Tuesday, December 16, 2008
1. Baby #3
At 25 weeks preggo, the baby is really moving a ton - much more than the previous two. This one is a flutter kicker. When he/she moves - it's all limbs at one time. And it's enough to wake me. Not knowing whether this is a boy or a girl, I have a bit of anxiety about not being prepared. I'm not sure which clothes to wash, how to decorate the nursery (more on that in a minute) or what to plan for.
Yep, you heard me right. We're moving. I LOVE the new house, but moving when I'm this pregnant is making me a little nervous. Plus, we're planning to buy new furniture and perhaps work with a designer for the first time. All very exciting, but very new too!
3. Our Au Pair is coming!
We're all so excited to welcome our new au pair in just four short weeks. But I'm so unsure of how to be a good au pair mom. I am reading lots of blogs (check out http://aupairmom.com/ for a great one). I can't wait for her to get here - the kids are so excited and I am too!
Thursday, October 23, 2008
I suspend the rules at the fair, and the kids and I both love it. The fair is a place where they don't have to eat their vegetables. (Although Walker's first two choices were an ear of roasted corn and fried okra. Paired with her corn dog, it was a near-balanced fair meal). It's a place where we play games for the fun of it and expect to loose. They challenge themselves and take risks knowing that I'm watching and proud of them for trying, and that my arms are never far away. And best of all, it's a place where I can act like a kid - riding rides with them, having dessert before dinner and getting giddy pleasure from all those lights.
WG was amazing to her little brother. It was the first time I really saw her blossom into the big sister role. At 36 inches tall he was able to ride all the kiddie rides (more on that later) and she held his hand as they waited in line, lifted him (awkwardly, adorably) onto the rides, helped him strap in, and was kind and soothing the entire time. I heard her say, "This isn't scary. It's fun. Sister is with you." I was so proud, I thought I might explode.
B was equally amazing. He is the bravest two year old I know. He got on ride after ride with Big Sis. He even rode the kiddie roller coaster in the front car with a three year old buddy he met in the line. After even the scariest ride, he'd say, "Mommy, I did it!" He especially loved riding the ponies.
We came home, absolutely exhausted but also recharged. We just enjoyed one another so much that afternoon were emerged filled up with energy for one another. It was such a joy and blessing to take them to the fair - to see it all through their awe-struck eyes. Once daddy is home from China, we may have to go again!
Monday, April 14, 2008
Lunch Box Pizzas (Adapted from All Recipes.com)
WG loves these tiny half muffin/half pizzas. Admittedly, I do too. The only struggle I have is how to not eat two or three as they come out of the oven. They refrigerate well, and she doesn't mind them at room temp.
1 (7.5 ounce) package refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
1/4 cup pizza sauce
Toppings of your kiddos preference (I use finely diced red onion, red pepper and chopped olives for WG)
3/4 cup shredded Mozzarella
I separated each each in half. I use the flaky layers biscuits so it's easy. Then, press each half into a greased muffin cup. Spoon 1 teaspoonful of pizza sauce into each cup. Top each with 1 tablespoon of cheese and your toppings. Bake at 425 degrees F for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
We have four problems.
1. She doesn't like any stiff fabrics. Jeans are out. Most khakis are out. Most everything is out.
2. She doesn't like hook and eye closures. They're too tricky when she's in a hurry to potty. Plus, they pinch her.
3. She doesn't like anything that's too tight in the inseam. But she also doesn't like it too loose. Must be just right for Goldilocks.
4. She doesn't like anything that isn't pink, sparkly, floral or frilly.
She won't wear tights, so until we're into full-on spring, we're stuck in pants. Oh, and ditto for leggings. She hates those too. And yes, I've tried Hannah Anderson's slouchy leggings. They're currently keeping the drawer warm.
So, I've bitten the bullet and called Sherri - the delightful manager at Charlotte's Oilily store - and asked to relieve her of every elastic waist pair of knit pants she has in WG's size. She has two pairs of Target sweats that pass muster. And three pairs of Oilily knit pants. That's it - that's what the kid will wear.
