Thursday, August 28, 2008

Don't mess with grumpy pregnant women

Yesterday an incident really pissed me off. And since I have nothing else to share right now, you get to hear about it.

After work, I took my car to the tire place because the rear drivers side was quite low. Apparently other people had a similar idea because the place was slammed with business and the parking lot was nearly full. There was one spot open. But of course the person parked next to the driver's side had parked like an idiot. They had their big 'ol pimped out Escalade parked 3 feet away from the line on their driver's side and over the line on my side. So I park as best I can, and then slightly hit their car with my door as I attempt to squeeze me and my eight month pregnant belly out the door. Well it turns out the gal who apparently can't park was in the car and rolled down her window. She, like her bedazzled SUV, was similarly overdone.

"Did you leave a mark?" she sneered.

My small retort was "No, but you are over the line on my side and it makes it hard for a pregnant woman to get out of her car".

What I really wanted to say was "No, but if I had you would have deserved it for parking like a complete a$$hole in an obviously busy parking lot. It's difficult enough to get my eight month pregnant belly out of a car in normal circumstances with out bitches like you making things more difficult".

I really wish I had said the remark that was in my head. It would have been so much more satisfying.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

35 Weeks

Ummm, when did this happen. When did I become 35 weeks pregnant? That's like 8 months. 7/8ths of the way there. Just over a month away from actually meeting this small human that has taken up residence in my uterus. The whole thing is still just so amazing to me.

As I approach my due date, my dreams at night have become increasingly focused on my feelings of inadequacy as a parent. In these dreams I forget to feed her. Or I don't change her diapers. Or I forget her places. I definitely have not hit that wall I keep hearing of where I just must have this baby NOW! Perhaps it is because I've had such an easy pregnancy so far. But maybe it is because I realize how much easier to take care of while she is inside of me. I mean is anybody ever really ready for sleep deprivation, constant feedings and poopy diapers?

Regardless of whether I'm ready, at least the nursery is. Decorating has never been my forte. However with this room, I really had a vision for what I wanted, and overall I'm very happy with how it turned out.

I was also able to resolve the whole fender bender thing from a week ago. Luckily I am only out $600, and we were able to pay the other driver directly rather than getting my insurance involved. Although this eats into my savings efforts, I think that avoiding the potential increase in insurance premiums is well worth it. Jeramy jokingly told me that my anniversary present was a Hyaundai Sonata bumper. But despite that, I came home to find these instead.

The rest of my weekend was a little busier than I expected but good. The only real disappointment is that the Salmon fishing season appears to be a huge bust. We haven't caught anything so far, and the local fishing reports aren't at all optimistic. At least it's pretty out on the water.

Friday, August 22, 2008

10 Years


I really do have a hard time believing that Jeramy and I have been married for ten years. But then again, I hardly remember what life was like before we got together. We have been a couple nearly half our lives, and in essence we have grown up together. We have experienced nearly all of our “firsts” both good and bad together. Not being with him would be like functioning without my right arm…or leg…or maybe both. I hear all the time how people split up because they have grown apart or become different people. That concept seems so foreign to me. We are definitely different people than we were when we started dating; it would be impossible to go from sixteen to thirty without changing. Isn’t that why people always warn against marrying so young? But somehow, we have managed to embrace change together and become a stronger couple because of that.

If anything, I am happier now in marriage than I even pictured us being ten years ago. We are certainly a better couple now than we were then: better at letting the small things go, better at keeping a sense of humor, better at communicating, and even better at arguing (not that we argue more but I think our disagreements are more productive). That’s not to say we’re perfect. I could be a better listener. Jeramy could learn to pick up after himself. I could reign in my tendency to beat issues to death. Jeramy could realize that my mind reading abilities are lacking. I could be a little bit less lazy. Jeramy could spend less money. We could be more civil to each other while on the boat. There is just something about that confined space that gets us going every time!

I never thought we would wait quite so long to start a family, but I’m glad that we did. We had so much time to simply enjoy each other that I believe we have a stronger foundation as a couple that will help us through this transition. I can easily say that my pregnancy has been among the happiest times of my life, and I feel closer to him than ever. Admittedly it is intimidating at the same time. As Jeramy told me, we are awfully good as a pair…will we be able to sustain that with the addition of a third human being? I am sure it will not be easy. Hell, I found adopting Cujo so taxing that I nearly had a nervous breakdown from housebreaking alone. So yeah, I know this will be hard, and there are challenges to come that we cannot begin to anticipate. But I am also sure it will be the most rewarding of any experience we could have together.

