Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Growing like a ....

weed? Well, even the weeds aren't growing so well here the last couple of years, but Soren is growing like crazy. He had his 9 month well-baby check up last week, and he measured in at 30.25" and 20 lb, 4 oz. His head circumference is 44 cm. That puts him roughly around the 95% for height, between 25-50 for weight, and 10-25% for head size. Apparently I make small-headed boys--just the opposite of Jimmie and Rachel, it seems.

Soren is not just walking, he's now walking quickly and he can carry stuff, like Will's pool-noodle light sabers, while he's walking. It's pretty amazing. He sure is cute!

This was my last craft-fix before Cousin Camp on Friday. I tested a new one-size diaper pattern that is to be released soon. It was a quick sew and fit Soren pretty well. Think he might need to move to the biggest setting.

testerOSCT 016

testerOSCT 015
"Really, mom??" Love that expression!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Tumeric Dyeing

At the end of June, I decided to try my hand at dyeing with tumeric, which I had seen mentioned at Elegance & Elephants. It sounded like a fun science experiment/craft project, and I needed a yellow-orange something to go with Soren's little Suspender Shorts. They are so cute, but they haven't gotten any love since I didn't have a shirt for him to wear under them.

I looked around at a few sets of instructions for how to do the dyeing and didn't seem to get real consistent directions for how to set the dye anywhere. So, I just jumped in and tried a couple different things.

I got my tumeric water hot, threw in some old prefolds and a white onesie, and enlisted Will to come help me stir.

Please excuse the crappy iPhone pictures and my messy kitchen. Also, learn from my mistake and be sure to wear gloves if you do this. My fingernails were a disgusting yellow for about a week after.

Tumeric dyeing

Tumeric dyeing

Some directions said to set the dye with sunlight. So i hung them out on the line. I checked at the end of the day and they seemed really faded, so I threw them back in the tumeric water (I had just put the lid on it and left it just in case....) and let them soak another couple hours. This time I threw them in the washer with some vinegar. It seems to have worked.

Here's Soren wearing the onesie with the suspender shorts at Granny & Papa's anniversary party.

Soren smiles

The color is not quite as orangey as the buttons, but I think it looks OK.

After a couple washes, I do think the color is losing some of its vibrancy, but it's still far from pale, and this made a fun little project to dye using supplies I already had on hand.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Crazy Pants (Or, Ugly Little Heartbreaker Pants)

Will models the crazy pants
He's got the modeling stuff down if he feels like it!

The pattern for Boy Oh Boy Oh Boy's Sewing for Boys Sewalong this month was the Little Heartbreaker Pants. Which I really liked the first time I made them. And I would have been excited about it this time, but I've been out of town/had guests/had sick kids this entire month so I haven't had time to think about the project at all. In fact, I thought I might just cheat and see if I could enter the pair I made at Easter.

I decided yesterday I needed to just bite the bullet and make another pair. So this is my entry. I have major doubts about these because of the print, but I am showing them anyway.

Crazy Pants collage

Since I already had the pattern pieces from before, the project actually didn't take long to make. It was maybe a couple of solid hours from cutting to finish? Probably less if I hadn't had the 50-million mommy interruptions one has when sewing with little ones around.

At the garage sales last week, I snagged several pairs of jeans and cords for Will to wear this fall/winter, so I didn't want to do another pair of neutrals that he didn't need.  I am also in major need of using up the yards of fabric and thrifted fabrics I have accumulated, so........I reached for this crazy-loud monster/alien novelty corduroy that I bought last winter from Hancock's. I'm not sure what I was planning to do with it. And I for sure wasn't sure how the pants would look in this fabric (or how ANYthing would look in it!). I'm still not sure I like them, but Bil thinks they're cute, and Will seems to like them well enough. They are certainly different, that's for sure!

I kind of forgot to add an alteration to the pants until I had already put them together, so I decided to add a faux back pocket flap since it'd be easy to stick on. You know a print is super-loud when you use a spot of bright orange fabric to "tone it down"!

Back of crazy pants

I actually don't think I screwed up anything in making these except for not getting my cuff up quite high enough when stitching it down so that about a 1/2" of the seam stitching underneath is showing in a spot. As usual, I was too lazy to rip it out and figure it's such a busy print anyone's eyes will be blinded before they'd notice that little bit of stitching showing through. I guess I should consider myself lucky I just don't care about the small stuff so that I can get on to the next project--at least that's how I'm choosing to look at my laziness!

