Friday, August 31, 2012


Happy Friday!

We're back!!! I can finally upload pictures, copy and paste, and most importantly...type away! I'm sure you can do all of those things on the iPad, but I'm starting to think I should probably take a class on how to use all of my iThings...they are smarter than me :-(

I have so many topics that I am excited to write on, now that our older-than-dirt computer has been revived...that's right! We didn't have to buy a new one! That was not in the budget this month, so praise God for super smart computer friends. Starting Monday, be sure and check the site for posts on:
  • spank, or not to spank. Discuss!
  • Going back to school, but I'm staying at home
  • Taking time to play with our children
  • Organization (is it biblical???)
  • Being like Jesus...taking time away to pray and be refreshed
  • How close is too close, when it comes to family?
  • We could do anything, but we choose to stay at home
  • Guys Night Out...they need it!
  • Creative fellowshipping
And, starting today, MMSM and Organizational Tips will continue! Isn't it funny how once you find your "thing" with God, it's amazing how down, sluggish, and uninspired you feel when you aren't doing it. Preparing to write and writing is my main way of connecting with Him and others, and when it isn't happening on a regular basis, I don't have my usual spunk. I pray that each of you has a "thing" that keeps you energized for the Lord. Oddly enough, my husband's is mountain-biking. He cranks his iPad up with his favorite praise music and hits the trail to experience the raw, unfiltered awesomeness of our God in nature. It's like he is a different person when he returns from a great ride. Whatever your way is to connect with our Savior, take time to do it :-)

My funny Friday story is prepared! Yesterday, my sweet boy was talking and giggling in his room when he awoke. I went to get him, and I noticed his jammies were all wet. And, there were tiny little white "crystals" everywhere. Strange! I transferred him to the changing table, and what did I find? My son had peed so much overnight (in a nighttime diaper, mind you) that his diaper actually popped, not leaked, popped. Ever seen the inside of a diaper? Tiny little pee-collecting crystals exploded from the diaper, and what was my son doing? Eating them! Aaaahhh! Needless to say, I stripped him down and thought that surely after a popping diaper, he had no pee left in his tiny body. I put him on the floor so I could clean up the diaper disaster, and he proceeded to toddle over (yes, we have a walker!) to the door and pee on the baby gate and carpet, while laughing. Lovely start to the day, but at least he was a happy boy. Had to share...this is the only place where fellow readers would understand :-)

Be blessed today, mommies! Take this verse as encouragement to meditate on for the weekend.

"Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls." 1 Peter 1:8-9

MMSM #40
We all want to feed our children healthy, well-balanced, and perfectly nourishing snacks. Let's be honest...rarely does this happen on a consistent daily basis, despite our best efforts! To give all moms a little help in this area, try Annie's products. No, it isn't perfectly fresh and straight from the garden, but their organic snacks and meals are easy for on-the-go, and you can typically find coupons and good deals on their products. I'm a fan, and I give them my mommy seal of approval.

Tip #28

Love this idea! Want to know how to keep all of those cleaning products away from your little ones? Try an over-the-door shoe pocket holder! Hang it on the garage door for easy access to supplies, but always out of reach for the tiny tots. I can't claim this idea (Pinterest!), but I do love it. Check it out:

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Mini-Devo...Hebrews 12:5-6

"...My daughter, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when He rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those He loves, and He punishes everyone He accepts as a daughter." Hebrews 12:5-6 (son changed to daughter)

Discipline is no joke. It's necessary, yet uncomfortable. It encourages growth, yet it is painful in the moment. We know our children will be better for it in the end, but deep down we so desperately wish they could just behave without having to endure the punishment. To me, it almost seems counterintuitive that we discipline because we love them so much. But that's just it. That's why we spank, give time-outs, take away toys, or express our disappointment. We adore our children so much that we couldn't bear the thought of raising them without the knowledge of right and wrong. 

Why then do we fuss and resist so much when the Father lovingly disciplines us? We are His daughters, bound to Him for eternity, and He is the author of right and wrong. There are several areas in my life right now where I am being "disciplined" in order to better serve Him. I don't like it, I wish we could just move on to a happy part of scripture during my quiet time, and I've even found myself asking to just change the subject so we don't have to go there. But time and time again, He leads me to pertinent scriptures, allows people in my life to say certain things to bring the subject(s) to the surface, and shows me that depending on anyone or anything else for these matters will get me nowhere. 