In re-reading the above hours later, I find it interesting that nowhere have I mentioned the word love. We tell each other “I love you” or some variation every day, but I rarely go shouting it from the roof tops. I don’t really feel like I need too. I have never doubted Jeramy’s love for me. It is deep, steady and never wavering. I take it for granted constantly when I shouldn’t. And I count myself so lucky that I am even more in love with my husband today than I was when I said I do ten years ago.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

In the Very Beginning

Tomorrow Jeramy and I celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. In preparation for that, I thought it might be nice to share how we met and began dating. I've touched on parts of it briefly since the beginning of this blog, but I have never written in all down at once.

I always laughed at the "band camp" references in the movie American Pie because while we did not meet at band camp, we did initially meet thanks to band class almost 16 years ago. I was an oboe player, and Jeramy was a drummer in the grade below me. Because our high school band was small, we often pulled in middle school students for the marching band. So when Jeramy was in 8th grade and I was a Freshman, we ended up in the percussion section together with him on bass drum and me on cymbals as there are no oboes in marching band. I was a pretty typical oboe player: a know-it-all type A who felt herself far superior to any idiot percussionist. This was especially true with immature middle-schooler bass drum players like Jeramy. I vaguely recall being quite the bossy brat towards him, and I certainly did not think twice about him. Besides I was quite wrapped up in another boy from church during that time, and I would have probably collapsed with laughter had anybody told me that we'd wind up married six years later.

The next year when we were both in high school, we saw much more of each other. By then, Jeramy had fully entered what an outside observer my think of as his teenage rebellious phase. He wore a leather jacket with patches of anarchy symbols, had a wallet with a chain, dyed his hair black, and I think at one point he even shaved most of it off. He definitely gave off a rocker vibe and started getting together with some of my friends before jazz band in the morning to rock out. This definitely stood in contrast to my honor-student, good little church girl image. He was also Mormon, and according to the church I was attending at the time that was the equivelant to being Satan himself. During the course of this year, it became clear to me that things were not going to move forward with my crush from church. This was actually a blessing in disguise, because while I was heartbroken, I began thinking for myself rather than letting this boy and church feed opinions to me. I suddenly discovered that I disagreed with many of their so-called sins such as dancing, non-Christian music, those horrible Mormons, etc.

Then I enter my Junior year. I am completely over my crush from church. Jeramy is a Sophomore, and we wind up having health class together in addition to band. In that class, I sat next to him along with his friend and our ex-paperboy Brian (whose poor performance had caused my mom to call his house on a nearly daily basis). As we began to talk more, I discovered that despite our many differences I actually liked him, and that underneath that rebellious exterior was an incredibly sweet guy who placed high value on family and friends. What was even crazier was that I somehow, gradually, without really even knowing how or when it started developed a *gasp* crush on him. Being a typical female teenager, I began my passive assault of flirtations intended to appraise him of my feelings. I'd give him rides home from school even though it meant going a mile in the opposite direction of my home. I'd proclaim to be cold during pep band performances at football games so that he'd let me wear that same bad-ass leather jacket that I deplored just a year earlier. After a month or two of this, he finally asked me to go with him to see a Christmas lights display at a nearby amusement park. I agreed hoping it was a date even though the word was never mentioned, and swearing to everybody around me and especially my parents that this was most definitely not a date.

Jeramy picked me up that night in the '79 Camaro he had recently finished fixing up. I was pretty excited to get to ride in such a vehicle equipped with a large speaker box taking up the entire back seat and fuzzy dice hanging from the rear view mirror. I don't remember many of the specifics of that night except that we enjoyed the lights and then spent quite a bit of time cruising around in his car. He walked me to the door when he dropped me off, but I didn't get so much as even a hug to confirm that this was indeed a date.

