Saturday, April 30, 2011


I have a student who teaches me one Chinese word every week.  Today my word was "tian" which means "day".
I have always loved language.  As a kid I bought every Berlitz book and tape I could afford.  My goal was to learn every spoken language.  I had no idea it would be a difficult task. Then I studied language in college, graduating with a degree in linguistics.  Unfortunately, I can only say that I'm completely fluent (maybe) in one language, English; I can get around in French; I know enough Japanese to get me into trouble and now a smattering of Chinese.  But this year one of my goals was to begin language study again.  On my 2011 Resolutions I wrote, "Study French, Japanese and Arabic".  My husband suggested I trim the list down to one. I decided to concentrate on becoming fluent in French again. It's been going well and I even have a practice partner from Quebec.   Then my student started teaching me Chinese.  I guess having a plan works, but I have to seize new opportunities as they come along.

Speaking of opportunities, boy this Challenge has been awesome!  Even though it has been hard for me to keep up with all the posts, it has been wonderful to have an excuse to write everyday.  I met tons of new bloggy friends and have learned lots about writing and all sorts of other things.  So I am kinda sad to have to say
zaijian (goodbye) to the month of April and the end of the Challenge.  I hope to continue visiting everyone and trying to post on a schedule.

Have a great May 1st! :)

Thanks for all the great comments and all my new followers!



Friday, April 29, 2011


I first got hooked on Yoga when we lived in Center City Philadelphia.  There was a class every Saturday morning on the top floor of our apartment building.  It was so convenient I couldn't pass it up.  I envisioned a serene class of stretching and quiet breathing. Wow was I mistaken.  In my first class I felt like I had become a human pretzel.  I could hardly move the next day from the soreness in muscles I never knew I had, but I loved everything about it!  I loved all the cool names each pose had, like Sun Salutation, Happy Baby, Lunging Warrior and Cobra.  I loved that it was so hard, I couldn't think about all the clutter in my head.  I had to simply focus on getting my body into the pose.  I left class sore but refreshed and rejuvenated.  

Now that I live in the suburbs, I miss being able to walk upstairs and enter the world of Yoga.  I have taken a few classes off and on.  I even had the chance to take a class with my husband while we were in India. (It was really funny to see my husband trying to be flexible!)  But unfortunately Yoga is not a regular habit for me anymore.  I'm sure I know enough poses to  practice on my own, but for some reason I don't.  Why don't I make the time for something that I enjoyed so much?


Thursday, April 28, 2011


It's all about experiences.  My everyday life isn't all that exciting.  It's filled with cooking, grocery shopping,  work (I'm lucky I love my job!),  etc.  Of course there is lots of fun with the kids and husband sprinkled in, but what stands out the most in my life are the times where I ventured out of my cozy comfort zone and tried something new.  I haven't always been successful in my new endeavors like when I decided to learn to play the cello at age 37 -I'm still not very good- but I enjoy playing and I've gained a new respect for anyone able to play an instrument well.  I grow a little bit as a person through each experience.  My trip to India with my husband was decided on a whim.  I never thought I would travel there, but I did and it has opened up a whole new world for me.  Now I can't seem to read enough about India's history, food and people.
I will never be the same and I think that is a good thing.

Have you gained by trying something new recently?


My Random Thoughts on the Letter "X"

Though I think the letter "X" looks pretty cool, it seems like a useless letter, at least in the English language.  It can't start a word without having the letter "E" precede it, or it sounds like a "Z" as in "Xenon".  You can replace it  anytime with either "ks" or "Z" except in words like "luxury" where you would have to replace it with "gzh" or something.  And how did anyone come up with "X" standing in for the word "Christ" as in X-mas?   

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Whistler British Columbia- Best Family Vacation!

Jessica and Alyssa on Whistler Mountain
 I'm not a skilled skier at all, so I was a little apprehensive when my husband, Jesse, thought it would be fun to take us on a family ski adventure to Whistler in British Columbia, Canada.  He showed me a map of the ski routes and YouTube videos of people skiing on a skinny trail running down the mountain.  My imagination ran wild and I pictured myself tripping, falling off the trail, rolling down the mountain and getting a full body cast for my only souvenir.  It wasn't just me I was worried about either. I was convinced our 5 year old son would simply fly off the edge of the mountain.  (Ok as I'm writing this I do realize how silly this sounds.  But that's my brain!)

