An early start on summer

Summer began early for us in our little backyard this week. Only 30 plus days until school is out, and I look forward to more nights like this with my family. It was a perfect evening last night for s'mores and if you don't already have a summer bucket list...I'd suggest you'd get started on writing one up. Make sure you add making s'mores on the list.
Even though our backyard is small we always make the best of it enjoying the simple pleasures of life. When life gets too hard for me to handle spending time with my family helps me to snap out of whatever it is that is keeping me from taking the little things for granted. We have our health, a roof over our heads, food to eat, the love from family and friends, and eating lots and lots of nutella and marshmallow s'mores. Seriously...I personally think nutella tastes better than Hershey's, Reese's, or any other chocolate bar!

Inspirational thought

After attending TOFW last weekend as well as going to stake conference yesterday this certainly has become my favorite scripture at this point in my life. 

Dream thoughts

I dream of Sierra attending Juilliard just for one year, then studying music at BYU or any other college.
I dream of Sierra receiving a full paid scholarship at Curtis Institute of Music in Philly.
I dream of Sierra playing the organ for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, (or even singing for the choir.)
I dream of Sierra performing at Carnegie Hall with the house filled to capacity. 
I dream of seeing her name lit up on music halls all over the world.
I dream of Sierra teaching music composition to the youth.
I dream of Sierra playing a duet with Chris Martin from Coldplay.
I dream of her writing her own score for a movie production.
I dream of her being in the top 10 of American Idol, and opening up with one of her songs for any band at the Music Awards.
I dream of Sierra playing in an orchestra for a broadway show. 

I dream of the 130+ friends who liked and commented on this picture on Facebook coming to hear Sierra perform.

As a mother I can dream, but only Sierra can make those dreams come true... 

So proud of her of all accomplishments this year...especially this one! 

Inspirational thought

"Listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you, no matter what. 
If you don't listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, 
they won't tell you the big stuff when they are big, 
because to them all of it has always been big stuff."

~Catherine M. Wallace~

The truth about charity

There are three things that Anthony Sweat and my husband have in common. They are both 6'2, LDS, and both teach seminary classes to the youth on a daily basis. The only difference is that Anthony Sweat is a full time educator for the LDS church (a.k.a. full time seminary teacher) while my husband teaches it everyday in the morning before school starts. It's a calling that my husband has in the church and he does it for free!

My husband's dream has always been to teach the scriptures to the youth all day just like Anthony, but that would mean we would have to move back to Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Nevada, Washington, or any state out west where they have seminary during normal school hours. There are limited states out west in which they have full time seminary teachers. Here on the east coast we have early morning seminary which means that the youth here wake up early to have class from 5:30-6:15 and then be ready for school by 7:30a.m. Now that's sincere commitment and devotion for a youth!

Nontheless I really enjoyed meeting Anthony last Saturday at the Time out for Women conference. He is a great teacher, and has even spoken at EFY, and Education week conferences as well as writing several books.

Mind you he was the only male at this TOFW conference, and so to break the ice he mentioned an experience while dining out with Mercy River and two of the other speakers at a local Applebee's in Harrisburg. You can imagine the look on their faces when their server asked them where they were from. When he said "Utah" I'm sure the server was immediately thinking that those were his wives! We all laughed so hard!

For those of you who are not too familiar with our church we don't practice polygamy anymore! That was way back in the 1800's and if there are people who still practice polygamy...well, they certainly are not members from our church. Those are fundamentalists and a totally different kind of a latter day saint!

On this day his talk was on "the truth about charity". In the things that he said charity went way deeper than the definition we all know it to be which is "the pure love of Christ". He mentioned how there is absolutely nothing in the scriptures where it talks about service. Nothing. I found that very interesting, and was so eager to hear the rest of his talk.

He continues to say, "Charity is not about service. Not at all. Not once in the scriptures will you find charity used in reference to service towards others. At least not in that context. It's always used in a more deeper spiritual level", and I agree. I guess I have to read my scriptures more carefully when I read about charity.

He continues to talk about finding deeper solutions on how to develop charity and to find ways in helping those that may struggle with this.  People might look at charity in a sense which is not as deep as we should look at it.

