Monday, November 14, 2011

First Report Card

first school picture, fake grin and all!

Taking a little time to get back in the swing of things, but I promise, I'm trying to get back to regular blogging again!

Big milestone for us last week: we had Oliver's first Parent/Teacher conference! So exciting! I was so anxious to hear how he was doing in school. I know, it's preschool, and as my father-in-law joked, "What, are you worried he might fail Coloring?" No, but I was dying to know how he was getting along with the other kids, what his behavior was like, if he was listening to the teachers and participating and generally enjoying school. We get a sort of one sided viewpoint, which is very little. We know he loves it, but Oliver doesn't talk about school too much. I ask lots of questions on the way home from picking him up, but on most days he's too wiped out to answer. It usually goes something like this:
Me: How was school today.
O: Good.
Me: What was your favorite part of the day?
O: School
Me: What was your favorite thing that you did at school?
O: Centers
Me: Which centers did you like best?
O: marble tower
Me: What else did you do?
O: I can't know that.
Me: So what did you eat for breakfast?
O: I don't know.
Me: What did you have for lunch?
O: Do you know?

And that's about it. Apparently he has school amnesia or something. So obviously I was anxious to get another point of view on his days there. Warning: this post will include some shameless bragging from one proud parent. Hey, it's in my job description!

We met with his teacher, Mrs. T, who Oliver just loves, and I can see why. She's awesome. And not just because she loves Oliver too, but because you can just tell she's a great teacher and really cares. So here's the report (they give W for working on, and G for good progress)

Fine Motor Skills:
W on using crayons, painting, gluing, and using puzzles. Surprisingly, because he adores puzzles and painting at home. She said they often do things differently at school than at home. She said that while he loves crayons, he often still just scribbles, falling back on what he knows, rather than trying something new, like drawing a figure. Typical of his personality. But she did show us a great figure drawing she saved for us, and I've noticed him doing that a little more at home. He really needs to work on scissor skills, which is my fault, because we really just haven't done that at home at all. I really didn't realize he was at the right age for scissors yet. So the past few days I've had them out, and all he wants to do is cut stuff. He refuses to hold the scissors the right way even when we show him how. Stubborn. He comes by that naturally!! He also needs to work on zippers, buttons, and snaps. Again, something I haven't worked on at home much.
He got a G for "builds with blocks," no surprise there. She said if given the choice, he will always choose blocks or some other building type toy.

Gross Motor Skills:
G on almost everything: alternates feet on stairs, hops, balances on left and right foot, kicks a ball, throws a ball. W on catches a ball, which he's actually pretty good when we play ball at home, but not as good as throwing (or hitting it with a bat). She said he's somewhat intimidated by the more aggressive boys in the class, so he doesn't always play ball with them.

He knows his colors, shapes, and body parts (has for a long time).
Social & Emotional: He got G for respecting others, following adult directions, and sharing toys. I was surprised with the sharing toys, but she said he does great, especially in comparison to some of the other kids in the class. There are a few troublemakers. She said he does suffer from "only child syndrome," which made me bristle a little bit, but it wasn't meant as criticism, just as fact. He doesn't have to share toys at home, and especially he doesn't have to share our attention with another child. So he often doesn't want to wait for one of the teachers to help him with something, things like that. He's learning though, that's part of why he's in school. He is definitely a follower. She said for example if another child jumped up in the air, spun around 3 times and then fell on the ground, he'd do it too. So he sometimes follows the "naughty kids" behaviors, but that unlike them, he is easily brought back in line by just a look or calling his name. I've seen the follower behavior too. Every day he walks into the classroom and puts his hand in his mouth and sort of stands back and watches before deciding what to do first. And even kids who are strangers at the playground, he'll start following around and copying what they are doing. Eh, so he won't be president, I think that's actually pretty ok!

Art Skills: again, a W for working on it, but he doesn't always choose it first. But I see the opposite at home, so I think it's just an environment thing.
Music Skills: G for singing and keeping rhythm. She said he is very musical, loves it when they sing, and is also great at rhyming.  Yup, we knew that! He comes by that one naturally too, but a big thank you Music Together!! We really miss it!

