Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memorial Day 2009!

Our wonderful ward (church congregation) had a picnic at a local park. It was a gorgeous day! Many of you might not of thought so what with the cooler temperatures, the ominious rain clouds hovering and the occasional drip drop or two of rain but I LOVE spring weather!! I am so happy Colorado did not skip spring this year and go straight to summer!! :) I am going to soak up and enjoy every last little bit of cool, over-cast, rainy weather! It has also made things here nice and green...almost reminds me of Indiana!
The above picture was my attempt at trying to get a frame-able picture of all 6 kids...I did not achieve my objective! But they are still darn cute...
The park was really big and cool. It is pretty large with extensive walking/running/biking trails all around it. We did not use the paths to see the whole park, we just stayed at the picnic area our ward reserved. It had bathrooms, a play ground and swing sets, a ball field and a WONDERFUL view of the gorgeous mountains with gorgeous dark clouds looming over them!
The above picture is the boys with one of their friends drinking sodas. They read the ingredients on the soda and were trying to eat away the rocks by pouring their stearic acid filled soda onto them!
Fiona had fun in the above tree! And she's so adorable with those piggy tails!! She's so adorable anyway, but piggy tails are just adorable!

Big sister Haven loves to hold Brighton! She is so good at taking care of him and is so sweet and caring!!
Here is Scarlett on the top of a little hill she climbed up with some of her friends. They all tried to roll down the hill...I think only one little girl really knew how to do it because she is the only one who actually got to the bottom of the hill that way! The rest of them walked. :)
One of the ladies in our ward is the captain of a city league softball team. She had her team challenge our ward to a softball game. :) Too fun! Dave loves to play softball, so he had a great time and some really great hits, including an awesome home-run that I missed while snapping photos of cute girls picking dandelions! It was great to see him play! The only other time I've seen him play was a few days before we got engaged at the Sandpoint Stake Sesquacentenial Celebration up in Bonner's Ferry, N. Idaho. And, I have to admit, I don't think I really watched all that much since I don't have any memories of him playing...so this was really like the first time I have seen him play.

I could only eat some chips and carrot sticks at the picnic (the only things I knew for sure were soy-free) and was pretty hungry, but it was well worth it and so much fun! The kids got to play with friends for hours and explore the park, Brighton got to snuggle with me in the sling for hours, Dave got to play softball, and I got to enjoy great friends and watching my family have so much fun. :) I love our ward!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Eagle's Peak - Why God made Dads

Dave and a friend from church/work, Jared, took the kids on a hike up Eagle's Peak. Eagles Peak is on the USAFA grounds. The kids happily got up at 6am to leave by 7am. They had a blast! The trail is apparently very steep and rocky, so they also got a lot of good exercise.
Before Dave showed me the above picture of my babies climbing just above a jagged, rocky, steep cliff, he said something to the effect of "Don't get mad at me, everyone was fine." As soon as I saw the picture and took a deep breath, I told him "this is why kids have Dad's!" Experiences like safely climbing up rocky ledges and scaling steep grades would not happen as often if Dad's did not take their kids to experience them. Dad's are notoriously less "babying" of their kids. A Mom looks at her child; memories and scents and feelings flood her mind of birthing this child, nurturing this child at her breast, kissing owies, smoothing a fevered brow. Combine that with "dangerous" activities and the possibility of broken bones, blood oozing and her baby crying and screaming...thus the dilemma a mother faces when her children grow older and their realm of experiences expand. I feel this way not only when it comes to steep cliffs and jagged rocks, but also when my children are near water (geez...especially if they actually want to get in the water) or in crowded places (ya know...where a child is going to be lost and/or stolen at any moment.) This is, very wisely, why God made Dads. He knew that if it were up to us Moms, the kids would be safely within arms reach (preferably wrapped in bubble wrap with emergency contact info taped inside) until they are 20.