Crazy Pants

Do I want to do this?

I love Will's modeling shots. I couldn't believe he actually wore these and let me take pictures. He has not felt well today and was in a terrible mood most of the day. It was good to see his cute side for a few minutes. He doesn't have a top that matches these crazy pants, so I just put him in a raglan tee I made him last winter. 

Soren swings
Bonus cute baby picture!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Some Will Funnies

Will has been a bit of a ....trial .... lately. I think I need to write up some of his cuteness to help me appreciate it. When he's not driving me absolutely crazy, he's pretty hilarious and still a sweetie.

Right now he's sitting cuddled in my lap watching some cartoon Netflix recommended to him. He gets on my iPad and finds all kinds of new shows and movies to watch.  We never really watch commercial TV live except at other people's houses, which I love because we avoid the advertising (I had no idea how insane the advertising on kids' shows is till I had a kid!); however, Will totally doesn't understand live TV and how you have to wait for it and not being able to instantly call back an episode once it's over, etc. Pretty funny.

When we were garage saling last week, I picked up a leather purse to cut up and make some sandals for Soren using this tutorial I pinned a long time ago.  When we got home and unpacked it, though, Will took off with it, and he's been carrying it around ever since. It's got a medium length strap on it, and he wears it looped over his neck like a messenger bag. It's pretty cute. I asked him if it that was his man bag, and he said, "No, mom. It's not a man bag, it's my lady purse!" He also calls it his pouch, but he keeps correcting himself that a pouch is on your tummy (I guess because of kangaroos?).


So the other night he comes in, puts his lady purse on, says, "Bye, I'm off to college." I asked him what college he was going to, and he pointed at the couch. When I specified I meant the name of the college, he announced that it was Finn-E.E.-En-nie. He said it again the next morning and even remembered his made-up name and everything! Having written it out, I wonder if that's what he hears when we say ENC?


Bil was watching Eureka, and I asked Will if he could say eureka.
Will: AH-reka!
Me: No, YUR-eka!
Will: I'M-areka!
Me: No, YUR-eka.
Will, frustrated: Who is Areka?


He's not allowed to say "butt." The other day in conversation, he noticed someone say the conjunction "but" and pointed out that it wasn't a nice word. I started to try to explain, but then I realized I had no idea how to make grammar make sense to someone who can't read. 


Soren is officially bipedal. He can walk across the living room without falling now. He still will crawl if he wants to go fast, but he's seriously enjoying his new skill and practices it pretty much every chance he gets. He looks just like Big Baby from Toy Story III when he walks. He gets cuter and cuter every day. About every other week I tell Bil, "I just don't think he could get any cuter. I think he's reached his pinnacle." But since I keep saying it, I guess he hasn't peaked yet. :-)


I can't believe it's the end of July and our summer is almost over. It feels like it's flown by even faster than usual, especially July since we've been gone so much. Getting back into the school routine is going to be an adjustment for us all! Maybe remembering it's almost over, and I need to savor it will help me get through Will's more difficult times.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Emmeline Apron Pattern Review

More sewing for me!

Emmeline Reversible Apron

Emmeline Reversible Apron

I had seen the adorable Emmeline Apron by Sew Liberated around blogland for a while, but it seemed pricey at around $16. After buying Growing Up Sew Liberated and loving the patterns, I decided to go ahead and take the plunge (and I also bought the Lola Apron pattern since it was being clearanced out for $5). Since it's reversible, I thought it would be a good way to use up some of the mega-yards of quilting cotton I have hoarded away. I had high hopes for this pattern. In some ways, it met expectations (the finished project), but in others, it left me wanting.

 For starters, I was hoping that it would be an instant download, but was disappointed to find that it's a paper-only pattern. I suppose some people like having actual paper, but I much prefer the instant gratification of printing, assembling, and sewing immediately. Forced to buy a paper copy, I ordered from the Sew Liberated shop and waited for a long almost-two weeks for the pattern to arrive. Of course, by then my steam had worn off, so I piddled around on making it for a while longer.

