Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Weight of the Nation - Encouraging good habits for kids

Vic and I have almost finished HBO's 4-part series "Weight of the Nation." I've found a lot of it very informative and encouraging, but I will admit that Part 3, which was about childhood obesity, bothered me a bit. A lot of blame for this epidemic was put on the advertisements that children are exposed to, as well as the cafeteria meals they are served in school.  The experts in the documentary seemed to think the only way to protect children from ads and bad cafeteria meals was government regulation. I'll spare you the rant about government regulations and simply offer a better and cheaper alternative -- education and encouragement.

Both parents and our schools should educate our youth from day 1 of kindergarten through the last day of high school about the importance of making healthy choices and the health consequences of making bad choices. Encourage activity throughout the day - again, both parents and educators should be doing this. Take stretching or walking breaks during the school day. Make PE mandatory more than once/week. Go on family bike rides, evening walks, and weekend hikes.

I realize there's the argument about low-income and single mothers who have a hard time making ends meet, much less encouraging/enforcing a healthy lifestyle. I feel for those children - they're going to have a hard enough time rising above what they were born into. This is an area where, instead of the government telling anyone what they can or cannot watch or eat, the government {or whomever is in charge of curriculum and education} should be pushing more healthy living education to these kids. Eventually, the hope is that the lack of "customers" {children} purchasing unhealthy foods will lessen the advertising and poor cafeteria foods.

I speak from my own experiences, both with the way I was raised and now how I raise my child. Someday I plan on elaborating on my whole life of weight struggles, but I'll give you a little synopsis here to support where I'm coming from:

Growing up in my middle-class family with two working parents, we always had the sugary-sweet cartoon character cereals and we ate a lot of processed foods, especially because that was what was on sale and was quick to cook, or what my parents had coupons for {and my mom wasn't exactly an awesome cook - sorry mom!}. I often ate school lunches {pizza, hamburgers, pancake day!}, and of course I never chose the vegetables! To top it off, we drank diet soda - yes, "better" than sugar-filled regular soda, but horrible for a child! I cringe when I think of what went into my young body. Exercise wasn't really emphasized in our house either... it was sporadic and never anything we did as a family. Neither of my parents were heavy, but they were both unhealthy in their own ways. Needless to say, my outlook on nutrition and exercise started out pretty badly. I didn't begin to turn my bad habits around until my teen/young adult years when I began to read and become interested in diet and exercise. I educated myself on what I should/shouldn't be eating and doing... and I continue to do that daily, because I still have a lot of nature and nurture to fight!

As a parent, I struggle with feeding my very picky child healthy foods. I feel that I've done well enough - he loves almost all varieties of fresh fruit and yogurt, and he has never had soda nor a lot of juice - but I know I've fallen victim to convenience foods for him, and that I haven't pushed vegetables on him enough {Vic and I are working on that}. We also limit not only the amount of TV that he watches, but also what channels he watches. We stick with Nick Jr. because they do not have any advertising. I know as he gets older, this will change, but hopefully we will have instilled some good habits in him.

One area where I feel we do an excellent job is with exercise. We are both very active, and Valentino has caught the bug for sure.

About 7 months old and riding in our bike trailer!
He sees us ride our bikes. He sees us go running and lift weights. He loves to do all three and wants to participate in everything we do, and we encourage it. It makes me a proud mama :-)

Doing push-ups on the lawn at North Hills.
Edited to add: I in no way think I'm perfect at this subject with my child, nor do I think I know it all about this topic. These are simply my opinions and experiences with it.

I hope to update tomorrow with what I've been up to lately. Until then... your thoughts on childhood obesity?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Quick Mid-week Update

Today is one of those days where you wake up feeling fine, and as the day goes on, the area you worked out yesterday gets more and more sore.

Sunday and Monday were active rest days, then I ran 4 miles on Tuesday evening {funny that 4 miles feels like NBD nowadays!}, which felt awesome.

Last night I did a workout referred to by Vic as the "world's strongest man workout" - I once again marched up and down our very steep driveway holding a 35-lb weight plate... but this time, Vic gave me instructions on different exercises to do - sometimes I had to shoulder press the weight up, or hold it over my head, or go further down the street, or do squats while going down the driveway, or walk backwards up the driveway. My hamstrings, arms, upper back, shoulders and even my core are *sweetly* sore today - I love the burn! I'm hoping to repeat this workout several times a week, as those are definitely my problem areas. I'm feeling more toned and I've lost some weight, so I feel very motivated right now.