The kids with Jared. This is one of my favorite pictures from their hike! Those trees are awesome!
The kids in a cool little cave they found. As soon as I saw this picture I asked Dave, "did you check it for mountain lions first?" He didn't...and I worried. :) I worried, ya know, hours later after this had already happened. Another typical mom thing.
Of course my worry is well-founded. There is a sign at the trail head, warning that mountain lions are in the area and what to do to give yourself the best odds of not being eaten, should you run into one. (For those of you who wonder, you are supposed to stop and look at the mountain lion, but not in an aggressive, stare-down way. Then you are to slowly pick up small children so they appear larger and less like a small, tasty snack. Then you are to make yourself look bigger by raising your arms and spreading out your jacket. Then you make low, shewing noises to try and frighten it away. The whole time you pray...hard. The sign did not come out and say to pray hard, but I think it is implied!)
They all came home in mostly one piece (they each showed me all their cuts and scrapes and bruises before they were even all the way in the front door) and all very, very happy. :) I am happy they have such a great Dad who takes them to do things their Mom would freak out about. :) It's a good balance.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A day of firsts

This is Brighton eating some oatmeal. :) This is not his "official" first time eating solid food, though. I gave him some of the bread I made the other day. But that was just a few little pieces. Later that day for dinner, we had oatmeal and eggs. I shared bites of my oatmeal with him. LOVE the cute "what the heck did you put in my mouth!" look! :) Last night I gave him some mushed up rice and he pulled the same look with every bite, though he begged for more and laughed and giggled at how fun it all was. :)

We had some really warm weather (mid 80's!) and Brighton wore his first summer outfit! :) We got to see his cute, chubby leggies and armies all day! :) His eczema flared on his knees and arms, though, from rubbing on the carpet. But he was so cute! :) The above picture is of him thinking "Mom, enough pictures already...pick me up!" Elijah was holding him for me. Elijah is wearing a towel because he and Fiona, Haven and Scarlett had sprayed themselves with the hose to cool off. Of course, as soon as they did, the clouds and a cool wind came and then they were all cold. But at least they weren't hot anymore! :)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A few modern technologies I bet Laura would've appreciated!

As some of you may know, I am a HUGE fan of The Little House On The Prairie series! We are now on the last book, The First Four Years, and I will be sad when it's over. It's the shortest book, by far, as it was not published until after Laura's death and even after her daughter, Rose's death. Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote the manuscript later in her life. Once her husband, Almanzo, died she lost interest in revising and finishing it. Her earlier books are dripping with detailed imagery and description. This last one is still very well written (as the publishers wisely knew not to alter the original manuscript) but does not have the detail, so it is shorter. The book covers the first four years of her and Almanzo's marriage. In those days, they made bread once or twice a week to last the whole week. It was, of course, all done by hand.
Growing up, I always had this impression that making bread was such a huge ordeal and very hard to do. That belief, however misconstrued it was, has largely been the reason I have not made bread on a regular basis. As much as I LOVE home made bread and know that it is healthier for me and my family (and our bank account,) the task seemed too daunting. Even after I started making bread and experienced how relatively easy it is first hand, this false belief still hung on. It's really not that hard to throw together the ingredients in a bowl and then knead for a few minutes. It's not a big deal at all to divide the dough after it's risen and place it into greased bread pans to rise a second time. It's really easy to turn the oven on and let it do the baking. The easiest part, of course, is buttering a warm piece of bread, fresh from the oven, and devouring it in 10 seconds. Still, I hardly ever made bread.

Then my mom lent me her Bosch (pictured in the background above.) Wow...throw the ingredients into the bowl, turn on and let it do all the mixing and kneading for you! Silly as it may sound, the part I disliked the most about making home made bread was cleaning the counter after I was done kneading the dough; it was always caked with a solid mixture of dough and flour that I hated scrubbing off. Then the mixture would stick to the fibers of my wash cloth and I would have to clean that off. Tough life, I know! But the Bosch eliminated that problem! So, of course, a new problem emerged: I could never cut the bread nicely! Okay, some of that has to do with being impatient and not waiting for the bread to cool...it is so yummy all fresh from the oven! I always ended up with a crumbly, uneven mess when I cut the loaf myself. I could never imagine ever using the bread for actual things like sandwiches because of this dilemma, so the bread was always eaten as a special treat with butter and jam.
Then, I bought myself an electric knife (pictured above with the bread.) :) It cuts soooooooooooo nicely! I made three fresh loaves of bread today. The entire first loaf was mostly a "treat" loaf eaten with bread and jam. The second loaf was used for sandwiches. Sebastian made a tuna sandwich. Haven and Fiona enjoyed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Elijah had a ham sandwich and I had the most delicious and yummy grilled cheese sandwich ever! The third loaf is all nicely sliced and in a bag, ready for sandwiches to be made in the coming days! Since Brighton and I can not eat soy and most store-bought bread contains some form of soy, we will mostly be having home made bread from now on. Yum!