"Charity is not an action it's a condition." Wow. That's a deep statement. He used a lot of experiences in the scriptures as well. If you look in the Book of Mormon in Moroni, Chapter 7 it takes four verses to describe the concept of charity. That is how deep the concept of charity is. One scripture he quoted was: And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in inequity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things hopeth all things, endureth all things. Loved it. I came home and reread that chapter several times, shared it with my family, and talked about the true meaning. Those seminary teachers certainly no their scriptures, and because they constantly study with the guidance of the holy ghost will look at it in a different context.

Most of us don't really understand what true charity is. We can deliver a meal to a sister who has just had a baby, or take funeral potatoes to a funeral service (these are Anthony's words), or feed the poor, and helping the needy, but that's not the fullness of it. He said to get that out of your mind!

Some of you may ask, "well how do we seek charity?" His answer was, "By seeking anything that invites the holy ghost into our lives. After all...HE IS THE DELIVERER OF GOD'S LIFE".

One question he asked was, "When was the last time you did something in which you felt God's spirit influence you?" He then said whatever it was your were doing at that moment to KEEP DOING IT, and that is charity!

There are many times in which I have felt the love in my heart from the Lord to do something good. There have been days where I have felt prompted to do something good, and I have listened to that voice and did it! After I have done those things the joy that I feel is indescribable! After reading and discussing the true meaning of charity I realized that I have not yet mastered it. I am not perfect, but will continue to strive hard to live like it is written in the scriptures. I know what it means to serve, and to be a friend to someone who I just met in my neighborhood or in the church, but am going to continue in finding solutions to better my way of being charitable.

The last part of his talk he said, and I love this, "When we partake of the sacrament at church, and literally partake of God's love with a lot of meaning...we are seeking charity". That statement spoke out loud to me, and I felt the spirit so strong. I love attending my meetings, and reasons I come to church are to be strengthened, and to remember. To remember the covenant's I made at baptism, and to feel of His love.

The day of your National Spanish Honor Society Induction

The National Spanish Honor Society recognized my daughter's outstanding achievement in the study of Spanish, and when I received a letter stating that Sierra got accepted into this prestigious society I was ecstatic! Mainly because she has come a long way in her Spanish speaking. 

Ever since she was little our main language in the house has always been English. I know...sad huh? I feel guilty because I am Spanish and know the language, but hardly ever encouraged my girls to speak the language. It's kind of hard when you also married "a gringo" who knows German, but doesn't really speak the Spanish language. 

Well, for the past four years we have tried to use it more in the home. Moving to New Jersey has given us more reasons to speak the language because there are a lot of Spanish people living in this area. Most of the friends I have met are from Puerto Rico, Honduras, Peru, Argentina, Guatamala, and Chile. Sometimes I feel as if I'm on a mission meeting different people from all over the world. It's been wonderful making friends with those who speak spanish. It's also given me more reason to not only speak the language more, but to appreciate it as well. 

Sierra and Lexie are the main kids that are learning it more, and when we start speaking Spanish among ourselves at home in front of Chelsea she'll look at us as if we are from another planet. She'll say, "I didn't know you speak Spanish!" She's so cute! Now that Chelsea can read and spell well she is aware that there are more languages in the world, and then she tries to speak Spanish. She hasn't quite mastered it. Not yet at least. We are slowly teaching her small words in Spanish, and I'm sure that the more we speak it in the home the more Chelsea, and Noah will understand it.
I know from experience that knowing a second language will be beneficial especially when it comes to finding a job. Employers love bilingual candidates, and it will also give you a boost in confidence knowing that you can speak another language.
Standing in line to await the lighting of the candle.
Reciting their accomplishments in the Spanish language.
It sure was a magical evening to have shared it with all the parents of Sierra's friends, and to have glimpsed a sight of their future. I pictured Sierra speaking, and teaching Spanish to other kids. It was a sudden glimpse, but more of a dream thought. These kids have so much to look forward to in their future. It's not easy learning a second language, but in the end it'll all be worth it.
Amber, Sierra, and Britney

I never studied abroad, and I know that is something Sierra would like to experience. Mrs. DiMaulo studied abroad in Spain, and her words of encouragement has given Sierra more of a desire to accomplish that goal. We are so pleased with Sierra in all the accomplishments she has done throughout her years in high school so far.