Listening and speaking Skills: G's all around with extra stars next to them. She said this is where he really excels. She said he loves books and words, has a great vocabulary, speaks clearly, communicates very well in clear sentences, asks great questions, answers questions, and has great listening skills and attention span! They've "caught" him reading on various occasions. She said someone got out some flashcards that were meant for older kids, and he just started reading a bunch of them, so they kept going and they were shocked at how many words he knew. And other random times, they find him actually reading a word. He also likes to sound words out a lot. I'm finding when we read at home, he'll stop me and ask what a word is and sound it out. And sometimes read along. I do believe a lot of it is memorization. I think he has his father's amazing memorization skills. I mean, he has memorized the entire How the Grinch Stole Christmas book. He even repeats lines from tv shows like Marty does. But I guess memorization is a large part of reading anyway. Mrs. T said she knows that if she worked with him he'd be reading in no time, but there are pluses and minuses to that, and that it's probably better not to push it but just to let it develop naturally as it already has. That is definitely our point of view.

So there you have it, our genius child! I couldn't be prouder, but mostly, I'm just glad that he's having fun in school and getting the social interaction he needs.

Coming, I promise!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

We're home! A Photo Update

I have been told that I need to get on here and let everyone know that yes, we are alive and home again in Iowa! Yes, we've been here since July, and I obviously haven't blogged at all. Life has been a bit chaotic, but perhaps things will start settling down soon. So, in an effort to catch everybody up, here's a quick photo update!

First, we had to make the long drive from Connecticut to Iowa, so to make it interesting, we stopped a few times.

 In Gettysburg, where Oliver freaked out at the battlegrounds saying "I don't like it here!" Genetic memory, perhaps? So no good pics, except of us going back to the car. 

 Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater, where I got to take a tour while Oliver and Marty (who had been before) entertained themselves. It was amazing. If I had a bucket list, this would be one more thing checked off!

 At Nee-Nee's house, where we played with bubbles, 

 fed the squirrels,

 and picked raspberries!

 To the lake cottage, where we had lots of fun in the sun,

 thought about swimming in the lake, 

 then reconsidered. 

 Of course, we watered the flowers,

 and danced while eating cookies. Twenty-four hours was too short of a visit!

 Next stop was Grandma and Pop-Pop's house, where we played baseball, 

 had long chats with Pop-Pop, 

and played basketball.

And then we went home

 Home, sweet home.

 Where we tackled piles and piles of boxes (this is but a mere fraction).

Best of all, we finally got to play baseball, in our own front yard!

 And we played a lot of baseball.

 The kid has talent, dontcha think?

 We watched baseball too.

 And acted silly for the camera.

 We met back up with old friends. Oliver and Connor love the playground!

 And had our first day of school!

It wasn't all fun. We had our first overnight in the hospital for dehydration from a stomach flu. But he recovered very quickly and wants to go back to the hospital, it was so much fun.

 But mostly we have settled into life here, playing with rocks, 

playing basketball with Daddy (and Mommy, I'm actually quite good!),
and of course, more baseball. Just as I've spent the last 2 years dreaming we would. 
It's good to be home.

So, no, I haven't abandoned the blog, and I hope to post more soon. I want to post some pictures of the house, just as soon as I get it looking better (so maybe in 10 years?). And no fall would be complete without some pictures of a trip to the orchard!! I am currently looking for a full time job, so if you could all keep your fingers crossed that I get a great one, that would be sweet. I hope to have an update on that soon too!! I promise to be back more regularly!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Goodbye, Connecticut!

Aside from the friends we've made, I cannot think of any reason not to be glad to be leaving Connecticut. I am ready to leave this beautiful, but expensive state, and it's bad drivers! I am ready to leave a tiny apartment where the only grass is covered in dog pee. I am ready to leave the uncomfortable rented furniture (especially that sofa!), and the cheap pots and pans. I cannot wait to finally live in our new house, to make it our home, maybe even our forever home. I'm ready to feel settled and stable again, instead of this constant state of "temporary" that we've been in for the past 2 years.

Of course, it hasn't been all bad, being here. It has been quite an experience for me as a stay-at-home mom, with many peaks and valleys. Living here gave us this opportunity that we would never have had otherwise. I think it was good for us, probably great for us. But I can also recognize that it is not my thing for the long run. I am actually ready to go back to work, though I have absolutely no idea what I want to do, or who will hire me. But as Scarlett says, I'll deal with that tomorrow.