I bet that Laura would've really appreciated a Bosch mixer and electric knife! (Among other modern technologies like indoor plumbing and electricity!) :)

Here is my favorite bread recipe and is super easy to memorize. It was given to me by my friend, Cheryl Jenness in Indiana. It is a white bread recipe. I tried it all whole wheat and, although it was still good, it was not as good. I usually make it half wheat and half white and it turns out so good! It's also SUPER easy!

4 c warm water
4 tbs yeast
4 tbs sugar
4 tsp salt
4 tbs oil
enough flour to make a smooth, non-sticky dough

Cook at 350 degrees. Makes 3 loaves.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Summer buz cuts!

I spied this cute scene yesterday morning from the girl's bedroom window. Dave shaved Sebastian and Elijah's hair, then Sebastian returned the favor for his Dad. :) So cute!! :)
Later, Dave shaved Sequoia as well. I was gone to a singing group practice and, apparently, Brighton woke up and needed to be held before Dave was done. Sequoia currently looks a bit like a mangy lion! But still cuter than the rag-a-muffin, street urchin look she was sporting before! As for Dave's "look"...he asked me yesterday afternoon why he was dressed so dorkily (picture the above outfit with black socks too!) I said "you always dress like that on Sunday!" He was shocked at himself. :) He did remove the black socks...that helped! He likes to be comfy. :)
Our rhubarb is so big and beautiful!
The apple trees are in full bloom...so gorgeous!
My lilacs are FINALLY blooming!! I think it took longer than usual because it doesn't get tons of sun because of our side deck. I think when we re-do that deck I will end up moving the lilac...it is right where we plan on installing some stairs from the deck to the backyard. Hopefully it will still live after we move it! I just LOVE the smell of lilacs! On a walk through the neighborhood the other day, the scent of lilacs was so thick and lovely in the air!!! I love springtime! :)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

My new favorite afternoon snack

The word "rut" has sort of a negative connotation. I would call the way in which I eat the same things for a period of time a food "cycle." I know I'm not the only one who falls into these "cycles." I find something that I like and eat it...regularly...and sometimes exclusively. It's very similar to the first time I tasted Taco Soup. A lovely family in our ward (at church) brought us a meal after Scarlett was born. People had brought me Taco Soup before, after other baby's births, but I never really appreciated it...or maybe even tried it...until this instance. Maybe it was hormones. Whatever it was, I fell madly in love with Taco Soup! There have been months since then when we have eaten Taco Soup (or some variation there of) 7 or 8 times. It got to the point where my kids would see me making it, roll their eyes and say "Taco Soup....again?!?" There were even a few times when I caught a small glimpse of that same feeling in Dave's eyes, as much as he tried to hide it and be the supportive and loving hubby he is. The main difference between that and my new "cycle" of food is that Taco Soup is a family meal and thus subject to familial opinion. My new favorite afternoon snack is my own personal snack. Kids, for the most part, never have much of an opinion about my own personal snacks....unless they want some, of course! :)

Slice up some fresh strawberries (or defrost some frozen fruit and slice), add a layer of vanilla yogurt and top with home made granola and viola...my new favorite afternoon snack! It's sweet, tangy, crunchy, cheap and EASY. :) This is week 3 of this "cycle"....no sign of stopping anytime soon!

Field Day!

The kids have been attending a WONDERFUL part-time school program at a local charter school (TCA). The Cottage School Program has been a huge blessing for our family and our homeschooling. The kids attend classes two half-days a week and study grammar, P.E., music, art, Latin, and Spanish. It has meant a lot of driving for me since Elijah and Fiona attend in the mornings and Sebastian attends in the afternoon, but it has been very worth it!

