How I lost 30 pounds and my husband’s shocking response.


First off I have to let you know that I had no desire to lose 30 pounds. Yes, I had some old dresses in the back of my closet that I dreamed of wearing again one day, but I was quite sure I only needed to shed about 10 pounds to squeeze back into them. Talk about delusional! But I digress.

Last November I started a 3 month journey on a candida diet using this book. If you know what candida is, congratulations! You are officially a health nut! I grew up eating whole wheat cookies, tofu, and carob, so…yeah. I am well acquainted with the term candida. But for those of you that do not know, candida is a fancy word for yeast. Yeast is kind of like bacteria in that we all need some in our bodies, but an overgrowth spells trouble. To fix an overgrowth, you need to starve the candida, which means eliminating certain foods that contain sugar, gluten, dairy, caffeine or anything that produces happiness and joy. I kid. Not really.

So I did this. For 3 months. Religiously.

Let me just tell you that I have tried EVERYTHING to lose the “baby weight,” and been somewhat successful. Over the course of the last 13 years I have gained and subsequently lost over 150 pounds total! However, my youngest baby is almost six, and the numbers on the scale were only going up, so there’s that.

My attempts as of late consisted of crash dieting when big events were approaching and packing the pounds right back on when said event had passed. But this time it was different. This time, I had an impetus even greater than fitting into that perfect dress.

If your paying attention, you may have noticed that I started this diet only weeks before Thanksgiving. Yes, I actually lost weight during the holidays while following this diet. While everyone else was indulging on seasonal sweets and decadent delights, I was abstaining like a diet ninja. How, you may ask, did I conjure up such paramount powers of self control? Well, it was easy actually. The alternative was torture.

You see in September I developed this slightly annoying rash in my underarms. Apparently this is more common then I would have thought, because I have talked to many of you that nodded your heads in understanding. Over the course of several months the irritation went from annoying to unbearable. I tried several doctors that all treated the symptom, giving me steroids that led to vertigo, and then antihistamines that left me virtually unconscious. Realizing that a trip to an allergist would likely cost our summer vacation fund, I was determined to try a natural remedy. It was then the Lord reminded me of a friend that put her husband on the “Candida Diet.” Graciously she lent me her book, The Candida Cure. However after thumbing through the pages, I felt very discouraged.  There was no way I could do this. I lived on caffeine. How could I function and take care of my ever growing laundry list of responsibilities without my dear friend, Chai tea?

The next morning I woke up and simply decided to skip my daily dose of black tea. One choice at a time, I ended up following the diet to the “T,” (pun intended,) and after about 2 weeks I saw a huge improvement.

I made myself plain sweet potatoes and green beans for Thanksgiving and found it easy to say no to dessert. I felt stronger than ever and realized it actually felt good, almost empowering to take back control over my food choices.


However a few weeks later I had one slip up. Events were the hardest. Eating plain salad at a memorial service catered by a delicious Italian restaurant is hard to explain. Discussing my armpits is not a comfortable conversation starter. So I caved. I ate a dish that I knew had sugar in it, and all the way home I looked like an orangutan scratching my armpits till they were raw. From that moment on there was no messing around. I had gotten to “that” point. The truth is that change only happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain (literally in my case) of change.

change quote

I would like to say that it got easier as time when on, and to a certain extent it did, but there were many days when my texts to my dearest friends would reveal otherwise. While the practical side of preparing foods did get a bit easier, it was often exhausting and even depressing to avoid the foods that I had always associated with happiness!! However as time went on, and I began to easily fit into clothes that had been busting at the seems, my resolve did strengthen.

Here are a few things I learned:

  1. Caffeine makes you tired.

    I had more energy without caffeine than I had with it. Caffeine brings your body to an unnatural high and then crashes you mercilessly to the floor also increasing moodiness.

  2. Sugar affects your mood more than you realize.

    Since finishing the diet, I have indulged in sweets more than once. And now I notice it more than ever. Sugar not only depletes my energy level, but also affects my mood. In fact, midway through this 3 month experiment my husband uttered these terribly brave words that shocked me. “Don’t take this the wrong way,” he began. “but, you’re a lot less moody these days.” And friends, it is so true!! We have no idea how easily we are affected by our food. Yes, in the beginning I felt depressed and exhausted by the need to say no to everything I had indulged on before, but once my body and mind got over the initial detox, I felt stronger, happier, and less crazy than I had in over a decade! Knowing my mood will be affected by sugar has actually given me strength to say no more than i used to (which was never! ha!)