Now I can't remember if it was the next day or the next weekend, but he ended up accompanying me in taking my friend Vickie to her youth symphony practice. Jeramy and I were in the front seat and she was in the backseat with her tuba. Now remember that accident I had when I was 16 from yesterday's fender bender post? Well this is exactly when it happened. Later he came with me when my car was towed home, and called Brian (yes the ex-paperboy) to come down and look at my car. Before I knew it, they were in the garage starting to fix it. (I like to joke that I started dating Jeramy in order to get my car fixed but then had to keep him around because I owned a junker that always needed repair). He stayed all day, and then I drove him home in my parents car late that night. Just before exiting he said those magic words every teenage girl is longing to hear: "Do you want to go out with me?". I said yes. And just like that we were a couple.

It was almost overwhelming to me how quickly we moved into couplehood. When we weren't at school, we were almost always together usually at my house. My mom quickly put Jeramy whether it was babysitting my brother when I wasn't home or fixing a car for her since we only owned beaters. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by the constant togetherness, and it took me a while to settle into it. But Jeramy seemed completely comfortable and within a month confidently declared that we would get married some day. Nobody could ever say he was commitment-phobic! Many of our friends were shocked by our "going-out" status since we seemed so very opposite on the surface. I clearly remember our band director getting quite the chuckle the first time she saw us holding hands.

Things just continued from there. Jeramy ended up graduating high school a year early with me in 1996, because he disliked school and had plenty of extra credits from his summer diesel mechanics class and jazz band. After we graduated he started working full-time switching from odd job to odd job every year or so. I started at the local community college. He moved out into his own apartment the next August, and since he could afford to support me while I continued my education we started talking marriage. One night in November, he took me to Snoqualmie Falls (a large waterfall about 45 minutes out of Seattle). When we were alone overlooking the falls, he kneeled down, took my hand and asked me to marry him, and when I said yes he put the prettiest engagement ring he could afford (which wasn't much) on my hand. The next summer, on August 22, 1998 we were married.

I know this is so cliche, but it really is hard to believe how quickly time has passed.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

For my 200th Post, I Bring You...

A 34 week belly pic

And cankles (I had taken my shoes off 1 hour before taking this photo)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Fender Bender

Admittedly, I am not the best driver. I'm easily distracted. My mind wanders. I get wrapped in my thoughts. And all of this is not in the least conducive to keeping my attention on the roadway. Honestly, it is pretty amazing that the only car accident I caused took place when I was 16 years old when I ran a red light and hit another car. Oops.

Unfortunately today my 14 year accident free streak (well accidents that were my fault) ended. I was driving through the mall parking lot and slowing to a stop. I looked down in my console for change, when instead of stopping on time I hit the car in front of me leaving a nice outline of my front license plate in her back bumper. The only damage to my car was to the license plate. Nobody was hurt, which isn't surprising as I couldn't have been going more than 5 miles an hour at the absolute most. Understandably she was pretty upset at my negligence at first, but calmed down pretty quickly. I'm sure that being obviously pregnant didn't mad can you get at 8 month pregnant woman who sorrowfully professes all responsibility? I asked her to call me with a quote of how much it would cost to fix, because if its not terribly expensive I'd rather pay than go through the insurance.

So after she left I called Jeramy and burst into tears. I was sure he would be furious...he's always getting after me about my poor driving. Luckily, he was very nice about it and just told me to calm down so that I could drive home safely. So I came home and cried some more. In the grand scheme of things it's a very minor accident, but I can't help overreacting. Maybe its pregnancy hormones, but more likely its my own tendency to blow such things out of proportion. I can't help but think that I've totally screwed up my insurance record, which will lead to higher rates, which makes it harder to pay all the bills, which leads us into bankruptcy. Okay, maybe our financial situation isn't nearly so precarious. But you get the gist of how my mind operates. Anyhow, I've been soothing my anxiety with Ben & Jerry's Half Baked, because ice cream with cookie dough and brownies can solve any problem.