Today was their Field Day!!! The Cottage School kids got to join the regular elementary kids in a day filled with fun games and activities like a water balloon toss, face painting, relay races, three-legged race, crab walk race and tug of war. When I was in elementary school, Field Day was always one of my favorite days of the year! I loved the change from the regular school day and playing fun games all day with my friends. I was very excited for Sebastian, Elijah and Fiona to not miss out on this fun elementary school experience! The picture above is the three kids all greased up with sunscreen and ready for the day!
The three youngest kids and I arrived to pick the kids up about an hour early so that we could watch some of the fun activities.

It was hard to spot the kids from the bleachers, but luckily their shirts were color-coded and we could scan the field for pockets of the correct color of shirts. Above is Elijah walking back with his class and below is Sebastian, about to catch a water balloon.
Below is Sebastian catching a water balloon.
Below is Fiona (with the red bandanna and braids) running a lap with her class.

It was a fun day! The kids got lots of great exercise and had the experience of their first field day! Sadly, we will not be returning to TCA and The Cottage School Program next year. It is just too much driving. However, we are so blessed to live in an area with so many homeschoolers; our school district has yet another homeschooling class option! Next year, Sebastian (who will be a 5th grader,) Elijah (who will be a 4th grader,) Fiona (who will be a 2nd grader) and Haven (who is more than thrilled to be a kindergartner) will be attending The Homeschool Academy at a local elementary school. It is one full day a week and they will all be attending on the same day! YAY! We are super excited and, although the kids will miss the friends they've made at TCA, they are looking forward to making new friends! And I am very much looking forward to only driving them to school one day a week!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Soy allergy

Today was Brighton's appointment with the allergist. They did one of those skin tests on his back and soy came up as an allergen. It was a pretty strong reaction, too! We will be doing a follow-up blood test to confirm this finding, but in the interim and since I am breastfeeding Brighton, it is time for me to say "Good-Bye" to all soy-containing products!

Soy is in sooooo many things these days! It's used as a filler (it's cheap) and soybean oil is one of the main oils used quite frequently (again, it's cheap!) I'm terribly relieved that he is not allergic to wheat, however. I love to grind our own wheat and make our own pizza and pancakes and muffins and cookies, etc. That would've been hard. There will be a LOT of things I won't be able to eat (I already checked my favorite cereal, Nature's Path Organic Flax Plus Pumpkin Raisin Crunch, and it contains soy!) Luckily, a lot of products now list allergens in bold print below the ingredients list so that you don't have to read through the whole list, you can just glance and see if any of the major allergens are used in the product. That is very handy and nice of them to do.

Now that we know what he is most likely allergic to, Brighton gets to start eating some solid food! :) At 7 months old, he has been eyeing our food for awhile now! I'll probably start him on some oatmeal and a few bites here and there of what we are eating (that is soy-free, of course!) We don't really do the whole rice cereal/baby food route. Rice cereal is nutritionally pretty void and is very bland....but it's a great money-maker and marketing ploy! Baby food, again...pretty bland and costly for the nutrition...and another great money-maker for the companies that produce it! If I want my baby to try pears...I will feed him some mashed up pear. If I would like my baby to eat squash or sweet potato...I will feed him some mashed up squash or sweet potato! Mostly, we feed our babies what we are eating and don't get caught up in how much or how little they eat. Breast milk is usually their main source of nutrition until they wean (around 2 years) but we offer and they eat as much or as little solid foods as they want. Babies don't have to have rice cereal and baby food...unless, maybe, their education fund is tied to stock in Gerber! :)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Can you identify this spider?

Sorry, these are graphic pictures!! You may notice an itchy, creepy-crawly feeling...Dave and I both had the heebie geebies for a few hours after finding these guys! We were moving a playhouse in the back yard. "We"...really means Dave, the guy with the muscles. :) Once Dave tipped it back, we saw literally a hundred of these spiders hanging out on the bottom of it. I have scoured the internet, trying to figure out what kind they are...well, were, anyway. Any clues?

Dave squashed them all, with my full support. Now, I am all for spiders. They are great at killing other, unwanted bugs and play an important role in the eco-system! However, I HATE these hard, shiny body types! So creepy!! Plus, they are on the playhouse where my children play....so...ya. They are all dead now. There was also a HUGE ant nest on/in one corner. There are ants EVERYWHERE in Colorado...it's like ant heaven. I have never had negative feelings about ants...until now. They are just EVERYWHERE!!! We may have to do something about them.
This is Dave posing. :) He's such a babe. :) And I was definitly impressed that he moved that playhouse! It looks much better where it is now...it still needs a complete re-hab...new paint, new flooring, etc...but it's in a much better spot. This was one of the first steps to re-doing the backyard. We have a great plan...I just wish all I needed to do was snap my fingers and it was done! :) Oh, and didn't cost anything to complete...that would be nice. :)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Happy 35th Birthday to my sweet hubby!