  3. Carbs are no joke.

    Between the infamous carb coma to the extra belly weight, carbs leave a lasting impact. Growing up with a Sicilian mother, pasta was a major food group. So I denied this reality for so long. However, since I have now felt the positive benefits of reducing carbs, I’m a believer.

  4. Real food tastes better.

    I actually like the taste of grilled meat.  You can actually taste the meat when it is not slathered in ketchup (sugar) and encased in bread,!

  5. Making healthy and delicious substitutions is key. 

    I didn’t put my family on the diet in order to keep some semblance of sanity. But when I would make them burgers, I would saute some onions for me, and while they ate a typical burger, I would enjoy mine sans bread and condiments, but covered in caramelized onions that I legitimately now prefer. And now some of them have joined me. Last Monday, half of us had no bread and covered our burgers in homemade salsa instead!

  6. Food isn’t supposed to be that convenient and cheap.

    When you have to spend time or money making your food, you tend to eat less. Bottom line. A cheap bag of chips is easily demolished, but if it takes you 20 minutes  to make some kale chips, you are less likely to eat them all in one setting.

  7. Three months was the perfect time frame to change my habits.

    Contrary to popular belief, 21 days is not nearly enough to change a truly established habit.See here.It’s actually closer to three times that.

  8. Weight loss is 80% diet.

    Since I regularly over share on Facebook, including posts about running, everyone I bump into since losing the weight says the same thing. “Wow, that running is really working!”



    But the irony is that I have been running LESS then ever before. And this relates back to number 2. Apparently the sugar combined with the caffeine in my life was making me really anxious. And the endorphin rush I got from running was the one thing that seemed to ease my anxiety. I would literally run out of complete desperation, same time every day. By 3pm I felt like my head would explode it I didn’t go running. So I would throw my shoes on and run my cares away. But since changing my eating habits, I finally realized that I don’t have that same daily need to go running! It was an amazing and sobering discovery. All these years I lived with anxiety and didn’t have to! And now when I have that feeling again, I quickly identify the culprit, and reduce those problematic foods.

In the spirit of full disclosure, during the last few weeks, I have slipped back into some old patterns which simply underlines the importance of accountability. Although I started this alone, midway through a friend joined me. We would text each other food ideas when we were feeling successful,  and sobbing emojis when we were over it! It is also imperative to process and share what we learn. The small act of writing this blog has reminded me of all that I learned during those three months and inspired me to get back to some healthier choices.  It is so easy to forget isn’t it? In the Bible we are commanded to remember or “Do not forget” hundreds of times. We forget so easily!

Maybe you feel like you could never change. I feel like that a hundred times a day. The world would tell you that you actually don’t have to change.


Change isn’t possible, they say, but I serve a God that changed water into wine!

You deserve it, they say, but we are called to crucify our flesh, daily.

Obedience to Christ is always the hardest option. But it is the only option that will truly satisfy. None of us are walking this path perfectly. We all need grace. Surround yourself with people that will encourage you in your pursuit of Christ’s calling on your life and pray for you when you fail.

I cannot take credit for the power to make this huge change in my life, it only came from Christ. And in my case, that power came in the form of a trial, a weakness, an irritation that left me no choice but to obey. I pray that you would take that hard step of obedience whether it relates to choices in diet, lifestyle, or relationships. But even if you don’t have the strength to change, because of His love for us, God will often allow trials into our lives that will bring us to the end of ourselves, forcing us to run to him, and finally experience the joy He had waiting for us all along! Run to Him today. Confess your failings, pick up your cross, and follow Him!





Friends are like recipes. Finding the right ones will improve your life beyond measure.

friends cooking

Living in South Carolina for 6 months taught me one thing. Whenever someone is facing a hard time, bring them a meal.

A death in the family? Bring a meal.

Moving? Bring a meal.

Newborn baby that won’t sleep? Bring a meal.

So when my dear friend, mother of 7, broke her ankle while going for a run, (dear Lord) it was a no-brainer.Thankfully I already had a double portion of Ropa Vieja  in the crock pot.