Keep it up Sierra, we are so proud of you! XO

A Mother's touch

From left to right: Faith, Brooke, Whitney, me, and Soni at the TOFW conference. (Sorry for the blurry photo...the nice lady that took it had shaky hands!)
Children...they truly are the greatest, and these three beautiful women known as Mercy River have 13 children between them. Amazing! Add Faith and I we have 19 children between us. I have four and my dear friend Faith has two.

These three wonderful women each had insightful messages to share at the TOFW event. They each also shared a story, or spiritual experience in between their songs while testifying of the Savior. Oh, and their voices are so beautiful! They harmonize so well, and I got chills each time they sang their songs. You can tell by the way they sing that they have a love for music, and if you know our family...with two and a half musically inclined pianists in the home we sure have a lot of love for music.

Whitney Perrman shared an experience about how her toddler grabbed a hold of a hanger (not wire) and somehow punctured his little cheek with it! It was like this little person had a huge piercing except it's a hangar and not a cheek ring. She mentioned immediately taking him to the emergency room because it just wouldn't come out on its own. They were in the ER for eight hours which meant that her poor baby still had that hook in his cheek. She showed pictures of the ordeal and it looked so sad when they showed the one with the hangar in his mouth. The last photo she showed is the one that really caught my full attention.

In the photo she is laying next to his fragile body with her hand on his cheek. She said he'd cry every time she took her hand away from his cheek, and so she never let go until it was time for the doctors to remove it.

In that moment, and looking at that photo reminded me of how strong a mother's love can be. It reminded me of my Noah, and how much love I have for him. Not that Noah has ever endured that kind of pain, but when his two year molars were coming in, all he wanted was for me to hold him. He didn't want dad, he didn't want a cold compressor, he didn't want to chew on anything hard, all he wanted was me, "the mama". Looking at her photo through the big screen brought tears of joy to my eyes. I realized even more how huge my heart is in having so much love not only for my four children, but every one in that room. That room was full of mothers, and you can feel the spirit so strong as it lingered through all of those rows as she told the happy ending. The hangar was removed, and her little boy was healed.

There truly is something about a mother's touch that frees a child of pain. We have the capacity to will their pain away, and help them heal from the physical pain that they are feeling. I remember a certain memory where I slammed the car door of a Pinto on my thumb. Back then those cars were made out of steel so you could imagine the pain I must have felt. I remember the blood, the tears, and the chills I received moments after that door slammed on my thumb. I was stoic, and my mom didn't scold me. She saw what happened and immediately took me inside to get it cleaned up, and bandaged. No ER was involved, but just having my mother there at the time it occurred made it all better. Children are resilient, heal, and then go back to being that active kid again.
As a mother we grow from those experiences. We see our children hurting and we want them to know that we are there, and that we will be by their side to help ease the pain. I know that Heavenly Father helps our small children become resilient...especially in times when they are physically hurting.

Savor the moments

Sara Wells and Kate Jones were two other guest speakers at the Time Out for Women this past weekend, and they spoke about ways in how to simplify our life, and just be the "supermom" your kids already think you are. These two women are famous for their blog Our Best Bites, and have their own cookbook published.. It was so nice to have laughed, and cried while they were sharing some of their "supermom" moments about their children, and how important it is to never forget the little things that our children do in their lives.

One thing I have noticed about my friends on Facebook is how much they post photos and document their kids accomplishments, and I think that's great. After all...isn't that what Facebook is all about? I'm obviously one of them. I see the glow on their faces knowing that they are raising their kids right, and are succeeding well into their future.
Although the internet can be such a distraction there is a lot of good that comes from it. Things like documenting every detail of your childs accomplishments on Facebook, and if your a blogger (like me) you'll be more detailed in your writing as to the depictions behind the photos, what you were feeling at the time of taking the photo, and write how wonderful life can be with your children by living a simple, and "seeking the good" in family life.