Today will be a 4 mile run again, then I'm scheduled for 10 - yes 10 - miles on Saturday morning. Wow-wee. Wish me luck!

In other news - I finished up my first MyPublisher photo books. They're gifts for my mom and grandma {we're going to give the books to them when we visit MI}, and I'm so excited to see what the final product looks like. It seems like there are a lot of cool features to MyPublisher - some of which I learned/used - and I want to learn more as I begin to make our family books. I love making things like this, but it's SO time consuming - going through all those pictures, picking out your favorites...

Work is busy. Life is busy. Trying to button up details for our MI trip... still need a dog sitter. Any takers?

Monday, May 21, 2012

The pictures sum it up -

These were from a couple weeks ago - I was curious to see how a maxi-dress looked on me {since I'm short and stout!}, so I tried one on at Target. I took these pictures to show Vic, to get his opinion... what resulted was hilarious to me {later of course}.

This is what happens when you take a 4-year old boy into a dressing room with you {don't mind the ugly dress and pale chubbiness - the point is to see my silly boy!}:

First, he'll entertain himself with faces in the mirror

Then, he'll try desperately to block your view while saying "Are you done yet!!"

And finally, he'll attempt to escape {I would too if I saw this prairie/hippie lookin' lady!}

Yes, he's a rascal. And no, I haven't found a maxi-dress that I'd want to wear. Does anyone else think they're hot tents? Man, I was roasting by the time I took this off... though it could've been the child wrangling that did it for me...

PS: I ran 9 miles on Saturday. YES - NINE. Holy cow. I was in a "spot of bother" both Saturday and Sunday, and I'm only just now starting to feel okay again. Next Saturday is a 10-miler...

PPS: Since Saturday night, I've had this mystery sunburn-ish pain on the back of my thigh, but there's nothing visible. WTH? Shingles? Allergic reaction? Fybormyalgia {courtesy of WebMD of course}? I just want it to go away.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Let's get real... about PMS.

Oh, this week... it's been a busy one! Between trying to fit in workouts when I can, spending time with my husband and son, keeping the house somewhat together, and work picking up for me substantially, I haven't had time to take a lunch most days much less type up this post {I've worked on the main part of it in spurts all week}.

Workouts this week:
Tuesday - 3.5 mile run
Wednesday - used my driveway as a torture device. We have a really, really steep driveway, so I quickly walked up and down it, holding a 35lb weight plate. I knew it would be challenging, but I didn't expect to be gushing sweat! I'll definitely be doing that again!
Thursday - 4 mile run, which felt great and really strong!

I had planned on doing a hill ride on my bike after work, but I had a rough day at work, my legs are still sore, and I have 9 miles planned for tomorrow morning - so I'm taking it easy and resting tonight.

Now for the meat of this post - a subject that has been on my mind lately. For all 5 or so of my readers, of which I don't believe any are male {aside from my husband - hi honey!}, I'm about to touch on a very girly subject - PMS. Don't worry - I'm not going to get all gross , I'm just going to talk about my personal {non-graphic} experience with it..

Since I've been trying to pay attention to my body and its wants and needs lately, I've really noticed that how I feel on any given day is largely influenced by where I am in my cycle {take note: I'm not on any type of hormonal BC, so my hormones are au naturale; for a point of refernce, right now my cycle is about 25-26 days long}.
Days 2-14 of my cycle {Day 1 being the first day of AF}, I feel super motivated and virtually unstoppable. I love everyone/my job, I want to be on top of everything, my house {and my brain} is neater, and I want/need/love to exercise! Controlling my food intake is much easier, and the cravings aren't really there.

Days 15-22, aka P -10 days, the bloat, hunger and fatigue beast arrives. I feel famished all the time, and I want carbs hardcore. I'm also insanely tired at this time, and my motivation to do anything is at an all-time low. I've noticed that even though I love my job and I'm so thankful to have it, this is the time during the month when I have a bad attitude about working and being a working mother. I would say that I feel slightly depressed during this time, but for no reason.

