Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I just couldn't decide ...

... which picture Veronica took during our evening at the Kaiserslautern fair I liked best. So I decided to post, like, nearly all of them. To see the entire album, you can click here.

Our little blue eyes

The boys were less than enthused with our idea to ride the ferris wheel.

They both hung on to us for dear life.

Elijah showing his enthusiasm about the idea of going up very high.

Isaac contemplating the ferris wheel.

But once on the wheel, the boys seemed to enjoy the view! (Mommy on the other hand was thinking: "This is very high!")

Elijah just can't help it! If he hears music, he has to dance.

Elijah loves ice cream ...

... but his big brother Isaac is obsessed with the cold stuff. No one can mess with him while he is eating ice cream.

Here is Elijah on the one ride we let them try. Elijah sat here for a few seconds and then decided this was not his cup of tea.

So instead, Isaac got to have two rides. The second ride, in this jeep, was marred a bit by an annoying older kid who wouldn't let Isaac push the buttons that they shared.

After our time at the fair, we headed into a typical German town to eat a light dinner at an outdoor cafe.

While we ate, Elijah chased the birds. Chasing birds was like dancing for him. He couldn't handle seeing one and not chasing it.

Our family by a fountain near the restaurant.

I love these two pics. Here is JB giving me a kiss. Isaac doesn't like how close we are getting.

Now he is much happier! (And Elijah is off, chasing a bird!)

The world from Veronica's point of view.

Eating a pre-dinner snack (yogurt bites.)

Words & Videos

Mommy: "Isaac, could you please stop that."
Isaac: "I can't stop."
Mommy: "Could you try to stop banging that?"
Isaac: "No, I really can't."


We have one high chair in our unit. Elijah has recently wanted to start using it. This upset Isaac. He thinks he should have a turn too. I explained to Isaac that he eats better (without spilling as much) than Elijah and doesn't really need to use the high chair. "The high chair is for little boys. You are a big boy," I told Isaac.

Isaac thought about this for a minute. I tell him all the time that when he is a big boy, he will be able to eat eggs. So he said, "No, I'm a little boy. I am allergic to eggs."

True that.


Elijah: "Can I have some juice Mommy?"
Mommy: (just kidding around says: "No way!")
Isaac: "Don't talk back Mommy."

Excuse me?

And here are some fun videos to share as well. JB had the camera that records video with him in England, but he left it with me now.

OUR "GERMANY" HOME: Here's some conversation with the boys while getting a view of our new "home" for the next two months.

TURKISH TALK: We recorded this video for Hatice (our housekeeper). She's been incredibly worried about me and the baby, and we wanetd to reassure her. The day I was in the hospital, JB came home for a few minutes and had to sit down and calm her down she was crying so hard. Her daughter recently lost a baby at 25 weeks, an I think that has added to her worry. Isaac has been obsessed with knowing what the word for something is in Turkish. He has all his colors down now and is constantly asking me how to say other things. "How do you say car in Turkish Mommy" "Dog?" "Cat?" etc.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Stonehenge & Good Bye Again

JB has come back to us here in Germany, if only for a few days. He attended a conference in London, and while the Base he was staying at wasn't near a lot of the popular sites, he was able to see Stonehenge on his way to the airport on Friday. How cool is that?

The good news? He got to see a place he had always dreamed, since he was a little boy, of visiting. The bad news? London traffic worked against him and despite giving himself three hours to make the 1.5 hour drive to the airport after thes top, he missed his flight by one minute. Actually, he didn't miss his flight. The flight was still 45 minutes from departure. But Heathrow has a policy that if you don't check in within 45 minutes, you can't board. So he was out of luck despite some major begging of airport employees because he showed up with 44 minutes to spare. Seriously. It was that close.

Worse news? There were only two flights remaining that evening and they were both booked solid. He'd have to pay $60 just for an attempt to get on those flights, and if he didn't get on, he'd have to go get a hotel and try again the next day for another $60. Due to the volcano smog, all flights the previous day had been cancelled so there were tons of people trying to get on a flight. Not flying out until Saturday would have really stunk considering he was only stopping in for the weekend before heading back to Turkey on Monday.

But somehow, through the Lord's great favor, John get the last seat on the next flight! Praise the Lord!

I was already at the airport (over a one hour drive from Base), and completely dumbfounded as to what to do when JB did not join the other London passengers in coming through the exit doors. Where was he? I called Veronica on the cell phone that Labor & Delivery here has loaned me. JB had contacted her via email. (Actually he had emailed me before I left, but I didn't check my email before I left.) He had told her that he had missed his flight and was waiting to find out if he would get on one of the booked flights that followed.

I went to the information booth and asked them if they knew how I could find out if my husband he had, indeed, made it on the next flight. (Not having cell phones is such a pain. How did we all live without them before this?!) The nice lady at the booth said that policy prevents this. "But," she said, "You look very pregnant. Go over to British Airlines and someone may have mercy on you."

They did. Another nice woman gave me some "on the sly" information that JB had, in fact, gotten the last seat on the next flight that left. So happy! I did, however, start having pretty solid contractions in the airport. It makes me/us think that either stress or fatigue is a major contributing factor in those things creeping up on me. Time to slow down again a bit (or at least not have his husband almost miss his flight.)

We got to spend all day Saturday and Sunday with JB/Daddy before Isaac and I took him back to the airport on Monday. Believe it or not we accidentally headed toward the wrong airport AGAIN this time before realizing it and turning around. What is with our airport luck as of recent?!

It was so wonderful having him here and with us. We got some errands done -- like getting a gas card that allows us to have American and German prices and spent some time in a quaint German town enjoying the beautiful weather and culture. We took a walk through the woods behind our house. We just enjoyed being a family. JB slept on the pull-out couch (the bed in my room is only a full and we just can't manage it -- especially with me pregnant) and he got up every morning with the boys while he was here.

This morning, JB told both the boys that he was going to miss them so much. "I'm going back to Turkey today," he said. Expecting sadness, we all had a good laugh when Isaac said, "Okay. But you mail me back my lamborghini." (That was a special car that we brought him from Spain that he had forgotten to bring with him to Germany and had been asking about a lot.) I guess the excitement from getting the car outranks the sadness of seeing JB go.

We aren't sure, excactly, when John will be back. We are hoping he can be back in about two weeks, which was the date he was originally planning on flying us out here. Pray for that if you don't mind. We really need that guy around here.

