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Posts from the ‘Personal’ Category

Gone Fishing …

 

We are going to meet our baby girl very soon and, as a result, I am taking a maternity leave from the blog.  As this is our first child, and this is a whole new experience for us, I am not sure exactly when I will return to the blog, but I will at some point, when it feels like the right time to return.  We will be spending time with our little family and relishing this special time together.  During this time, however, I do hope to share updates, periodically, so feel free to check back here every so often, if you wish.  I also wanted to thank you so much, as always, for being here, whether you just stopped by or are a regular reader.

Meanwhile, if you are in a blog-reading mood, you are warmly invited to visit the archives shown below.

Dog Related posts

Dog Rescue posts

‘Dog-Centric’ Artists Interviews

For Artists posts

Photography posts

Personal posts

Victory Related posts

Tips for planning and vacationing with your furry family member

Happy Summer!  I hope that you are having a relaxing summer!

Preparing Victory for her Little Sister

 

Now that we are literally in the home stretch of our pregnancy, with a few weeks to go, we have been doing our best to prepare our beloved little Victory for her little sister’s arrival along with the great, positive change that will impact all of us.

If you are expecting, and want to create and foster a happy and healthy environment for your new baby, your family, and your furry family member, here are some thoughts and ideas, outlined below.

 

MAINTAIN DAILY WALKS AND OUTINGS WITH YOUR DOG

The number one thing you can do to keep your dog happy, healthy, and calm during the arrival of your new baby are maintaining daily walks.

-It is a good idea to vary the times of walks together because a baby’s schedule is unpredictable to help prevent your dog from expecting walks at certain times of the day.

-If possible, vary who walks your dog so when you are occupied someone else can step in and help with dog walks, when necessary.  (Victory is not always amenable to this!)

-Most importantly, when you are able to go for walks with the baby, be sure to include your dog on these walks in order to help make him/her feel included, too.

-Victory is accustomed to going on outings with us.  It is our sincere plan to continue this practice, after the baby arrives, so she remains included.  It will, however, take a little more creative planning on our part!

 

PREPARE YOUR DOG FOR THE BABY’S ARRIVAL

With a new baby, your dog is going to be bombarded with many new smells, sounds, and experiences.  By introducing these to your dog in a gradual way, you can help prevent an invasion on his/her senses when the baby first comes home.

-Let your dog get accustomed to the sounds a new baby will make.  This will be new for everyone to get accustomed to, including your dog.

-Let your dog sniff some of the baby’s items first.  When you are in the hospital, it is a good idea to send a blanket home with the baby’s scent on it.  This allows your dog to get used to the new smell.  In our case, we plan to do this along with bringing Victory to the hospital, post delivery, which we received special permission from the hospital, to meet her little sister to help her prepare and to ensure Victory is included as part of this special experience.

-Let your dog get accustomed to the new baby gear on his/her terms.  We have actually put Victory in the baby’s crib and buggy, pictured above.  (Victory has also sniffed out the baby’s infant car seat as well, but she is a little too big to fit into the  infant car seat in order to get a photo of her!)  We believe she knows change is upon us.  I am sure she can feel my growing belly when I pick her up and hold her along with the physical changes that have occurred in our home.  We have also tried to bring her into the baby’s nursery to get her accustomed to things.  Recently, she has gone into the nursery on her own, to check things out, which has been great!  We have decided to let Victory decide when she wants to come into the nursery.  We know, in time, that she will get curious and want to come into the nursery on her own more frequently.  This is what happened when we first brought her home after rescuing her; she was very cautious of exploring the house and eventually came to exploring and feeling comfortable in our home in her own time.

-Keep in mind that no dog is the same.  Talk to others, to gain insight, who have had experience with bringing their baby home to their dog.  Our pediatrician shared with us recently that Victory will likely soon view the baby as part of her pack and she will view the baby as something to protect, similar to a puppy of her own.  The pediatrician also said that dogs are very good about understanding family dynamics and structure.  We shall see!

 

CREATE A TRANQUIL SPACE AT HOME

By promoting a safe and calm space within the home, you will ensure not only your dog remains happy and healthy, but the whole family does as well.

-Provide a safe, warm space for your dog to curl up in away from the baby.  Victory has several spaces in the house that are exclusively hers, including her ‘hut!’