Days 23-25/26 are a lesser version of Days 15-22 {not as bloated/hungry/tired}, but the crankiness and crazy emotions that are all over the place at times are in full effect. It's crazy, but I actually look foward to AF coming because I know it will be a release from the hormonal rollercoaster. {Aside from Day 1, when I have the typical cramps and yucky feeling, I usually feel amazingly great during AF - see Days 2-14}.

Obviously, I have a classic case of PMS. According to this site, it's likely that I have PMDD, or premenstrual dysphoric disorder, which I first heard of from a couple girlfriends who are being treated for it. Treatment typically consists of taking anti-depressants for a week or two before AF {which was quickly suggested to me by the OB/GYN during my last annual, when all I did was tell her I was extremely tired ~10 days before AF - gotta love docs!}. While I respect some women's choice to get treated with drugs, I'm the type of person who doesn't even like to take Motrin for a headache... so anti-depressants are not really a choice for me. I've looked into more natural cures, and exercise seems to really help.

What does all this mean? While it would be easy to moan and groan about the fact that half of my life I'm not feeling 100%, I'm realizing that I need to learn to capitalize on the first two weeks of my cycle, when I feel at my best. This is the time of the month when I need to hit the exercise hard and focus on eating really well.

I have a naked 4-year old to get to bed now... I hope to post more this weekend, because I'm going to be super busy this week. We'll see!

How about you - do you ride the rollercoaster too? Love being a woman?

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Best and Most Rewarding Job in the World

What a weekend!

I had a lovely half day off on Friday, which began with an intense four hours of work in the morning. Once I got home, Vic and I grabbed a quick lunch then took off an intense {for me!} 25 mile bike ride. It felt great to be out there on the bike, working {sweating} hard, and enjoying one of my favorite activities with one of my favorite people. As a bonus, the weather was spectacular - perfect temperature, amazingly crisp, blue skies, and not a cloud to be seen. Truly a perfect-weather day.

Side note: From the time Valentino was about 7 months old until he was almost 3, we used to ride our bikes together a couple times/week {Valentino was in the trailer behind Vic}. Last summer, when Valentino was 3, the time finally came - it became a struggle to get him in the trailer, and alas, our "family rides" came to an end {and consequently, the lbs started creeping back on my body...}. Now, most of our riding is done individually or when we have a week-day off together.

Saturday was pretty close to a "perfect" day for me. The weather was pretty amazing once again, and I started the morning with a 6 mile run around the lake. It was pretty cool {about 53*}, so there was some fog on the lake:

Early morning fog on Shelley Lake
After I finished {1:06... not too horrible for me, especially since I walked a bit due to sore legs from the bike ride the day before}, Vic took off for a mountain bike ride and Valentino and I hung out at home. Valentino was very cranky, so I set him up for some "quiet time" in our bed with cartoons on. This gave me a chance to peter around the house a bit, cleaning and straightening up. Vic came home and surprised me with an early Mother's Day gift {he works Sundays, so we were celebrating the day on Saturday}:

A Nathan hydration belt!
{Now I don't have to run w/a bottle or stash a bottle someplace while I run!}
Then it was off to Porter Farms for strawberry picking! We had a great time, and the berries are SO delicious. NOTHING beats fresh picked NC strawberries! They are better than candy, I swear!

Vic and Valentino in the strawberry field
Our bounty - they are truly that red and shiny in person!
After dropping the berries off at home, we headed over to one of our favorite parks, where Valentino played and we went on a hike {side note: I was wearing flip flops, since the hike was not planned whatsoever... I will now be sure that I always stash shoes in the car on the weekends!}.

There was a birthday party going on at the park and this stormtrooper was there.
{Ignore my closed eyes... I love this picture because Valentino is clinging to me for dear life - he is usually very outgoing and loves costumed things. Although, those things have always been animals, now that I think about it. This guy was a little intimidating!}
Sunday {Mother's Day} was much like any other Sunday - Valentino and I mopped the kitchen and bathroom floors, did laundry, vacuumed, ate lunch outside at Panera, then went grocery shopping and to the library. I had big plans to bake some strawberry muffins and to make kabobs for dinner, but the impending rain put a damper on my mood and ambition... so once Vic came home from work, we headed to Five Guys for dinner {mmm... health food!}.