So, mommies, maybe it's time to remind ourselves that we are His children just like our sweet babies are our children. Just as we expect our babies to be receptive of discipline and the long-term benefits it provides, we must also look to our Father for our best interest. It's just so dang hard sometimes! Be blessed today :-)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Happy Friday!

Happy funny Friday!  I hope you have enjoyed making it through the week :-) We have had some major discipline challenges this week, but I am confident that the weekend will go much simply has to, or else this momma might lose it! Isn't it amazing that God faithfully teaches and prepares us for the many challenges of motherhood? I have to remember this sometimes. We have to believe that He will help us juggle all that we must do. After all, He was the One who ordained each of us to this calling of motherhood. That helps calm me on a really hard day. I hope it does you, as well. Be blessed, mommies! See you on the flip side of the weekend :-)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mini-Devo...Galatians 5:13, 26

"You, my sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge in the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love....let us not become conceited, provoking and envying one another." Galatians 5:13, 26

At first, these two verses are seemingly unrelated. But as I thought about them this morning, I felt they were very applicable to us as women and as mothers. God says it is sinful to be jealous. Again, jealousy is a sin. It is something that I personally struggle with, so I imagine others do as well. Because we are in Christ, as followers of Him, we have the ability to be free from our sinful nature. We have the strength of God in us to overcome things and behaviors we know to be wrong and not helpful in setting an example of the love of Jesus. So today, instead of focusing on all your neighbor or best friend has that you don't, let's focus instead on serving her. Love her. Ask her what she needs that only you are able to give to her. It's amazing how envy for one another can disappear when we simply choose to love, instead of choosing to focus on their blessings.

Be blessed today, mommies!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Funny Monday :-)

Still working on the computer situation...but here is a giggle for today. Be blessed, mommies :-)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Verses 33-34

"Do not be misled, bad company corrupts good character. Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning..." 1 Corinthians 15:33-34

What a verse to start the weekend, huh?! Continuing my study of 1 Corinthians 15, this verse really jumped out at me. At first, I was confused. Aren't we called to be a light to those who don't know Christ? Aren't we supposed to show how to live a Godly life, by example, to those who don't know Him? The answer is yes. As I thought about this verse, I felt like the Lord gave me clarity on its meaning. Going back to the first verse of this chapter, we are told to hold firm in our faith. We are not perfect, and there will be times and people, especially people, who make it difficult for us to hold to our faith. Instead of setting a good example for them, they set a bad example for us. Maybe it's drinking too much alcohol, maybe it's gossiping, maybe it's using bad language. If we are honest, there are all types of ways that we can be slightly influenced in a negative way, and before we know it, you couldn't tell who is the committed Christian, and the atheist. Ok, perhaps an extreme, but you know what I mean.

One specific way I have seen this play out is in the stay-at-home mom decision. I have seen mothers completely confident in the fact that God told their family this was the right decision, yet they allow others' comments, judgements, and worldly views start to shake their confidence. The enemy is tricky. Rarely does a spiritual downward spiral happen overnight. It is typically little digs that add up over time. We should choose wisely those we associate with IF we know their influence makes us struggle with our commitment to Christ. Then, we should pray for spiritual confidence to mature in us about that subject...our passion for staying at home, for example. Relying in the Lord, He will be faithful to show us the right time to bring those people back into our lives, where we can then be a light for Him without the worry of being pulled down.

Perhaps you got a completely different meaning from the verse, but I felt enlightened enough to share mine with you. I hope it was a blessing. As always, enjoy the gift of this weekend with your families. I will be back next week, with a new computer :-) Be blessed, mommies!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Target Clearance!

FYI ladies! Target is having a major clearance sale, perhaps because it's the week before school starts. Remember to look for those red and white clearance stickers and the tags sticking out from the shelves for hidden clearance items among regularly-priced items. I got three bags of groceries for $12.74 today! Just wanted to share!