-Be calm with your dog, even under stress.  Having a new baby is a big change and stress inducing, at times.  Dogs, especially our little Victory, are highly attuned to our actions, demeanor, and voice.  If we get stressed, Victory feels the stress ten fold.  She is extremely aware of her environment.

 

CREATE A PLAN FOR YOUR DOG DURING THE BIRTH

The birth of one’s baby is unpredictable, in most cases, baring a scheduled cesarean or induction.  However, the last thing you want to do is rush off to the hospital/birthing center without a plan for your dog.

-Prior to your birth/due date, decide who will care for our dog while you are in the hospital.  It is important for this person to know how to care for your dog, as each dog is different.  Make sure you include instructions and emergency contact numbers, including the number for your vet and emergency vet.  We have a few friends lined up to help us take care of Victory during this time to ensure that we have someone to care for her during the labor and delivery time.

-There will be a lot going on during this time and it is not the time to have a stranger help you with your dog.  Make sure the person who is caring for your dog is someone the dog knows and is familiar with.  Make sure your dog is comfortable on walks and feedings with this particular care provider.

-When returning home, make sure you have focus on your dog as well.  This will be a big change and your dog needs to be and feel reassured and included.  (Our Bradley teacher informed us that our dog is very similar an older human sibling, and to be mindful about how this change will impact her [Victory], similar to an older human sibling.)

 

PLAN FOR ONE-ON-ONE TIME WITH YOUR DOG

For many dogs, they came first.  Many were on the scene long before any children came along.

-While your time is now more limited with a new baby, it is vitally important to carve out alone time with your dog on a regular basis to keep the bond strong.

-Spend quality one-on-one time with your dog every day.  This is not only for their benefit, but yours too.  Time spent together will recharge you both, promoting a happy healthy family for everyone.

-Importantly, if you have special rituals with your dog, keep those in place.  For us, Victory loves ‘night-night!’  She loves to jump into bed and play with us and have her belly and head massaged by us.  It is also a soothing and a fun routine for us, too!  We plan to keep Victory’s routine the same as it is now as much as we can.  We believe, at some point, we will fall into a grove, even our little Victory will as well!

-Most of all, be present and continue to love your furry family member, like always!  Victory has been a great part of our journey into parenthood and I (we) am not sure what I would do without her!  She has been along my (our) side every step of the way, and she will continue to be there with us during this new chapter in our lives!

Around Here: June

Happy June!  The official start of summer is right around the corner, which is difficult to believe!  Below are some items that have occurred around here in June, another month that is flying by much too quickly!

-after many months of consistent and steady work, I finally finished the final revisions for my long-term photography project, which I have been working on in total for over five years now.  Going into this project I never realized how much work it really was actually going to be; however, it is immensely gratifying conceptualizing an idea and bringing it to fruition.  I am now moving onto completing the next steps in this project.

-we have had a little bit of a breather this month as our calendar has not been as hectic, as in previous months, so we have had time to catch up with friends and go to our pool, which has been really nice!  We are trying to get as much rest as we can during this time.

-we celebrated Doug’s first Father’s Day together!

-we saw U2 this past weekend and it was a really good concert!

-we are finishing up our parent, baby, and birth classes this weekend!

-I am now feeling quite big, as we have only approximately four weeks or so remaining until we get to meet our baby girl!  It seems surreal some days!

-we are pretty much ready, as ready as one can be, for our baby to arrive!  Her tiny little clothes that we will need over the next several months, blankets, and bath time related items have all been washed; her car seat and seat bases are installed, thanks to Doug; we ordered the last remaining items that we need; and we started to pack our hospital bags.

-this month I shared images from our Babymoon!  We all had a great time together with many wonderful memories with our fur girl, Victory!

-began working on our Promptly Journal for our baby, which beings from pregnancy through eighteen years!

-I finished the first drafts of our two photos books via Artifact Uprising: one celebrating and memorializing our journey to parenthood and the other commemorating our Babymoon!

-we have been giving Victory lots of snuggles and love!  We have been enjoying evening walks together in her Hound About!  She even went into the nursery on her own last week!

-Victory is recovered from her recent UTI, thankfully, as we were at the vet recently for a recheck!