Alyssa and Ryan riding the "Magic Carpet" in the beginners' area
Anyway, we decided to go.  The snow was amazing.  About 2 feet of powder had just fallen the night before.  We all went on the first run together... which maybe was a mistake.  The soft snow came up to the knees of my son and being his 4th time ever skiing, he just kept sitting down.  It was going to be a long way to the bottom.  My husband, a relatively good skier was getting frustrated and my son was ready to go home!  That first run took us about 2 hours.  We decided we had to split up.  My husband took our older daughter to the higher runs and I took our son and middle daughter to the kids' area.  I have to admit this was much more my speed as well.  We had fun getting used to being on skis again and we felt much safer here.
By the next day Ryan and Alyssa were ready to tackle some steeper slopes.  So we all stayed together for awhile until Jesse and Jessica wanted to brave the top of the mountain.  I was glad I was not with them when Jessica flipped over and landed face first in a snow bank!
Apart from skiing, we ate at great restaurants in the adorable Whistler Village, tried indoor rock climbing, played at a park, went to a movie theater and swam in an outdoor pool (water was warm but it sure was cold before getting in!).

By the end of our stay Ryan and Alyssa were zooming down the mountain ahead of me, even navigating moguls.   We had a great time and can't wait to go back.  Happily, none of my imagined scenarios even came close to occurring.  I guess I need to learn to use my imagination only for writing!

Ryan zooming in from of Jesse and me
(I'm the really awkward looking one in the back!)


Check out to see for yourself!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


I'm a little odd, so don't be too surprised when I tell you I keep worms in my garage.  It all started when my kids had a pet turtle that needed worms in it's diet.  I got tired of driving 25 minutes to the pet store once a week to buy them.  So I searched around on the internet and I found out that you can keep a small container of worms who feed on left over food scraps.  Well the turtle sadly has left us, but the worms are thriving.  I began with about 30 red worms and now have a large plastic storage bin full of them.  Most of our kitchen waste goes directly into the bin and after a week or two they have gobbled it up.  They turn it into a beautifully rich soil amendment that I use all over my garden and in my potted plants.  It has become quite a learning experience for the kids too.  They have been able to see the process of decomposition up close and have witnessed the life cycle of worms.  Yes they are slimy, but the kids now see the impact of a creature that we ignore in our daily lives.   Alyssa still thinks they are creepy!


A couple of my worms crawling in their bedding of egg cartons

Monday, April 25, 2011


Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
There have been a few times in my life where I am surrounded by incredible, awe inspiring beauty.  Seeing the Grand Canyon, hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park, taking the Road to Hana and standing in front of the Taj Mahal were all moments where I was surprisingly speechless...except for one word UN-BELEIVEABLE! I just kept repeating it over and over.  We would walk to a new angle, I'd snap a few pictures, pause and repeat, "UN-BELIEVABLE!"  My brain could come up with no other words to express what my senses were experiencing.  In the shadow of such grandeur, I felt tiny and insignificant, yet somehow oddly connected to all the people throughout history who had been there before me.

I am totally aware of my lack of word choices, but I know that when I eventually get to the Pyramids or The Great Wall, I will stare across the endless panorama and exclaim, UN-BELIEVABLE!

What amazing places have you visited that made you speechless?


Saturday, April 23, 2011


Tea.  Hot, comforting, earthy.  I love tea.  The first thing I do in the morning is start up the teapot.  Then I can start the rest of my day.  My tea is there when I write, when I drive, even on the ice when I teach.
I like water and I enjoy wine with dinner, but a steamy cup of tea soothes my soul.
 My favorites are:  Japanese green tea with roasted rice that my mother-in-law introduced me to, Indian Spiced Chai, Ginger Lemon and Earl Grey.

Sorry this post was so tardy.  We took the kids out to the park, had a late lunch and treated them to some ice cream.  It was great to finally have some nice weather!  Maybe spring is really here! YEAH!  Have a great Easter Weekend.