Dave is turning 35 today!! Thanks, Chuck and Christa, for bringing him into this world! :) He is a great guy, a fun daddy, and a sweet hubby!! We have such a fun life together. I thank Heavenly Father EVERY DAY for putting Dave and I together and steering us in the direction our life has taken. He is the perfect hubby for me and I just love him more and more every year! :)
The kids made some awfully cute cards for their daddy. I made a card and wrote the following literarally superb poem:

My Sweet Hubby, Dave...
He works so hard,
and he's really tough!
He earns the money,
to buy us fun stuff!
He is so handsome,
and oh so sweet!
His funny jokes,
just can't be beat!
He loves his family,
and loves to cuddle!
He's such a gentleman,
he'd carry me over a puddle!
He has a beautiful way with words,
and a very sharp wit!
I love my sweet hubby Dave,
and won't ever stop...it!!

These pictures are of Dave on his recent trip to China. The above photo is his cheesy "Heeeyyyy..." grin. :)

The kids and I made a big Happy Birthday poster and they helped come up with the following things we like about Daddy:
You are fun to play with! You're generous! You're cuddly! You love us! You read us books and tell us silly stories! You are kind! You are nice! You help around the house! You write funny poems! You earn money for us! You take care of us! You buy ice cream! You're fun! You let us help with yard work! You help take care of Brighton! You love the Gospel! You tell silly jokes! You wrestle with us! You buy us food! You snuggle with us! You buy us food! You have a fun sense of humor!


For the love of safety scissors!

When Sebastian and Elijah were just sweet, cute, little toddlers (they're still sweet and cute...just not as little,) my mom sent them each a pair of kid scissors. Sebastian was 3, so his scissors were the metal kind with round tips. Elijah was 2, so his scissors were Safe-T-Cut scissors made entirely of plastic. I didn't think they would cut, but they actually cut paper quite nicely. I thought it was so clever of my mom to find them and send them! It's nice that children's scissors are small, have colorful plastic handles, and have blunt ends...but they are still metal and still cut pretty much anything and everything; paper, crayons, skin, clothes...and hair. We have had way too many incidences of kids cutting their hair with kid scissors. We have gone months and months when no one was allowed use of said scissors because of the great loss of hair. It was saddest about 6 months or so ago when I noticed a little trail of blond curls strewn about the house....Haven and Scarlett had been cutting their hair!! Sweet Scarlett actually came and told me "Haven and me snipped our hair!" Oh, those sweet little blond curls looked so forlorn on the floor without a sweet head to be attached to! The kid scissors were banned to the top shelf pretty much until recently.
Yesterday, as Dave and I sat on the couch chatting, Scarlett found a pair of scissors and proceeded to try and "snip" off her entire pony tail!!! Thank Heaven she had found the Safe-T-Cut scissors!!! Try as she might, those plastic shears would not come even close to cutting off her precious pony tail!!! I have never been more thankful for those plastic toddler scissors in my life! Thanks, mom! :)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Lip tie clipping