The next day she sent me this text:

“You’re a really really really good cook.”

I had to laugh. Basically I dumped five different ingredients into a crock pot and walked away for 10 hours. I don’t know if that qualifies for culinary genius. But if I were to take credit for anything it would be this. After 14 years of cooking for my family, I have developed a good sense of how to pick a recipe. Oftentimes I will have a craving, google a dish, and sort through a few recipes looking for the one that best suits our tastes. But nearly every time I will have to make some minor changes. Some are too spicy, so I leave out the red pepper. Some have processed ingredients, so I make some healthier substitutions.

Being the best cook you can be is mostly about finding the right recipe.

Just like being the best person you can be is mostly about finding the right friends.

So much of who I am is because of the friends that God had placed in my life. In other words, these friends make me look better than I really am.

Somebody once told me, “You are a really good mom.” But the truth is I am only half the mom my mother was to me. I just had a really good recipe.

Somebody once told me, “You are really funny.” But the truth is I’m only half as funny as my friends Julie and Amy. I just found a really good recipe.

Someone once told me, “You are a really good listener,”  But the truth is I’m only half the listener that my friend Carrie is. I just found a really good recipe.

Someone once told me, “You are very organized.” (this really happened once I swear!) But the truth is I followed a mentor step by step. I had a really good recipe

It is a well-known fact that you will become like the people with whom you surround yourself. In  Proverbs 13:20 we read that he who walks with wise men will be wise.

Another important aspect of being a good cook is realizing that few recipes are a perfect fit. For instance in the Ropa Vieja recipe, I decided to leave out the ketchup. I had olives instead of pepper, so I added those. Even though the initial recipe wasn’t perfect, I knew that I could overlook the differences and take from it what was good.

This is also true of my friendships. Even my dearest friends have attributes that I could do without. Maybe some are a little spicier than I am comfortable with or a little too processed! Ha! But in my 30+ years of choosing friends, I have come to learn that I have a lot to learn, and God has placed these people in my life to teach me. However if I throw away a good relationship because of a spicy character trait, I could be missing a huge opportunity.

One truth we cannot deny is that opposites attract. This is a blessing in disguise. God knows I need organized people in my life to learn from. However they may have other attributes that could possibly.. maybe… slightly.. kind of annoy me. (Sorry it’s true.) And sometimes you have to ignore those feelings and move on! If  you only ever cook chicken nuggets because they are easy and you know you like them, well… you are just plain missing out on life! Similarly, if you only befriend people that are just like you, you will never become who God intends for you to be.

Of course there are situations when a relationship is simply unhealthy, and you really do need to walk away for a period of time, maybe even a long period of time. But more often than not, when it is just a common every day disagreement, you may find that if you stash a recipe away, you may acquire a taste for it later when your taste buds have matured. Sometimes you discover that if you just take an antacid after a spicy meal you can tolerate it better!  Some recipes are on the regular weekly rotation, and some are just for every once and a while.

Sanctification is a long and arduous process. Thankfully God chose to use sweet (and spicy) friendships to bring us closer to him. If you throw a whole recipe out because of one ingredient you will be missing out on becoming a great cook. Likewise if you regularly discard friendships because of a quirk, a weakness, or a difference, you will miss out on walking in the fullness of who God has designed you to be. For two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.Ecclesiastes 4:9-10.

Behind Our Smiles



behind the smilesRecently I challenged someone close to me to ditch their image and get real. They didn’t agree and counter-challenged me by asking why I continue to post so many happy family pictures when behind the scenes our hearts are breaking.

So in the spirit of full disclosure, here goes.

My family has been in mourning.

We have lost someone we love dearly. And yet no one brought us a meal.

We have cried buckets of tears for days that turned into weeks that turned into years, yet we never donned black attire down a church aisle. While some may not know what I am referring to, many do because I stopped hiding our loss when it became too exhausting to do so.

The person we lost is still alive.

Maybe you know what I am feeling. Maybe you have felt the gut wrenching pain of abandonment or dealt with the overwhelming pain from a loved ones’ addiction. It is rejection on top of loss. This person chooses to leave you. Their sin, their addiction, their pride seems more important to them than you are. And that stings.

Years of deception and manipulation cause you to question what was ever real. And once questionable behavior now makes sense.