P.S. A happy Memorial Day -- remembering all those who gave their lives for our freedom.
P.S.S. Getting ready to close my latest book giveaway. Click here to enter your name before it is too late!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Reader Question: Potty training

How did you decide to start potty training and what was your approach? (Our daughter is 16 months old and I'm wondering when I should start thinking about it). -- Blog reader.

In our case, we were operating against a clock of sorts -- a trip to Germany clock. We knew that training in Germany would not be a good idea. We also knew that by the time we got back, Isaac would be well over 3. We were seeing signs that both boys were ready. These included, from Isaac, frustrations when he was dirty or wet. From Elijah, he was hiding when he had to go #2. In fact, he would go hide and if we tried to approach him while he was "doing the deed" he'd back us up and say, "No fanks. No fanks." He wanted his private time. Isaac was also very nearly dry after naps and in the morning when he woke up.

In February of this year, we decided we need to give it a try. Isaac was 2.5 and Elijah 2. A perfect time to give it a whirl we thought. I read and got advice from a variety of people. In the end, I thought the best fit for me was the naked idea. One Saturday when both boys woke up, we decided to strip them down and let them be naked. We rolled back the rugs and gave them as much juice as they would willingly drink. We were both 100% present and each assigned to a boy so that we could watch them like a hawk.

Suddenly the dribbling began. You could tell they had to go, badly, but didn't like the feeling of peeing on themselves. So we'd sit them on the little potty and because they had to go SOOOO bad, they'd pee in the potty. We then gave them M&Ms, anytime they went potty IN the potty. It worked wonders. Once they associated the feeling with the potty and receiving the M&Ms, we put them in "big boy underwear." Isaac got the idea right away. Elijah had more trouble. He had trouble knowing before he started to wet the underwear that he actually had to go. But he was young and we weren't sure, in the first place, that this would actually work with him so we kept with it since he was getting it right a lot of the time. We did not put him in shorts very often so that he could feel the wetness as quickly as possible.

Pee-pee came easily for both boys. Within about a week they were both trained. We still put Elijah in a pull-up for awhile anytime we were away from the house or going on a trip in the car. But Isaac was nearly perfect and accident-free from the beginning.

I think going #2 can be more of a challenge. Elijah got it quickly but to this day, Isaac still waits for his diaper at nap and bedtime (we still do this for now.) We figured we'll approach this battle after we return from Germany.

As for when your daughter is ready, I personally would not rush it. You can do a "trial run" but if it isn't registering in her brain, I would go back to diapers and try again in a few more weeks. If she is pretty dry in the morning and after naps, if she doesn't like the feeling of being wet or dirty, and if she hides to do her deed, these are good signs. They typically say a girl needs to be at least 2 and a boy is usually nearing 3. Elijah was definitely on the young side, and we would not have started with him if it wouldn't have been that we had Isaac just 8 months ahead of him. I think, in the end, the M&Ms were just too great a call for him! I don't think there is any big rush, and we had planned that if that weekend was a bust, we'd just throw in the towel and try again a month later.

What about other parents out there. How old were your kids? What worked (or didn't work) for you.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

What I Want the World to Know About ...

... being an oncology nurse.

This is is post #6 in a series of guest blogger posts entitled, "What I want the World to Know About ____." Want to include a post of your own? Click here to find out how.

By: Anonymous

This is a post by a young woman I taught for a year in St. Charles, Minnesota. She has asked that I not use her name or photo. She grew up in St. Charles, went to nursing school in LaCrosse, moved to Davenport, IA for my first and current oncology nursing job. She will be moving back to the Rochester area to work at Mayo as an oncology nurse in July. She also went to school, St. Charles, with Veronica's big sister English.

The dictionary can define the words “oncology” and “nurse.” But what it cannot define is the term oncology nurse. No one can, unless you are an oncology nurse yourself, which in fact, is exactly what I am.

Everyone always asks me why:

  • Why would you want to deal with death every day?

  • Why would you want to work in an area that is so sad?

  • Why would you choose a specialty that is hard?

  • Why is this your dream?

My answer to those people is simply: it is my dream, it is my passion. They still don’t understand. They still don’t understand that someone has to do the job, someone has to be the nurse taking care of their loved ones from the time they are diagnosed with such a cruel disease, from the day when they wake up crying because all their hair fell out overnight, from the time they can’t stop throwing up because of the “miracle” medicine doctors and nurses call chemotherapy, from the time they hear the words, “you are in remission” and “I am sorry, but we have exhausted all our options. There is nothing else we can do for you.”

Caring for those people affected by cancer is my dream and my passion. I am perfectly okay with death and with a new life. I would be lying to myself if I didn’t admit that it was hard. That I find myself tearing up sitting at the desk charting, sitting in my patients room listen to them talk about their faith in God, their hatred toward God, and while I am hugging their loved ones as they just took their last breath.

It is hard. Cancer sucks. Cancer is not fair. No one should have to go through what cancer patients go through. No one should have to be told they have cancer. Unfortunately, we have not come to find a cure for every type of cancer. No “miracle” pill that will rid the body of cancer. Don’t get me wrong, there are many success stories and many cancer survivors. Many people have fought this disease and have won. I praise and admire those individuals. They are strong, determined, faithful, stubborn, and appreciative. And I can only hope that each day, there are more and more survivors.

Because cancer is every evolving and changing, it makes it so much harder to find a cure for EVERY type of cancer possible. Which in turns makes it even harder to find a cure, which makes it even harder for people to continue to try to find hope in light of their diagnosis.

Despite the hardships of caring for those affected by cancer, there is an uncountable number of positive things which remind me every day why I chose this career, this profession, this specialty.

My dream and my passion to be in oncology nurse stems from the fact that I learn more from my cancer patients every day than I can from any other person I know. They teach me to literally live life to the fullest, do not take anything for granted, accomplish your dreams, push yourself to be a better person, and do not live with regret. They show me that even when things are bad and they are on their last few days, they still smile, they still cry, they still laugh, they still rejoice with their loved ones, and they still have a sense of humor.

I gain a sense of comfort knowing that I am that person that makes the patient comfortable during their last few days, to allow them to be anxiety and pain free. I gain a sense of comfort knowing that I am that person that makes sure the family gets their rest, gets their nourishment, and gets to be at the patient’s bedside during the final moments in order to embrace the memories of the patient.

