explain that no one made us leave, and that I'm so sorry he remembers it like that, and that he saw everyone be mad at each other. But that no one was mad at him, and that Papa did not make us leave.

This poor boy thinks it was his fault. And has had that inside him since it happened.

Rich and I are so very careful not to talk about any of this in front of Noah, even when it was at its worst and most emotional time for me. We only speak positively about my family to him!

Some day Noah is going to want to talk about why my side of the family has nothing but a shadow of a  presence in his life. Right now it's easy to explain that they live far away and it isn't easy to see them. That isn't going to work with him forever.  Someday he is going to understand that my family chose to not try and understand him.

I totally get that Noah's issues are very difficult to understand. Hell, I'm just starting to understand them myself. What I can't understand though is my families near abandonment of Noah and lack of support for me and Rich as we try and figure out how to help Noah. Even after reading this blog! Knowing they read this blog and continue to keep their distance makes it even more hurtful and confusing to me.

Now I need to figure out how to do some damage control to fix 19 months of a little boy thinking he is the reason "we had to leave."



Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Emotionally tied to the railroad tracks

Here we are, cruising along into the third week of summer camp! I saw the head counselor of all the intermediate campers (Noah's camp level) last Friday evening when we took the boys out for dinner. She said Noah was doing great as far as she knew and that she hadn't heard anything indicating there were problems.

We saw the owner of the camp at a picnic on Saturday and he said he hadn't heard of any problems either. No news is good news as far as he's concerned!

I spoke with Noah's behavior specialist, who oversees his TSS, last week, and she said it sounded like everything was going great!

You know where this is headed right?

Yeah, yesterday Noah had a melt down at the end of the day in front of the head counselor. The intensity of his reaction definitely freaked her out. 

So now we find out from his TSS that he's been having problems all along.  The typical Noah problems with not listening and refusing to acknowledge redirection, but more concerning to me is that he is still being physical with the other kids, although I still don't have a good feeling as to how bad it is. He's also having more problems socializing with the other kids than I was expecting. I really thought the aggressive behavior had significantly improved, now I'm not so sure.

It's not that I thought Noah was miraculously cured when I wrote this post. I knew we were seeing big improvements, but I knew it was improvement, not that we suddenly had a perfect child. He's certainly acting better at home, and more in control of himself most of the time, but he still struggles. We are, after all, having to use the new behavior techniques we learned a few weeks ago.

I fully expected there to be at least some issues at camp. Really, I did. 

But at the same time when I heard from his TSS last night that there have been problems all along I felt like I had been hit over the head from behind. 

And there I was riding the roller coaster again and plummeting. Because my emotions are so tied into how Noah is behaving that I feel like the old-time damsel in distress tied to the railroad tracks by Snidely Whiplash. 

Only I know there is no Dudley Doright coming to rescue me (or Noah). Even though my rational brain knows it isn't true, my emotional brain feels like I am once again failing as a parent. It is so hard not to find myself falling into that abyss every time Noah struggles.

Even though I know I handled Noah like a master parent yesterday after hearing this. Because despite his meltdown at the end of the day (which may have had a lot to do with them giving him his medication two hours late), he did awesome during archery, and was the star student during karate. So I took him out for water ice (you can imagine the shock value in that!) to celebrate how great he did in karate and archery, instead of taking him home and punishing him like I would have done in the past. And we had a great talk about how he was feeling about things at camp. And I had a chance to talk to him about why he has a TSS and why he gets in trouble more than the other kids, at a time that his brain was open to hearing it. 

So even though my emotions are still tied too tightly to how Noah is doing, I'm going to keep reminding myself that we are winning more battles than we are losing lately. And that what we gained a couple weeks ago was hope, and you can't take hope away that easily.

I just need to learn how to untie the ropes faster!


Saturday, July 10, 2010

Apparently Aunt Flo is stuck in Crazy Town (Alternate title - You may need to be from Philly to completely understand this post.)

A couple times a year PMS hits harder than usual. This would be one of those times.

A week ago I went through the FB* stage, which lasted about a day. Fortunately, I could see the ridiculousness of my mood and was able to alternately laugh about it and warn people away.

Two days later I was crying over televised fireworks.

Yesterday I started crying about the Duck Boat.**

I've also gone through the short tempered phase, the I have absolutely no patience phase, the get out of my fucking way phase, and the I hate green cars and every idiot that drives them phase (which occurred concurrently with the "get out of my fucking way" phase).

This has been going on for a week now, with no end in sight.

It's not just the mood swings though. It's also been a week of insomnia. Like my body has completely forgotten how to fall asleep before 2am.

And then there is the alternating bouts of constipation and diarrhea. I'm a fucking Pepto Bismol commercial. Color me pink and flush me down peoples.

But to top it all? Are you ready for this?