Once I got it out, the pattern was very easy to cut out and assemble, though I could have done just as well with measurements having been provided for all pieces but the apron. I'm sure if she hadn't included the ties, bodice, and accent pieces (they are all just simple rectangles/trapezoids), people would have complained about that, so no problem.  I was surprised that she doesn't provide instructions for making continuous binding as it would have been a pain to actually do all the binding piecing called for by the pattern. Of course, tutorials are readily available online to explain it, but still, it would be nice to include all the info a novice (who might not realize there's a simpler way to do it) would need. Otherwise, the pattern instructions were good and the apron went together easily. 

While waiting, I had read several reviews of the pattern and found this blog post from Pippin Sequin, which has some excellent tips. Based on these reviews, I made several alterations.

1) The Bust. I read that the bust can be a bit unflattering on larger-busted women, so I followed reviews and  altered my bodice piece to add a couple inches to the height based on my bust measurement. I wish I had done a run through without altering it for comparison's sake--oh well.I am not thrilled with how my bodice fits. I'm not sure this is due to the alteration I made or the interfacing, which makes it very stiff.

2) A loop instead of neck ties. Using the Pippin Sequin review, I created a loop instead of neck ties. I am not sure if this is what caused this or not, but I was left me a HUGE amount of extra binding (about 7.5 yards, to be exact). I was able to use it up in my very next project, but I would have been frustrated that I purchased so much fabric that I didn't need and might not be able to use easily in another project.

3) Pippin Sequin helpfully includes a formula for attaching the waist ties. I have no idea why the pattern creator did not do this rather than basically saying, "move it around till you get it to attach parallel"--crazy!

I am not sure if my interfacing was too thick of what, but I felt my bodice was extremely stiff (especially with the interfacing being on both sides of the bodice).

In all, I think this pattern has a really nice shape--it's super cute and ingenious that you can use the ties for both sides and so have completely different looks for the apron, as long as you have contrast fabric that works with both. However, there were a number of issues with the pattern that I would not have expected in one that is somewhat pricey for a simple item.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Birthing Skirt Tutorial

When I was planning my VBAC with Soren, I went back and forth on whether to buy a Binsi "birthing skirt," a skirt which is ideal for giving birth. It's a garment designed to wear from early labor up through the birth. Pairing it with a tank or whatever shirt you want, you can avoid the dreaded hospital gown with the back that always gapes open. Care providers can still have easy access, and the birthing woman has freedom of movement and modesty.

The concept sounded great, and the Binsi has great reviews, but the $50 price tag held me back. I just couldn't see paying that much for a skirt that I wouldn't get much wear out of and might not even end up using for the big day. So I looked around for some tutorials on how to make my own. I had seen one somebody made that was just sort of a wrap skirt type thing. That didn't sound like it would work very well since I wanted to be able to sit on my birth ball and do lunges without it falling all open. So, after not finding a tutorial for exactly what I was envisioning, I decided to strike out on my own. I ended up being pretty happy with my final product!

For material, I recommend using a knit that won't ravel so that you can leave the edges unfinished. I did a trial run using a very soft stretchy jersey knit that was like $1.50 at Walmart. I ended up loving it and wearing the skirt around the house a ton. I wasn't crazy about cotton for the actual birthing skirt though. Cotton is absorptive and with the, um, liquid-ness of birth, I didn't think that would be very comfortable. So for the final skirt, I browsed the racks at JoAnns and picked some random black, mostly synthetic, very stretchy fabric.

(A quick note about my pictures: in my trial-run skirt, I screwed up and sewed my waistband on inside out, so the serged seam shows on the right side of the skirt. You won't make such a silly mistake.)

Birthing Skirt (inside out)

Below are my directions for my birthing skirt.

1. Using this tutorial from Crafterhours, make a pattern for a bias-cut skirt. (The bias-cut skirt is a great pregnancy skirt, by the way--I made two!). You'll determine your skirt length at this step. Remember if you follow my advice for being lazy/easy and pick a knit, you don't need to allow extra for the hem. You don't have to use the bias-cut instructions--you won't be cutting this on the bias. You could just use any A-line pattern you might have or if you're feeling frisky, simply lay out a skirt and use it for a pattern (just remember to add however much seam-allowance you're going to use). If you use an existing skirt pattern, you'll also need to cut out a waistband. The Crafterhours' instructions suggest 13" tall and your waist measurement minus 4, divided by 2. (W-4/2)

2. Cut out your body pieces and waist band. Make sure the stretch is going around your body, not up and down. In addition to a front and a back, cut a third panel just like the other two. Then, cut the third panel down the middle vertically. So now you have a waistband and 4 skirt pieces.