Both of these women talked about how we should be focusing on the here and now, and to not look so much into their future. Sure it's nice to prepare them for their future, but to savor what goes on throughout their daily lives, and finding a way in remembering those moments.
These women are my kind of gals because they mentioned writing letters to your child no matter how old they are, and saving them for when they are older. Every now and then I'll write a little note to the girls on my blog, but I also did something different. I bought some small journals in which each day I will write something to each of the kids... along with a quote telling them how much I love them. There are days when my kids will do or say something funny that's out of the ordinary. At the end of the day I'll write down what each of my children did that day, and write down my thoughts on how it made me feel. Some of you may not be the writing type, and may find it time consuming, but I promise you that if you do this...they will appreciate it so much. 
Besides scrapbooking my kids lives, and a blog published book I want each of my children to have handwritten memories, and tangible photos. I want to document every detail, and savor each memory of them.

Blogging is an outlet for me in not only writing about our daily lives as a family, but my own thoughts as well. It's great and all, but I also want them to have something tangible that they can hold, and pass on to their posterity. Something that they will read, and while they're reading it say, "Wow, mom sure does love us, and their posterity will say, "abuela sure liked to write a lot!"

Enjoy the little things, for one day you'll look back and realize that they were the big things."
-Kurt Vonnegut

Apologizing is relieving

Feeling the promptings of the spirit, and listening to it is a powerful feeling. Attending the 10th anniversary for Time Out For Women yesterday was exactly what I needed to hear with all that has happened since the year 2012 began. Every once in a while we need to rejuvenate our spirits, and take a "time out" from our life as a mother to sit and listen to wonderful talks presented by amazing speakers who are members of our church. If you like General Conference you'll sure grow to love attending a Time Out For Women event, and it's specifically for women only.

All the talks that were shared that day were real, true, and spoken to me in ways I could never have imagined. Some of these talks were directed at me, and they were something that I really needed to hear.

I really enjoyed this day. Meeting with other sisters from all over the east coast makes the spiritual side of the sisterhood really strong. It was also nice running into old friends from the past. It's true what they say. When it comes to the LDS is a small world!
Leah and I. We were in the same ward in North Carolina four years ago, and this was the first time seeing her since we both moved further east!
On the two hour drive home my good friend Faith and I discussed some of the things we got out of the talks, and the things we'd like to change about ourselves, as well as finding solutions from our prayers to find ways in "seeking the good".  How we as mothers, sisters, neighbors, and friends can be an example and shed the light of Christ. To live the standards of the gospel, help improve our weaknesses, and have unity within everyone we are surrounded with. To pray harder for ourselves, and to have a constant happiness within us.
Faith and I
Wendy Ulrich who offers seminar retreats on forgiveness, abundant life, loss, and spiritual growth talked about the sacred power of apology, and in a lot of really hit home.

I don't do well with contention. If I feel I have wronged someone or even think that I hurt someones feelings, I'll go up to that person and let them know, or better yet...apologize. All my life I have always been the one to apologize first, but in a most recent experience it took me longer to apologize to this certain sister. I felt that it wasn't my fault, and that I am going to let my pride take over, and just ignore her at church. I found reasons in not talking to her, and for almost a month said to myself, "well she's not talking to me so why should I talk to her?" and "It's not my fault, she needs to make the first move." That was not Christlike. Oh no...that wasn't.

It felt so sad coming to church walking through the halls without a greeting, a look in the eye, or even a simple smile. Sitting on the other side of the Relief Society room just going about my business fellowshipping other sisters except her. I couldn't take it anymore. My heart is too soft, and the guilt and the love of Christ began to pour over me. Sure enough I ended up apologizing, and it seems like things are okay between us.

Wendy also mentioned in her talk that instead of praying for people to change, that we need to pray for ourselves to change. She hit that right on the nail.

There were five questions that she asked during her talk, and they were:
  1. Who has annoyed or hurt you lately?
  2. If that person sincerely apologized, how would it help?
  3. Who's been annoyed with you or hurt by you lately?
  4. Have you sincerely apologized?
  5. If you know what is stopping you?
I thought about those questions and I hope that some of us will examine them and take them to heart. Some of us may not know how to say "I'm sorry", and others may see it as a sign of weakness. Well, I certainly don't want to look at it in any of those ways, and never again do I want to wait to say I'm sorry no matter if I think it's my fault or not.

From the words of Wendy Ulrich I learned that it's never too late to apologize. Be responsible, have empathy, and fix it because you may never have that chance to apologize. 

And the award for best solo goes to...