 Now that I type all of this out, I realize that it was truly a non-stop weekend, full of activity - just like we like it!

Since Friday was a whirlwind of a day, I didn't get to post my usual "Friday Love." Instead, in honor of my fifth Mother's Day, I bring you four reasons I love being a mom:

1. Experiencing a tiny miracle every day. That little miracle grew inside of me, and now I get to watch him grow, learn, and experience this world on a daily basis. I ask myself all the time what I did to deserve such an amazing child, who, despite his faults, is absolutely perfect in all of his being.

2. Bringing childhood back. Not only do I get to act goofy, watch cartoons, and play with toys, but I get to see birthdays, holidays, and new experiences through the eyes of my child. His excitement and innocence about these events brings me as much, if not more, enjoyment as he gets out of it. It brings a whole new meaning and love for special events.

3. Getting to do things my way: This only partially applies to being able to be "the boss" ;-) Mostly though, I love being able to create new traditions for our family and to do things that, as a kid, I would've wanted my parents to do {which pertains to everything from how we eat, how we speak in front of him, discipline, and how we talk about certain subjects, to traditions and letting him do certain things}. I grew up in a pretty "open" environment {meaning, I had minimal supervision at any given time}, and Vic grew up in a very rigid, old-fashioned environment. We're trying to raise our children in a traditional home {so somewhat in-between to conservative}, so it will be interesting to see how our kids turn out.

4. Feeling complete and full of purpose. In my young twenties, I wasn't sure I wanted children ever... I wanted to do whatever I wanted to do, whenever I wanted to do it. Now, I can't imagine not having a child. Sure, there are times when it would be nice to have the extra money, time, and energy {and to not have the responsibility!}. In reality though, all of that seriously pales in comparison to having this little person in my life who reminds me of my purpose on this Earth and who makes my heart feel so completely full and thankful.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I got nothin'

Even though my attitude was good today, and I felt pretty happy on the whole, today was a day of feeling pulled in every which direction - I'm kinda wiped out.

My training has been terrible this week :-( I didn't really do any vigorous activity on Monday evening (unless you count a mostly leisurely 4 mile bike ride), and I did a really "light" 4 mile run on Tuesday. Today I didn't get home until 6pm (darn you 540 rainy-day traffic!), then it was cook/clean/get-the-kid-to-bed time.

I hope to get up early tomorrow morning and run before work to hopefully give me a boost of energy to get through the day... hope to.

This is a lame piece. Sorry!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Better late than never...?

Workouts since last post:

Friday = 9.5 miles of hills on my bike after work
Saturday = 8 mile (!!!) run first thing in the morning

Totally dropped the ball on my Friday Love post... so here it is... LATE {aka, story of my life}:

4 Things I love{d} about the {last} week:

1. Sticking to it! I'm happy to announce that I did, indeed, complete Hal's training plan last week! I didn't necessarily follow the correct order nor do the exact mileages, but I did the right number of runs vs. cross-training. I also stuck with my mindful eating plan all week, and I didn't have any nighttime snacks in front of the TV, even when I could've consumed my arm due to hunger.

2. Sore muscles. I love the feeling of sore muscles to remind you of an effective workout {note: I'm not talking about the "you obviously have an injury" type of sore/pain}. Due to #1, I spent most of the week with a nice reminder that I was workin' it ;-) It's addicting!

3. Having plans. I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that having plans to do something - whether it's big {a trip! a baby! a half marathon!} or small {plant flowers! de-clutter! take a day off!} - really keeps me going. I've felt very apathetic lately, but between training for this half marathon and dreaming up plans for the summer {a la my summer to-do list}, I've been able to keep somewhat focused.

4. Return of the warm evening. It was so hot all week {90* +}, which meant steamy, balmy evenings. Aside from the skeeters {and accompanying bug spray stench}, I LOVE that time of night. It's so comforting, and it reminds me of summertime when I was a kid. Fun. Limitless. Carefree. :-)

And just for fun, 4 things you probably don't want to know about me:

1. I'm wearing a dress today, but I totally forgot to shave my legs. I realized this fact after getting dressed, and frankly, I could care less. Thankfully, I have light-colored, fine hair, so I don't think anyone can tell. Plus, I hardly see anyone all day, so - SO WHAT.

