Archive for June 2012

7 Quick Takes (v. 67)

June 29, 2012

1.  On Sunday we took the girls to our village’s annual summer picnic, which is within walking distance of our house.  It was so sweet to watch Sabrina (2) gently patting the rabbits, pigs, goats, calf, and baby llama at the petting zoo.  [I think she’s going to be really good with the new baby.]  But it was even sweeter to see her having so much fun on her first pony ride.  She wasn’t scared at all.  She kept smiling and laughing and waving to her sisters on the other ponies and talking about how much she loved horses and ponies.

2.  When I picked up my 4-year-old from her princess class on Tuesday, the teachers started warning me about how she was sitting on the carpet all wrong and how I needed to break her of it because it was bad for her hips.  Apparently what she was doing is called W-sitting, and it is the most horrible thing that any self-respecting parent could allow their child to do.  (Insert eye roll.)

On one level I understand that this might be an issue for kids in preschool classes multiple days per week.  But I’m really not too worried about it since except for when Katie is at her princess class (or a similar class that involves circle time on a rug) one hour per week she rarely sits on the floor.  At home she’s usually sitting on the couch or on a chair if she is sitting at all.  Even when she and her sisters imagine play with toys they often set them up on the kitchen table and not the floor.  But consider this a PSA about the dangers of W-sitting.

3.  In related princess class news, I was way more concerned about the fairy wands they constructed in class with ten tons of glitter.  Maybe it’s because of the the three years I spent in my youth gluing pounds of glitter onto award-winning Pegasus Parade floats and then picking said glitter out of my underwear for the next nine months, but I would very happy to never ever see glitter again as long as I live.

4.  When I took the older two girls in for their cleanings at our new dental office, I was not too surprised when the dentist recommended an orthodontic consult for my nine-year-old.  I knew that it was just a matter of time before she was going to need some work and apparently that time has come.  One of the perks of the new place is that they have an orthodontics department in the same office, and I was able to schedule Bailey’s orthodontic consult right after my dental cleaning next week.

5.  I’ve been taking the time this week to include Katie when we do our summer school work.  I’ve procrastinated terribly about including her even though she has shown some interest.  We started Singapore Essential Math Kindergarten A on Monday, and she did 8 pages in one sitting before I made her stop.  We’ll probably alternate between that and the Kumon Uppercase Letters workbook I started with her ages ago.

6.  I borrowed Kenneth C. Davis’ Don’t Know Much About American History from the library to help with my history prep work for the fall.  While his books aren’t perfect (there is no such thing as a perfect history book IMO because history is too complex), I like his bare bones, question and short essay answer format.  I haven’t decided if I’m going to take the time to match up particular page numbers with every single related subtopic in my Modern History outline or just read the relevant chapters with the girls and hope that it will pretty much cover the main points of my outline.  And then I need to figure out if I’m going to use it instead of or in conjunction with the Usborne Encyclopedia of World History on certain topics.  I think it will probably depend on how tired/over-whelmed I feel when I’m trying to teach history with a newborn.

7.  I had the chance to fellowship with some of the women from my homeschooling group as well as women from the other Catholic parish in our town last night.  It’s not something that I get to do very often with our hectic schedule, and I liked that this event was more about fellowship and inspiration rather than being an organization.  [I am just not in a position to be involved in anything that involves on-going responsibilities and expectations.]  I just wish that I didn’t have to wait until September for the next event, but the number of nursing babies in the room (including a newborn) made the idea of returning with a newborn a little less over-whelming.

Practice Testing

June 27, 2012

A few weeks ago I introduced Bailey (9) to the world of standardized testing.  The state of IL does not require homeschoolers to be tested, and I have my doubts about what standardized tests really measure.  The fact of the matter is, though, that most colleges still prefer ACT or SAT scores as part of the admissions process and often for scholarship consideration as well.  So, I want my kids to be prepared when they need to start taking the big tests in high school.

We started with the Spectrum Test Practice Grade 3 (since that was the grade she just finished).  On Monday I showed her what an answer sheet looks like and a sample page from the book.  We discussed the purpose of testing, what the rules and procedures normally are, and tips for answering multiple choice questions.  On each day for the rest of the week I administered two to three sections of the practice test.  I graded the percentage of right answers like a normal test; it’s kind of hard to assign a percentile compared to other students when there is only one student taking the test.