I was talking with Noah today and I used the word 'youze' in a sentence. I'm not even sure how to spell it, but I damn well said it. Out loud. In the appropriate context. I was (thisclose) to washing my own mouth out with soap. Or sticking a fork in an electrical outlet to reboot my brain.

Clearly I'm days, if not hours, away from a total meltdown. Either that or I'm going to need an extra large serving of Scrapple and some Peanut Chews.

I'm not sure I've ever wished Aunt Flo would hurry up and get here as much as I do right now.

*Fucking Bitch

**I also began having mini-anxiety attacks because I couldn't stop myself from picturing the accident with the Duck Boat, but with me on it with the boys. I then had several intense conversations with myself (in my head - which only makes it marginally less crazy) about what I would have done. The truly distressing part was that I kept thinking I wouldn't be able to save both of them, which is really fucking with my head. And not at all funny.


Sunday, July 04, 2010

Musings on Insomnia and a messy bedroom

It's 12:30am and the insomnia has me in her cruel hands again, the bitch. I usually hang out in Kiel's bedroom in the evening before I make it into our bedroom. It's not like Kiel is actually using his room.

I've been working on cleaning out his room for the past week. Today I took the crib down. You know, the crib he never slept in. It's a nice crib, great condition. Anyone interested? I hate to throw it away. Who can I donate it to?

So right now the room, despite the crib being gone, is in total disarray. The kind where you can barely find enough room to put a foot down to walk through it disarray. Less than a 1/4 of the bed was free enough for me to snuggle in so I could do my insomnia induced pre-bedtime ritual of bubble spinner 2 and blog reading.

Nothing was feeling right in there. Too much of a mess. At one point I thought I smelled sour kraut. Why you ask? I have no idea.

So now I'm in the family room. Contemplating eating a lemon Krimpet but knowing it would just do hell on the reflux. Wondering if turning the TV on will help or hinder.

I'm within an hour of my magical sleep time, although PMS plays havoc on that sometimes, and I'm most definitely in the throws of PMS this weekend.

My ideal sleep hours would be between 2am and 11am, with an optional nap between 2 and 4pm. Unfortunately that doesn't jive with the rest of my family, or my employer, or Noah's school.

So here I am at 1am Sunday morning hoping the sleeping pill I took will take hold soon. Because if it doesn't I'm going to start hunting for goodies in my kitchen.                                                                                        

**edited to add**
Apparently I did fall asleep because I woke up just before 2am with a very long line of DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD across my screen.                                               
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               bbbbb                                                           b                                            


Friday, July 02, 2010

All about the magic, the amazing, and the powerful.

Say YEAH for a three-day weekend!

Rich and Noah went out to watch fireworks tonight. I'm pretty big on keeping Kiel's bedtime consistent since he isn't one of those kids that makes up for it by sleeping in the next morning, so we stayed home. And that means I have a couple of hours to myself. Yeah me!

So a few updates for y'all.

I've tried a couple times to sit down and write about our experience with Noah last week and everything I've written so far just isn't post-able. It's all too "gooey" if that makes sense. Too "magic" and "amazing" and "powerful." So I'll try again this weekend. But, without going into the details of what we did, I'll just say it was "magic" and "amazing" and "powerful." The Noah that came out of last week is the Noah that we have seen glimpses of over the last year or so, but never for more than a day or two. Oh hell, the parents that came out of last week made some big changes themselves.

So yes, I owe you all a long post about the attachment therapy we did. It was a long and emotional week. And it was work. Hard work at times. But OMG, the result was amazing.

So right now we are all doing great. Noah started summer camp this week and can't stop talking about how much fun he is having. As far as I know there hasn't been a single "incident." I'm not ready to ditch the TSS quite yet, because while his behavior has been excellent, he is still struggling with the social skills.

I don't think last week fixed everything. We have some serious work to keep doing, but I think we plowed through a major roadblock. 

I also think the latest medication change we made is finally doing some good!

The two together? Well, wow! So yes, magic, and amazing and powerful. This Noah we have spent the last week with is incredible!

I know we are riding a high on the Amazing Roller Coaster of Noah, but I'll take it. I'll try not to crash too hard when he takes another dip, which we all know will happen. Hopefully though it will only be a dip, and not a full on crash to the ground.

I have more hope than I've had in a long time though. I know I love him enough. I know there is an amazing Noah inside that we are finally pulling out of his mixed up brain. 


In other news I have a few giveaways up on the MNT Review Blog. So go enter, please!

To win the Apple Bottoms outfit shown above, go here! Your odds are pretty good right now!

And then check out my post about Electrolux and how you can help fight Ovarian Cancer and enter to win a $25 Am Ex gift card!

Both giveaways end July 9th at midnight.

I'll be putting up a review and giveaway for the newest Zhu Zhu pets, Kung Zhu pets, sometime this weekend. Here's a little peek at the fun we had with them.

And this is what I'll be giving away!