-Victory got her paws trimmed and a bath this past weekend and she looks, feels, and smells great!

-still using the 1 Second Everyday App to document a second each day — it will be interesting to see the finished video at the end of the year!

-continuing to work on getting fine art prints made, framed, and hung in our home, an ongoing endeavor!

-continuing to watch the second season of The Handmaid’s Tale, a really good series.

-started Sweetbitter, a good series.

-finished reading Sophie Tales, a good read, given to me by a fellow blog reader!

-listening to a myriad of podcasts, especially, at the gym and on walks!

-continuing to make incremental progress on our ever-growing to do list!

Happy Monday!

 

 

 

Our Baby Shower

In May, over Mother’s Day weekend, my good friends from law school, Taehee and Hilma, offered to host and give Doug and I a lovely baby shower!  My friends were very gracious for giving us a baby shower and they took care of every little detail!  The decorations, cake, food, and favors were all splendid!  They also coordinated some fun games and prizes that we played during the shower as well!  A good time was had by all!

Even our little Victory came to the shower and my friends were so thoughtful — they know how much Victory means to us, she is part of our little family, and her initial, “T,” for “Tory,” her nickname, was also included on our beautiful shower cake!   Most of all, we were really grateful to be surrounded by good friends and family to celebrate this really special time in our lives, celebrating our little miracle!  In addition to the many wonderful and thoughtful shower gifts, we have also received many lovely gifts from colleagues, friends, and family that have been added to our baby’s nursery!  We are very grateful.  A few images from our shower are shown below!

Additionally, Doug was so thoughtful and gave me the sweetest Mother’s Day card and necklace for my first Mother’s Day!

Further, I have not shared too many details about our pregnancy here, so I have highlighted a few thoughts below.

-Our pregnancy has been smooth overall, and I cannot complain, as we are elated to have a healthy baby.  I did not experience any nausea or morning sickness, thankfully.  However, during the later part of the second trimester into the third trimester, I have experienced a lot of heartburn resulting in vomiting, which has been uncomfortable, at times.  The doctor prescribed some medicine, which helps.  My ankles and feet have also been really swollen since the later part of the second trimester into the third trimester.  (My Crocs are the only shoes that fit comfortably right now as my feet are so swollen.)  I also get more out of breath while exercising than what I am normally accustomed to; and my bladder feels full really quickly, which are all typical.  Things have moved at a little slower pace lately due to the baby really growing during this period.  Otherwise, I feel pretty good.

-I have been sleeping pretty well, most nights, with the help of extra pillows for support.  I have had some vivid and surreal dreams while pregnant.  Victory is still sleeping with us (above our heads against the headboard, where she likes it) and I think she knows change is coming from feeling my expanding belly when I hold her.  We plan to change a little as possible with regards to Victory when the baby arrives.  Victory actually explored the nursery on her own this week, so hopefully this is a good sign that she is curious!

-I have read some baby books, but I have not gone overboard.  We have taken many classes to help us prepare, with one more class remaining this month; however, I do not think one really knows until they are experiencing it, in the thick of it.  I am sure we will have lots of learning ahead of us!

-It is a truly a wonderful and incredible feeling to feel our baby moving.  She is pretty active these days and, fortunately, she does not keep me up at night, which is an added bonus!

-Doug has been really great; he has been really supportive; we attend all of the parent, baby, and birth classes together along with Doug going with me to all of our ultrasound appointments.  Doug also helped me with pediatrician, nanny, and school interviews as well.  We have had quite a few ultrasounds in which we have had the opportunity to see our baby quite a bit, even in 4D, with several more ultrasounds to go!  (We have seen a glimpse of our baby’s face and little body — the ultrasound technology is pretty amazing!)  Doug has also helped me prepare everything for the baby.  I could not have done it without him!

-Most of all, we are excited and grateful to meet our little girl and we hope for a smooth and uneventful delivery and recovery!  (We are very thankful to have wonderful doctors and care during this time.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photographs: Charleston, South Carolina, Folly Beach Babymoon

We went to Charleston recently for our Babymoon, and I finally had time to finish culling and editing the images from our Babymoon, our fifth vacation with our sweet fur girl, Victory!  (The time goes by much too quickly!)  You can view a snapshot of our vacation here.  (You can also view our vacation last year with Victory to Charleston here; you can view our vacation two years to Lake Michigan here; you can view our vacation from three years ago with Victory to Quebec City here; and you can view our vacation four years ago with Victory to Montreal, Quebec here.)