Some people use the Bible to guilt you into some pseudo form of forgiveness that pretends nothing happened so you can appear more loving, I mean, for Pete’s sake you are a Christian! BE LOVING!

Other people think you are stupid for holding out hope. Someone who has lied for over a decade can never be trusted. How could you believe them if they came back anyway?

Unless…… maybe, they make a huge 180 degree change, you tell yourself. And you’ve seen that happen right? You have read the books, watched the movies, heard the testimonies. The prodigal son returns. He runs back, realizing the error of his ways, willing to be a slave just to be back with his father.

Every day you wake up thinking, surely, today they will choose us. Today will be that blockbuster moment when they burst through the door and declare that they will do whatever it takes to earn back your trust, to prove to you their love, to make everything right. But that day never comes. There is no running back. Every once in a while there is a tiny “improvement” that looks more like manipulation then actual change. But that’s it.

So we take deep breaths, and swing on the pendulum between forgiveness and fear. Fear they will never change. Fear they already have.

There has to be something I can do, you tell yourself. Some words with which you can persuade. You keep hoping your reasoning will be received. Your arguments will be understood.

This time.

Yet they never are. There are always more excuses.

Maybe you, like me, have no more tears.

When someone dies you are allowed to mourn. You are encouraged to mourn. You can post things on Facebook and receive a virtual hug. You can express anger, and people understand. People bring meals and send flowers. They come to a service and cry with you.  But when you are mourning a secret loss, when you are supposed to have faith that your lost loved one will be found, when you are worried about gossip and “covering sins,” it is very lonely.  When you run into acquaintances , you wonder, do they know? Answering “good” when you just feel beat down gets tiresome.

However I will continue to post happy family pictures for one reason. I have a really happy family. I have so much for which to be thankful.  I am gratefully aware  of my many blessings and live accordingly. Nevertheless, there is also an underlying ache as we live in this strange place between blessing and burden. Deep down my children are confused and conflicted. My husband and I have cried and struggled to find solace in each others arms instead of letting our broken hearts divide us. It is a difficult line to walk. And sharing your pain makes people uncomfortable. However, expressing our heart aches and being real lets others carry our burdens with us and sometimes for us.  I have found camaraderie with other broken sojourners, who were also carrying burdens not shared on social media outlets.

While I still have no desire or need to publish every feeling good or bad on social media, sometimes, you just have to get real. As Christians, there can be a pressure to sugar coat everything never admitting you have any feelings. The problem with that is two fold. One, it promotes this unrealistic expectation of perfection. Secondly, we were never called to walk this life alone. Sharing my situation with others gave them permission to share their hurt with me. And now we pray for each other. There is power there.   And healing continues. So many people are hiding their grief in the name of being a good Christian instead of telling the truth and bearing burdens.

Jesus said that the truth will set you free. He is the Truth that sets us free. He modeled radical and uncomfortable honesty for us. And I pray that Christians everywhere will just start telling the truth. When you are hiding your struggles or your pain, the enemy wins.  But…speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. Amen!

The Truth About Homeschooling


Have you ever said a word over and over again, like 10 or 20 times, until it starts to sound weird and you wonder if it is even a real word anymore? That’s how I feel about about the  answers I give to the homeschooling questions I get day after day.  I have said these answers so many times over the last ten years, I wonder if they are even really true. And to be honest, some of them are only half true.

Let me give you some examples:

Question 1: How do you get it all done?

Typical Answer 1 : Well, school work really doesn’t take 6 hours like it does in traditional school because in a classroom, you have to deal with discipline and 30 students asking questions, going to the bathroom, handing out papers, walking to the lunchroom, and so forth.So an average homeschooling student can finish all their work before noon.

TRUTH:    We have never finished before noon. Ever. Sometimes we don’t even finish before bed. But my attention span is definitely less than average. And my children are not average. And there are so many of them. So there’s that. However, I do know home-schoolers that attain this unicorn type “finish before noon” status regularly, but they are not average either.


Question 2: How do you keep your kids from fighting all day?

Typical Answer 2: The reason typical school siblings fight so much is because at school they are divided into specific age groups, and they lose the ability to interact with other ages. However home school kids regularly interact with all ages from babies to adults and learn best how to get a long. Also, when they have disagreements I am there to help them with the skills of debate and guide their reconciliation.