I think it was a good basic introduction to how to fill out the bubble grids, paying attention to directions, and other parts of the process.  On the flip side, we couldn’t really replicate a real testing situation.  When the kids at the local elementary are taking their I-SATs they don’t have three younger kids running around playing or sitting at the same table coloring and arguing.

It’s also really hard to keep a “professional boundary” between the proctor and the student when you are used to a much less formal relationship.  And I could see how the results could be skewed when you have a history together of immediate support and assistance; it’s hard to know how much explanation you can give without it being too much.

Plus, as the week progressed, things became more stressful in the house with lots of different appointments and happenings.  Twice on a really stressful day I accidentally gave Bailey the Sample test instead of the Practice test.  We didn’t realize it until she got to the end and had more answer bubbles left than test questions.  Needless to say, neither one of us took it very well.  So, note to self…schedule practice testing for a week when you don’t have five million other things going on.

Not surprisingly Bailey did the best on the Reading (vocabulary and reading comprehension) and Math sections (concepts, computation, and applications) since those are the subjects I have emphasized the most over the past four years.  She did middling on Language Expression, mainly because we haven’t started any formal grammar yet.  That is on the schedule for 4th grade.

Bailey did the worst on Science and Social Studies.  I wasn’t too surprised about the science since we haven’t done much formal science study.  At the same time I’m not sure that only 8 questions gives a fair sampling, even though I understand this is just supposed to be a practice test rather than a formal test.  But those 8 questions were also highly variable with aspects of biology, physics, chemistry, and astronomy.  I’m not sure that any 3rd grader would have been able to answer all 8 unless they had been taught to the test.

The social studies test was only 13 questions.  Again this was not a very big sampling, and if you graded the test on standard percentages, a kid would have to miss no more than 3 to pass with a “C”.  Most of our social studies has been history-based with a bit of geography.  There was only 1 history question.  So, this just reflected that we had studied the wrong things.

I must admit that Bailey did not do quite as well as I thought she would, but I think it is really more a reflection of the limits of standardized testing than her intelligence or my teaching skills.  Some of the math questions she missed had to do with rounding, which the Singapore Math U.S. edition doesn’t introduce until the beginning of fourth grade.  I refuse to get too worked up about the results.  If I’m going to teach to the test than I might as well just put her in public school.

Next year I might get a CAT test and have Seton Homeschool professionally score it.  If we do, we’ll probably reserve a library study room, so that Bailey can take it with fewer distractions.  But  at some point before she gets to high school I would like to set it up for someone else with whom she is less familiar to proctor a standardized test with her.  I think it would make the experience more accurate for her.  And that’s all I really care about:  having my kids practice the bizarre experience of standardized testing, so that it doesn’t seem so foreign when it could (even more bizarrely) influence their future opportunities.

7 Quick Takes (v. 66): Baby Stuff

June 22, 2012

1.  This week I switched all of the older kids seating arrangements to make room for the infant car seat.  I think the only one that is not completely freaked out is Sabrina (2).  She’s just as content sitting in the seat behind her daddy and letting him buckle her as she was behind me.  The other three are constantly complaining and fussing and fighting.

2.  The only actual baby-related things that are left to do before I go into labor are:  install the infant seat, switch the double stroller back to a two-seater from a sit-and-stand, get the bouncy seats and nursing pillows out of the closet, and pack my hospital bag.  I should probably wash the baby’s new clothes, too, but I can’t help wondering at this point if that is absolutely necessary or one of those anal retentive over-board things all of the baby books tell you to do to prove before birth that you are a good parent.

3.  I had to have a second external ultrasound this week.  They have been kind of worried about Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR) because my uterus has been measuring small again (as it does every pregnancy) and the baby’s abdomen was slightly small at my first ultrasound.  But this time they said she was perfectly within normal ranges for gestational age, weighing in at approximately 4 pounds and 2 ounces.  We even got this great picture of her.

4.  We kind of have a name front-runner.  We don’t absolutely love it, but we just can’t think of anything we like better.  I told my husband that I would really like to use a saint’s name for at least one of the names, and there is one that sounds really, really good with the first name we are considering.  Neither name is super popular, but interestingly they were back-to-back on the top 1000 names for 2011 according to the Social Security Administration.  But we never reveal chosen names to anyone other than grandparents until after the baby is born.