We rented a house in Charleston, close to Folly Beach while still being not too far from downtown Charleston; we actually rented the same house that we rented last year.  We were really fortunate in that we had nice weather while we were in Charleston and the temperatures were not too hot as well, an added bonus!  We all loved the beach.  We spent a lot of time resting and relaxing there.  We went to downtown Charleston a few times and again enjoyed the quaint shops along with Jeni’s ice cream!  We also went to the  Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, which was beautiful!  We greatly enjoyed slow and relaxing days compared to our norm.  We took nice long walks in the morning and spent the days at the beach reading and relaxing, followed by nice dinners with our fur girl at local restaurants, (Firery Ron’s/Home Team BBQ being one of our favorite restaurants, which also welcomes furry family members) and then we took long walks on the beach watched the sun set in the evenings with our fur girl, Victory!  (Victory got much needed rest after her dinner and beach excursions, as evidenced below!)  Victory loved the beach.  She loves walking on the beach and dipping her little white paws and legs in the water!

Most of all, we are grateful for our time away together.  We enjoyed spending time together; getting away; having a change of scenery; and having days where we had no plans and were able to take each day as it came.  Even after a really long drive home, due to horrific traffic, Victory, of course, spotted her exit to her house, and she loved coming home, like always!  We are really grateful and thankful for this special time in our lives.

Below are a few images from our recent Babymoon; and here is a short iPhone video of Doug and Victory!

Happy Tuesday!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Around Here: May

Happy May!  The weather has warmed up here and it has been nice to get outside and enjoy the sunshine!  Below are some items that have occurred around here in May, another month that has flown by much too quickly!

-continuing to work on the next steps concerning my long-term photography project; I am making good progress with the revisions in this home stretch, and hopefully all remaining revisions will be made by the end of next month, fingers crossed.  I have been working so hard to finish these tedious revisions before our baby arrives.

-earlier this month, my good friends from law school gave Doug and I a baby shower, which was really lovely commemorating this special time in our lives!  A good time was had by all!

-we took our last trip to Pups in the Park with our fur girl, Victory, as a ‘party of three!’  We had a great time together, as always!

-we were happy to go to our pool for the first time this year, which opened over Memorial Day weekend!

-we also enjoyed seeing friends over Memorial Day weekend!

-continuing this month with our parent, baby, and birth classes that go through next month — we have only a few more classes to go!  And, if all goes as planned, the hospital is permitting our fur girl, Victory, to come to the hospital, post delivery, to meet her little sister!  We are so happy to include our precious Victory, our fur girl, in order to have our entire family together during this time!

-I am now feeling quite big, as we have only approximately seven weeks remaining until we get to meet our baby girl!

-we have a few last items to get for our baby that we will take care of in short order; otherwise, we think that we are in pretty good shape to start!

-I am almost done editing our images from our Babymoon!  We all had a great time together with many wonderful memories!

-I am now working on finishing two photos books via Artifact Uprising: one celebrating and memorializing our journey to parenthood and the other commemorating our Babymoon!

-around the house, we completed our gardening and mulching!

-we also got our decks cleaned and our deck furniture set out, which we have been using!

-we got our rugs cleaned; and our house windows get cleaned next month!

-we have been giving Victory lots of snuggles and love!  We are doing our best to get her ‘ready’ for her little sister’s arrival.

-Victory, unfortunately, had a recent UTI diagnosed last week and she is now on the mend with antibiotics, thankfully.  (She has a history of these pesky infections, unfortunately.)

-Victory tried out her soon-to-be little sister’s Bugaboo Fox buggy/stroller, pictured below!  (Victory also tried out her little sister’s crib when we were first getting her nursery together!)  Doug picked out the color scheme for our Bugaboo Fox and we got the last one in stock; and once our baby is old enough, the bassinet will be swapped out for a traditional type stroller seat in the blue mélange color that also attaches to the Bugaboo Runner!