I'm open for suggestions. But please, make them good. You're reading the blog of a woman who has darkened the door of damn near every retain establishment in three cities. From Old Navy and Gap to Talbots and Gymboree. From specialty boutiques to web retailers - my only big hits have been Oilily's knit pants, Juicy Couture terry sweats, BCBG velour sweats (and only some of those) and Target's Circo brand sweats. I kid you not.
How am I going to get this girl into some real pants? Or, I dare say, a skirt? Have ideas? I'm listening. In the meantime, tell me it's a phase. And someone, uncork a bottle of Chardonnay.
Saturday, April 5, 2008
Right now, my main focus is my craft room/office. It's the space where I sew and embroider, where I store my scrapbooking supplies, and store all my miscellaneous craft and magazine goodies. But the space has some problems. First of all, right now, it's packed to the gills. There's bins of fabric scraps, hundreds of paint colors, glitter, my oil paints and easel, back issues of my favorite magazines, archived issues of my magazine, and so much more. Plus, I need at least two workstations - one for my computer and one to for sewing. And I'd like it to look clean, and clutter free so I can actually relax in there as well.
So, I'm planning a redo. My first thought was to have some streamlined, professional cabinetry built in. So, I headed to the Chapel Hill Lowes and made an appointment with a designer, who was terrific. I chose a Kraftmaid cabinet and a quartz counter top. His design was simple but attractive, with lots of storage for my tiny scrapbook stuff. But I had a bit of sticker shock when I saw the price. $9K installed.
Next stop, Pottery Barn, where I perused their Bedford Collection of office furniture and hutches. While these are really attractive and reasonably well-built (I actually owned a lot of these pieces in my previous house) they don't give me a lot of vertical storage in the hutches. And then there's the bigger problem, they're really massive and don't fit in my 9X12 room.
On to Pottery Barn Kids and Pottery Barn Teen, where I hoped to find the same type of furniture, on a smaller scale. No dice. Most of the options were nearly the same size as the adult offerings and I still had the limited wall storage.
So, I headed to the Internet, where I searched IKEA. My favorite was this gorgeous collection. It gives me lots of wall storage plus two workstations. And the price makes my giddy - I think I can do it all for under $3K. But given that this is where I'll spend much of my time and I will likely be really hard on the surfaces, I'm a little worried about furniture that I have to put together. Is this IKEA stuff really durable enough for working on every day?
So, today, my mom, the kids and I headed for Furnitureland South. If you haven't been there, you should really go. My sales rep is Todd Needles and he's terrific. He's helped us with TONS of furniture in our house. Plus, Furnitureland South is about 40% off retail price - seriously. People from New England drive all the way down to North Carolina to buy here. Lucky for us, it's about an hour away. Anyway, Todd helped me narrow down the million square feet (no kidding) of showroom space to the Loius Loius Collection from Stanley. The price is right on this collection (about $5K) but my big concern is the peninsula desk, which will seriously eat into the floor space in the room. There will be 4 feet of walk space around the desk if I choose this option, and I'm worried it will look too crowded. Plus, I can forget room for a chair or the credenza that's in there now....
So, here I am, just about back to square one. Wondering what in the heck I should do. I would love to do the built ins, but worry that I will be putting money into a space that will never see returns when we sell the house. (I do think many people will see it as a wonderful homework space for kids, though). I want it to work for now, but I know we won't be in this house forever. What to do? What to do?
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
My phenomenal friend Trinity took amazing care of them. When I returned, not only had they had outings (The WG tried that kiddie bungee bounce for the first time) and stayed on their schedule, my house was cleaner than when I'd left it. They loved their time with Miss Trinity, as they call her, and WG says she misses her already.
I doubt it's that they are high on sugar - Trinity is not inclined to indulging their sweet tooth. But they're acting like it. They're all screeches and squeals - jumping, giddy balls of noise.
Perhaps they are actually genuinely that excited about our return. Mel contends that's the case, and it's one of the reasons he looks forward to his homecomings. He feeds off their excitement.
But I find it a little jarring. Where are my kids? They've got to be somewhere inside that walking, talking, scream? I know it will take a little time for things to return to normal, but having left them so rarely (nearly never) I don't have a lot of experience with the return. I planned a lot for the going away, but not at all for the homecoming?