Friday, April 22, 2011


My student & daughter at practice :)

When I'm not at home with my family, I'm on the ice.  It is my passion.  Gliding across the frozen water, I feel a freedom of spirit that I can't fully explain.  Even the smell of the ice excites my senses.  When I think about it, it seems silly.  Why would I spend so much time in a giant indoor refrigerator teaching people how to move across the artificial surface.  Why?  Because it is fantastically fun.  I honestly can't imagine my life without skating.  It is part of who I am.  
I love the skating itself but I also love the coaching.  I am thrilled to spend all day teaching what I love to people of all ages.  Each one of my students are such wonderfully different people. I strive to not only improve their athletic ability but to be a positive influence in their life.  To be one more person who cares about them and to show them that although perfection is not attainable, it is worthy to strive for in all areas.   


Click on the video to see a single axel performed by Alyssa.    

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Rishikesh River Rafting

Ganges River in Rishikesh, India
I have this irrational fear of unfamiliar water.  Canoeing a gentle river is one thing.  Rafting down class III rapids is quite another.  Yet somehow I let my darling husband convince me  it was a good idea to leave the safety and comfort of our sanctuary in the Himalayan foothills to go rafting down the Ganges River!  "After all how many times will we be in India?  We may never get this chance again.  Besides the rapids are small, we won't go down the big part, it will be more like canoeing really", he said.  I would have preferred hiking through the lush rainforest instead, but being married, sometimes you make sacrifices.
Another couple, who were friends from home, had decided to join us.  My friend was pretty nervous too which made me feel better.  We sat in the back of a tiny pick-up truck as the Nepalese rafting guides drove us down a crazy mountain road to the banks of the Mighty Ganges River. The steep mountain forests surrounding us did little to calm my spirit as the head guide went through all the safety precautions.  I didn't have a problem with the handing out of life jackets, but I think my face went pale as he nonchalantly described how to free yourself when stuck under a flipped raft.  Great, I thought.  The guides don't say things like that on canoe trips!  To my overactive imagination his warnings did not resemble a flight attendants speech before take off.  I felt a wall of impending doom wash over me.  My stomach twisted in knots.  I contemplated backing out, but before I could make up my mind I was climbing in the blue rubber raft.
We pushed away from the shore.  The water was calm but murky.  I wondered what creatures lurked in the depths beneath us.  I scanned the river ahead.  We were approaching the first rapids.  I followed our guide's instructions like a soldier obeys his general.  He said, "paddle" and I paddled as if my life depended on it.  Everyone else in the boat started whooping it up thinking this was great fun.  Even my friend acted like we were on some roller coaster ride.  In an instant, we had passed over it and the river widened and softened, tricking me into thinking it was harmless.  I knew there were more rapids to come so my senses remained on high alert.  We passed through a couple more small rapids without too much difficulty.  But soon the soft bank of the river changed to steep rock faces.  The water around me boiled with activity. Our little blue boat barely missed the jagged boulders just peeking out from under the water's surface.  And then I saw the most frightening sight I had ever seen.  A wall of water that must have been 12 feet high towered above us.  My mind raced to thoughts of my kids and how I hoped that we weren't about to make them orphans.  I cursed myself for leaving them at home and for being talked into this craziness.  Our guide yelled "paddle".  I clenched the oar so tightly nothing could have broken my grip.  I focused only on me and the water and I prayed.  I don't understand how our tiny vessel didn't flip, but we crested that wave and slid down the other side as if it had been a water slide.  Only then was I aware that the guides in the boat were teasing me...mocking my seriousness. I realized that I was the only one in the whole boat who wasn't wet!  Our guides were such experts at navigating this river that they actually controlled who got soaked.  I finally had to laugh.   I allowed myself to enjoy the sights of cows wandering to the river bank and the sounds of monkeys howling in the nearby trees.  There was one more rapids to go over ....this time I whooped and hollered like the rest of them... I also got soaked.