5.  I bought some new nursing bras and nursing tanks at Motherhood Maternity last week.  There’s one bra that I could just live in all of the time if I wasn’t sweating like a pig in The House Built Without Heating/Air Ducts, but alas it needs to be washed after a day or two of absorbing all that sweat.  I am also really digging the tanks because I can wear them right now on their on when it is hot, and I should be able to wear them under other shirts during cold weather.

6.  Partly due to the whole IUGR concern, I had to have my check-up today with one of the doctors in my OB practice instead of my usual midwives.  Whenever I am pregnant I develop a fairly innocuous condition called thrombocytopoenia.  Basically my platelet count starts dropping which could cause clotting issues if I wanted/needed an epidural during labor.  There is not really anything that can be done to make my platelet count increase, but the doctor suggested loading up on high-iron foods for the next 7 weeks since iron helps blood clot better.  I see lots of meat, broccoli and eggs in my future.

7.  We’re up to 15 appointments and 4 classes attended so far for the month of June.  You know your life is crazy hectic when you think to yourself, “I’ll get a lot more time to rest and relax when the baby comes.”  LOL

26 Virtues, Gifts, and Fruits

June 17, 2012

I thought I would post my full list of the Seven Virtues, Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the Seven Fruits of the Holy Spirits and their working definitions for anyone who is interested.  Most of the definitions were either copied straight from Wikipedia or adapted from various dictionaries and online sites.  If/when I get around to writing separate posts about each one I plan to link to them from this list.

7 Virtues

  • FAITH:  A free gift from God that allows you to be aware of His presence in your life and invites you to want Him to become a greater part of your life.
  • HOPE:  Confidence that God will never abandon you or forsake you, because not death, nor life, nor any living creature, nor circumstance can come between you and God’s love.
  • LOVE:  Your willingness to work for the good of another, whether or not you “feel like it.”
  • PRUDENCE:  The practical “know-how” that helps you apply Christian virtues to the specific circumstances of your everyday life.
  • JUSTICE:  Your desire to help others achieve all that God wants them to have, and your personal commitment to work for the common good of your family, Church, and community.
  • TEMPERANCE:  Your ability to enjoy good things without letting them become a distraction or obsession.
  • DILIGENCE:  Diligence includes doing all of our actions with and work with care and preciseness, persevering when things are difficult, budgeting our time effectively, and guarding against laziness.

7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit

  • UNDERSTANDING:  In understanding, we comprehend how we need to live as followers of Christ. A person with understanding is not confused by the conflicting messages in our culture about the right way to live.
  • COUNSEL With the gift of counsel/right judgment, we know the difference between right and wrong, and we choose to do what is right.
  • WISDOM:  We see God at work in our lives and in the world. For the wise, the wonders of nature, historical events, and the ups and downs of life take on deeper meaning. We see God as our Father, appreciate the dignity of others, and find God in all things.
  • COURAGE:  Your willingness to live Christian virtues, even when doing so causes you to risk personal discomfort or rejection/persecution from others.
  • KNOWLEDGE:  The gift of knowledge is more than an accumulation of facts.  With the gift of knowledge, we understand the meaning of God.
  • PIETY:  With the gift of piety/reverence, we have a deep sense of respect for God and the Church. A person with reverence recognizes our total reliance on God and comes before God with humility, trust, and love.
  • FEAR OF THE LORD:  With the gift of fear of the Lord we are aware of the glory and majesty of God. A person with wonder and awe knows that God is the perfection of all we desire: perfect knowledge, perfect goodness, perfect power, and perfect love.  As result, we seek to please God and we fear disappointing Him.