3. Pin the two big panels together (right sides facing each other). Baste them together about 5 or 6 inches down. Put it on, imagine how it will look with waistband added on, and see how you like where the stitching ends. What I was going for here is complete freedom of movement but without having the split go all the way to the waistband to get as much coverage as possible. I sat on my birth ball, did some lunges, tried some squats to test out the freedom of movement. I did have to adjust how far down I stitched after trying it out. I ended up stitching about 6.5" down from the waistband. 

4. Once you have the stitching where you want it, flip your skirt back inside out (right sides together), and sew it up with a good stretch seam--I just serged mine. Then take one of your half-panels. Find the top center of the panel and line the center up with the seam you just created. Pin the panel to the top of the skirt. Repeat with the other panel on the opposite side. Now you should have an A-line skirt stitched together partway down with a panel underneath each split.

Here's a picture of what the side panels look like once they are attached.  I am showing you the inside of the skirt here (remember, I accidentally serged my waistband on the outside of the skirt--oops!).
Attachment of side panel

5. Sew your waistband's short sides together to make a circle. Then fold it over, hot-dog style. Press.

5. With the skirt right side out, take your waistband and pin the edge of your waistband around the outside of your skirt. Serge or sew together with a stretch stitch.

6. Turn inside out and admire your handiwork! If you're lazy like me, you're all done! Or, if you're an over-acheiver, finish your seams and raw edges however you want.

Hemmed sides. 
Open sides under the panel

Some action shots--sorry for the awful iPhone pics in my dark house. Will is no help with the camera yet.

Standing straight--panel is hidden.
Hanging straight

Side panels peaking out with the bent leg.
Side Panels in action

The true test: a deep lunge--no skin!
Full lunge--no skin

I loved my trial-run skirt (despite putting on the waistband wrong side out), and wore it a lot at the end of my pregnancy. It was one of the few truly comfy garments I had. The actual birthing skirt DID get worn during labor. It provided great coverage, and I was still able to get into some quite odd positions. I didn't get any pictures of it before the big day, and it was pretty well soaked after the birth, so we tossed it after the delivery. It served its purpose well, though!

I hope this helps someone else make her own comfy birthing skirt!

Made Beach Robe: Review

Before we went to Cousin Camp, where Will would be swimming, I was determined to try out Dana's Beach Robe Pattern, which I had bought waaaaay back before Christmas (I think there was a sale that enticed me). All the pics were so cute, and it was promised to be a quick sew in the instructions. Here's a little review of the project. 

Made Beach Robe

Pattern: This pattern itself was very easy to put together--it only had 4 pieces, but I liked the way that the PDF assembled. It was more intuitive than some PDF-print-and-assemble patterns are. I got this one cut out pretty quickly, but Dana's telling the truth when she says to get more than one towel. I was using a real beach towel, but I still had just baaaarely enough fabric to get all my pieces and ended up having to go with the short-sleeved option, though I hadn't planned to. I also went with the two side-ties instead of one long tie. I added a couple extra inches to the ties  just because I had a bit of towel left there, but I really wish I hadn't because they are too long now. Cutting this out of fabric took minimal time--maybe 15 to 20 minutes, which included fending off Soren.

Sewing: The robe went together very quickly, except for the bias binding, which I pin a lot so it takes me a while to get on. The directions were very clear and easy to follow; this project would be perfect for a beginner (especially if you're using premade binding). I used my serger and my sewing machine since I figured Will would be pretty rough on it. I had many, many child-related interruptions and had to keep coming back to this over the course of the day, but it could easily be completed in 2 hours if I were child-free and the binding was pre-made.

Alterations: I added a hood lining, which I remember reading about somewhere when I first bought the pattern. Doing so hides that neck seam that is ugly and might be a bit uncomfortable (if you're not going to add the binding across the neck. It also let me add another little pop of color. If I were doing the long sleeves, I think I'd also line the bottom so they could be cuffed with a cute inner fabric showing.