Monkeys watching our adventure


Our rafting team with expert guides!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Ahhhhhhh......peace and quiet.  It is 5:29 a.m. in my time zone and no one else is awake in my house.  The soft hum of the refrigerator and the patter of rain upon the roof are the only audible sounds. It's just me and my extra large cup of green tea. No interruptions now and no excuses for not writing.
I am quite used to working with chaos around me though.  My son keeps a constant conversation going at all times, especially when I'm on the computer.  My 2 homeschooled daughters are quieter but often I need to stop mid-thought to help them with a subject.   Yesterday I couldn't seem to handle the craziness.  I had planned on writing something a little more profound.  I struggled for most of the day to get my words right.  Then in the midst of a conversation with my son about penguins, I scrapped everything and changed my word.
So now in my solitude the words should fly onto the screen with ease....but maybe it's too quiet.  I keep checking the clock.  When should I wake them up?  Now?  No, that's crazy let everyone sleep. I stare at the blinking cursor.  It is just blinking... waiting for me, but nothing comes to my head.

I guess I'll go wake them up now.


One of my favorite quiet places, my grandpa's cottage in Michigan

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


picture from Wikipedia
In honor of my son's favorite animal, today's "P" word is Penguin.  I'm not sure what sparked his passion for this flightless bird, but he adores them.  He loves his penguin pajamas, his penguin t-shirt and anything else relating to penguins.  He reads books about them.  He writes in school about them.  He even sheds tears when he thinks of seals nabbing his little buddies.  For some reason he thinks penguins should never have to die.  To him they are perfect little creatures.  I have to agree they are pretty cute.    


Monday, April 18, 2011


My husband loves oysters.  I've tried them.  I wouldn't say they are my favorite dish.   I realize they are considered a delicacy.  In The Oyster Wars of Chesapeake Bay, John Wennersten tells of how the ancient Romans devised a method for packing oysters in bags of ice.  This way they would stay closed and fresh on the long export route from England to Rome.  It seems to me that if they were willing to do that much work 2000 years ago, oysters must be something special.  But I have never ordered a plate of oysters and honestly don't see myself ever doing so.... but I never used to order sushi and now I love it.  Maybe my palate will continue to mature.

Are there any "delicacies" that you just can't seem to appreciate?

Friday, April 15, 2011


My mom with Alyssa and Ryan
I like the sound of a lot of "M" words like:  monkey, marathon and milestone.  But no "M" word means more to me than "MOM".  I think I won the mom lottery.  She encouraged my imagination. We played "beach party"  spreading beach towels in front of a sunny window and pretending to sunbathe.  We wrote silly stories together.  Sometimes we laughed more than we wrote.  We painted together.  We worked in the garden together.  Actually, we did almost everything together.  I was too shy to take an ice skating class by myself so I begged her to take it with me.  She did.  She did so much for me, and she still does.  She would drop everything to come help any of her 3 kids.  She taught me how to be a good mom by being a good one herself.  Thanks Mom.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Lovely Day

O.k. maybe this "L" word is a little lame, but I had a Lovely day today with my kids.  They were feeling really lousy... too sick for school.  So we had a quiet day hanging out together.  While I made fresh ginger tea to soothe their sore throats, they huddled on the couch like a group of penguins, (my son suggested this simile, penguins are his favorite). They read and napped and read again.  Jessica and I worked on her writing.  Ryan helped me edit the story I'm working on.  He's only 6 but he loves to help me edit.  In fact he's helping me type this post, which is maybe why it is taking a little longer. Then Ryan and I went outside for a while to inspect our garden.  He was happy to see 10 little pea shoots poking out of the ground.
When we came back in, the kitchen had been cleaned.  Despite having a nasty headache, Alyssa wanted to surprise me with spotless counters!  Wow.  What a lovely day, but I do hope they feel better tomorrow.




Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Thinking about "K"

Jessica, 4, in my wedding dress.
I almost wrote about the cool "K" word my husband came up with,  kaleidoscope.  I was thinking how I used to love them as a kid.  Then I realized "kid"starts with "k".  So I thought I could tell you how wonderful my kids are and how they teach me as much as I teach them.   I thought of Jessica's 14th birthday last year.  She wanted  a Key Lime Pie.  I made it the night of her birthday, but I got distracted and the crust came out a dark brown color.  Luckily I hadn't put the filling in yet so I decided I had to make another crust.  It was getting late and I was frustrated that her night wasn't going well.  She came up to me and gave me a hug and said, "Mom you don't need to make another one tonight.  I can wait until tomorrow."  That was my little girl but she wasn't so little anymore.  


Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Ever since I was about 8 years old I have been fascinated with Japan.  I don't know why. It just sort of happened.  I was entranced by the movie Shogun and its portrayal of a wonderful, mystical land.  I thought the women, in their embroidered silken kimonos, were stunningly beautiful.

As I grew older, my interest intensified.  I bought Japanese language books.  I asked my mom if we could make a Japanese dinner and eat at our coffee table.  We sat on the floor, drank tea and ate sukiyaki.   For my 12th birthday I wanted Japanese characters on my cake.  In college, I took some Japanese history and language classes.  Then, I found the man of my dreams.  I was amazed to learn that his mom had come to America from Japan.      

When our first daughter was 18 months old, we took her to Japan.  The country was everything I thought it would be.  I sat in the temples and a wave of peace washed over me.  I could hardly believe the road I had taken to get there.

I remain puzzled by my soul's gravity like pull toward Japan. I look at my husband and our three children Jessica, Alyssa and Ryan, and I'm grateful for the contribution this far off land has made to my life.  

My heart goes out to all of Japan and it's people in the wake of the tsunami/earthquake tragedy.


Monday, April 11, 2011


Surrounded by Inspiration

I am surrounded by people who inspire me.
My mom and dad inspire with their never ending energy.
My in-laws inspire with their spirit of adventure.
My grandpa inspires with his refusal to acknowledge age.
My brothers inspire with their eternal humor.
My children inspire with their sense of wonder.
My sweetie inspires with his infinite quest for knowledge.

I can only hope that I will inspire others as much as they have inspired me.

I'd love to hear about the special people who inspire you.


Saturday, April 9, 2011


I always seem to be in a hurry.  I'm forever rushing around trying to be late for something.  Maybe there is some genetic code lurking in the depths of my bones that makes me want to run around crazy like a chicken, because my parents do too.  I don't know.  My husband, trying to help, suggests a little more organization might be the answer. I agree, but I've tried lists and day planners.  In my haste I forget to check them.  My real problem lies in the fact that I love to do too many things and I think that I can do them all.  I try to fill every minute.  When I'm in the "zone" of writing, or whatever, it's hard to drop everything and move on.  So I wait until the last possible moment and then....I'm late.  Well I gotta go now, but before I leave I want to send all my new great bloggy friends and followers another H word.  HUGS!  Thanks for all your great comments and following.

Do you have any strategies on doing it all, besides not sleeping?


Friday, April 8, 2011



Taught me to fish.
Gave me my nickname.
Read dinosaur books to me.
Inspired my love of nature, art and music.
Taught me to build relationships, ideas, and things.
Continues to prove age does not matter.
Is a window to the past for my kids.
Teaches me to laugh at myself.
Always gives me love.

I'm endlessly grateful for my Gramps.


Gramps taking me fishing

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Family Traditions

 Except for celebrating the major holidays, we never had any special family traditions.  But about 2 years ago we decided to make a change.  It wasn't meant to become a tradition it just happened.  We loved celebrating our Friday nights with the kids.  We had home made pizzas and watched movies until the wee hours of Saturday.  My husband and I soon got tired of eating pizza every week, so one Friday I decided to make Chinese Fried Rice instead.  I also had some left over frozen dumplings in the freezer so I made those too.  Everyone loved the change.  My daughter Alyssa said, "Why don't we do this every week and pick a different country." Jessica added, "Let's do every country!"  Yikes this was quickly getting out of hand.  How many countries are there any way? I wondered.  It had already been decided though, and our family's Foreign Food Festival Friday tradition had begun.  So far we have experienced the cuisines of 52 out of the 196 countries in the world.  We plan to continue our journey until we have tasted them all.  This week we are planning to explore the flavors of Bangladesh.  Join our party by visiting

Other fun traditions we recently invented:
Indoor family camp outs where we all sleep on the floor
Family reading time
Saturday morning breakfast out

What fun traditions does your family have?


p.s. Welcome to all my new followers.  Thanks for all of the great comments!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


This was not my first choice for "E".  I originally chose "enthusiasm", but I sat for a 1/2 hour with a blank computer screen.  I couldn't seem to organize my thoughts.  My writing kept wandering.  I think enthusiasm is a great word.  It evokes passion and eagerness, but today I hit a roadblock in the flowing prose department.  
My husband witnessed my struggle this morning and suggested "Eustreptospondylus" instead.  I resisted at first but no epiphany came.  