12 Fruits of the Holy Spirit

  • MODESTY:  When we are modest we are careful not to attract inappropriate attention to ourselves in the way we dress, the way we act, or the things that we say.
  • CHASTITY:  When we are chaste we are clean in our thoughts, words, and actions.  We avoid watching, reading, thinking, or doing things that we know are inappropriate.  We treat our bodies and the bodies of others with respect and dignity.
  • JOY:  Joy is the sense of delight that arises within us in the presence of someone or something we love.  We see the goodness of God; we recognize it for what it is; we love it; and we enjoy it.  Joy is something that we must seek in our everyday life and in times of trouble.
  • PEACE:    Peace is the calmness that results from our trust in God’s love even in the face of disappointment, hostility, and unfortunate circumstance.  It brings restfulness and contentment instead of anxiety and anger.  Through peace we can determine the right course of action for dealing with a problem.
  • PATIENCE:  Patience requires us to bear delays, annoyance, misfortune, and pain without complaint.  It also includes quiet and study perseverance in the face of frustrations and set-backs.
  • KINDNESS:  Kindness entails doing things for others that are gentle, considerate, and helpful even when we can expect no reward or we don’t feel like it.
  • GOODNESS:  Goodness includes being well-behaved, friendly, honorable, agreeable, and pleasant.
  • FAITHFULNESS:  We are called to be loyal to the Lord in our obedience to and understanding of His teachings and those of His Church on earth.  It also means being trustworthy and reliable in our relationships with others.
  • GENEROSITY:  When we are generous we are liberal in giving or sharing the gifts that we have been given for the well-being or happiness of others.  This includes our money, our things, our talents, and our time.
  • GENTLENESS:  Gentleness requires that we handle the feelings and bodies of others with care, sensitivity, and politeness.  One of the best ways to express gentleness is through the use of good manners.
  • SELF CONTROL:  Self-control is the act of restraining one’s actions, emotions, or desires in the best interest of ourselves and others.  When we practice self-control we avoid impulsive reactions to events around us or feelings within us.
  • CHARITY:  In addition to giving our time or money to help others in need, charity also requires that we practice leniency in judging others and humility in our interactions with God and others.

7 Quick Takes (v. 65)

June 15, 2012

1.  I am usually not one to condemn a book without actually having read it, but from what I can tell, the very popular Fifty Shades of Grey is mainly porn for women…and I don’t mean in the “setting up fantasy delusions about romantic love” kind of way…more similar to the male version of actual porn.  I think I’ll pass.

2.  Summer activities through our parks district started this week.  Bailey (9) and I were going through the catalog trying to come up with options that interest her and fit our schedule, since she is still unsure if she wants to go back to gymnastics or not.  One of the available classes was a cooking class for kids 6 to 9 years old.  She immediately got excited at the idea that her younger sister, Piper, could do the class with her.  Meanwhile, Piper, who had been pretty sure she didn’t really want to do any organized activities this summer (she’s more of a homebody) started to like the idea, too.

Here they spend almost all day of every day together.  They just finished two sessions of swim class together.  Neither one is scared or incapable of doing an activity without the other.  They have both done so before.  Yet, when given the opportunity, they have chosen to do another class together.  It warms the cockles of this mother’s heart (somewhere in the sub-cockle region).

3.  Last week I got around to doing some shopping for Baby Girl #5 (only eight weeks to go!).  I had a few Toys ‘R’ Us gift cards and decided to see what I could find in the clothing department for the amount I had.  I couldn’t believe how jacked up the prices were, especially on the Carter’s clothes.  But I found some great deals on the clearance rack, including a $40 infant snow suit for $12.

4.  I also picked up this Infantino Swift Classic Carrier.  I admit that it was an impulse buy.  I’ve been wanting a sling with a little more even weight distribution on my shoulders and back than my Maya Wrap, even though I still really like it, too.  I tried the Catbird Baby Sling with my last baby, and I could never get it to fit comfortably on my frame.  I figured that for $16 bucks I would give the Infantino a try.

5.  Back in March I shelled out the money for a Magnificat subscription.  Magnificat has prayers, liturgical readings, and meditations for every day of the month.  The May issue arrived to our house not long after and then completely disappeared.  I spent the entire months of May looking for that thing.  On June 2nd it reappeared completely out of nowhere.  I walked into the living room, and it was sitting on the arm of the couch.  WTFlip??

6.  As of today, our family has had 13 various appointments and two classes in the month of June.  There are six more appointments and 4 more classes scheduled.  And there may be another two or three appointments yet to be scheduled.  Let’s just say that we are extremely busy right now.  I’ve taken to carrying around a copy of our wall calendar, so that I don’t double-book anything.  I’ve already decided that I am not scheduling any thing that is not absolutely necessary after July 19th just in case I go into labor early.

