Baby Kate: 10 Months

Weight & Height: I weighed her on our scale and she’s right around 17ish pounds. Not sure about height, but she’ll get officially weighed/measured at her 1 year appointment!

Eating:  She’s still nursing or taking a bottle 5 times a day.  We dropped the nursing session in the early evening, as she just wasn’t that interested anymore.  On weekdays I nurse her in the mornings and before bedtime, and she still gets 3 bottles at Michelle’s.  She’s eating her yogurt and 1/2-1 jar of baby food at night…better than nothing!  Still trying table foods per the doctor’s suggestion, but most of it ends up on the floor (or rather, in Montana’s mouth).

Sleeping (naps):  Still the same for now; 2 naps during the day, ranging from 1-2 hours each.

Sleeping (at night):  Bedtime is kind of hit or miss these days!  I think some of that was being jet lagged from our trip and going SO long on those travel days without much sleep.  Usually, though, she goes down anywhere between 7-8.

Clothing:  Packing away the 6 months clothes (with a few exceptions)…I can’t believe it!  She’s mostly in 6-12 months sizes now.

New this month:  She is on the move!  What started as a very slow army crawl is picking up a bit.  What a change, already, knowing that we really have to watch her when we set her down.  I tell you, about 6-8 months (for us–when they can sit up but can’t crawl yet) is SUCH a sweet spot.  But it’s fun to see her crawl around and explore, too.

She also had a cold this month, her second one.  Poor little pumpkin…I felt so bad for her.  We kept her home from the sitters (thanks, mom and dad!) and her only symptom was a slight fever and congestion.  She went on to get a bit of a cough, but nothing we had to see the doctor about.  In fact…knock on wood -we haven’t been to the doctor for an illness yet!  Here’s praying that lasts.

Nicknames:  Kate Kate, Peanut, Peanut Pumpkin, Sweet Girl, and Pooh Butt

Kate likes:

-Waving!  Since she learned to wave last month, she is alllll about waving to people.  We noticed this especially on our trip to Ireland, when we were in the airport.  She’d just wave at strangers passing by, and it was the cutest thing seeing their reactions.

-Squealing.  Ohhhh, can this girl squeal with the best of them!  Not because of any certain mood, she just likes to hear her voice.

-Other kids.  She is SUCH a happy girl playing with the kids at Michelle’s, and she simply adored all of her cousins in Ireland.  (And, naturally, she loves her Indiana cousins, too). 🙂

Kate dislikes:  

-Having her nose wiped.  We FINALLY broke down and got a Nose Frida this month with her cold.  WHY did we wait so long for this?  It’s pretty much the best thing ever.  Much more effective than the bulb syringe (aka snot sucker).

-She’s starting to get a little sassy when you take away something she wants (but can’t have).  Watch out, world!

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What I’ve Learned Breastfeeding and Pumping

Breastfeeding and pumping these past (almost) 10 months have been SUCH a huge learning curve.  It was honestly the thing I was most nervous about after labor and delivery.  Not to sound cocky, but I was confident in my ability to be a good mom…it’s something I’ve always wanted and it just feels RIGHT to me.  But breastfeeding?  And PUMPING?  No way.  I had no clue what I was doing!  I know every mother and every baby are completely different, but here are just highlights of what I’ve learned this past year.