Made Beach Robe

I realize that the binding doesn't match at all, but 1) Will's favorite color is red, so he wanted this and 2) I had the perfect sized binding left over from the Emmeline apron in just the right length. I was able to use all but a few inches of my leftover binding and not have to make/buy any new.  I am happy to sacrifice a bit of coordination for that, especially since this was kind of a trial run.

Overall: I have to join all the other reviewers out there in saying this would make a great, easy gift. I definitely see more of these in my future!

Will wouldn't cooperate in standing in the light for me, so this is the best action-shot I managed:
Made Beach Robe

He wanted me to take pictures of his mean face instead.
Crazy Boy with Bad Haircut
He's really looking rough with that scrape and the terrible haircut. Gotta get that boy some help!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

More Georgia Family Pics

Just cause he's so cute:
He's a cutie!

Taking a bite of Aunt Jana's nose:
Biting Aunt Jan'as nose

Granny thought Will cuddling with her because he knew we were leaving that day. I'm pretty sure it had more to do with the low fever that was back (again--is he ever going to kick whatever he has???):
Cuddling with Great Granny

Jana wanted to introduce the boys to one of our favorite pastimes when we were kids at Granny & Papa's: the leaf-cart. They both seemed to enjoy it!

Photographic proof that Will can be gentle with his brother!
Leaf Cart Rides: The next generations

Happy brothers:
Look, Will can be nice!

My boys

Acting sweet for the camera:
Kissing Aunt Jana

Will kept begging to play "orangutang"
Monkey Boy

Rough love:
Rough love

Plastic containers aren't just fun for babies:
Plastics are fun for everyone

Oddly, Soren looks like both mine and Rachel's baby pictures here:
Soren smiles

 Howard contemplates life:

Jana hogs the couch:

Injury and a terrible haircut; it's a good thing he's cute!
Will's new owie

Vanessa ponders her future:
Vanessa gets a taste of what's to come

Ty tolerated Will the first day, but he had had enough of his 3-year-old wildness by Day 2.
Will and Ty

Aunt Marie and her little cutie, Trevor:
Granny Ree and Trevor

Catching Up in One Massive Post

We've had a busy last couple of weeks....

First, as mentioned previously, we were thrilled to have Sissy back with us for a few days. Everyone misses her so much when she's gone, so it was wonderful to have her home. Unfortunately she seems to have contracted a sickness or parasite while in Swaziland and was sick at a couple of points during her stay. After she left us, she was off to Meet the Parents of her boyfriend in Pittsburgh. Exciting! She said they didn't have any animals, so she didn't think she was going to be able to work in an offer to milk the cat. Too bad!

Goodbye, Sissy
Will was very cuddly that night! He loves his sister and misses her terribly. 

 Goodbye, Sissy

The day before we said good-bye to Rachel, we went to "big" Cousin Camp at the lake. Originally Rachel planned to go with us, but she was sick again and ended up staying home. We missed her! Although we went down Friday night, we didn't get to the water till late Saturday afternoon. All the water toys (even Old Faithful Pontoon Boat) are broken down, so we just took the kids down for a swim. Will got to try out his new Lightening McQueen lifejacket, and Soren got to go in as well. Soren, having missed his morning nap, started getting fussy after about 15 minutes in the water, so I took him back to the house. Jerry had insisted we go to the dock instead of Sandy Beach, leaving me with quite the hike back carrying a baby and a big bag of gear (they had taken the electric cart that dropped us off back to the house to charge). When I was on the street that the cabin is on, Uncle Richard came tooleing down the road on the cart and took me back to the house. I assumed that he was going to check on the folks in the water and that's why he was going out in the cart in the first place. I went on up to the house and showered and put Soren to bed. About an hour and a half later, the rest of the water folks come back (Will had stayed with Jana and the rest). Apparently that was how long it took for anyone to show up on the cart. I never did find out where Richard went after he dropped me off! I would have said something to him about picking them up if I'd known he wasn't on the way to do so....

Cousin Camp 2012

Cousin Camp 2012

Cousin Camp 2012

Anyway, we had a fine time at Cousin Camp. Will and Ella got into a number of squabbles, but nothing serious. Will continues to not like babies and has to be watched like a hawk since there are many of them around just now, with the twins being the same age as Soren. And we were even missing several since Chris & Bryan's families didn't make it. Somebody figured it up, and we already have more grandkids in the new generation than in my generation, and I'm not sure if any of us are officially finished having kids!