It was 11:00 at night when I heard a car door slam from outside the house, and the sound of my eldest daughter's voice happily saying, (and with a giggle), "thanks for the ride, see ya tomorrow." With everyone asleep I hurried to unlock the door for her to greet her home. I noticed something in her hand, and sure enough she came home with this:
We stayed up for an extra hour talking about the competition, and all the schools they played against. She told me how her fellow musicians didn't think they would win because another school seemed to have performed better. Their woeful faces changed into jolly faces when the MC began to say a word that began with an "H" which was Highland high school. She mentioned how everyone was screaming, and jumping for joy as if they were at the music awards. It was so nice to have stayed up with her talking about her special evening with the rest of the band. It was also bittersweet for her because this was their last jazz festival competition of the season. 
  There were eight schools that performed, and their high school won for best rhythm section. Sierra won for Best Soloist, and she continues to dazzle everyone with her talent. I had a feeling that she would be receiving another award, and I was right. 
In every competition she has won each time, and we are so proud of her. She looks forward to being in the jazz band again next year as a SENIOR (yikes!), and hopes to win more trophy's, scholarships, certificates, and plaques.

Like I wrote in one of my previous posts..those piano lessons are seriously paying off!
She truly is a gifted pianist!

Click here  to watch her play her solo...her fingers made me tired at the end!

Noah...he's a boy alright!

Noah at 18 months looking out the window
 In honor of cancer awareness our township got nice new recycling bins, and as soon as Noah hears the vibrating sound of the recycling truck approaching he'll run into our bedroom, stand on my green chest, and put his hand on the screen as if they are taking away his most prized possessions. I guess it's a boy thing, and he truly is fascinated with all kinds of cars that make noise. Especially the big huge semi trucks!

 He'll even make noises as he plays with them. He hardly does the crashing noise anymore. He used to when he was about 18 months old, but what he usually does is he'll line up all of his car toys together, and just play with them.
I know it's a boy thing, and as each month goes by Noah has developed something new in his character that none of my girls have done. I'm really getting the hang of things now when it comes to raising a boy, and I look forward to every new adventure he has to portray, and I am loving it!
Noah at 18 months old.
My sweet boy...he's growing up way too quick!
Noah on Easter Sunday with a taxi cab in his mouth! 
 With all of his car toys!

Knitting in the spring

Lexie's stash of yarn & knitting needles (including mine by Cath Kidston)
Dear Lexie,

Can I just tell you how happy I am that you really put your heart into crocheting & knitting. Joining the young women has sure got you hooked on what is to come that is crafty. I love that you make the time and effort to crochet, and sometimes knit. I know we talked about knitting scarves and hats for the family for Christmas last year, and I'm sorry that we didn't put too much time in for that. We will definitely attempt to do that this year! Hopefully Sierra and Chelsea will join in too!

I never learned how to knit as a young girl, but I do remember covering wire hangers with yarn. Your great- grandmother showed me how. That is the only memory I have of my grandmother teaching me how to be crafty. She was big into sewing, but never taught me. I don't think she ever taught abuela either. I remember your abuela always hemming brand new pants if they were too long, and mending our clothing. She never owned a sewing machine, but I could tell that she wished she had.

I promise we will get a new sewing machine soon! Dad said so himself hopefully for my Mother's day...if not for sure on my birthday!

So let's get ready to SEW, SEW, SEW!

Schedules, weaning, & a hope for better sleep

In the life of being a stay at home mom with four kids running around in different directions, sometimes schedules do not work for me. I'm organized, but not when it comes to Noah's nap & bedtimes. None of my kids have ever had a bedtime schedule, and all the girls have adjusted fine without them. However, I do have a daily schedule in which seems to work for me which helps me find balance.   

This is how my schedule goes on a daily basis:

Noah is the only child I have in the home with me for eight hours. He wakes up at the time his sisters do, and they are all out of the house by 8:00 am. I feed him some oatmeal which is his favorite, and he will watch cartoons on PBS for about an hour or two. Sometimes I'll also lay out some paper and crayons so he can color. I just pray that he doesn't color on the walls. This gives me time to clean up the kitchen, put a load of laundry in (which never ends), check my phone, and email, read, blog, and TRY to put in 30 minutes of yoga. 