2. Since we're talking about shaving, I'll confess that I don't remember the last time I changed the razor in my shower. I will tell you that I've had the same 12-pack bag of razors for years, and there are several new ones in the bag. I'm guessing it was last summer when I last changed that razor{?}. It works though, and does a fine job - my legs are always smooth afterwards! I'm pretty sure that whole razor life-span thing is made up for marketers anyway... right?!

3. I don't wear makeup, nor do I dye my hair {probably no shock to those who personally know me}. On makeup: I don't know how/care to know how to do it properly, I don't want to spend money on it, and, I'm not saying I'm just naturally gorgeous or anything, but I don't feel that I need to wear it. Yes, I'll admit that I probably look more tired and plain than I would if I wore makeup, but it doesn't bother me enough to start doing so. I have fairly healthy/even skin {albeit oily at times}, so I guess that helps.  On hair dye: I like my natural color {caramel-y brown? light brown? some-have-called-me-blonde?}, and frankly, I don't want to have to maintain the dying cycle.

4. I'm kind of a creeper/on-line voyeur. If I meet you out and about, I will probably later google you/find you on FB/find your blog. Embarassing, but true. I did this once to the wife of a guy Vic started riding with, and Vic mentioned a fact that I found online to the guy... the guy was like "how did you know that?" Errr... needless to say, I hope to never have to explain this!

Progress on my challenges:
Smoothie A Day in May fell apart over the weekend. This morning I hopped back on, and I made one with almond milk, a scoop of Optimum Nutrition 100% whey protein, 7 fresh strawberries, a small handful of spinach(!), and some ice. This was the first time I used spinach in a smoothie, and I have to say that I DID NOT taste it. Hooray!

Photo A Day:

Day four: Fun!
{LATE - Taken during my 8 mile run on Saturday morning}
Day five: bird.
{A charm from a broken necklace - I didn't want to throw this guy away!}
Day six: you.
{Taken by my son on the carousel at Pullen Park on Sunday}

I had plans to get up and run this morning, but I couldn't get out of bed this morning. My legs are still sore from Saturday, and I wanted to sleep. Hoping to squeeze in a run or bike ride after work.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Summer lovin'

Tuesday = 3 hard, sticky, sweaty (but slow-ish) miles after work.
Wednesday = rest. AH.
Today = ~3.5 miles a 5:45am, which felt harder than the 7 I did last Saturday.

Tuesday's run sealed the deal for me - I need to run before work. It's been near or just above 90* most of this week, and I'm not enjoying running after work. With the heat, I feel more sluggish and like I cannot move. On top of that, I hate that my evening runs cut into time with my family and makes the whole evening rush even more "rush-y." I'm now newly committed to getting up early (5:15) and punching out my mileage first thing.

Today was day #1 of early morning running, and it was pretty tough to get out of bed. On top of that, my legs were definitely feeling the burn right from the start. Afterwards though, it was nice to know that my mileage for the day was done and as a bonus, I got to *feel* the achy muscles all day (a feeling I love!).

Although I'm only about 5 days into it, I'm feeling proud of myself for being more mindful about my eating. I have been very, very hungry at times, but I haven't caved. I've learned to distract myself instead of eating something, and even if my body isn't showing signs, I feel better and more svelte.

Progress on my challenges:

Today was day #1 of the Smoothie A Day in May challenge - I made a delicious smoothie for breakfast that had skim milk, a scoop of Optimum Nutrition 100% whey protein, half a banana, 4 fresh strawberries, coconut, and some ice. It was filling, but by about 10:30 I was really, really hungry! Tomorrow I plan on having a similar (smaller portion) smoothie as an afternoon snack.

Photo A Day:

Day two: skyline
{of my cozy little rancher on the hill}

Day three: something you wore
{a ruffled dress and wedges - it was hot today!}

So far so good, eh? It's fun to take part in these - it gives me a little extra mission for the day!

Good reads for today:

Clean eating for dummies {via Lindsay's List}: Makes it sound so do-able!