  • Use your resources when you don’t know what the heck to do.  Admittedly I’m horrible about seeking out help for things.  Well, this all changes when you become a mom.  It has to!  Not only did I text my two girlfriends who had babies 6 weeks before and after me, but I asked my sisters questions and of course, consulted Dr. Google (I know, I know…).  The first week Kate was born, I went to a free breastfeeding support group at the local hospital.  There I was able to speak to a lactation consultant since I was struggling with a lot of pain on my left side.  And I contact a La Leche League Leader a few times regarding my supply.  If you don’t know what to do….ask away!
  • Nursing bras and tank tops are NOT necessary.  Here’s the thing with annnything baby or maternity related: having those words in the title will automatically make everything, like, twice the price what it should be.  Not cool, people!  So when I saw cute nursing tanks on Pinterest, I thought, oh!  I need ten of them, right?  Well, I bought one at Target to wear just to see if I liked it.  I think it was about $20, so, IMO – not super cheap for a plain tank.  It was cute, yes, but it’s NOT something I would wear out in public by without a sweater or hoodie.  Maybe for smaller chested women it would be okay, but there is very little support.  And nobody needs to see all that goin’ on.  If I was rich or someone gave me a ton of nursing tanks, would I wear them?  Sure.  But I just personally found it easier to wear my workout tanks (much more comfortable and supportive).  With nursing BRAS, I really just tried one.  I know there are some with under-wire, but I was afraid to go that route as I’ve heard it can sometimes cause mastitis.  So, again, it offered VERY little support.  And here’s the thing…it’s so much easier (and draws much less attention if you’re in public) to just lift up your regular bra than to mess with snaps or buttons!
  • Invest in a pumping (“hands free”) bra.  Now, I’m all for life hacks in order to save some money.  So when I read the idea to cut holes in an old sports bra to use for pumping, I thought about giving it a whirl.  However, I really didn’t have any old sports bras that fit, and I certainly didn’t want to cut holes in the nicer ones I had.  So I found a cheap bra at Target (for I think around $20) and it has been the BEST THING EVER.  I didn’t buy it until I went back to work, but I wish I had it at home prior to that (I’d pump one side at a time….kind of annoying).  Definitely worth the money!
  •  Just keep swimming.  Breastfeeding (especially once you return to work and have to pump) is HARD WORK.  For some people it comes easier and less painful than others.  But it’s important to remember that the pain is temporary in the beginning.  Later on, I dealt with (TMI) nipple blisters and even blood blisters.  Yes, when Kate would finish nursing on that side….she totally looked like the Joker from Batman. 😦  But, again, use your resources – lactation consultants are the best, and of course friends and family!

Today I Have…

Eaten two hamburgers.

Cried because my sister in law and father in law left (after a weekend visit).

Vacuumed. Twice.

Made Sloppy Joes (in the crock pot!).

Soothed and carried a sick baby (saddest thing ever).

Thought approximately 762 times how I could be a better person.

Missed my husband because we haven’t spent much time together (alone) in the last few weeks.

Not drank that much water (crap).

Worried about work and money at least 8 times.

Tried to nap when Kate was sleeping but couldn’t sleep through the noise of the dishwasher.

Been inside all day looking out on a gorgeous, spring day.

Thanked The Lord for my daughter and wondered what in the world I would do without her.

Ireland 2015 (Part Two)

We were so excited to spend Easter Sunday in Ireland.  What a treat!  I feel kind of guilty that I didn’t have an Easter basket or another from the Easter basket for Kate (all my Pinteresting mama friends sure did!), but hopefully she didn’t notice. 😉

We went to mass at 10:30 in Athlone.  We expected the church to be packed, and…it wasn’t!  And get this: the service was 37 MINUTES LONG.  Quickest mass I’ve ever been to, not to mention you usually expect Easter mass to go longer!  I think it was due to their being no music.  And the priest was a very quick talker!

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As we were walking into the church (we met my parents there–they walked from their hotel across the river), a lady stopped us on the street.  She said she knew Kate from a picture my dad had shown  her!  He was the unofficial “mass greeter” that morning, standing by the front doors looking for us.  How cute is that?

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After mass we went to a little cafe to grab a little something to eat.  Most things were closed due to the holiday, but thankfully we got in okay.  It was just next door to Sean’s bar, the oldest bar in Ireland.  I’m a little bummed I didn’t get a chance to go into Sean’s during our visit (Brian said it’s pretty neat–all of the ceilings are suuuuper low), but my dad got to get a drink there with Brian during our trip.  I’ll have to put it on my list for next time!