-since the weather has been nice, we have enjoyed taking Victory for rides in her Hound About!  She loves getting fresh air and going for long rides, while I walk, albeit a little slower these days!  We are also keeping up with going to the gym together.

-still using the 1 Second Everyday App to document a second each day — it will be interesting to see the finished video at the end of the year!

-continuing to work on getting fine art prints made, framed, and hung in our home, an ongoing endeavor!

-continuing to watch the final season of The Americans, a really good series — the last episode of the series airs this week, which is difficult to believe.

-continuing to watch the second season of The Handmaid’s Tale, a really good series.

-started the second season of the The Path, a good series.

-listening to a myriad of podcasts, especially, at the gym and on walks!

-continuing to make incremental progress on our ever-growing to do list!

Happy Tuesday!

 

Pups in the Park!

On Saturday evening we took Victory with us to Pups in the Park at the Nationals!  This is our fourth year attending Pups in the Park with Victory — the time sure does fly by!  This is our last time attending as a ‘party of three,’ which is difficult to believe!  The weather cleared up in time for us to watch the game, thankfully!  Victory also looked adorable in her Nationals’ jersey!  We saw one other sheltie at this game, a sable sheltie!  Victory was brave as she sniffed some other dogs attending the game!  Victory also enjoyed some snacks during the game, which she loved!  We had a fun time together.  Victory spent yesterday resting all say as she was so tired from her outing!  Below are some iPhone photos from our visit!  We look forward to going back for more games next year!  If we are able, we might try to go to Bark in the Park at the Baltimore Orioles in September — we will have to play that by ear!

Happy Monday!

 

 

Loving: Maternity Wear

Happy spring!  It finally feels like spring around here and we are loving the sunshine and fresh air!  Below are some items that I really have loved wearing while growing our baby.  After much looking around quite a bit, I was not a fan of maternity clothes, so I have done my best to wear my regular clothes by sizing up, in most cases.

 

 

1. Hatch Bikini — This was the only one of three ‘maternity pieces’ that I purchased during this pregnancy, which Doug got for me this spring.  I absolutely love the Hatch Bikini.  We got it for our Babymoon and to use at our pool this summer.  It is extremely comfortable and fits one’s growing belly well.  Although this exact bikini is not available any longer, there are similar Hatch bathing suits here.

2. DKNY Underwear – I did not purchase any ‘maternity underwear.’  I use my current underwear, which still fits well (I did not size up), while pregnant, even during this final trimester.  I highly recommend this underwear regardless if you are pregnant!

3. Wacaol Bra – I did not purchase any ‘maternity bras.’  I ended up sizing up with my usual bra, and it worked out well, thus far.  However, I did purchase the Emma-Jane night bra for postpartum, which is quite comfortable also.

4. Tom’s Shoes — My feet and ankles have been quite swollen during the later part of this pregnancy.  I have loved wearing my Tom’s shoes, as they accommodated my expanding feet well, which is hopefully short lived!

5. Ingrid & Isabel Maternity Shorts – Since our baby is due during the summer months, I had to get maternity shorts for ease of comfort.  I found these maternity shorts by Ingrid & Isabel to be very comfortable and they are inexpensive as well.

6. Ann Taylor Loft Top  – I never found any maternity tops that I fell in love with.  Thus, I sized up on the type of tops I would normally wear from Ann Taylor and Ann Taylor Loft, for example, which has worked out well, thus far.

7. Lululemon Align Pant – I love Lululemon’s pants.  I sized up and keep wearing these pants, which is getting me through this pregnancy.

8. Lululemon Align Crop Pant – Since I love Lululemon’s pants, I sized up in the Align crop pant as well for exercising and it has worked well as well, thus far.

9. Lululemon Tops – I found a few Lululemon tops that have worked well during this pregnancy with my expanding belly.  Although the exact top that I found this past winter is no longer made, that has been working well, I love the Lululemon tanks that have a built in bra.

10. Isabella Oliver Dress – I purchased this maternity dress and I love it!  The dress is comfortable; the material is very well made; and it looked quite flattering!

11. Nordstrom’s Pajamas – Long – I discovered these pajamas last fall and I love them — they are super comfortable!  They have worked well during my pregnancy and for hanging in around the house; although I ended up sizing up during the third trimester, as my belly has really grown.