Just because you make money doesn't mean you know what to do with it {via The Thousandaire}: Reminder to get on that budget/money saving bandwagon!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

My reasons

Quickly, here are my top reasons for working out and getting healthier/more fit:

To start with, I'm going to be 100% honest and you can think what you want, but my first reason is pure vanity - I want to look GOOD. For my husband, for myself, for all other moms out there. I'm nearing 30 and although I know I'm still young, I'm very aware that youth is fleeting and that there are many, many more attractive young women out there. I'm not - I repeat, NOT - worried about my husband straying or anything like that, but I want him to be proud to have me by his side. Additionally, I want to be able to shop wherever I'd like and wear whatever clothes I want to wear {especially a cute bikini at the beach!}. And since I'm officially in the "mom" stage of life, I want to be sure I never slip into looking like a typical minivan driving, mom-pants-wearing, soccer mom {yes, I know there are plenty of hot-looking moms like that, but you know what I mean!}.

Secondly, I want to be healthy. I'm terrified of aging, especially the thought of doing so in a debilitating way {our families have dealt with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's - two horrible ways to spend your last years on Earth}. I want a strong, healthy body so that I know I've done what I could to ward off preventable diseases {diabetes, heart disease, etc}.

And finally, I want to set a good example. As a mother, of course I want to set the best example possible for my son, stepdaughter, and any other children that may come into our lives. I've also found that you never know who looks up to you and who's looking to you for guidance - so it's important to live by example no matter who is watching. {whoa, I sounded kind of wise there, no?} Someday soon I'm going to elaborate on this topic a lot more, especially because the root of my {and probably many, many other peoples') weight/food issues is deeply rooted in this topic.

Why do you want to live a healthy lifestyle? It's okay to admit that you want to look good ;-) I won't judge!

Favorite reads of the day:
Breastfeeding Expectations (via Life as Mom) - I couldn't have said it better! Her experience with breastfeeding was SO similar to my own, and she approached it with the same mindset I had. Nursing Valentino for over 2 years is one of my proudest accomplishments in life, and I would do it all over again in heartbeat (and I plan to with our next child).

Smoothie a day in May (via The Fitnessista) - Definitely jumping on board with this tomorrow! I think this will be a great way for Valentino and I to start the day.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May Day! May Day!

I love May! Here in North Carolina, it signifies the beginning of summer - and, judging by the 90* temperatures due to start tomorrow, we're right on schedule! Our family loves summer and {almost} everything it brings - long, warm days, trips to the beach, bike rides, being outside, playing in the pool. We have a lot planned this summer, and the fact that Valentino is at such a fun age means this summer will be one of the best ever. By the end of the week, I hope to put together our "Summer To-do List" {I refuse to call it a "bucket" list - to me, that's what you do before you die, not what you do on a normal, day-to-day basis!}.

I'd love to make these {all found on pinterest}:


But in reality, our list will look like this {but handwritten}:

{This from the land of nod blog, but the link in pinterest didn't work}

I have a rough draft in progress, and I bought myself some Crayola markers, now I just need to get 'er done.

4.5 miles was on the dockett for last night's run, and I did 4 {~44mins}. It was sticky out and I was starving, so the effort was hard and sweaty - my running started out strong, but petered out at the end. Today calls for a 3 mile run or cross-training, and I plan on doing some cross-training by doing the ZWOW #1 workout - more on ZWOW in another post :-)


1. Stick to my training plan. Like I said in my April wrap-up, I am sticking to the long run, and usually to the 2 shorter mid-week runs, but I'd like to adhere to almost entirely. So far this week, so good.

2. Lose at least 10 lbs. This is totally acheivable in one month, so I'm aiming low in hopes of blowing past that goal :-) I plan to keep up my running {see goal #1}, incorporate HIIT workouts {via ZWOW workouts!}, and stick to better eating/calorie counting.

3. Complete the Photo-a-day Challenge. I LOVE instagram, and I love this idea. I've started out the challenge a couple times, but then forgotten about it. I hope to keep it up this month, and post my daily photos here on the blog. {BTW, gramfeed is awesome for quickly and easily saving your instagram photos to your computer!}

Day one: peace

4. Plan a cookout at our house! I've wanted to do this since we moved in, and I think we're finally ready to host a gathering at our home. Yes, our house is small and not really set up for entertaining, but our yard is good-sized, so if it's mostly outside, we can handle it. I have lots of ideas for food and activities for the kiddos, and I'm really looking forward to putting it all together.