I was once told by a patient’s family that I was an angel sent from God to care for their father. I have not yet come to agree with that statement, however, I do agree with the fact that it does take a special person to care for oncology patients….and despite the frequent “why” question I get from many people, I am that person.

Popsicle Time!

After losing out on the post-dinner popsicle treat the first night, Isaac had a great second night. So both boys ate and behaved well during dinner and earned a popsicle last night. I am thinking this may be a nightly ritual while we are here in Germany as there was great motivation and energy for our usually most difficult meal of the day. Fun times!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Hotel pics of boys

These are actually some pictures form the first few days of our trip, when we were staying at the hotel off-Base. (Obviously courtesy of the lovely Veronica!) Here's the view from their bedroom during playtime!

Sick & Sweet

The boys are both pretty sick. Head colds. At least Isaac (sort of) knows how to blow his nose now. Elijah still doesn't. He just says, "Nose running Mom." Then he gets me a tissue and asks me to help. I bought some lotion kleenex for him, but his poor little nose is still really raw. Yesterday in the car he actually said to me, "Got a booger in my nose Mom. Get it pease." I grabbed a tissue and was able to wipe his nose from the front seat. He sighed, smiled, and said, "Fanks Mom."

You're welcome.

I actually had to take Isaac into the doctor yesterday for a bad sore he has in his mouth. Thank goodness our friend Deana is a doctor here on Base and was able to help me facilitate this. (We are still having trouble getting them "in the system" here on Base. Lots of little details still to try and get worked out.) Deana thinks it is not a "foreign body" or "abscess" which is great news! We'll just watch it for a few more days.

Speaking of "the system", we realized that my military ID will expire while I am here. I planned to get it updated before we came here but that obviously happened sooner than we expected. Problem is, it expires on June 10. Second problem is, JB has to be with me to renew it. Third problem is, JB won't be here on a work day with me before June 10. So we are going to have to get POA for me and some special form filled out so that I can get an ID without JB. Ugh!

Back to the topic at hand. Sickness stinks. These little men are so incredibly crabby. I try to remember how I feel when I am sick, but the fighting and crying and running noses, is enough to spin me into a heap on the floor. Elijah has been pushing, hitting, clobbering Isaac whenever I am not looking. This causes mass hysterics from Isaac even when the act is a simple "touch." A lot of drama that's for sure.

However, in the midst of all this "hard" parent stuff, both boys continue to say and do these things that make me laugh. Elijah, for instance has taken to calling me "Mom" all the time now. It's so cute. He is calling Veronica "VeronicaRay" (her full name) all the time now as well. At dinner last night, he told me it was "De-wicious." (Not sure anything I cook fits that description but it was nice to hear nonetheless.)

Isaac still calls Elijah "buddy" but has now taken to "honey" as well, obviously imitating me. It's funny hearing a big brother calling the younger brother "honey." I laugh every time.

There seems to be more understanding of the fact that baby Abigail will be joining us -- especially from Isaac. Today I saw a baby in a stroller and asked Isaac if that was baby Abigail. Isaac looked at me like I was an idiot and said, "No Mommy. Abigail is still in your belly." But he will say things like, "The doctor is going to get Abigail out. Then we will go back to our house. She will go in her swing. Maybe she can ride in Ewijah's car seat." Things like that. Elijah will answer questions. Where is Abigal? You're bewy. Who is going to get Abigail out? The doctor. Are you going to hold baby Abigail when she gets here? No. Are you going to share your toys with her when she gets here? No. That sort of thing.

Swirling among the drama is a lot of smiling and laughing. These little guys are something else. And I love them to pieces.

P.S. I was featured on another blog today. It's a blog written by a gal who lives in Istanbul and shares her perspectives on Turkey. Check it out here.

Reader Question: Bin Laden

So, this is totally off-topic, but since you're the only person I currently "know" living outside the U.S., I thought I'd ask -- what is the mood like in Turkey with Osama bin Laden gone? With your husband in the military, has the mood been relieved, happy, peaceful? Or has there not been a notable difference, emotion-wise? -- Blog reader

I talked to my husband about this and asked him what he thought as well. In general, I think that people were happy about finding Bin Laden. It is a success for the military, and we are proud of our military for finding this target.

However, overall, I think it doesn't really "matter" to those in the military. Their job is whatever their job is at the time, and they will continue to move forward. Overall, the military are not huge supporters of Obama and how he has handled things. However, it really doesn't matter. You just do your job no matter how you feel about your leader. I think this will continue whether we have a Republican or Democratic president. Whether we are fighting in the Middle East or not.

There is also a hope that this will ease tensions in the Middle East. Everyone wants there to be less of a need for our men and women to fight over here. We want families reunited. We want people to spend holidays at home. We don't want people dying. We don't want people injured. Anytime something like this happens, there is a hope that this will help in the bigger objective.

There were no huge celebrations over Bin Laden's death. There was talk. People were happy. They were hopeful that this will change the tide.

What about it military members and family members who read this blog? What have you felt the "pulse" was of this hot topic?

Mom lessons

1. This will hurt me more than it hurts you is true. Really true. Two nights ago, I promised the boys a popsicle if they ate a good dinner and behaved during dinner. Isaac was being so disobedient during the entire meal. I gave him even more chances than I should have and finally laid down the law. If he threw his fork across the table again, he would get no popsicle. I warned. He threw. And I stuck to my guns. Oh man did that hurt my feelings. Especially when Elijah wanted his popsicle and Isaac had to just sit there watching him eat a purple popsicle. I felt lousy and much worse than Isaac did I am sure. But I did the right thing as the next night, when I offered the same promise, Isaac said to me, "If I do not obey, I will not get my popsicle. Right Mommy?" He was perfectly behaved last night and got his popsicle without incident. So even though it does hurt me more, following through is valuable.

2. Losing my cool is getting easier to do. Yesterday, I ventured off-Base by myself to an indoor playland I had been told about. The boys had a wonderful time. (And don't worry -- I had a plan in place to take a taxi to the hospital and have Veronica meet me there if anything were to occur labor-wise.) However, my directions were completely reliant on my car's navigation system. That woman telling me where to turn was integral to us getting back to Base once playtime was over. The only thing was, Elijah decided that he wanted to cry. Sob. Yell. Louder than the woman talking. I could not hear what she was saying and could not tell by looking at the screen where she was telling me to turn. I got so frustrated. I made two wrong turns attempting to hear her over Elijah's screams. I really do not yell at the boys much. I have a loud voice, but I don't yell. But I finally just gave up and yelled, "IF YOU DON'T STOP SCREAMING, I CANNOT HEAR THE WOMAN AND WE WILL NEVER GET HOME!" This worked like, not at all, and I felt even worse when thirty seconds later Isaac repeated what I said, in the same tone I had just screamed in, word for word. Lesson learned. Yelling doesn't do any good. And your kids are watching.