12. Nordstrom’s Pajamas – Short – These pajamas are getting me through the summer months.  They are extremely comfortable!  I sized up as I am using them during my third trimester and they are great to wear during the warmer months.  They work really well!

You can view other things I love here!

Happy Tuesday!

Snapshot: Charleston, South Carolina, Folly Beach Babymoon

We are back from our babymoon!  We are getting back into the swing of things after being away!  Doug was kind enough to drive both ways, the entire way, including a difficult drive on the way home through Northern Virginia.  We were very fortunate in that we had really nice weather while in Charleston.  It only rained one day, thankfully!  The temperatures were in the mid to high seventies, so it was really wonderful, as it was not too hot and humid!

We rented a house in Charleston, close to Folly Beach while still being not too far from downtown Charleston; we actually rented the same house that we rented last year.  We all loved our time together.  We spent a lot of time resting and relaxing there, and we took each day as it came.  We went to downtown Charleston and we also did make it to Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, which was beautiful.  We greatly enjoyed slow and relaxing days compared to our norm.  We took nice long walks in the morning and spent the days at the beach reading and relaxing, followed by nice dinners with our fur girl at local restaurants, and then we took long walks on the beach watched the sun set in the evenings with our fur girl, Victory!  (Victory got much needed rest after her dinner and beach excursions, as evidenced below!)  Victory loved the beach.  She loves walking on the beach and dipping her little paws and legs in the water!  (On our last evening walk on the beach, Victory did not want to leave the beach and dug her paws in the sand because she loved it so much!)  We are really grateful for this special time in our lives.

Below is a snapshot containing several iPhone photos from our babymoon.  Once I finish editing the images from our trip, I will put a proper blog post together to share in the next week or two, I hope.  Stay tuned.

Happy Thursday!

 

 


Around Here: April

Happy Spring!  We are still away on our trip, but here are some items that have occurred around here in April, another busy month that is going by much too quickly!

-continuing to work on the next steps concerning my long-term photography project, and I am making good progress with revisions in this home stretch.

-enjoying date nights together!

-continuing this month with our parent, baby, and birth classes that go through the next several months!

-as of late this month we are already at the beginning of the third trimester.  The time is flying by so quickly and we are appreciating every moment.

-our baby’s nursery is finally complete with a simple and modern feel!  We put a lot of time, effort, and love into creating a unique space for our baby.  We still have some other items/supplies to get for our baby, but we are getting things in order!

-we believe we have settled on a name for our baby; however, we want to meet her first to make sure we feel the name is fitting for her!

-we are in South Carolina with our fur girl, Victory, as our last trip as a ‘party of three,’ while I can still travel, commemorating and celebrating three special milestones simultaneously: our babymoon; our 10-year wedding anniversary; and my ‘big birthday!’   A photo of us is shown below.  We are having a wonderful time together!  The weather has been beautiful!  Victory loves the beach; and we have enjoyed a slower pace of life, including long walks in the morning and lazy days and evenings at the beach with our fur girl!  We also have enjoyed nice dinners at some local restaurants in Charleston, where furry friends are welcome, too!  (I will share more once I have had a chance to cull and edit our images once we get back home.)  We are grateful for this time together!

-we have still been doing some spring cleaning around the entire house this month purging items while utilizing the Marie Kondo, “KonMari” method!  We have made some good progress!

-we have been giving Victory lots of snuggles and love!  We are doing our best to get her ‘ready’ for her little sister’s arrival.

-since the weather has been a bit warmer (when it was not snowing), during certain points this month, we have enjoyed taking Victory for rides in her Hound About!  She loves getting fresh air and going for long rides, while I walk!

-still using the 1 Second Everyday App to document a second each day — it will be interesting to see the finished video at the end of the year!

-continuing to work on getting fine art prints made, framed, and hung in our home, an ongoing endeavor!

-started the final season of The Americans, a really good series.

-started the second season of The Handmaid’s Tale, a really good series.

-finished reading Around the Next Corner while at the beach!  (If you are a ‘dog person,’ you will enjoy this novel!)

-listening to a myriad of podcasts, especially, at the gym and on walks!

-continuing to make incremental progress on our ever-growing to do list, which feels quite large currently, but we are making progress!

Happy Friday!