As part of my promise to myself to get us out of the house every day, we discovered a lot of great people, and fun things to do in Connecticut. We loved going to My Gym, where Oliver got  to run around like crazy, climb, and jump, and tumble. I can't rave enough about that place, because I believe it was also instrumental in his social development, in following directions, making friends, and the all important "playing well with others." Our other favorite activity was Music Together, where we got to sing and dance and play instruments. We love that Oliver has always been naturally musical, and Julie, our fabulous leader, was great at bringing that out in him and encouraging it. I'm not sure how much I'll enjoy listening to the cds for our 17 hour road trip, but they keep Oliver happy, so that's important! And finally, I don't think I could have survived the last year of this journey without the Mother's Day Out program that Oliver attended. I got a little break for a few hours each week, and he got more of that "playing well with others" experience. Between all these activities and playdates and parks and playgrounds, not to mention the grocery store and Target visits, we kept ourselves very busy, even too busy sometimes. All I know is that Oliver is a pretty good kid, most of the time, and I think this is the main reason why.

As a family, we also got to do a lot of things together. From the beginning, we said we wouldn't spend every weekend in that little apartment, but actively find interesting things to see, and go to all those places we'd never have a chance to see again. I know this blog has been a testament to that. Every week we looked for fun activities, and planned little jaunts, to things like the Potato & Corn Festival, to big trips, like NYC, Philly, and Boston. As a result, we have a flexible toddler, who is a pretty good little traveler (our last trip to NYC not withstanding). I only hope we can keep that up when we move home. I've never even been to Minneapolis! It is definitely on our list now.

I don't know what our life would be like if we hadn't gone to Connecticut. I don't think we would have been as adventurous, or that Oliver would have experienced as much as he has. I think it would have been very easy to get settled in our homebody routine there. But now that we have, out of necessity, forced ourselves out into the world, I think it has become the new normal, and our lives will be better for it. So while I am more than ready to leave a place where people are so rude and unthinking of others that they think it's ok to leave their shopping cart all over the parking lot of the grocery store (something you rarely see in Iowa), I can admit that it was not all bad. However, I am 100% glad it is done, and never ever want to do anything remotely like this again!

The next time you see me, I'll be writing from home, sweet home. With lots of updates on our trip, I'm sure. I don't know what the future holds for the blog. I think I am addicted to it as a record and history of our little family, so I don't see it disappearing, though it may evolve, as we all do. For now, I am on hiatus until we get settled in Iowa! I hope everyone has a great holiday!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


We have been incredibly lucky in making some terrific friends while we've been in Connecticut. I really wasn't expecting to, or even trying really, given the temporary nature of our time here. But two years is a long time! And thank goodness for the friends I have made because they have definitely helped keep me sane. Oliver made some great friends too, and that is probably the saddest part (the only sad part) about us leaving here, is leaving friends. I wish we could wrap them all up and take them with us to Iowa. So today's post is dedicated to Oliver's friends, and their (less photographed) moms, who are my friends.

Oh, sweet Annabelle. She was Oliver's first friend in Connecticut, because she and her parents were our neighbors in the apartment complex. She is 10 months younger than Oliver, and so when we first met, she was only about 5 months old. Sort of too little to play with yet, but she and Oliver enjoyed many walks in the park or the mall, while their mommies gabbed. Then eventually, going to music class and having play dates, playing (and fighting) with toys.

From the beginning, they loved sharing gifts
October 2009
(Oliver 18 months, Annabelle 8 months)

and holding hands.
December 2009

 Late January 2010

He loved giving her flowers.
Late February 2010

April 2010

 They loved sharing sweet hugs.
Late January 2011

 Sure, sometimes they fought,
April 2011

but they always loved each other.
June 2011

I know, one big awwwwwwwwwwww, right? They are just too cute together. Maybe in about 25 years, we'll be showing those photos and playing this video at their wedding. I just hope that we can stay in touch so they'll be friends forever.

Not to be forgotten, Annabelle's mom, Linsey:
I made a promise to myself when we moved, and I was newly a stay-at-home-mom, that Oliver and I would leave the house once each day. Sure, we soon got busy with classes, but some of my favorite times were the hours and hours we all spent in the park together, taking the kids for long walks (back when they'd let us) to get some exercise, and have grown up conversations. I can't imagine how lonely and bored I would have been if we hadn't met, and I will always believe that fate made us neighbors so that we could become friends.