7.  While I finished editing this post, I added some of my favorite CD’s to my computer.  I’m trying to put together a few different play-lists for the hospital.  So far I have the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet and a mix of Catholic hymns from the Daughters of St. Paul choir.  I’m currently putting together an Upbeat Mix in case I feel like dancing my way through contractions and a Mellow Mix in case I go into labor in the middle of the night yet again and spend large stretches of my labor just wanting to lie down.

M-m-m-My Sabrina!

June 13, 2012

Today my Sabrina celebrated her second birthday.  She is at such a fun and delightful age.  She loves to sing and “shake the booty”.  She likes to help me with the laundry and the dishes.  She has the best little manners, often saying “No, thank you” when offered something that she doesn’t want.  She is full of kisses and hugs for everyone in the family.  And her little voice with its sweet giggles and her imitation of Swiper the Fox when she’s being mischievous constantly bring smiles to our faces.

As far as I can tell, Sabrina’s only bad habits are forgetting that we only write on paper (as opposed to the walls, couches, or our skin; occasionally trying to eat non-food items; and being a little too chatty during Mass (often pointing out Jesus on the cross very loudly).  But she should grow out of all three over time.

If you ask her three older sisters, they will all regularly tell you that Sabrina is their favorite sister.  They often fight over who gets to snuggle with her.  We call Sabrina “The Queen of Cozy” because she is known for grabbing a pillow and a blanket and making a cozy nest to lie down either by herself or with someone else.  And even though she is getting bigger every day, she still has all of that sweet, soft baby skin (not to mention an abundance of feather-like hair).

And she is getting so big that it’s not really right to think of her as “the baby” anymore (and not just because she has a new sister expected in August).  I’ve been trying to retrain us all to think of her as “the toddler”.  She talks up a storm, putting together five and six-word sentences all of the time.  She can count to ten, even if she really doesn’t know that numbers equals amounts.  When it comes to playing, she tries to get right into the games with her older sisters.  She’ll also quote her favorite show Yo Gabba Gabba to let you know “I’m not the baby!”

I know that this next year will be full of joys and challenges as we enter the Transitional Twos.  As the months go by Sabrina will start asserting her autonomy, individuality, and independence a little bit more.  She’ll want more control over picking out her clothes.  We already hear “I do it myself” quite a bit.  And by this time next year she will be even less of a baby.  So, we’re all just trying to soak up the sweetness of this age as much as we can.

Happy 2nd Birthday, Sabrina!!

**Unfortunately, I couldn’t take a “birthday picture” today, because our digital camera has died.  I figured out how take pictures with the camera on my tablet, but I am still trying to figure out how to access them and get them on my computer.  So, I had to use this picture from last month.

Swim Lessons

June 6, 2012

My three older girls (ages 9, 6, and 4) just completed seven weeks of swim lessons through our parks district.  Two nights a week we loaded up and headed to the indoor pool.  Bailey and Piper were together in the class for school-aged children while Katie was in the class for toddlers and preschoolers.  By the end of the second session, Bailey had learned her front float, back float, mushroom float, and the basics of the front stroke.  Piper got her back float down, and progressed on some of the other tasks.  While Katie, basically refused to even set foot in the pool for the last 3 classes.

I really didn’t know what to expect when I signed them up.  Mainly, I just loved the idea of all three kids being in the same activity on the same nights at the same time.  I guess I expected the older girls to get some basic swim safety knowledge and for Katie to just have some fun.  I didn’t expect how many lessons I would learn and re-learn by watching them through those seven weeks.