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We walked around a bit and then headed over to Mary and Rosaleen’s for Easter lunch.  My, oh my…they didn’t disappoint!  The main meal was delicious.  Lots of meat and I think 3 kinds of potatoes?  My favorite!  Then when we were all stuffed to the gills, they brought out two different kinds of pie.  It was absolutely delicious and rounded out one of my favorite meals there!

After lunch we headed over to Michael and Lucy’s so we could visit and dad could see the farm.  Michael took dad around and gave him the tour, while Lucy acted as a lovely hostess.  Her daughter (name is escaping me!) was incredibly sweet and so mature.  Lucy had prepared sandwiches, biscuits (cookies!), and tea for all of us.  I remember she kept standing up and offering the plate of goodies over and over…it was hard to say no!  I really enjoyed talking to Lucy.  She is very kind and genuine and has the warmest smile.

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We finally headed back to Anne and Liam’s where apparently Anne had prepared dinner for us.  We felt absolutely horrible that we’d missed it; I think it was miscommunication on our part.  That is one thing about being overseas…you don’t realize how much you rely on texting!  We did have some of her “famous” brown bread ice cream that I’d heard so much about.  Oh my goodness.  And cheesecake…oh, the cheesecake!  I like it so much more than our cheesecake here; it’s more fluffy and less dense.  You don’t feel quite like you have a brick in your stomach after a piece. 😉

The next day we headed to Hodson Bay for lunch with Chris and Eamon.  This is one of Eamon’s favorite places, and he and Chris liked to go over there to get drinks or to get breakfast.  We went there for lunch, but I wasn’t terribly hungry (it was a buffet, and we’d eaten a delicious Irish breakfast that morning courtesy of Anne).  We got a couple of drinks and ate (I stole off of people’s plates), and then Kate and I walked around the grounds a bit.  It was an unbelievably gorgeous day–almost hot!  The hotel itself was beautiful, too, and set on a lake.

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That evening was the big “reunion”!  About 80 of the Dolans gathered at Hamrocks in Brideswell.  They had barbecue for all of us, and like every meal there, it was outstanding.  Kate did really well, thankfully, and had several admirers!  One thing, though, is the Irish do not like you to be without a drink in your hand. 😉  Brian and I had trouble keeping up!  I wish I’d taken more pictures, but it was so lovely to meet everyone.  What a special group of people.

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Tommy, Mary, Willy, and Eamon

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We were slow moving the next morning, but we managed to head out around noon for Westport.  We picked up my parents and headed out.  We decided to go through Galway, which is such a beautiful town.  Unfortunately the traffic there was pretty bad!  Everyone had the same idea as us, it being a warm, beach day and all.  We finally made it to the adorable town of Westport.  We didn’t come here on our last trip, and I was happy I got to see it!  As we drove into town, Brian pointed out the mountain of Croagh Patrick.  I laughed out loud because I thought he was joking!  It isn’t that tall of a mountain at all (only about 2500 feet), so I thought I could climb it, no problem.  But after seeing how steep it was?!  I had my doubts.

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We checked into our B&B as we were greeted by THE nicest Irishman ever.  He really couldn’t have been sweeter during our visit!  Then my parents drove into town and Brian and I walked into town (just under a mile) with Kate.  We found a little pub (naturally!) to get drinks, then ended up finding a little pizza place.  It felt strange to be eating pizza in Ireland.  When in….Westport?

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After dinner we headed home and got some R&R to get ready for the next day….Croagh Patrick!

Baby Kate: 8 Months

Weight & Height: Still not sure, but probably holding steady at 16 pounds or so. She’ll get weighed and her next appointment, so we’ll know more then!