Brody and Lilly

It's hard to say exactly when Oliver met Brody and Lilly. We've been going to My Gym since soon after we moved here in the summer of 2009, and at some point, they were in classes there together. But they really became friends this past year when they all three also attended the Mother's Day Out program one day a week, and then also spent another day a week together at My Gym. Brody and Oliver became buddies in an instant, running around, singing and dancing, and Lilly was their back up singer. Nothing but pure fun together, you can see it in their faces.

The trio, at Brody's birthday party at My Gym. Their moms and my friends, Renee and Shana, are in the background (sorry, it's the only photo of them I have!).

Dancing, to "All the Single Ladies," Brody's favorite.

In the ball pit, I believe they were doing lines from Blues Clues.

Circle time.

Something was hilarious.

Puppet show with Igor and Steve.


 At the park

When it was the last day of Mother's Day Out, Brody's mom was talking to him about what that meant. She told him he wouldn't go to school with Lilly anymore (they're attending different preschools), and he said, "I guess I'll have to find a new girlfriend."  And she told him that because we were moving away, he wouldn't go to school with Oliver anymore. He replied, "I guess I'll have to find another Oliver." I'm sorry, Brody! I really wish you guys could grow up to be best friends. Maybe your paths will cross again in the future.

There's something that all these friends have in common. You look at them together, and you just know they are the kind of friends that would be best friends forever. That's why this is the hardest part of leaving Connecticut, because I know that I have to take Oliver away from something so sweet and true and pure, his first real friends, and that breaks my heart because I'm afraid it will break his. I know, kids are resilient, and he will find new friends, and he has some waiting for him back home in Iowa. Still, we are going to miss these friends, very very much.

As always, I've made this about Oliver. But I made some great friends too, the moms of these amazing kids: Linsey, Shana, and Renee. I think what makes their kids such great friends for Oliver is that they are all great mothers. We all shared attitudes about parenting in a way that made friendship easy. I'm so glad I met them. Girls, I won't forget you!!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

New York City, a True Story

Warning: this is not your (or my) typical travelogue.

We planned one last trip to New York City before we left the Northeast. Marty found a great deal on priceline for a hotel, so we even planned an overnight, to which he added a second night as the time got closer. Two whole nights in the Big City (as Oliver calls it)! We planned the trip to be as Oliver-friendly as possible: American Museum of Natural History to see the dinosaurs, the Children's Museum of Manhattan to see the new Curious George exhibitions, Coney Island, the Aquarium, seriously, a toddler's dream vacation. What could go wrong? Oh, we took a toddler.

I know I tend to write my blogs emphasizing the great times we have, and honestly, in the two years of this adventure, Oliver has been an amazingly good traveler. We have been very lucky in that, I know. Overall, Oliver is a pretty easy going kid. But, as with any 3 year old, we have our share of tantrums, fits, and whining. I probably should write about the bad as much as the good, but what can I say, I think the purpose of this blog, for me, has become a place to record our memories of the fun times we have had. I mean, who wants to read about temper tantrums all the time? I know I certainly don't want to spend my rare free-time writing about them. In fact, I'll be brutally honest and say that the last thing I want to do is write about Oliver on those days when he's driving me nuts. I want to spend my "nap" times escaping that part of my life. Have you noticed I haven't kept up with my desire to blog once a day? Yeah, put 2 and 2 together, and now it makes sense.

Day 1

 On the train, excited to be going to the Big City!
What you don't see: how much he whined "I wanna be on the traaaain!" before we got on board. Or the instant we were on board, the 239 times he whined, "I wanna go see the dinosaurs!" instead of just enjoying the ride.

 I'm not sure if this was mid-whine or mid-yawn.

 At the Chidren's Museum, my little architect!
What you don't see: Marty and I trying to explain to him, over and over again, that we couldn't just get off the train and magically appear where the dinosaurs were. First we had to go to the hotel to drop off our bags, and because there was only an hour before lunch, we were going to the Children's Museum first, then having lunch, then seeing the dinosaurs. Finally, the magic words, "Curious George is there" did the trick. Not that he would let us take his picture with the Curious George statue they could sit by. Nope, not having it.
What you also don't see: the humongous crowd at the Children's Museum, our fault for going on a Sunday morning I guess. Two parents to every child. Cameras everywhere. A nightmare of toddlers all wanting to play with the same toy at the same time.