Perhaps a should have scheduled a full day lie-in, where we all hung out in jammies, watched movies, ate snack food and cuddled? But of course, I've returned to 175 emails, flats from the printer, and a mountain of work to do. And did I mention two kids that can say "momma!" 475 times per second?
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
You'd think I'd be ready to have a parade. I've only been away from Baby B a total of 2 nights (one overnight to NYC when Baby B was with dad and one "romantic" overnight with dad to scenic, nearby Greensboro. My mom watched the kids). I've been away from the WG only once or twice for a weekend. And it was blissful for the first 12-15 hours and torture after that.
I miss them so badly. After years of staying home with them, my identity and my happiness are so wrapped up in the children. I miss their little bodies, their voices, their laughs, even their cries. I miss the ritual and routine - the same things that make me long for a getaway when I'm home. I know I'll have fun in Vegas, but this part - the dreading leaving them - is the worst.
So, I'm busing myself getting the house ready. I'm scheduling manicures and pedicures for myself so that I'm super busy and don't have to think about leaving them. I've typed ten pages worth of notes for the wonderful women that are taking care of them. I've recorded videos of me talking for them on the computer. I've wrapped a gift for each of them for each day. I've bought a portable webcam so we can Skype them while we're gone. I've got their outfits chosen for each day, their meals planned, and tomorrow I'll start baking the muffins and cooking the dinners they'll eat while I'm gone. If I can just squeeze in enough activities that I don't think about how hard it will be to be away from them, maybe then, I'll be alright.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
I admit it. We don't go for the children, we go for me. And even though we went last December, we're planning another trip for May and I can't stop thinking about it. Luckily, my best friend and partner in crime, Allison, has the same weakness. In fact, we just got off the phone (a 131 minute phone call, by my phone's meter) discussing just what's we'd do this time.
Here's what makes our highlights:
1. Pirates and Princesses
We're a huge fan of the Disney after-hours parties. They shut the park down just for the party guests, have extra shows, parades, and character meet and greets. Plus, the lines are super short and lots of people dress up for the occasion. We've done the Not So Scary Halloween Party and the Very Merry Christmas Party before - very, very fun.
2. We're taking babysitters!
Our longtime babysitters (who are great friends) are coming with us on this trip. We're splitting the cost of their rooms, covering their plane flights and tickets, but in exchange we'll get something we've not had before - flexibility. The sitters can stay home with the littlest ones while they nap. The sitters can stay with the kids after their 7pm bedtime and we can go out for grownup dinners. Victoria and Albert here we come!
3. Mickey's Backyard BBQ
We've done lots of character dining, but my family hasn't done this one. Allison and her crew love it. All you can eat BBQ, watermelon, ice cream, beer and wine. Plus, dancing with the characters. I'm really looking forward to this one.
4. The Little Einstein's Breakfast at MGM's Hollywood and Vine
One of my favorite character experiences thus far, the kiddos had an amazing time dancing with Leo, June and Quincy. Plus, we had table visits from all three Little Einstein's there that day and Jo Jo and Goliath as well. The food was good (we were there at transition time, so got a little breakfast and a little lunch) and it was super easy.
5. The New Playhouse Disney Live on Stage
My kids are Mickey Mouse Clubhouse junkies. So, they've seen lots of promotional material about the new Live on Stage show featuring Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Handy Manny. I mean, seriously, I think they're going to freak when they see Manny.
So, that's really it for me. That's what gives me the rush about Disney. I remember the way I felt as a kid when I went there - that there were happily ever afters, that magic was real and that dreams do come true. And I just melt when I see it written all over my kids little mouse-ear topped faces. It's so delicious. And boy, does it ever take me back.
Pictured above, mommy and her best friend at Disney in December, 2005 at the Beach Club buffet.
Pictured below, WG and her best friend at Disney, December 2005 at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
I planted containers next to my front door.
Let me start by saying that I am one of the people that silk plants were invented for. Don't get me wrong, I think flowers are lovely. I ogle plants at the arboretum and lust after the vegetation at the nursery, but when it comes to a real live plant living in my own home - it's another story.
Our current plant inventory consists of one peace plant that just won't die. We've put it in the back of a moving van from Boston to NC and it didn't die. We left it for two weeks on our honeymoon with no attention, and it bloomed. This thing is like the cockroach of the plant world.