3. Fighting is frustrating (especially in the car). While I can pray and hope and beg and plead, I must get it through my thick skull that my Irish twins will be fighting for the rest of childhood. They love to antagonize each other. They love to push and pick and pull and pester. And they REALLY like to do it in the car all of a sudden. While driving, my options are limited. What do I do? I can't punish them. They aren't really old enough to understand future consequences. And I can't give them a time-out. I can't even spank them. There's nothing. Their fights are so impossible to even referee. Take this one for example. Any ideas on how you possibly end this from the front seat of the car?

Isaac: "My name is Ewijah."
Elijah: "No! I'm Ewijah Woop. (Elijah Luke)."
Isaac: "No. I'm Ewijah."
Elijah: "Mom!!" (He's crying hard now.) "I'm Ewijah."
Mom: "Yes, Elijah, you are Elijah. Isaac is just playing with you."
Elijah: "Don't do vat I-Z (Don't do that Isaac)." (Takes his toy lizard with a very stretchy tail and clocks Isaac in the head with the lizard.)
Isaac: (He's crying hard now.) "Mommy! Ewijah just hit me!"
Mom: "Elijah, did you hit Isaac?"
Elijah: "Yes."
Mom: "Say you are sorry to your brother."
Elijah: "Sorry I-Z."
Isaac: "I'm not Isaac. I'm Ewijah."
Elijah: "No!! I'm Ewijah Woop." (Starts crying again and hurls his lizard at Isaac.)

Anyways, those are just a few of the lessons I am learning as a single mom. As always, advice is welcome!

P.S. A very happy birthday to my dear friend from Eglin, Joia. And a happy birthday to my sister-in-law Elizabeth (JB's older sister.) Sorry I am one and two days late for both of you!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Little Good Byes

One of my dearest buds, Stebbs, couldn't have said it better (on her blog) than me. I know I already don't live by my real family. But my friends in Turkey are my surrogate family. And leaving them a month earlier than I was planning on is really hard for me. I mean, really, really hard.

I know I need to be here in Germany. I know this is how it had to play out. This is safest. This is best. This is where God put me. But the fact that I had to leave "my family" one month ahead of time is hard for me. I had it scheduled so I would spend as little time as possible away from home. And now I am going to be here for what feels like an eternity.

Our Base at Incirlik is like so few places on earth. We are just a few hundred people thrown together, forced to live on Base, and living and doing everything together. I miss that little Base. I miss my friends. I miss my doggie. I miss my support system.

Please don't misunderstand. I have everything here I could possibly ask for and more. I have a great place to stay. I have Veronica here to help me. I have both my boys with me. I have beautiful weather. I have transportation. I have great medical care. I have restaurants and a massive BX and Commissary and a library and pool (which opens next week.) Really, I am in want of nothing.

Except my home. My family. I don't want to be here. That's it. There. I said it. I want to go home. I want to be at my home with my "family." I need to get over this. I am here. And I am not leaving until July, maybe August. That is how it is. But if you could pray that my heart accepts what my head knows, I would appreciate it. I need it. I hesitate to write it in fear I sound ungrateful. But my gratefulness is not related to my discontent. If that makes sense?

I know this is probably compounded by the fact that both boys have a doozy of a cold and are under the weather both physically and in their amount of whine and cry and need. I know this is probably compounded by the fact that JB isn't here with us. But he won't be with us for most of our time here. I know I'll feel better when he is here and when my Joni and my Dad and Mom are here. But for now, I need an extra dose of strength. I need an extra dose of peace and comfort and acceptance and just the Lord. Amen.

Adventure Day

On Sunday before JB flew out to England on Monday, we went to one of the German outdoor/adventure parks that they have here. We love these (and had gone to two of them the last time we were in Germany back in October.) They are a perfect mix of entertainment, animals, and outdoors. So peaceful and relaxing. We all had a wonderful time, and I was able to stop and sit and take it easy quite frequently. Here are some photos of our fun afternoon:

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Incidentals (your participation required!)

  • Phone: Yes, we hope to have our magic jack set up here in Germany. I am waiting until JB gets back from England to help me with that. I'll keep you posted. I also do have Skype usable right now.

  • Mail: I can receive mail here -- I think I can get my own temporary APO Box eventually. But I also have a friend here who has volunteered to let mail come to her. Just email me at: flakymn@hotmail.com if you want the address. We would love to get mail. Boredom will be our biggest challenge here. Magazines would be great or other little USED toys for boys (match box cars are always a hit or stickers etc.) are very welcome.

  • Baby Updates: The last 36 hours, I have had considerably less contractions. As long as things are going pretty "normal", I am going to be putting more of my pregnancy updates back on my "Baby Updates" page. Hopefully this will continue for next 7 weeks or so. You can click on the link under the header on the main page of my blog or you can click here to read them. Anything very important will go on the main page, but small incidentals will be reserved for this page. I will say right now though that I am feeling TONS better than I was a week ago. A week ago I would have told you I felt I was going to deliver any moment. Today, I do not feel that way. Praise the Lord.

  • Library Recommendations: I think I'll be reading a lot here. There doesn't seem to be a great selection of Christian fiction writers at the library however. Any recommendations on some other good books that I could check out at the library? Please let me know!

  • Book Give-Away: With all the drama of the baby, my book-give-away got pushed to the back burner. Click here to find out the book currently on my give-away list and enter your name in the contest. You can also click on the link under the header.

  • Other gifts: People have been asking about other things we "need" for the baby. We really do not need anything, however, I have registered at Target for a few basic things if you want to get an idea of the things we would like.

  • Playhouse Disney: We have this station here! At home, TV is limited to an hour a day and we really only watch Sesame Street and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Any other shows on Playhouse Disney anyone wants to "vouch for" as good for 2-3 year olds?