 My little builder, making a wall on the cute rainbow bridge.
What you don't see: the screaming raging fit he had anytime any other kid came near his creation. Sharing was not part of his vocabulary that day. Unforutnately, at a Children's Museum, there are kids everywhere, and they all want to play with everything. So it was a fit at every station. Let's just say that Oliver doesn't have to know that there were 2 more floors and an outdoor area. We were out of there!

Finally, at the American Museum of Natural history, and seeing the dinosaurs!! Oliver's probably asking, "Daddy, what's that one called?" Because we had to name them all.
What you don't see: Him barely eating his lunch at the Shake Shack before the museum, because all he wanted to do was "GO SEE DINOSAUUUUUURS!" Yeah, so now we had a whining, hungry toddler. So fun.

 Oliver and Mommy, in front of the Mammoth that was found on my grandparents' farm in Indiana. My grandpa was so proud of that fact, and we had come to see it years ago when they visited me when I lived in New York. It was so cool to be able to get a photo of Oliver with me in front of it.
What you don't see: Getting Oliver to come sit with me for the photo. I can't believe we even got a smile out of him.

 Daddy and Oliver checking out the dinosaur timeline on the computer. This kid is seriously obsessed with dinosaurs right now!
What you don't see: They had one of these computers about every 20 feet. And they are too tall for Oliver to operate, so one of us had to pick him up to look at it every time we passed one. The thing is, they are all the same!!! Same info, same buttons, and yet, we had to check out every single one. I think he spent more time looking at those things than his beloved dinosaurs. Hey, we're all about education, but that is ridiculous!

What you also don't see: Once we were done with the dinosaur area, he didn't want to see anything else, no animals, no cultures, no cool planetarium with stars and planets. Nope. All he wanted was to go to the Dino Store (yes, he called it that), and get the all important Dinosaur Sticker Book. And leave the museum immediately and "Go to hotel!" so he could do the sticker book. We thought it might be fun to walk in the park, and maybe find the carousel (though we didn't tell him that part in case we couldn't find it). Nope. All he wanted was to "Go to hotel!" By that point, we were exhausted anyway, so we obliged, and found a subway. Of course, we had to change trains, so it took a while to get back to the hotel, so we (and all the subway passengers) had to endure his whining the whole way there. Finally in our room, we collapsed on our beds while Oliver went sticker crazy, only to finish the Dinosaur Sticker Book in about 30 minutes, at which point he started begging for a new one.

Highlight of the day: After dinner, Oliver begged to go "to the red stairs!" in Times Square, which he remembered from our trip here last fall with Grandma and Pop-Pop. So we went over there, only to find that it was Tony night, and so there were media everywhere. We got seats on the red stairs, and just watched the people. Oliver tried to count them (Marty got a pic of this, but it's on his phone). We even saw Samuel L. Jackson being interviewed!

Day 2
What you don't see: Because of Marty adding another night to the trip, we ended up at 2 different hotels, in 2 very distant parts of town (don't ask, it's a long story). The good news was that they were on the same subway line. The bad news is that we did not wait until long enough after rush hour (this was Monday), and made the near fatal error of getting on the extremely crowded, hot, standing room only subway with a tantrumming toddler and our suitcase (it was a tiny one!). I was the kind of person I hated when I lived in New York. Oliver was freaked out because there were too many people, so I totally understand why he was upset, and actually don't blame him. This one was all on us for even attempting it. I wanted to scream and cry too.

After dropping our bags off at the hotel, already exhausted but too early to check in to our room, we took the subway out to Coney Island to see the sights, including the New York Aquarium.
What you don't see: The subway ride took an hour. It was ok because it was not crowded at all, and I think we were all happy to be just sitting and not sweating. We read a dinosaur book. It was mostly calm, though we had to endure the whine of the day: "I wanna go to Aquariuuuuuuuum!" and "I wanna see the jellyfishhhhhhh!" Yes dear, we're on our way to the Aquarium. But every time the train stopped and we didn't get off, the whine started over again. There are a lot of stops in an hour trip out to Coney Island!