Eating:  Still nursing 6 times a day.  She’s been eating about 4 oz while at Michelle’s, and I had stressed myself OUT because she had been drinking 5 oz.  (I used to PUMP a total of 15 oz/day while at work, and now I’m pumping more like 12-13 oz).  I started taking Fenugreek to help with my supply, I talked to a La Lache League Leader again (the SWEETEST person; she had the same recommendation as last time, to take one day on the weekend and just nurse nurse nurse as much as possible), but I still held steady around that amount.  Now, I have been struggling with milk blisters – the WORST and so very painful.  One morning on a Saturday I got up early and pumped, because Kate wasn’t up yet and pumping was less painful than nursing, anyway.  Well, wouldn’t you know….I pumped almost TEN ounces when I started to hear her stir and had to stop!  She does nurse for a long time in the morning (45 minutes), and this made me feel much better.  This girl is just like her mama and LOVES a big breakfast.  Even if she is only getting 4 oz for the rest of her feedings, that still puts her in at 30 oz for the day.  This is at the high end of what’s recommended on Kelly Mom.  So we are good!

Now, as far as baby food goes….we are still stuck.  This girl will not eat!  I thought at first she was just stubborn and wanted to feed herself.  Well, I’ve tried giving her puffs, Mum Mum crackers, table foods, really anything she is able to eat–and she refuses it all.  She gags and/or gets a look of complete disgust each time!  We see her doctor at her 9 month appointment, so I’ll plan to talk to her about it then.

Sleeping (naps):  Still taking two naps a day, between 1-2 hours long.  Go, Kate!

Sleeping (at night):  Going to bed between 8-9 and sleeping until 5:30 or 6, usually.  Sometimes I have to wake her up in the mornings, other times she’s all ready to go.  Usually when she’s awake and I go in to get her to nurse, she’s just lying in her crib…quiet as can be, but with her eyes wide open.  What a sweetheart this little one is.

Clothing:  In mostly 6 months and some 9 month sizes.

New this month:  She’s starting raising her arms up a bit to have you pick her up, which melts my HEART!  She’s also become quite the pro at sitting up and rolling allllll over the floor.  Not any signs of crawling yet, but again, selfishly I’m okay if that lasts at least a couple more months!

Nicknames:  Kate Kate, Peanut, Peanut Pumpkin, Sweet Girl, and Pooh Butt

Kate likes:

-Her mommy and daddy!  I LOVE seeing her eyes light up when Brian walks in the room.  It is truly one of my favorite things in this world.

-Still loves to be spoken to (excitedly) or sung to.  With certain songs, she’ll start bounce/dancing along. 🙂

-People watching!  Just like her parents.

-Her little “balancing” act she loves to do on her daddy’s palm….that smile!  He’s started to do it when she’s fussy to calm her down, and she’ll go from crying to laughing in mere seconds because of this.  ADORABLE.

Kate dislikes:  

-Having her nose wiped.

-Sometimes she just reallllly wants to be held – and with how cute she is, how we can refuse that???!

 

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Ireland 2015 (Part One)

Our family trip to Ireland back in 2004 held the title of “Best Vacation of My Life” until our Honeymoon in 2013.  I was SO incredibly excited to return this year, not just because it’s one of the most beautiful places you’ll ever see, and you’ll meet some of the nicest people on the planet there (and honestly…I could just listen to those brogues for days), but because I got to meet the rest of Brian’s family!

We left on Holy Thursday, and it worked out well as I had Good Friday off work, so I only (“only”!) had to take six unpaid days of vacation.  Our flight was supposed to leave at 10:30 a.m., but storms in Indy and Chicago (where we were flying first) delayed us until about noon.

We were lucky to have our family friend, Garry, pick us up and take us to the airport.  As Brian and I pulled in the driveway, we busted out laughing as we saw his Irish gear.  The O’Neals had been to Ireland with my parents in 2013, and obviously with that last name, Garry is Irish, too!  We got into the van and he went through his “Safety talk” like they do on planes.  “Ground Lingus”. 🙂  He even had bottles of water for all of us and cookies to go!  What a great way to start our trip.

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Ground Lingus

When we arrived at the airport, we had about 3 hours before our plane took off.  As we sat in our seats at the gate, the sky kept getting darker and the rain pounded down…so I was more than okay with the delay!

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We made it to Chicago around 1 p.m. our time.  With it being Kate’s first flight, I was pretty nervous…especially because she had been up for 5 hours at that point without a real nap.  Thankfully she slept almost the whole flight after she fell asleep as I was nursing her.  Success!