  • Pashminas: Please remember I still have some of these for sale. Click on the link under the header or click here to buy a beautiful pashmina AND support Because of Isaac.

  • Because of Isaac: Speaking of Because of Isaac, we are currently just over $10,000. We have set a goal to hit $15,000 by the end of June. This means we need just 50 people to donate $10. Would you consider a $10 donation? You can, of course, give more, but just 50 people is all we need to hit our next significant milestone. Click here to find out how you can donate.

  • Follower? Please let me know by clicking on the "followers" on the right side of the page. We are nearing 200! So exciting.

JB is in England

Got this message from JB. What an adventure, but he is successfully residing in England at the time. Please pray that the volcanic ash doesn't keep him from getting back to us this weekend!

So I left Ramstein right when I wanted to give me an hour to drive there and arrive 2 hrs before departure. The GPS was easy and, without any delay, brought me directly to the wrong airport! I kept thinking to myself, "hmmm, I thought Frankfurt Airport was more in the city... when's the city going to start?" Well, it never did. I pulled right up to Frankfurt-Hahn Airport and not Frankfurt International Airport.

I pulled over and re-entered in the airport information. I carefully selected the International airport. Only 114 km. One hour and fifteen minutes. I could do that.

Oh, and I was almost out of fuel. I was trying to not fill up since the fuel was prepaid upon rental. I had less than 20 km left in the tank. I saw a gas station that looked like it was sitting in the middle of a wheat field and I actually spun out my tires as I hit the gas to get there. I put in a few liters and then hit the road. I sped. I admit it. Not crazy, but I went really fast. Note that there were still Germans flying pass me going well over 200 km per hour (yeah -that's 125 mph).

So I arrived at the terminal, returned the car, found the check-in gate, got a boarding pass, turned in my bag, went through customs, and found my gate at one minute before boarding... before boarding was supposed to start. The flight left an hour late! Then we were stuck in a holding pattern over London for about 30 more minutes due to weather. We had the worst landing I have ever experienced. The plane bounced a few times and drifted bad to the right before we had solid contact.

The flight attendant kept insisting in speaking to me in German. I found out at the end of my flight that it was due to the book I was reading: Sepp Holzer's Permaculture. He's got a great Austrian name and in his photo on the front cover he is sporting classic Alpine clothing.

I got off the plane, made it through customs, got my bag, grabbed the shuttle to the rental car lot, and got my car. An hour and a half drive through London rush hour traffic driving a manual (stick-shift) transmission on the wrong side of the car that I have to drive on the wrong side of the road got me to my destination.

I passed a little British pub on the way in. After I dropped my bags off, I went back and had a nice hot dinner with a great local beer.

Now, within one week, I have resettled my family of 3 (and baby on the way and Veronica!) to another country for almost 3 months with one day's notice after spending the night in a hospital, taken 3 flights, rented 3 cars, checked in to 3 hotels, and am really tired!

Did I mention that a volcano in Iceland has just errupted and the ash cloud may hit London in a few days... right when I am supposed to leave???? (they actually think the wind is supposed to keep it away from London for now... they think)

I'll worry about that tomorrow. I am going to bed.

Love you. Give my boys hugs for me.


Test is "passed" dude ...

Left house at 6:45am. So proud of myself. With the help of my handy-dandy new GPS best friend, I arrived at Landstuhl at 7:15am. At 7:30 they took my first blood draw. At 8am they told me I was approved to participate in the test. (So happy!) Then I drank a flat soda and at 9am, 10am, and 11am I got stuck again. I'll find out the results sometime today or tomorrow I think. I was worried about not eating for 16 hours, but I did fine. By 3pm this afternoon I had received a call. Not only was the test "passed" but I "passed." With "flying colors" by the way!!!

While I was waiting I watched Say Anything on our portable laptop DVD. So glad I brought that. It really helped the three and a half hours go by faster. This is a 1989 movie with John Cusack. Very sweet. I checked it out at the library. Along with a bunch of books and other videos for the boys. Love the library!

Speaking of movies, last night Veronica and I watched Best in Show after being told by many people I had to see it. Hmmmm .... not sure what the fuss was about. I didn't find it very interesting or even funny. Just dumb. Veronica agreed (and she has a more warped-JB-like sense of humor so between the two of us I think we represent the general public well.)

What did Veronica and her minions do while the Mom was away? Well, sing for one. This is Elijah's new favorite song, thanks to his Veronica.

Monday, May 23, 2011

What I Want the World to Know About ...

... Trisomy 18!

This is is post #6 in a series of guest blogger posts entitled, "What I want the World to Know About ____." Want to include a post of your own? Click here to find out how.

By: Kiley

Her story began like all new pregnancies do. With the announcement of "I am pregnant". I was excited, shocked, nervous. This pregnancy was nothing like finding out about my first. I knew in my gut the moment I took that test that something wasn't right. The severity of how badly things were to become were to unfold in ways you only see on soaps.

The first ultrasound appointment would marked the roller coaster ride of our journey. A missed heartbeat at my 8 week appointment would only show a tiny little thing measuring 5 weeks gestation. I knew how far along I was. I fought with the doctors, waited 3 hours to be see. The whole situation was a nightmare. Only to get worse.

I had horrible care from the Doctors. Many who just didn't seem to care that I was carrying a living, breathing baby. They would not let my husband in with me at any of the appointments. At my 19 week growth scan I was excited to confirm my suspicions that we were indeed having another little girl. A little girl we would name Anabelle. After loosing my mother-in-law only a few short months before, Anabelle would be the start of something happy to finally look forward too. A happy welcome to the dreaded start of the new year. She was to be named after Ana, her Vovo.
I went into the appointment alone. Scared. Worried. The ultrasound tech was cruel, cold, and had no heart. She would scream at me to move a certain way, to stop talking. I asked to see the monitor and she refused. Another doctor came in, and I knew that moment something wasn't right. I saw a glimpse on the screen. She didn't look like a healthy 19 week little one. Her face was shaped differently and her belly just seemed small to me. I left the appointment feeling confused, worried and needing answers. My husband chalked it up to the office staff and their unwillingness to have a heart.