 Oliver loved the fish!!
What you don't see: Once we actually got to the Aquarium, you'd think he'd be content, right? Ha! Then the whine turned into "I wanna see the jellyfishhhhhhhhh!" which were, of course, the furthest from the entrance. He also threw a huge tantrum when we went to see the sea lion feeding show, saying he didn't like sea lions, the same sea lions that have been his "favorite" at the last 3 zoos we've been to. I swear, even the sea lions were staring at us. Finally, he calmed down enough and dare I say, actually enjoyed the show a little, though he couldn't show it. We walked around some more and then we'd seen it all, but he kept begging to see more fish. Eventually, we did get to leave.

 Daddy and Oliver on the boardwalk at Coney Island.
What you don't see: the screaming fit when I tried to put on his sunscreen. As if I were killing him or something.

 Oliver and I also posing in front of the ferris wheel.
What you can actually see: my inability to form my muscles into a real smile at this point of the day. Oliver's attitude is covered with his ever-stylish Elmo sunglasses.

 Mr. Attitude, spoiling a great photo op in front of the mural. He had stolen my lemonade and was refusing to return it.

And refusing to have any fun at all. 

 What you can plainly see: We are done. 

We took a quiet subway ride back to the hotel, rested for a bit, then walked over to South Street Seaport for dinner, where Oliver read "Red." 

Day 3
While our survival instinct was to take the first train out of the city and back to Connecticut, we hated to think we had wasted that extra night at the hotel, and it was a new day, maybe it would be better! We didn't have anything big planned. We knew we had to stay in the Financial District area where our hotel was, until after rush hour was over. So we decided that after breakfast we'd go to Battery Park, maybe find a playground for Oliver, and get to see the water. If we felt like it, we'd take the Staten Island Ferry for a free ride past the Statue of Liberty.

Our first mistake of the day was leaving the stroller in the hotel room. We figured we'd be in the general area, and sometimes a stroller is more difficult to maneuver through the crowds and intersections. Marty said if Oliver didn't want to walk, he'd ride on his shoulders. Marty's poor shoulders. Because Oliver didn't want to walk, not one step. 

 We found a playground at Battery Park! Oliver was thrilled to find a play area.
What you don't see: Mommy and Daddy were less than thrilled with this old, broken down playground. Half the apparatuses were roped off with Caution tape because they were in such bad disrepair. Seriously, it was a trip to the emergency room waiting to happen. Thank god for tetanus shots!

Of course, Oliver did not want to leave.

 In the park, watching a fountain. Oliver was pouting because he didn't want to leave the playground, nor did he want to walk, not even in the park! 

 But the fountains were fun, spraying in various patterns, so I did catch a glimpse of a smile.

Mommy found a cool wall outside Castle Clinton in the park the for what I thought would be some great photos. However, I had an uncooperative subject yet again. A cranky, whiny, unhappy boy.

What you don't see: Mommy calling the trip done. No ferry ride, I mean what was the point? We planned this entire trip around things we knew he would enjoy doing, and we got nothing but grief! If we knew we were going to be dealing with this attitude the whole time, we would have planned to do some things that we wanted to do instead. So we went back to the hotel, got our bags, and got on the subway back to Grand Central (it was past rush hour, thank goodness!). We thought we'd get an early lunch there, but the thought of spending an extra hour there was too much for all of us, so I ran into a store and grabbed some Chex Mix, Fig Newtons, and drinks, and we got on the next train. Best train ride ever. 

I know, you're probably thinking, well of course he was whiny, that is a hard trip for a 3 year old. Yes, it is. However, we'd been to NYC multiple times, and he's done great. Somehow, this time was different, and I think it's his age. He's just in that "I want X and X is going to be the opposite of what you want and I want it now and I'm not going to take no for an answer without throwing a fit" stage. In short, he's 3. I am so ready for 4. And I also know, some of you out there are also thinking, "Man, she sure is whining about her kid a lot!" Ironic, isn't it?

What you don't see: Oliver and I in the grocery store the next day, where he is in time out for having a fit because I brought goldfish for his snack instead of the new and exciting Chex Mix that we had on the train the day before. Yes, the goldfish that he has asked for for every morning snack in the past, I don't know, 2 years. How dare I forget to bring any Chex Mix! And so goes my days . . .