There is mildly amusing note to all of this. The lady had a daughter with her about 4 years old or so. The little girl kept asking her mom why I did this to them. Her mom would answer that it was just an accident and those happen sometimes. That response just didn't sit well with her though especially given her mom's initial angry reaction, and she kept going through it with her mom question after question. If I hadn't been so upset, I'm sure I would have had a good chuckle as the child's innocent questioning and astonishment at my horribleness for hitting them was rather disarming.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Random Updates

I was impressed by the number of responses to the last post. Of course breastfeeding is always a subject that seems to get a rise out of people. Everybody had a lot of insight to offer, and in the end I know that I will do what makes the most sense for me and my baby. I just hate feeling like I'm not living up to somebody else's expectations even when that somebody I don't know like an author of a book. Really it's an issue I need to get over in general, given the impossibility of trying to meet any and every societal expectation.

Now for some random updates, as I lack a theme to tie this post together.

The glider arrived last week, which is the last item needed to complete the nursery. Unfortunately when Jeramy opened the box, he found this...
and this...
Needless to say, the glider is now on the UPS truck back to Target, and a new one should be here within the next week. Luckily we are not yet crunched for time.

Our first baby, Cujo, has been racking up the vet bills lately. "A bulldog equals a vet bill" stated the vet quite apathetically. We'd been hearing a popping noise for a few months, and x-rays confirmed that he has arthritis in his knee and some hip dysplasia. It is not really surprising given his age (nearly 7), breed and size. I just hate the realization that he is growing older. So now in addition to all his other meds, we have him on Glucosamine. Plus we have him on a diet, and the decrease in treats is certainly more difficult for us than him. We should be increasing exercise, but he is not as keen on that especially given the summer heat. Usually you can finding him lounging around the house these days:
In what seems to be a trend lately, our weekend was crammed with activities. The bulk of our time both days was spent in childbirth preparation classes with a friend's going away party (he's headed to Iraq) and a friend's baby shower thrown in for good measure. Overall, I would say that the classes were worthwhile, seeing as how Jeramy is not really the reading type and most of the books I've read were focuses on newborn care rather than labor itself. The videos were definitely eye openers, and it has been well over a decade since Jeramy and I sat in health class together watching the Miracle of Birth (or whatever it was called). My hubby seemed quite taken back by images of babies crowning and being pulled from mothers covered in white goo. I've assured him that he can hang out by my head during childbirth if he so chooses. Jeramy joked about taking advantage of the hospitals willingness to accommodate religious preferences by creating our own religious requirements and asking all individuals in the delivery room to wear pirate eye patches. Even during the more boring parts of class, he kept me laughing by whispering "pirate eye patches!".

We were exhausted by the time this all wrapped up last night and went to sleep at 6:30pm. It was just supposed to be a short nap to be followed by dinner. But the getting up never happened or at least not until 4:30am the next morning. After such a busy weekend, work almost seemed like a holiday.

Anyhow today marks 34 weeks. The idea that there may be only 6 (or less) weeks until Jillian is born is mind-boggling. I'll try to update with a new belly shot tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Breastfeeding Nazis

I'm almost finished with the book Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers, which I ordered after listening to the horror stories of others and fearfully realizing my complete cluelessness on the subject. I have always intended to breastfeed, because I feel it is ultimately better for my baby. At the same time, I completely understand why some women choose not to (or are physically unable to) and can even relate to their feelings. Honestly, the whole concept of breastfeeding does feel awkward to me and the idea of becoming a milk machine for the next several months is intimidating. However, I feel like I can put these qualms aside for the health of my child.

However instead of helping me feel reassured, this book has mostly resulted in feelings of guilt about breastfeeding...AND I DON'T EVEN HAVE A BABY TO BREASTFEED YET! I feel as if I don't fit into their idealized concept of what a breastfeeding mom should be, then I am simply a bad parent who has failed to prioritize properly. Here are some examples of the passive aggressive approach the author has taken on some key issues...

1. Breastfeeding after returning to work: They state that while it can be difficult it is entirely feasible. However right after stating that, they suggest alternatives to working/pumping including rethinking how important it really is for you to return to work and downplay pumping as the choice of last resort. So I come away from all of this feeling as if I'm just being selfish for not wanting to give up 50% of our income, lose earning power, and maintain some semblance of a life outside my home where I interact with adults. And here I was thinking I was in such a good situation work-wise since my employer maintains several mothers rooms equipped with high quality breast pumps and a complete willingness to allow time for pumping breaks.