Cousin Camp 2012
Comparing Soren & his 3-week-younger cousin.

Cousin Camp 2012

Cousin Camp 2012

After Cousin Camp, we had a couple of free days at home, which we used to visit the Science Museum and go to the zoo with Max and Kale. We enjoyed hanging out with other people for a change!

Then, Wednesday afternoon Granny & Papa picked me, the boys, and Aunt Jana up and we drove through the night to Georgia for Granny & Papa Smith's 69th Anniversary celebration. The trip went much better than I feared. Although I definitely ended up crouched and nursing Soren in his carseat after every overnight-stop and some in between times, he was a monumentally better traveler than Will was at the same age (he's almost exactly the age Will was the first time we took him to Georgia--we are still traumatized from that one).

69 Years Together

Great-Grandpa and the boys

I see trouble!

Will and Soren did great at Granny and Papa Smith's, and I think they really enjoyed having them around. They thought Will was a wild man, though I didn't think he was nearly as crazy as he often is. Soren was adorable, and quite the hit with his knee-bouncing thing he does. He also really practiced on his walking while he was there. His new record is 9 steps, which he achieved while walking after Jana to get ice cream.

Speaking of ice cream, Will figured out how susceptible to kid-beggaring Aunt Marie is and managed to get lots of helpings of ice cream from her in the relatively short time we spent at her house. She was worried about how little he ate and wanted to feed him something.

It was good to see all the Smith side of the family, and I'm really glad that Granny and Papa got to spend so much time with the boys. Both of them seemed to be feeling pretty good (all things considered) and in good spirits. Grandpa was complaining to Granny about not being able to be "sociable," but he really seemed quite a bit better than the last time we were there.

Great-Granny and her boys

Playing with Papa's O2

GA2012 114

Will managed to give himself several new owies while he was there, so he looks nice in these pictures! Also, on Wednesday, as I was running around doing last-minute errands, I took him by the Anthony David's beauty college to get him a quick trim, since I knew everyone would complain about his bangs being in his eyes. Well, it was a disaster. Despite my repeating over and over not to go short, the guy cut his bangs super-short and not even straight! I should have taken him and run when he started sectioning his hair. He spent 15 minutes just "prepping" Will, so by the time he actually got out scissors and started trimming, Will was done, done, done, as was Soren, so I couldn't really do anything to help hold Will still. It was just a terrible disaster. I am hoping to get someone to clean it up a bit soon. Jana says he looks like a combination of the main characters in Dumb & Dumber, who have two, differently bad haircuts. *sigh* I just laughed and laughed every time I looked at him for the first few days.

Cuddling with Great Granny

Four generations

Grands and Great-Grands

Proud grandparents!

Monday afternoon, we left GA and drove to Nashville to visit with Alisha since she couldn't make it down to Granny & Papa's. We had a great time with her, though she was not feeling well due to a head injury she had gotten the week before, poor thing! She was still a great hostess and took the boys to the park and swimming in her neighborhood pool. Will had another near-drowning incident when he bolted back to the pool and jumped in when we were already drying off and gathering our stuff to go. Even though he was in the shallow end, he sank immediately. I am not sure what to do about his fearlessness and lack of swimming skills except to keep him in a life-jacket and 1:1 supervision at all times.

Alisha even kept the boys for us while me, Jana, and Granny & Papa went to watch a live broadcast of the Dave Ramsey Show. I was a little skeptical, but it turned out to be pretty cool. It turns out Granny went to Trevecca with siblings of some of the cafe staff. It is a small world!

We left Nashville around 7 p.m. Tuesday and arrived back at our house a little after 6 a.m. It was a long night for me, as between Will and Soren, I only managed to get an hour of sleep here and there during the drive--lots of crouched nursing for Soren and pats for Will. So today we are back and very happy to be home!

Our busy summer is going to keep up, though, as this weekend is the World's Largest Garage Sale in Duncan, so we're all going down there Thursday night for some Friday garage saleing and then next weekend is our "little" Cousin Camp with just the Jim III Weavers.  I'll bet Granny and Papa will be ready for a break from us anytime now!