The following day after my appointment I left to visit family in Maine. Its then I got that call that would change my life FOREVER. I can still recall the words of the nurse on the other line, calling from the Rhode Island prenatal diagnosis center. "Miss. Martin, I am calling to let you know that we received your blood work and your daughter's (congratulations by the way on your little girl) recent ultrasound pictures and your blood AFP test. I just want to let you know that we have noticed that she has some chorid plexis cysts on her brain. This could possibly be the result of a chromosomal defect, but in 90% of the cases, they go away on their own and its nothing to worry about." This is when I asked her what kind of defects could it be. and she told me "Trisomy 18 is one of them, but please don't put yourself in a panic and by all means, don't go on the internet to look it up, it will only worry you more." The rest of the conversation was a blur. I remember making a new appointment with her for the end of the week. Jason wasn't with me visiting family, so I called him on the phone and told him the news. Immediately I went searching on the internet. What I found was devastating. Death and "Failure to Thrive" were pretty much the theme of any articles I read. I told myself I would wait until further testing, but still continued to find out all I could on this subject. Calling, researching, talking with anyone who would listen.

I finally returned back from Maine and barely had anytime to really grasp what was going on. We were immediately seen by a high risk doctor and prenatal genetic counselor. Both whom I immediately disliked. I found myself growing a *VERY* thick skin and immediately spoke up and said that I wanted someone different. Thankfully, they were accommodating and I had very little issue getting both a new doctor and new counselor. To this day, I am so grateful I made that switch. Our genetic counselor Caroline was amazing. We fell right in love and she really listened to everything I had to say. She never once made me feel like I was crazy for trying so hard. She did everything she could to look into all the current information I had for Trisomy 18 and was always available anytime I called. I just loved her.

She of course went over the statistics, let us know what "COULD" be the outcome, but because of my age and testing numbers, it just didn't all add up. Many of the Doctors begged us for an amnio but I refused. I knew that if the outcome wasn't good, and she was born alive, they would not do any life saving measures even if we requested it. I did NOT want this for my daughter. So we said no. The risk of the amino far outweighed our options to find out her genetic makeup.

We went through our pregnancy as "normal" as possible. Normal for us was now coupled with NST's (Non Stress Tests) Ultrasounds, and growth checks three times a week. Depending on how Anabelle was feeling on a particular day, we could be anywhere from 20 minutes in the office to 3 hours. So it made the last 12 weeks very long. Babies with Trisomy 18 typically don't move around a lot in utero, and if they do, because of their small size would make it harder for you to feel them moving. I spend many evenings worrying and wondering if she would still be alive. I think it was the hardest time for me. I just couldn't come to terms if she was to pass away before she even had a moment to live. I accepted the fact that there was a 99.9% chance she was not going to be with us, I just wasn't willing to accept the fact that she could pass away before being born. And I didn't.

Her arrival was a stressful one. Not even a happy joyful one. I spend a good 2 hours in the Delivery Triage of the hospital. My first time at Woman and Infants (as I had my first child in Boston) I was expecting a warm atmosphere, with nurses and doctors their to help you anyway they can. That didn't happen. Instead, I found myself arguing with a doctor that wanted me to have an amnio. I was only 37 weeks at the time, and he felt that it was just too early to deliver her, not knowing if her lungs were mature. I flat out told him, under no circumstances would I have an amnio. She had stopped growing 2 weeks ago, and it was time to deliver her that day. I told him if he wanted an amnio done so badly, go do it on himself. I was angry, livid and tired of doctors thinking that they always new best because they had the piece of paper hanging on some dingy wall saying they did. He wasn't happy with me and spoke to my husband saying "Are you going to let her speak to me like that." My husband, looked him right in the eye and said, YES I AM. Your on your own buddy. He left the room and didn't return. About 30 minutes later, a nurse came in the room, in a very rude tone and said I got my wish. Looked right at me and said that my husband and then 22 month old daughter had to leave, that they weren't allowed upstairs. I was livid by then. Jason quickly made arrangements for our daughter to stay with a friend until my mom and sister arrived later that night/early morning. They brought me upstairs at 8pm and things began pretty quickly.

I told them that if she came out breathing, I wanted to see her before they whisked her away, that they were to help her based on her being a child, not a child with possibly having Trisomy 18, and that my husband was to go with her after delivery to the NICU.

From the moment I was hooked up to the monitors and settled in with the nurse, its the last thing I remember before Anabelle was born. After she was delivered I remember them working on her, bringing her downstairs, and Jason going with them. That's all. I struggle everyday with this, because I don't have the memories I want to have. Only the ones people tell me, or I see in small video segments that Jason was able to capture.

Anabelle Eileen Martin Rodrigues was born on November 11, 2004 at 6:19am. Weighing in at 4lbs 6 oz and was 17 inches long. She was beautiful, she was tiny, she was ALIVE!

The next few days were an emotional roller coaster. From hearing doctors and nurses tell you she would not survive the night to others telling you that I had to just let her go and stop dreaming a life that she would never have. I knew the outcome, and I knew the statistics. The difference between myself and all those people around me, was that I had hope. Hope for her, hope for myself. Hope for other parents dealing with this now and in the future. I didn't want Anabelle to be just a number in a book. I wanted her to do as well as SHE could do. And that was the most important to me. I would fight for her and with her as much as she needed me too. She was my child, my daughter. I didn't see her disability, I saw her as a beautiful baby who just needed the extra love and support to get through each day.

Yes Anabelle had Trisomy 18, later confirmed by blood work two days after her birth. Yes she showed all the signs of a baby with Trisomy 18. Small weight, strawberry shaped head, fingers that were crossed and wouldn't open up, small eyes, nose and mouth. Ears that were shaped as if she were a little elf. I loved her just the same.

We spend the first 19 days of her life in the NICU at WOMAN AND INFANTS HOSPITAL. I loved her nurses. They were caring, warm and friendly. They took their job very seriously and loved the babies as if they were there own. We found out one of Anabelle's nurses had gone to school with two of my classmates from high school. Which was very comforting. She called all the time, took pictures when she could and kept up with Anabelle's day to day health. She truly did fantastic. She was on a breathing machine, but was only on room air, she was being fed by a tube through her nose and overall was very healthy.

When the day arrived for her to come home. My heart must have been beating out of my chest. I was worried she wouldn't make it off the machine. That she would pass away minutes or hours after they took the tubes out. I was a wreck, but didn't show it. I wanted her to prove to the doctors that Trisomy 18 isn't a text book case. Its something you have to handle based upon your understanding of that particular child. Not as a whole, but individually. I remember her doctor from the NICU wanting to be there. A mean souled man who I truly found myself hating more and more with each passing day. After she came off the machine, he wanted to hold her before we left. I reluctantly gave him the ok. The minute he picked her up, she not only threw up all over him, but had a very large accident as well. I told him it served him right speaking ill about her next to her bed. Putting her in the grave before she was even there. I didn't know how long she would have with us. But that moment made me feel like my choice of carrying her to term and helping her live was truly the best one.