Brighton and I have had some breast feeding issues from the beginning. Him being my 6th baby, I could not figure out what I was doing wrong! He sucking in a LOT of air, made clicking sounds, and got nervous about the big gulps of air he anticipated sucking in. I was in a LOT of pain and kept trying to get a better latch with each nursing session. After a few weeks, I realized that something else must be going on. I did some research (LOVE Google and Mothering!) and came to the conclusion that he must be tongue tied, as we were exhibiting all the symptoms. I looked under his tongue to see if it looked like the frenulum (that little piece of flesh that attaches your tongue to your mouth) and it did look small...but he was just a tiny baby...everything on him looked small! I read that if a baby is tongue tied, they can't stick their tongue out. When Sebastian was a baby, we had great fun sticking our tongues out at him and watching him copy us and stick his little tongue out. I employed this "game" with Brighton, anticipating being able to figure out if he could actually stick his tongue out past his lips. After a few sessions of this game, he was sticking his little tongue out pretty darn far! Obviously, tongue tie was not the issue. I asked my midwife what she thought could be the problem. She thought maybe he could be getting too much milk and suggested I try nursing him laying back a bit...so hook him up and then sort of recline back. I tried it, but the situation did not improve. My midwife recommended I speak with a lactation consultant she knew. This lactation consultant happens to run a great little store that sells breast feeding supplies (pumps, pillows, covers, pads, bras, etc) and slings (http://alliancebreastfeeding.com/) so I stopped in the store on my way home from the midwife's appointment. Brighton was full and sleeping peacefully in the sling so she couldn't observe him nursing, but she did suggest a problem I had not really thought about before. She suggested he could be lip tied. A lip tie is the same situation as a tongue tie; the frenulum (again, the little piece of skin that attaches your lip to your gums) is too short/tight. After researching it a bit, this diagnosis really seemed to fit...he had never puckered his upper lip out and was never able to get a good seal while nursing. I got a referral to an oterlarynlologist (I had NEVER heard of this term before and still can't quite pronounce it!). Yesterday was our appointment. Scarlett, Haven, Brighton and I had fun riding the elevator up to the office. :) He looked at his upper labial frenulum and thought it looked a little short and noted that it was extremely thick, as well. He said since we were still having breastfeeding issues (pain for me, mostly) that it should probably be clipped. He said we could either do it under general anesthesia or do it in the office with a bit of spray-on pain killer. I did not feel comfortable having my little guy put under general, so I opted for the office procedure. He sprayed a bit of the numbing agent on the frenulum right then...it tasted GROSS (the Dr. said) and Brighton made an AWFUL face and sort of tried to cough out the taste. Poor guy! We immediately moved to a procedure room. They brought in a papoose board and I helped wrap him in it. He was not freaked out about being so tightly wrapped and restricted in that way, like most babies might, because this is how I wrap him for his naps. The Dr. came in and sprayed more numbing agent and then got the scissors out. Brighton was already crying from the yucky taste and because the nurse was holding his head still. Haven and Scarlett were commenting about how it was going to hurt and I reassured them that Brighton would be okay. They just stepped back and watched. The Dr. made the cut while I was looking the other way, talking to the girls. When I looked back, the Dr. was holding gauze firmly against the wound. He had anticipated a lot of blood, since the frenulum was so thick. There was a bit more blood than I had anticipated. Brighton cried and cried as the nurse and I continued to hold him still and the Dr. applied pressure with the gauze. He saw that it was still bleeding a lot, so he got out this little Q-tip type of deal with black stuff on the end and cauterized the cut with it. This is when Brighton screamed and cried louder than I have ever heard him. Poor little sweety pie!! The bleeding stopped almost all the way then. We un-velcroed him from the papoose board and I scooped him into my arms. He stopped crying almost immediately...he was still fussing a bit. The Dr. suggest I nurse him to calm him down and they all left the room. He nursed and then behaved like his regular self; smiling and squaking and cooing to the girls. He fussed a bit on the way home...fussed in an "I'm in pain" sort of way. We stopped at the grocery store to fill his antibiotic prescription (the Dr. felt that he needed it to prevent any infection since so much flesh was exposed) and get him some baby acetaminophen. He was happy in the store while he snuggled against me in the sling and the girls helped me get a few groceries. When we got home, I gave him a dose of acetaminophen (the first time he's ever had anything other than breast milk!) and put him down for a MUCH needed nap! He slept for 3 hours! When he woke up, I noticed that his lip was swollen (see above photos) and he had two little bruises on his lower lip, I think from it being held down during the procedure. Today, day 2, his lip is even slightly more swollen. He doesn't seem to be in a lot of pain, however. He is playing and putting all sorts of things in his mouth and even rammed my face with his face a few times (bumping his upper lip) and didn't even flinch. I, however, get a feeling of loosing my stomach every time I look at his swollen lip and think of the cut on the inside!! I'm not sure if I've noticed a change in breastfeeding him yet. I think it will take a week or so to get him to change the way he is used to nursing and for the swelling to go down. He is such a brave, sweet little guy!!