When Noah gets restless, or tired of watching television he'll come to see what I'm doing and join in. Well, what he really wants me to do is nurse him. I am seriously trying to wean him from nursing, but I end up giving in. By this time it is about 10:30am, and if I have any errands to run (which I always do) I'll fit that into the schedule. Sometimes he'll fall asleep in the car, and sometimes he won't. His nap times vary anytime between 11am and 2pm, and the girls are all usually home by 3:00pm.

Then their is homework, piano/violin lessons, talking about their day during dinner, and since the weather has been great we will go for a walk afterwards. It's so nice to have a walking trail in our neighborhood. There are days when my better half will come home late so it's just me and the kiddos. By this time it's about 8:30pm. To some of you that might be considered a late time to put the kids to bed, but our world today who has time to go to bed at 7:30 or even 9:30pm? Especially when it gets dark at 7:45pm. Maybe when I'm much, much older I'll be going to bed at a decent hour.

I think I have Noah utterly and completely spoiled. This boy wants to sleep in our bed all the time. He'll fall asleep in my arms while I'm sitting on the couch, or he will conk out on his own. I'll slowly move him to his crib, and then he wakes up! He does not like his crib anymore so I move him onto our bed.  

I cannot get him out of our bed. Sleeping with his sock monkey no longer works its magic, and to be honest, I don't mind it too much.  I do admit there are some nights where we would like a break and sleep on our own. I hope that once he's potty trained, and has his own toddler bed that he'll have more of a desire to sleep on his own. 

I also found this book, and decided to buy it. So far I absolutely love it! I just hope some of the solutions will help Noah get better sleep, and sleep on his own without fussing. 
I've also learned that going for walks does well for all of us. I think we need to do that everyday. Between the walks after dinner, and reading this book maybe it'll help Noah go to bed easier...and help us get better sleep.

My golden curly haired little boy

Since summer is just around the corner I have been debating on cutting Noah's hair. When he sweats he pours, and his stench is that of a puppy dog. A smell I'm not used to since I've raised girls. I'm not sure how to tame his mane, and I certainly don't want to buzz, snip, clip, or cut any part of his curls on the back of his head, but it is starting to look a little long on the sides. I have to put his hair behind his ears as if he's a girl. I seriously need to somehow trim his hair without cutting off those sweet curls.

Any ideas? As y'all know he is my first boy, and any advice would be helpful.

No matter where we go everyone including my own family tells me he looks nothing like me except that he has my eyes, and my nose. I also get a bonus because of my curls. That's pretty much all people say he inherited from me. It doesn't bother me as much anymore. I just grateful that he is a healthy, sweet, and good looking little boy!
Curls or no curls...I know that he's mine, and that I carried him for nine months. He knows I'm 'the mama' and that's all that matters. Who knows when he gets older if he'll skin will turn olive, and his hair will get darker. Only time will tell.

Fort Mott State Park

When I first moved to New Jersey I had questioned my new friends of what fun things there are to do here in the area. A sweet sister in the church gave me a pamphlet of Fort Mott state park, and told me that this was a place where children can run around freely in the park, and learn about history as well. I have always wanted to take the kids there, but just never put it on our "things to do in New Jersey" list.

Since it was our last day of Spring break I decided to take the kids, and check out this place. This is a hidden treasure along the New Jersey coastline, and while dad was at work the kids and I took the turnpike to Fort Mott. We got here within 40 minutes.

Just to give y'all an idea as to the history of Fort Mott it is an Endicott-era fortification, and was built as part of the federal government's late 19th century plan to defend the Delaware River. Yes...there was a battle and, because we all have a penchant for history the kiddos enjoyed themselves as if they were in battle.
Not crazy about Noah "trying" to point his finger like holding a gun...Chelsea too!
We enjoyed touring the remnants of this historic fort. It is now a tourist site, and as you can see there is a park near the Delaware river with a lot of open space. We absolutely loved this place!

Crazy girls with their karate kick moves!
It was interesting to have hiked all around this fort, and to read about the history of New Jersey native... General Gershom Mott who was a Mexican War and Civil War veteran.

We sure loved all this wide open space, and to see all of this grass was heaven (who cares if there were stickers!) It was so nice to have had the kids run around the park, and stare out into the river.
I dreaded this day coming to an end. The kids and I had so much fun, and we took the long way home. Next time we'll bring dad, and have ourselves a bbq picnic. Back to reality tomorrow!