Anabelle left the hospital on November 29th 2004 weighing in at 3 lbs 15 oz.

When we took her home, we wanted it to just be the family. Myself, Jason and Olivia. A family of four. We spend that day enjoying each other. Watching movies, eating lots of take out. Making memories. The next two weeks before her passing was a whirlwind. We took trips to the mall, saw Santa, visited family. Tried to make as many memories as possible.

The last day of her life was hard but beautiful. She passed away peacefully in my arms at exactly one month of age on December 11, 2004. She was the sweetest little girl. She taught me to fight for what I believe in, that no one person knows all the answers, and that I can do anything that I put my mind too. I learned so much that year carrying her, giving birth to her, watching her here on earth and then loosing her. It's never easy to loose a child, but I don't look at it as losing her, I look at it as though I gained much more then her passing.

If you or someone you know has had or is currently going through a diagnosis of Trisomy 18 please feel free to contact me at kiley@walkingalready.com or visit my blog here. I am happy to help anyway possible. Any and all questions can be asked and nothing is too personal.


Such great news! We are online! Internet, phone, TV! As Elijah would say, "Hurray! We made it! Yay Ewijah!"

More good & bad

JB left this morning for England -- especially glad to see that the results of my "Fetal Fibronectin Test" were negative. This test, if negative, assures, with nearly perfect accuracy, that I should not go into labor within a week's time. We were both happy to know that Abigail should be staying put for at least another week and that he go to his Meeting feeling as safe in that as he can.

I did however, fail my 1-hr. glucose screening test. I had done this test at Incirlik before I left but because Abigail is measuring so much larger than they think should, they wanted me to do it again. The fail means that I have to go back tomorrow morning for a 3-hr. glucose test. Ugh! I have to start fasting tonight at 8pm and the test starts at 7:30am which means quite a long time that this pregnant gal won't be eating anything.

I definitely have not been eating as well as I normally do being on the road and just in general in this pregnancy. I haven't been able to exercise consistently either because of (a) appendicits (b) foot injury (c) contractions. So I am a bit stressed right now, feeling that if I do have gestational diabetes it is my fault. I also cannot talk to JB about this which is causing me extra angst.

In addition, Isaac has a sore in his mouth that JB is very concerned about. We remember him hurting his mouth sometime a week ago, but while brushing his teeth last night, Isaac started screaming, and JB found a huge sore up by his gums that appears may be an infection or foreign body (like a piece of a stick or something.) I talked to our friend Deana (who did residency with JB and is stationed here in Germany.) There will be a lot of paperwork to figure out to get him seen here unless I just take him to the ER. So we are trying to work out the details of this.

However, I am really trying to stay positive. While it does seem like my life seems to be swirling amid drama at every turn, I am a blessed woman. I MUST NOT consider throwing myself a pity party.

I even made a list of all the things I am currently thankful for while JB was working on rental car details this morning and the boys were playing at the BX. They include:

  • A rental car!!! We got one!!! How wonderful is that?

  • My boys are here with a built-in playmate for the entire 2.5 months. So glad they have each other during time away from their home and friends.

  • A beautiful park right outside our hotel.

  • Access to computer lab (even if there still isn't technology in our building.)

  • First-world medicine. I must remember, and never forget, visiting L & D facilities in Nigeria when I was there. I am in a great place with great care. How blessed am I for that?

  • Our friend Deana who is helping us with a lot of details here on Base. So glad to know someone.

  • Beautiful weather.

  • Some contacts via the Ramstein MOPs Facebook page who I can email for questions or information.

  • My husband. He is a rock. What a man. The poor guy hasn't stopped working on details and taking care of us since all this drama began just a week ago.

  • Veronica. Oh Veronica, how I love thee. Can't even imagine how we would be working things out if she hadn't come into our life a few months ago.

  • A comfortable bed in our hotel. I was worried about this. It's wonderful!

  • A washer and dryer IN our hotel! Oh how I squealed when I opened that closet and saw those babies.

  • Elijah making me smile by calling me "Mom" lately. Not sure when he stopped saying "Mommy" but it just makes me smile when he says, "I hungry Mom."

  • A play area at the BX where the boys can play.

  • Shane and Linda loving Scrubby while we are gone.

  • Isaac and his growing sense of awareness of this world in which he lives. He has recently become obsessed with my growing belly and chest. Yesterday he asked me, "Mommy, is your shirt getting bigger?"

  • A Base like Ramstein with a library and video store and restaurants and every single thing I could possibly need.

  • Friends back on Base like Angelica and Stebbs who are going to help me today by mailing me things we need and checking the mail for us.
Praise the Lord for all the wonder of my life. Please pray for my fasting test tomorrow. Pray I pass with flying colors! My next regular doctor's appointment will be next Wednesday. Please also pray that Abigail rests in comfortably until then.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

May 22

Thank you to everyone who wished me a happy birthday via email or Facebook. The boys brought me a card and sung me "Happy Birthday" this morning. I got a pre-natal massage and facial gift certificate to use. Very cool.

Today is bittersweet. I'm 34. That's a bit bitter. Ha. But also, today was supposed to be my baby shower on Base. Needless to say that was cancelled. Another bitter bite.

But it is sweet to have the three most important men in my life here with me. And Veronica is pretty cool too. We spent the day at a local nature/adventure park and had a wonderful time.

Pictures to come whenever the dumb email thing gets fixed in our lodging.

Good , Bad, Bad

Firstly, the good news.

We are moved into our new home for the next few months. It is beyond my wildest expectations. A gorgeous, nearly new, 3 bedroom / 2 bathroom apartment. The boys have a room. Veronica has a room. I have a huge bedroom with a bathroom in it. There is a very spacious kitchen, dining room, balcony, and huge living room. When my parents come to visit there will be plenty of space for all of us. It's more than I could have even prayed for. Truly! There is a wonderful park right behind the building and other parks within a short walk. JB made a Commissary run and our kitchen is fully stocked. Things have come together very well. We were hoping for a first floor but are pleased that we are at least only on the second floor.