2. Nighttime feedings: They really pushed co-sleeping. For me this would be difficult as we sleep on a waterbed (how 80's of us, I know) and it is already seriously crowded since the dog routinely joins us. I would rather have Jillian get used to sleeping in the crib from the beginning, and as she'll just be across the hall I have little fear about this. But this book made it sound like I'm going to be incredibly sleep deprived and an awful mother who denies her child's innate need to be close to me at all times.

3. How long to breastfeed: My initial goal would be to breastfeed for a year, but I'm very flexible with that since I honestly have no idea what to expect. I highly doubt that I will breastfeed beyond a year. The authors made me feel like this was an adequate goal, but spent the weaning chapter pointing out how societal expectations needlessly force mothers to stop breastfeeding early when they could do it for two or three years. While I have to hand it to mothers who can breastfeed for that long, I just don't think I have it in me, yet the message I get is that I'm just caving to society's pressure.

I'm not writing any of this to question people's decisions on this matter. I think that whether you decide to breastfeed and how you go about it is entirely a personal decision and there is no one-size fits all approach to this. But I just hated how this book's authors came across as breastfeeding nazi's who initially claim that even some breast milk is better than none, but constantly retreat from that statement by pushing their idealized concept of a breastfeeding mother. I did learn some useful information that should help me get started with breastfeeding. I just wish that it wasn't overshadowed by the guilt of falling short of their ideal in so many ways.

Monday, August 11, 2008

More nursery progress

Late last week the letters for Jillian's name arrived in the mail, and today we hung them up in the nursery. It took a little while to get them here, but I'm very happy with the result. They were by far the best value I could find on the internet at $7.95 per 8" letter including the ribbon. So if you are needing some letters I definitely recommend the Alphabet Boutique on ebay.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Pregnancy Pics

In almost ten years of marriage, Jeramy and I have never had professional pictures taken. Even at our wedding, my mother took the pictures (she used to be a photographer) so in actuality I can honestly say that we've never had professional pictures taken of the two of us unless you count high school dances. Initially I really wavered about whether to have pregnancy pictures taken, because honestly I don't feel the greatest about how I look right now given weight gain over the past few years. But as I thought about it more and started looking through pictures others had done, I decided to go for it. I hate to let weight hold me back from enjoying something and in the end doing so only becomes a counterproductive punishment for being fat.

So I found a reasonably priced photography studio whose work I liked. Specifically I wanted pictures that were intimate and beautiful without being cheesy. We had our appointment yesterday afternoon and the proofs were ready within an hour. Here they are.

I'm very happy with the results and will probably sign up for their annual photo club. I really regret not having more pictures of Jeramy and I to document the passage of time, and I'd hate to let that happen with our child(ren).


Quick update...

Cece raised the ever-important stretch mark question in the comments. I've got a ton of them on my sides and under my belly button. It's not pretty. I don't know if they airbrush them or its just the lighting, but somehow they've made them disappear. It's like magic. Now if only they could make mirrors that do the same thing!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

A Rant

Jeramy and I went to see The Dark Knight last night since we had some free movie theater tickets, and we really should be getting out of the house together while we still can. The movie was very good...except for the 2 teenage (or thereabout) girls sitting two rows behind us who giggled and chatted throughout the entire movie. I tried staring at them, but that didn't stop them. The boys they were with kept shushing them, but that didn't stop them. Jeramy tried shushing them, and that didn't work either. I thought about getting telling an employee at the theater about the situation, but I figured that whatever inept teenage employee I found would not have any more success in the situation than I did.

After the movie I gave a glare (what can I say, I'm passive aggressive). Jeramy shared with them a few choice words of what he thought of their behavior. I just can't understand how those girls could even comprehend their behavior as their least bit appropriate. Arrrggghhh!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Most Boring OB Patient in the World

Yup, that's me. And I'm more than happy to claim that title. I hardly know why I need to be going to see the doctor every two weeks except to give them something to bill me for. That and I guess that I don't really have the set-up to run urinalysis at home. So of course everything went fine today: weight up but not alarmingly, bp 110/66, measuring 33 weeks and heartbeat in the 140's. Plus Jillian has been quite active lately, so my anxiety levels have decreased somewhat. Now if only I could get her to quit kicking my bladder...I keep explaining how painful it is but I suspect she is only laughing at me from in there.