  1. The key to kids learning anything in  swim classes is based on their willingness to put their entire head underwater (repeatedly).  If they are too scared to do that, then they are not going to be able to learn any basic swim skills no matter how many times you send them to class.
  2. I always believed that swim lessons for babies are a waste of time.  After all there is no way that babies could really learn how to swim, much less retain those skills long-term.  I always figured that baby swim lessons were just somethingfor first-time parents to do with their new baby because they have no idea what else to do with the kid when it doesn’t need to be fed or changed.
    *
    Then I saw a small class of toddlers who were jumping into the water and swimming almost two feet into their parent’s arms with little fussing or crying.  I realized that it might not be a waste of time to put babies in swim class if the parents were willing to commit to swim classes non-stop for a period of several years.
  3. There are a lot of middle-aged parents with tattoos.
  4. There are a lot of middle-aged mothers who don’t realize that their body does not look as good in that bikini as it did when they were younger and had not yet been pregnant.
  5. I usually had the girls wear their swimsuits along with pants/shorts, sandals, and sometimes a jacket to the swim class.  I would then pack a t-shirt and underwear for each kid to change into after class (along with their towels and a large plastic shopping bag to hold their wet things).  At the first class, I just had them strip down to their suits in the locker room and tried to carry everything with me into the pool area.  That was a total pain.  It didn’t get any better when I had to dig through the bag to get out their towels and find their clothing to change into afterwards.After the first class, the lockers became my friends.
    *
    I learned how to arrange things in the locker to make it easier for everyone to get changed and then I only had to carry their towels (and maybe a book) into the actual lessons.  It’s like my high school calculus teacher used to say “Prior Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance”.  (That was the only thing of value I learned from that man!)
  6. Sometimes if you wait until a kid is older and more developmentally ready to teach them something, then they might pick up certain concepts/skills quicker and easier than if you try to start them too early.  I think this partially explains why Bailey picked up on swim skills the fastest and Katie picked up the skills the least.
  7. Young teenagers (15-16) are allowed to teach swim classes.  While it was great to see them doing something that requires so much responsibility and focus, it also reminded me of the importance of experience and wisdom.  While these teens were really good at understanding swim techniques, they were often unprepared to deal with the psychological aspects that come with teaching groups of small children.  But then again, I’ve seen this this same problem in some of the adult coaches/teachers my kids have had in other activities.
  8. Sometimes it is better to go back to the beginning in order to reduce stress and build confidence rather than plowing ahead into increasingly difficult concepts/ skills.  The first swim session was three weeks, and by the end of the session all three girls were getting increasingly nervous about what they were being expected to try in the water.  When the new session began, they all started back at the beginning since none of them had progressed to the next level.  As a result, all  three started to enjoy the lessons again.  Especially for the older girls, the familiarity of what they were being asked to do again gave them the courage to push themselves outside their comfort zones a little bit more.  I think this is why Piper particularly made so much progress in the second session.
  9. At the indoor pool they crank the heat up in the building even if it is hot outside.  This is obviously great for the kids swimming in the water.  For the parent watching from the sidelines, it feels like the tenth circle of hell (especially since all of the seating is up against the heater vents).  The first few weeks were particularly interesting because it would be chilly outside and sweltering inside.  The kids obviously could change in and out of temperature-appropriate clothing, but this poor pregnant momma with a limited maternity wardrobe was not so lucky.
    *
    I learned do not wear sweat pants on swim class days but do wear long pants that can easily be rolled up.  Even when it is chilly, I learned to wear my sandals so that I could give my feet a quick dip in the pool to help cool down the rest of me.
  10. Perseverance is a wonderful quality as long as it is tempered by love and common sense.  The first three to four weeks of swim class were an emotional roller coaster.  From class to class, at least one kid would be begging not to go back while another couldn’t wait.  But it wouldn’t always be the same kid!!  So for the first six weeks, I made it very clear that everyone was going whether she wanted to or not.  For Bailey and Piper this meant that they were able to accomplish things that they wouldn’t have if I had allowed them to give up the first time they got a bit scared.  There can be so many psychological benefits that come from sticking with things even when they seem a little over-whelming.
    *
    However, as the end of the second session approached, Katie started crying a lot during class as they again got to the point where she was expected to jump in the deep end and put her head underwater.  It became a struggle to get her into the water at all even when they were just working in the shallow areas.  I realized that there was no point in forcing her to continue (especially considering how her behavior also effected her teachers and classmates), so I just let her stay at home with her little sister for the last week.  I could have forced her to just finish it out, but I really don’t think that anything positive would have come of it for her or for me.

All in all, I think the swim lessons were a success.  Bailey and Piper were both able to have so much more fun when we went to a public swim time then they would have before they took lessons.  While I have no illusions that they are fully-competent swimmers, I feel like they have enough knowledge not to panic at the pool and to get themselves to the surface and to the side of the pool if they were to accidentally fall in the water (or get pushed by mischievous tween/teen friends).  At this time, though, I have no plans to sign the kids up for anymore swim lessons unless they request them, but I think that we all learned a lot from the experience.