So E is for Eustreptospondylus, a T-Rex like dinosaur found in England.

picture from Wikipedia

Hopefully I will have more luck with the "F" word tomorrow.

I also want to thank Deirdra Coppel over at for awarding me with the "Inspiring Blog Award".  I am so honored to be included in her list. 


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Deliberate Practice

What is deliberate practice?  It is analyzing what you are doing wrong and trying to systematically fix each problem.  In my real job coaching figure skaters, this concept is extremely important.  If kids don't know their errors, they mindlessly practice the same bad habits.  It's funny that this same concept follows me everywhere I go.  I find it to be true in writing as well.  For the longest time, I just wrote, not studying the craft of writing.  I read but I did not study what was written.  Now I am beginning to see my mistakes.  I need to study all my pursuits in the same way I teach my students, with my eye on deliberate practicing.

For more information about deliberate practice read Geoff Colvin's excellent book, Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World Class Performers From Everbody Else.


Monday, April 4, 2011

Courage to Change

I've never really embraced change.  I grew up with that old adage, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."  But as I grow older, I see the best moments in my life came from having the courage to make changes.  Sometimes I took big leaps, other times I only took baby steps.  I didn't always land on my feet but each new step brought growth. I am at a great destination right now, but is that it? I don't want my map of life to be one long straight road.  I will forge ahead, and though I still am wary of taking a wrong turn, I will try to have the courage to go down new roads.  

What new roads have you taken lately?          

Kathy :)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Book Club

My three kids are 14, 12, and 6, and they love books.  Some days they spend hours just reading.  They decided that they wanted to make their own book club.  They all agreed on a book and they read one chapter together at night.  They sit on the floor of Jessica's room and take turns reading out loud to each other.  It is one of the most wonderful scenes for me as their mom.  I don't know how long they will continue with it, (Ryan says they will do it forever), at least they will remember it forever.


After much debating, I've decided to try the A to Z Blog Challenge.  So for the month of April I will attempt to be blogging every day except for Sunday.  Wish me luck!

Friday, April 1, 2011

A Pile of Pieces

Our pile of tank pieces!
Well Spring Break is almost over and we have had a great week.  The first day we spent as a library day. (We didn't actually go to the library, we just had a reading party in our living room.)   The next day was spent outside and working on individual projects.  We celebrated Wednesday by going out to lunch and going shopping.  I don't really like going to the mall, so we went to the craft store to pick up some fun projects for the kids. It was hard for them to choose, there were so many cool choices. But I gave them a budget that they had to stay within and that helped to narrow things down a bit.  It's funny how the three of them pick different kinds of projects.  Jessica always wants canvases or other painting supplies.  Alyssa likes more simple but colorful drawing and art projects. Ryan  picks engineering intensive works. Of course, being 6 means that when he picks a project it is also for me.  He chose two 3D wooden puzzles, one of penguins and the other a tank.  I thought they looked really cool, but not being an engineer myself I hoped that the directions would be thorough.  As soon as we got home he wanted to start on them.  Luckily we started with the simple penguin.  Ryan got all the pieces out and my heart sank when I read the directions:  "Look on the picture to familiarize yourself with where the pieces go."   UH OH!  I guess when you pay 5 bucks for something with 30 pieces you should figure it's too good to be true.  There was a diagram of all the pieces with numbers, but no numbers on the actual pieces.  It said to match the numbers to put them together.  Unfortunately, it didn't seem to make any sense to me!

Ryan finishing the tread.
Painting the penguin
It took a while but we finally got most of the penguin together.  My husband, an engineer, came home and Ryan asked him to help.  "These aren't directions!  This is silly!" He said in frustration.   Ryan actually figured out the problem and he finished it after dinner.  We still had the tank to build.  That was going to have to wait until morning.
Finished...just needs paint.
Thursday, Ryan and I spent most of the day building the tank from an imposing pile of pieces.  We made it through a number of frustrating moments.  At one point Ryan had built a whole section of tread only to find that we had used the wrong pieces together.  But we persevered and by nightfall we had accomplished our mission.  We were both extremely proud of what we built together.