I was nervous to have such a long layover (about 3-4 hours) once we got to Chicago, but with our delay, going through security, and taking the tram to the International Concourse, it actually worked out pretty well.  Thankfully we set up my mom’s stroller and Kate got to ride in that for a bit.  We got a bite to eat at an Italian place while Brian called AT&T about his phone. Oh yeah….as we were getting our shoes back on after going through security, Brian said, “SHIT – I left my phone on the plane in the seat.”  Funny how I had put MY phone in the seat ahead of me, but then took it out thinking, “surely I’ll forget it if I put it there.”  Well, long story short…God was on our side that day. It took Brian about an hour to call AT&T and deactivate his phone temporarily.  Wouldn’t you know, in that time someone had found his phone and called Brian’s mom (their home number is “Home” in his phone) and they’d arranged to mail the phone to his mom.  I mean…how lucky is that, right?  Brian would be without his phone during the trip, but he really could only use it when we had WiFi, anyway.

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Our next flight took off around 4 p.m., and the flight was to be just about 7 hours long.  To say I was nervous was an understatement!  There were other kids on the flight, but Kate was the only baby.  Talk about pressure!  If she screamed or cried, we’d be incriminated immediately. 😉

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Luckily we had the “baby bassinet row” which made things MUCH easier.  It was the first row in coach so we had a lot more leg room.  Plus we were right next to the bathroom, which we used about 4 times going over to change her diaper (she was pretty constipated…poor girl!).  They had a big tray that folds down from the wall in front of you, and they’ll bring you what is essentially a box for the baby (equipped with pillows and blankets).  We only used it a little on the flight over, but on the flight back we LOVED it–she sat in there for at least an hour or two total, just playing with the straps (her favorite–forget toys!) and other things.

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She finally fell asleep about 1.5 hours before we landed.  I tried and tried to get her to fall asleep on the flight, but finally I stopped trying. I told Brian that since she was in a good mood, why fight it?  And eventually she did sleep while I nursed her.  As we landed in Ireland at 5 a.m. their time, she woke up and continued to be in a good mood.  You could tell she was sleepy, but she was a good sport!

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We got off the plane, went through customs, and just came out to get our bags…and what to our surprise we see Anne and Liam at the door waiting for us!  I had told them (after Anne had offered) not to worry about picking us up because we were renting a car.  Well, they got up at 3 a.m. and met us, anyway, to make sure we could get the rental and drive out of Dublin okay.  How sweet are they?!

We finally got in the car at maybe 8 a.m. their time.  I was EXHAUSTED!  I hadn’t slept on the plane at all, so I’d been up for about 20 hours at that point.  I nodded off in the car (that Liam graciously drove for us) and Kate fell asleep, too.  The drive to Dublin was just under 1.5 hours, and when we got to their house, we were ready to conk out!

Anne made us our first (of many) full Irish breakfast.  Umm….DELICIOUS!  Despite the massive amount of food I ate and beer I drank, I was SHOCKED to see I only gained 1 pound on the trip.  Brian said it’s been like that every trip here; he’d eat and eat and eat, and never gain a thing. I remember that from my last trip, too – is it that their food is so much better for you?  Or that you’re so full you don’t ever snack?  Or more walking than usual?  I’m not sure…but I’ll take it.

After breakfast we laid Kate down, and we all slept for a few hours.  When we woke up, all I wanted was a shower!  I took another nap and Anne made a delicious dinner for us.  Afterwards we stopped over at Mary Kelly’s, where we met Mary, Rosaleen and her husband, Jim, and their two sweet girls, Heather and Juliette.  Eamon has 7 siblings, and Mary Kelly is one of his two sisters.  The siblings, in order, are Paddy, Bridey, Michael, Jonny, Willy, Tommy, Mary, and the Baby (aka Eamon) :).  Mary has five children herself, and we were able to meet Rosaleen, Maureen, and Tommy on our trip.  We had already met Michael who attended our wedding, so it was wonderful to see him again and meet his sweet wife, Lucy!