We've also managed to keep a plant given to me by Tom Westmoreland alive, against all odds. I can only credit its continued life with the spirit in which he gave it.
I digress. Sunday morning saw me and my whole clan wandering the garden center at Lowes. WG searched for the perfect rose - a la Princess Belle. Baby B stuck his hand in every water feature displayed. Mel paced in big strides up and down the aisles with furrowed brow, looking for replacement shrubs for those lost in the drought.
I fretted over plants for the containers. It was my fourth trip to Lowes to choose plants for the containers. Fourth, this season. Each time, I chickened out. How should I know whether my front door is in full or partial sun? Which plants grow at the same rates? How do you choose based on height, color, etc. I went home, I read lots of "beginner" gardening articles on sites like About.com (who knew that was still around?)
In the end, I left Lowes with eight plants for each of two pots, three bags of potting soil and a stomach full of nerves.
WG was all smiles and giggles when we got home. She was ready for gardening action immediately. Mel settled in to watch some basketball and with Baby B asleep, there was no avoiding it.
WG and I got outside and started unloading. My neighbor across the street, June, an avid gardener herself, emerged from her house and yelled, "Corey Williams, is that you planting a flower? I'm going to pass out."
Well me too. I got all the plants in pot number one before that I-have-absolutely-no-idea-what-i'm-doing feeling set in. And I told WG it was time for a consult. We retrieved June from her yard, and augmented with tools from her garage and some plant food, she came over to teach us the fine points.
With an expert in the wings, I was finally able to relax. As it turns out, I did a good job selecting different height plants. My flowering plant will likely need to be replaced in two weeks, but that's okay, says June with a smile. WG smiled. I smiled. It was good, really really good.
So, in the end, I have two gorgeous pots next to my front door. And I have a very happy WG, who dutifully waters both plants before going to school every morning. And she can't wait to do some more planting. And truthfully, neither can I.
Monday, March 17, 2008
Saturday morning we headed to a neighborhood in Durham to see the bed. It was a delightful adventure. It got us out of our usual neighborhood, we got to meet some new people and the kids had big fun romping around the dealers giant back yard. Plus, the bed is terrific. It's a delicious lemon yellow color with bamboo like accents in white. Yummy! The best part, it was $50 from a local flea market/antiques dealer.
For those of you who wonder what happened to my nautical vs. wilderness theme room for Baby B - I've had a total change of heart. After nearly a week of sleeping on the floor next to the crib when Baby B had RSV, I decided that I'll definitely need a bed in the nursery. That means that Baby B needs to stay in his current room (the safari room below) because it doesn't have room for both a bed and crib.
Mel thinks I'm nuts for needing to plan the new baby's room and plan for Baby B's room before we even get pregnant. But the entire idea of introducing a fifth little being into this household makes me feel pretty out of control. I know that this is just my attempt to impose some order on a situation that is, be definition, quite unknown. But it's my nature. I'm an over-planner.
So, before I'm really ready, there's some serious work to do around this house. I have to get my office/craft room organized, the storage room cleaned out, the nursery and nursery closet ready for baby. At my current rate of progress, I'll be forty by the time we get pregnant. I better get it in gear or give up some of the goals. I'll let you know how it goes, but if you're putting money on it, I'd bet on a serious revamp of my priorities about the time the weather gets warm and the pool opens.
Friday, March 14, 2008
But here's what I'm looking forward to....
Our Contributors: For the first time, control-freak Corey has decided to loosen the reigns and let a few other writers contribute to the magazine. And the pieces are great. Tonya Harrington wrote a terrific piece about BPA and why parents should be paying attention to the debate about this chemical. Courtney McLauglin interviewed lots of faith leaders in Charlotte to learn how kids raised in faith-oriented environments see the world differently. And one of my favorites, my best friend Allison Murray (a first time writer!) contributed a hilarious musing about motherhood.
Our Pictorals: I decided to make this our biggest birthday party issue ever! Many of you know that I'm working on a book of children's parties, and I pulled one from the book to share with our readers - My Baby B's first birthday party. And there are three other parties! I can't wait to hear what readers have to say about them. (Oh, and the nurseries are to die for!!!!)
The Layout: Danielle has busted her hump making this issue our most beautiful yet. The design is super clean, terrifically consist ant (because someone I know is a stickler for that) and deliciously whimsical.