TRUTH: Sometimes they fight like banshees. Can’t get a long for 5 minutes in a row. So I separate each child into a different room,  grab the chocolate, lock myself in the bathroom, and text a friend.


Question 3: Do you have a lot of patience?

Answer: Well, I didn’t always have a lot of patience, but patience is a muscle and homeschooling gives me the opportunity to exercise it a lot. So I have a lot more patience now then I used to.

TRUTH: Like the Apostle Paul, I am the chief of sinners, and sometimes I can get frustrated and fully blow it. And then I feel such deep regret knowing I would never permit a teacher to talk to my child the way I just did, and I wonder if I will ever be the teacher they deserve.


Question 4: Were you a teacher?

Answer 4: Yes, actually I taught high school math, but some of the best home school moms were never teachers. You don’t have to be an expert in a subject, you only have to be an expert in your child.

TRUTH:    Having taught math I have  a HUGE advantage. Sure you can learn as you go, but most parents give up by high school because it is a LOT of work to learn Chemistry, Algebra 2 and Latin. You CAN do it, but most parents don’t have the time or motivation, so if you continue to home school through high school, you will likely end up paying for some type of tutoring or home school class at least once a week.

And last but certainly not least:

Question 5: How do your kids socialize?

Answer 5: Lack of socialization is a common misconception. With all the co-ops,  homeschooling groups, sports, ballet, church, and field trips, we socialize too much!!

TRUTH: While there are many opportunities to get together in groups, the reality for our family is that it has been difficult to find that kindred friend for each of my children. I have five. And scheduling play dates for 5 children is more than I am capable of. Some of my kids don’t have that “best friend,” and it makes me sad sometimes. I have heard other parents say the same.

Yes, there is truth to all of my “typical” answers, but the snippets  with which I respond in the line at Publix do not tell the whole story. They are true enough for the moment. But when you are in the trenches, if you are daily trying live up to these idealistic answers, it will make you want to throw in the towel.

Because sometimes it seems like your children will never finish their school work,

and they are cranky from sun up to sun down and beyond.

and you lost your patience….again.

and you have to hire a “professional” tutor.

and your kid is lonely.

The truth is that homeschooling is HARD WORK. It is amazing work. It is fulfilling work. It is fruitful work. But it is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life and there are no signs that it will get any easier. And as is the case with most anything in life, the best results come from a lot of hard work.

Focusing on an ideal and comparing it with real life can cause you to doubt your calling. But God did not call you to live up to an ideal. He called you to obedience. Homeschooling, and specifically Classical Conversations is the best thing that has ever happened to our family, even when our day is not ideal.  And that’s the truth!







39 Things I was Wrong About.


Today is my birthday. I am 39. I know your not supposed to tell your age as a woman, but I think that is ridiculous. Some ladies have told me that when I am older, I won’t feel the same way, but my sweet Sicilian friend is 98, and not only does she proudly tell her age, she even rounds up six months after her birthday!

My favorite thing about getting older is finding out all the things I was wrong about.  I know that sounds odd, but man, I was a really dumb teenager, and only a slightly less dumb 20 something, so being able to look back and see how wrong I was means I am learning something! And that is something to celebrate! Some are silly, borderline stupid. Some are heavy, and somewhat controversial. You may think I was right the first time, and worry that I am wrong now! But with no further ado, and in no particular order…here’s my 39.