Now the bad news in two parts.

Part I. The Internet/phone/TV has been knocked out in all the TLF buildings in the area we are staying and they have NO idea when it will be back up. None at all. This makes communication very difficult in many ways. I wanted to make sure I posted that here so that everyone knows we are safe and sound and doing well but that communicating with me may be very hit or miss for the next ... we don't know how long. Pray it's not too much longer. I'm already struggling being away from the USA and then Turkey and now JB leaves tomorrow. Not being able to communicate with him or my family is not ideal for my sanity.

Part II. I have not been approved any transportation while here. We were allowed to have a rental car for one week due to the fact that we were not on Base for part of the time. However, when JB leaves for England tomorrow, his car gets returned. We were hopeful that despite the fact that cabs and rentals were not permitted, I'd be close to a shuttle stop. That is not the case. The nearest shuttle is actually well over one mile from our lodging. And there is no shuttle that even runs to the Commissary -- period. We could, of course, get a rental car on our own dime. But to do that for months would be a wee bit costly. JB has sent an email to the "powers that be" back in Turkey, and we'll wait and see what they rule on this matter. But not being able to go anywhere with the boys all day will be difficult. Normally, walking 2-miles round trip would be something I could do no problem. But any exertion right now seems to start up the contractions pretty quickly.

Just going to turn this one over to the Lord and see what he can work out here!

Hopefully I'll be back to update sooner rather than later.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Some funny boy moments ...

Went in to get the boys at their normal 6am wake-up the day we were leaving for Germany. Isaac popped right up in bed and said, "I'm awake Mommy. Time to go to Germany." He then ran into our bathroom to have a shower conversation with JB about the details of our trip. Shuttle to Adana. Flight to Germany. Then a rental-car. He's quite excited!

Another sweet note ...

This morning Elijah said, "I'm hungry Mommy." (Hungry comes out a bit more like horny though to be completely honest -- but that's a whole 'nother funny altogether.)

When I didn't reply right away he said, "Wenni, I'm hungry, Wenni."

That got my attention!


The other thing that the boys have been doing has created some great frustration coupled with intense laughter. Here's how it plays out.

Elijah pretends to take something off of Isaac's pants. He reaches over in his car seat, grabs something, and then puts his little fist into a ball.

Isaac then becomes distraught. "Give that back Ewijah buddy. Give that back."

Elijah keeps his fist in a ball as if he is hiding the secret of the world. Isaac whines. Elijah grins. Veronica, JB, and me sit there contemplating how to solve this.

So what do you do as a parent? Instruct the child who took nothing to give nothing back? Instruct the child who wants nothing to not want nothing back?

I ended up, and I kid you not saying: "Elijah, give that to Mommy." He then opened his hand and gave it to me. It was nothing remember. Just pretend air. I then turned and returned the nothing to Isaac who immediately stopped whining/crying and went on about his merry way.

"Fanks Mommy," Isaac says. "Ewijah took that from me."

Seriously?! Where do they come up with these things? And how does a parent find themselves completely playing along to keep the peace?

Poor Isaac got sick on the first plane flight. We aren't sure if it was motion sickness or the custard he ate, but he started turning green and then he threw up. He did a great job. JB was sitting next to him and he used the barf bag and listened really well. As soon as he threw up he said to JB, "Oh my belly feels much better now."

After we got off the plane I asked him what happened. He said, "Mommy, I got sick. And didn't feel good. And then I did the yellow throwed-up."


Friday, May 20, 2011

More Updates from Germany

I met with the Materal Fetal Medicine Specialist (Dr. M.) early this morning after a short four hours of sleep. We really, extremely, incredibly, liked her. She's a spunky, fun, down-to-earth gal.

Here's where we stand now:

I am going to be watched a little closely for the next few days, but most likely, these contractions, are not associated with labor. It appears I am just contracting, even fairly regularly, with no cervical change. This is what we suspected might be the case in Turkey, but I can't tell you the difference in the care and confidence exhibited by the OB docs and Dr. M. here and how much better we (especially JB) feel about the situation.

She wants me to come in tomrrow for a "Fetal Fibronectin" test. This test, if negative, will basically guarantee that I will not deliver in the next week. (They do not do this test in Turkey so it was not possible to find this out there.) She has also taken me off of my "anti-contraction" medication. It is a high blood pressure medicine and could possibly hurt me (by lowering my blood pressure which then lowers the blood to the planceta) more than help me. If I am not going into labor, but just contratcing, then I should not be on the medicine.

For now, I can resume my normal activities in a calm and normal manner. (Not in a whirlwind-Wendi way.) If I start to feel contractions, I need to lay down for 1-2 hours and attempt to get them to stop with relaxation and rest. As long as I can keep them under 6 an hour for 2 straight hours, I don't have to go into L & D. If they spin out of control, then I'd have to go in and get checked and make sure that labor still has not begun.

For now, we are all praying, planning, and hoping, for a scheduled c-section at 39 weeks. That was the original game-plan and Dr. M. is hoping it stays the game plan. We also go to talk to her about doing a VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section). While we had tentatively decided not to try for a VBAC, we wanted to hear from a specialist on this. She told me that a woman like me, who dilates to 10 and pushes for 3 hours and still can't get a baby out, has a less-than 13% chance of successfully delivering a baby the old-fashioned way a second time, and that, as we were already decided, doing a VBAC is not even slightly recommended. That solidified our decision in that.

She also had me repeat the 1-hr glucose test here as baby Abigail is measuring very large. (Her head is measuring at almost 34 weeks even though I am 31.)

All that said. How am I doing? How are we doing?

We are staying in a guest house off-Base for a total of two nights as Base was completely booked. Tomorrow we will move in a 3-bedroom unit on Ramstein where we will get to stay for the duration of the pregnancy. I have a lot of emotions right now. I really want to be back at my house, with my friends, with my kids in their beds. Receiving good news makes me feel that maybe we could have stayed longer.

But JB reminds me otherwise. We need to be here. This is the best care we can get. JB admitted to me, as soon as the plane landed in Germany, that he was under some major emotional stress while I was in Turkey. Just the thought that myself or Abigail might be brought into a situation where we weren't getting the best care, really bothered him. We needed to go. So we did. Case closed.

I'll talk more on an emotional level later, but for now, hopefully this provides some "update information" for all of you out there. I'll be in touch, of course.