Monday, August 4, 2008

32 Weeks

I can hardly believe that today marks 32 weeks. I am four-fifths of the way through this pregnancy, and boy does it show:

This afternoon I went grocery shopping, which has become quite the chore at this stage of pregnancy. The store where I go is always very crowded, and you have to bag your own groceries. Despite this, I insist on shopping there because it saves me a ton on the bill. But as my feet are swelling up, I find my patience fading whenever I deal with aisle blockers.

Today there was the girl who took her sweet time choosing a bag of cherries. She grabbed one and weighed it. Too big. Grabbed another and weighed it. Still too big. Finally she decided the cherries were just too expensive and moved on. Meanwhile I stood waiting two minutes to grab a bag of cherries and run.

Then there were the two girls with toddlers in the baking section reading the back of a package. Instead of placing their carts to one side of the aisle, they took up the entire aisle. I'm not sure what was so interesting about the package, but they spent two or three minutes discussing it. I meanwhile stood there, staring at them, and waiting to move past. Finally one girl said sorry and moved the cart. I would have spoke up, but my tolerance was wearing so thin that I would have uttered something much ruder than a simple excuse me.

Then worst of all there was the old man blocking they Ben & Jerry's freezer with his cart. I stood there with my hands on my hips until he got the hint that this preggo wanted some ice cream. He was a quirky guy too. Later while walking to my car, I saw him jogging at a walking pace while pushing his cart.

When I got home, I was very glad to sit down with the dinner Jeramy had cooked me while he put everything away.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Jeramy's 30th Birthday

Jeramy's 30th birthday was Friday, and we celebrated Saturday night with a big bash. Apparently he thinks that he has hit a mid-life crisis. After all, he tells me, Pipefitters only live to be about 60 anyhow so thirty marks the mid-point. Plus within the course of 2 months he is turning thirty, celebrating his tenth wedding anniversary and becoming a dad. That last milestone, at least, will be life changing. He claims that this whole mid-life crisis can easily be overcome with the purchase of a welded-aluminum fishing boat. And when this argument gets him nowhere he tells me how the baby would be much safer on board such a vessel than what we currently own.

It was great to have our friends over last night for a BBQ. For some reason we have never had a big bash during the summertime before, so this was the first time that we took advantage of the backyard rather than cramming into the house. Jeramy was able to drown his mid-life crisis sorrows in a little alcohol, while I, in my pregnancy-enforced sobriety, tried to keep things moving smoothly and gave nursery tours. Cujo walked around wondering why so many strangers were delaying his bedtime and suckered guests into giving him pats and tummy rubs.

Jeramy's sis snapped this pic of him and I with our 30th birthday goblets. I used my "sexy bitch" cup last January for my 30th, while his brother's girlfriend presented Jeramy with the "pimp" goblet. I had offered to let him use the "sexy bitch" cup, but for some strange reason he declined.
On a different subject, isn't it funny how we turn into our parents despite our best intentions otherwise? Growing up, our house was a mess. My mom's mantra was that you should never own a house with a kitchen you could see from the front door. She was very good at keeping one room of the house (usually the living room) presentable, but if you should venture beyond its borders watch out. I, of course, vowed that my housekeeping would be much better. And while I never quite attained my Martha Stewart aspirations, my house was generally a degree or two cleaner than it had been growing up. There have been times when my house has been especially filthy with the last quarter of grad school and pregnancy topping the list.

More and more it has been difficult to muster up the energy to clean. So what is a 7-month pregnant girl to do? Well taking a cue from my parents, I threw a party. There is nothing more motivating than the fear of your friends realizing that you live like a pig to get you moving in the cleaning department. This was definitely a tactic used by my parents when we were kids. In fact, when my sister and I were teenagers, I think they almost hoped we'd throw a party when they left town because they knew we'd clean the house. For me, this tactic does work. Yesterday we spent the entire day cleaning with Jeramy in charge of the outdoors and me in charge of the indoors. It's amazing how much tougher cleaning is when your pregnant...the squatting, the bending, the standing on your feet for hours. But it was worth it, because now I can go into maintenance mode until Jillian is born.

Since I knew nursery tours would be in order, I managed (with Jeramy's help) to get the quilt hung above Jillian's bed. I really love how her room is coming together.