  1. Big families do their kids a disservice by making the older take care of the younger ones. (My kids BEGGED to push the stroller, change a diaper, read a book, teach a lesson- not ALL the time, but caring for others is amazing!)
  2. You should be married for 4 years before having kids so you can save money. (Our honeymoon baby was the best decision we could have made. Zero doubt.)
  3. Having a dog is financially irresponsible. (The love we have experienced because of Gunner is priceless)
  4. I am a math person. (Because of our Homeschooling group, Classical Conversations,  I found out I am a learning person.)
  5. If you can survive diapers, the rest is a piece of cake! (Teen years are upon us, and the decisions with which we are daily confronted make diapers look like a cake walk)
  6. Anger and other negative feelings are sinful. (Be angry and sin not. Don’t push your feelings down trying to be spiritual. Deal with them.)
  7. Everyone should have a big family! (God’s plan for every family is different. If we didn’t have “only” children, who would become astronauts? Children are a blessing, yes, but what number is holy enough? Some say we have too many, some say we need more.)
  8. You shouldn’t pay for something you can do yourself (Sometimes sanity trumps frugality.)
  9. I will always be able to eat what I want and not gain weight because my mom is skinny. (Remember… I already told you I was a very stupid teenager. Sigh.)
  10. I can stay up late and be fine the next day. (I still regularly tell myself this.)
  11. If you reason well enough with people, they will see the error of their ways. (You can’t argue with crazy.)
  12. Math and science are more important than art. (Art and science go hand in hand.)
  13. Children that are properly disciplined at home will be able to sit at a desk for 6 hours a day and obey the teacher. (I had boys.)
  14. Medication is for the weak. (Medication is for the sick.)
  15. If you have enough faith, you will be healed. (Jesus healed those that admitted they were doubting and hasn’t healed people I know with massive amounts of faith.)
  16. Financial gain is a major sign of God’s blessing. (Some of God’s greatest servants lived in abject poverty.)
  17. Buying a new car is an investment. (Investments are supposed to appreciate, not depreciate.)
  18. If you have to fix a car, it’s cheaper to just buy a new one. (Someone should tell this to all the poor people driving and repairing old busted cars.)
  19. I could never be friends with that person. (This is how I felt towards most of the people I now consider my closest friends.)
  20. We have so much in common. (This is how I felt towards people that were quietly disagreeing with everything I said.)
  21. It’s better to have a lot of guy friends because girls are too much drama. ( I had my heart broken, and other times inadvertently led guys on.)
  22. Fostering is too hard on your “real” kids. (I know foster families. It’s hard, even excruciating, but the character it produces is like nothing else.)
  23. Forgiveness means everything is back to normal. (Forgiveness means I wish the best for you, and the best for us might be distance.)
  24. Talkative students need more discipline. (Talkative students need more opportunities to talk constructively.)
  25. I will home school so my bright children aren’t slowed down by slower students. (Not all of my children learn at the same speed, yet instead of being labeled, they are just learning.)
  26. Going to college is a must. (Serving God is our ultimate goal.)
  27. Worrying about gluten and sugar is neurotic. (Eliminating the two for 3 months drastically improved my health and showed me that limiting them is a necessity for me.)
  28. I would rather enjoy my life than stress about food. (Making healthier choices literally made me less stressed. No more sugar crashes and caffeine induced temper tantrums for me-or at least less!!)
  29. Organized people have less fun. (Some of my organized friends can squeeze more fun in because of how they organize it! I want to learn from them.)
  30. That person is such a great role model! (Before finding out their life was a lie.)
  31. It is God’s will that everyone gets healed. (It is God’s will that all be saved, sometimes that comes through illness.)
  32. People can learn from all of my good choices. (Portraying perfection causes other to feel discouraged.)
  33. I need to have it all together for God to use me. (Through my weakness, God shows Himself strong.)
  34. I should always share my opinion. (There is a time and a place. And I do not have to have an opinion on everything! I know what you’re thinking….yes, I am still working figuring out that time and place business! ;))
  35. My kids need me, so my husband can wait. (My husband needs me and I need him so we can be the best parents together.)
  36. If only you could see my heart, you would understand. ( My heart is deceitful and wicked, please look to my Savior instead.)
  37. I know what is best for others based on my experiences. (God’s ways are higher than mine, and everyone will answer to Him, not to me.)
  38. Talking things to death will make me feel better. (Let it gooooooo, let it goooooo)
  39. I know more than my parents. (nope. Not even close)

So there you have it. When I started writing this, I got stuck at 6 and started to think this was a really dumb idea. But now that I started, I could go on and on. But one fact on which I have never wavered was that God sent His Son Jesus to earth, fully God and fully man. He lived a perfect life. He died on the cross for our sins and rose again 3 days later so that we could be forgiven of every wrong we ever committed. His Word is true, trustworthy, and verifiable. And while my list of “wrongs” will continue until I breathe my last breath, the day I made Him Lord of my life, He made all my wrongs right. Here’s to 39 more years of learning!

Tell me something you were wrong about in the comments! But remember it’s my birthday, so if it’s gonna start a fight, maybe save it for tomorrow! (See #34) 😉