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To say everyone was lovely is an UNDERSTATEMENT.  Each person we met was so incredibly kind and thoughtful!  We came back and finally fell asleep around midnight.

The next morning we woke up around 8:30, had breakfast, and promptly took a nap while Kate napped.  There were a few naps the first couple of days!  When we woke up, we showered and then went to pick up my parents at their hotel in Athlone.  We’d rented a car during our visit, and I felt badly that my parents were “stranded” for a few days (the rental car had Kate’s car seat that we’d rented, so they let us keep it at Anne and Liam’s.)  Thankfully their hotel in town was very close to some shops, restaurants, and most importantly for my dad–the Catholic church. 😉

We stopped to check out the Cam Cemetery where many of Brian’s relatives are buried, including Eamon’s parents.  On the cemetery grounds was an old, dilapidated church (pictured below).  I think that is one of my favorite things about Ireland–seeing old, abandoned churches (and castles! oh the castles) and knowing they blow OUR “old” out of the water.  “Old” here in Indiana means 100-150 years old.  In Ireland it is SEVERAL hundred – even a thousand years old.

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We met Michael, Lucy, Chris, and Eamon at Mary’s house.  Michael wanted to take us all out to dinner–so thoughtful of him!  We went to the most adorable little town about 20 minutes from Brideswell, and we all ate such a delicious dinner.  I could NOT get enough brown bread on our trip over!  We all laughed and just had the best time stuffing our bellies full.

The next day was Easter, and we were very excited to celebrate with the family!

Checkin’ in on my Goals

In November I posted about setting goals for myself in order to help me feel better, stronger, and just good about myself.  I’d lost my baby weight quickly, but I really wanted to feel stronger and more confident.

Well, these goals were meant to be set for the remainder of last year.  Spoiler alert: that didn’t happen. 🙂

What DID happen was at the end of January, I purchased the PiYo videos, I joined a gym, and started eating healthy.  I also gave up sweets for Lent, which undoubtedly has helped.

So where am I at now?  Well, my goal going into this wasn’t my old “Holly way” of thinking when it came to working out; I simply wanted to get to the gym 2-3 times a week, do PiYo 3-4 times a week, and eat less junk.  I thought that was pretty doable.

I’m pretty proud that I’ve done well overall.  Sure, some weeks I’ve only done PiYo twice.  Or maybe only made it to the gym once.  But the difference is that I’m not beating myself up for that.  I’ve also learned that the “little things” add up, like running up the stairs (every time at work!), taking Montana and Kate on walks, cleaning for a couple of hours (in my disordered days I’d wear my heart rate monitor while cleaning–I KNOW–but it does burn a couple hundred calories per hour if you’re fast!), or just focusing on eating healthier really makes a HUGE difference.

I still have a little bit of progress I’d like to make, mainly in building my strength back with heavy weights.  When I started this journey, I kind of told myself, “Self, just lose a little bit of flab first, THEN you can focus on getting your strength back.”  It’s not a good excuse, but I just felt so intimidated in the weight room at my gym.  Silly….I know.

Well, I think I’m to that point where I need to kick it up a notch with my workouts.  NOTHING crazy.  But I need to be more consistent with PiYo and lifting weights.  I am surprised at how much I missed lifting!  It leaves me sore for days, which is a nice reminder of the strength I’m slowly (but surely) getting back.  I also know that when I wean Kate (in two months….can’t believe it!) that will free up about 30-45 minutes in the morning to fit in a workout.  Perfect.

This was never about the number on the scale, but it does help that I’ve lost 12 pounds and some inches since the end of January.  I first measured myself in early February and as of this week, I’ve lost about 1.5″ in the waist, 2″ in the hips,  2″ in the bust, 1″ in the thigh…all progress!

I don’t want Kate to grow up seeing me berate myself for my weight, how I look, or for eating that yummy piece of cake.  I DO want her to see me making (mostly) healthy choices.

Here’s to progress, not perfection!