And of course, I snuck my kids into a few corners of the magazine. Mr. B filled in for a model that had pneumonia. And the WG posed for an ad for Persnickety, an adorable boutique in Gaffney, SC. (Here's a peek at a shot we didn't use that Danielle blogged without telling me. I'm watching you D!)
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Friday, February 8, 2008
Perspective is something that you’d think mothers would have a lot of. After all, we have the most important job in the world – raising the next generation. But somehow, in all of the minutia and emotion, perspective is the only thing I seem to loose more than my keys.
This week, Jennifer Bunich passed away unexpectedly. I’d only recently met Jen. She was one of the two smart moms behind the blog Charlotte Smarty Pants. Jen was a lot like me, a lot like all of us. She was a young, working mom with a young daughter and adoring husband. She had a job that she loved and a new passion in the blog that she started. I was instantly taken with the blog and we crafted a partnership that would bring them into Charlotte Baby & Child through columns and newsletter articles. Just a week or so ago, we were working on her ad and head shots. And now, she’s gone.
I find myself what wondering what would be happening right now if that were me and not her. Would I have felt like I really lived my last few weeks? Would I have enjoyed the last few stories I read to my kids. Would I have relished the tuck-in back rubs?
I fear that the answer is no. Between juggling the kids, the magazine fast approaching deadline, a husband out of the country, one bout of stomach virus, a recent diagnosis of asthma and an eighteen month old that’s discovered a fascination with poop-finger-painting, this was one week of my life that I wouldn’t have cared to repeat -- unless you told me it would have been my last. Then, I would have savored every last time I held my daughter while she vomited. I would have relished each moment of holding the nebulizer mask over my sleeping son’s face at 2am. I would have appreciated every kind word from and advertiser and looked at every challenge as an opportunity to grow.
I know that Jen leaves a lot of people behind in the world that loved her and will miss her dearly. And she leaves behind her readers who will miss her witty and to-the-point writing style. I will mourn that I only got to glimpse the tip of the iceberg of this dynamic woman. And I’ll be forever grateful to her for giving me this incredibly powerful does of perspective. One that I really, desperately needed.
Saturday, February 2, 2008
My kiddos are normally in bed at seven pm, so I dressed them in their jammies and robes and we headed out. I don't know if any of you guys have tried to get a pulseox reading on a seventeen month old before, but it was not pretty. The nurse and doctor were both good natured about it, but I was really at my wits end. By the time we decided to give him a course of nebulizer breathing treatments (his third in his short life and the second this month), I was nearly in tears. On the drive home, I tried to figure out why.
I don't know what it was about hearing the diagnosis of asthma. He has eczema, has had three of these episodes, and has a family history on my husband's side. You'd think I would have expected it. But I didn't. I know that its still very possible that he outgrows it, but the idea that my precious little boy has any sort of chronic condition makes me sad and angry. I know that asthma is very manageable, and I'm lucky compared to millions of other parents. Top my anger off with a good measure of guilt, because I know that there are parents out there coping with feeding tubes, transfusions and worse. I know that I'm incredibly lucky to have children as healthy as they are. But I am still so upset.
Part of me is angry because he's been so uncomfortable his short little time on earth. He was plagued by reflux as an infant and spent the first nine months of his life on Prevacid - which finally got him comfortable enough to stop screaming. And now this. I don't even know if I really know what his little personality is like. He's so upset all the time, and largely because something always wrong.
If I'm mad, I can only imagine how mad he has been. I have seen that frustrated, angry look on his face so many times. Now I wonder if he's been trying to tell me that he can't breathe or that his chest hurts. The thought of how that must feel for him makes me cry. I hope we're able to get him well enough that I can get to know my little boy and he can get to know me.
We started nebulizer treatments of Xopenex last night. He gets those every four to six hours. And then he gets Pulmicort once every twenty four hours. We have a dinosaur mask for his nebulizer that's supposed to look friendly, but he just hates it. He screams in my arms for nearly the whole treatment. I try to hold him still and Mel holds the mask, but he leaves for Asia tomorrow and I'm on my own trying to get him to take the treatment. I may have to snag a neighbor, but it will have to be a pretty good friend to drop by every four hours. We'll see. Everyone tells me that they get used to it and will tolerate it once they understand that its working. But so far, not my little guy.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
My first idea is to do a woodsy theme but with a whimsical and cartoony twist, perhaps even a little bit modern. Something, really bright and whimsical. I was thinking that a moose, raccoon, etc standing in a stream or going for a swim could be a cute mural. (My good friend Allison has a nursery with a great outdoorsy cartoon mural.) Skiing animals could be fun. Bears fishing with poles could also be fun. I was thinking something with a fun, cartoony feel would work best with the bedding. Or something bright and solid. It might be fun to have a real tent in the room and paint a campfire on the wall, etc.
And we'd have to have one of these nightlights by his bedside table....
We could do something bright and whimsical so it's still very "little boy" like. Maybe big whales swimming in the sea. Funny cartoony animals sailing?
I'd love to do this in one corner...
So, what do you think? Which do you like best? Which gives Mr. B the most longevity? Which is most original? And which do you think he'll love most? Can't wait to hear all your opinions!
Thursday, January 24, 2008
I'm one of those people that usually Tivos three or four shows for myself and about 42 shows for my children. How horrible would it be if they requested Wow Wow Wubzy and I couldn't deliver! But now, I'm recording a whole mess of shows and trying to get into them. Luckily, I've found a winner.
I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I'm an OC junkie now. Because it's on SoapNet twice a day, I've already caught up on one whole season in a little more than a week. There's Marissa, the earnest albeit slightly melodramatic protagonist. Ryan, the troubled teen from the hood taken in be wealthy benefactors. Seth, the adorable, funny one that I totally would have fallen for in high school. Summer, the endearingly vapid and shallow one. It's just yummy. Campy, indulgent, with all the plot twists you'd expect from a night time high school soap.
I blame Ira Glass for my new found addiction. If you don't know who Ira is, then you're not a terrifically geeky NPR junkie like I am. My love of NPR has been life long (I was the only seven year old I knew who counted Mara Liason and Nina Totenberg among her heroines). On one episode of This American Life, he shared his passion for the OC and how sad he was that is was being canceled. That was it, if it was good enough for Ira, it was good enough for me. All I needed was the impetus of a disastrously long writers strike.
So Hollywood execs listen up. We're not turning to new reality TV. But we are willing to get turned on to new dramas and scripted shows that we haven't made time for in the past. Hurry up, pay the writers more already, before we all decide to take up crochet.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
My One New Year’s Resolution
Right now, I’ll bet that you and I are doing the exact same thing – making our New Year’s resolutions. My mommy-friends have been busily sharing them via email over the past few days. Each woman has laudable goals – to be more organized, to go to the gym more often, to find a church home, to go on more dates with their spouses. But this year, my resolution is far more selfish. This year, I am going to pay attention to myself.
At first it may sound strange, but if you think about it, I’ll bet you too find it hard to pay attention to yourself. Almost every mom I know has busily made lunch for her kids, changed diapers, put babies to bed only to look up and realize it’s after three o’clock and she hasn’t eaten all day. There have been whole days where I have forgotten to go to the bathroom. Or worse, rather than paying attention to my building frustration or resentment, I busily move on to the next task and totally loose my cool when something goes wrong.
This year is going to be different. I know because the resolution is already different. Last year, I resolved to be a more attentive mother, to play on the floor with my kids more, to do more activities with them, and to spend time one-on-one with each of them. I resolved to be a more patient and forgiving spouse. And I resolved to become more active and involved in my church. Are you noticing a trend? Although all my resolutions were wonderful ones, they were all organized around other people’s experiences.
This year, I am going to try to care just at much about how my day is going, as I do about my four year old’s time at preschool. I’m going to make sure that I get a good night sleep in the same way that I try to maximize the baby’s sleep. I’m going to play outings that I enjoy in the same way that I plan them for the children. And I’m going to help enable my own good eating and workout routine in the same way that I facilities those healthy habits for my husband.
I am quite certain that I’m still going to be frustrated by how many hours there are in a day. And the limitations on my time may mean that my kids get fewer outings and a few less craft projects this year. But what they will gain, a mom that is happy, healthy and content to live in the present moment, will likely far surpass that one additional experience.