Verses 1-5

"Now sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you have received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel, you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you...for what I received I passed on to you as of first importance; that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve." 1 Corinthians 15:1-5

This declaration from Paul, arguably the greatest apostle who has ever walked this earth, is a reminder to remain strong in your belief of the basic principle of the Christ-following life. Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God of the universe, died on the cross for our sins so that we may have eternal life in heaven. Jesus was then buried in a sealed tomb, and was gloriously raised from the dead three days later. His resurrected body was witnessed by the disciples and by many others in the days that followed. Believing these basic truths and accepting the love of Jesus Christ into your hearts guarantees that you will live for eternity with Him and all other believers. 

As mothers, we have the amazing opportunity to teach our children about the love of Christ and the basics of the gospel. We must be firm in our faith in order to effectively teach. Let that be the prayer for all of us today...that the Lord will give us spiritual confidence in our relationship with Him so that we may be a Godly example to our sweet babies. Be blessed today, mommies!

As always, if you have any questions or comments about my posts, I would love to talk! Just contact me through my profile :-)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Verse 58

Good morning! A pastor from church encouraged the congregation to meditate on 1 Corinthians 15 this week, so I plan to post a scripture each day from that chapter which I feel will help to encourage us as mommies, especially those who stay at home. I think I can handle this simple task on the iPad! Again, I can't figure out how to do pictures or post songs, so my other normal tips are on hold! Be blessed today by this scripture, mommies. And, like I often do, I put the scripture into terms for women. I don't think God will mind :-)

"Therefore, my dear sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." 1 Corinthians 15:58

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Happy Weekend!

In our traveling craziness, I neglected our funny Friday! Well, in light of my inability to efficiently use an iPad, our funny story is that our laptop (my blogging haven) is totally broken due to the terrible crash it experienced on the hotel room floor. Who might have caused this? Our terribly cute toddler. What does this mean for mommy? A terribly bad headache while talking to Geek Squad on the phone. Everything will cost hundreds of dollars, and since the laptop is older than our marriage, perhaps we will just get an attachable keyboard for the iPad and call it good.

Also, after two weeks on the road with nine states visited, I am fresh out of encouraging insight :-( Please forgive me, allow me the grace to mentally recover (though a wonderful trip, still tiring!), and I will be back up and running in a few days. Until then, be blessed with your husbands and your sweet babies. In the mean time, I plan to empty Caleb's college savings for a new computer. Kidding!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Mini-Devo...Isaiah 55:8-11

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." Isaiah 55:8-11

Isn't it so comforting to know that our ways are NOT God's ways?!? Our best-made plans on where to live, when to have children, or who to marry (praise Jesus that my many high school prayers went unanswered!) are no match for His glorious path to each of our lives. Often times, our plans do line up, and the divine peace that envelopes the choice can give us a confidence that we are doing exactly what God wants us to do. I love it when that happens!

I've also learned that at the end of the day, when one of our ideas doesn't work out, it helps to focus on the fact, and Word, that He has a better idea...a much better idea! God is always intentional, always deliberate, and always has our best interest in mind with His loving heart. Maybe that job didn't work out, perhaps He wants you to stay at home with your children. Maybe that move didn't happen...perhaps He has friends and ministry waiting to be developed elsewhere. Maybe the pregnancy test was negative, again. Perhaps it isn't quite the right time for that new little life to appear. At the end of the day, mommies, we must trust that His ways are the better ways, the ones that will be most beneficial for us, and the ways that fit just perfectly into His over-arching plan for eternity. Be blessed today!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

His Protection Over Us

"The Lord will protect her and preserve her life; He will bless her in the land and not surrender her to the desire of her foes." Psalm 41:2 (him changed to her)

This morning, while continuing our exploration of Illinois, I made a really dumb driving error and Caleb and I were hit from behind. We are both fine, but the rental car has seen better days, and I have spent the rest of the afternoon quite shaken :-(. I will spare you the details, but let's just say a 1-way street confused me...

I had a fantastic topic that I was really excited to write about, but this topic overwhelmed my thoughts this afternoon. Again, without going into detail, this whole incident could have been drastically worse, like potentially deadly. While I have been in several other minor accidents, and one major, this was the first involving my son. As mothers, we can all understand the incessant need to protect our children. But, how do we explain the nauseating guilt that comes when you have done something, unintentional, to put your child in harm's way? At that point, we can only look to the Father and the battle He constantly fights for us.

I believe that Satan attacks us on a daily basis. He would love nothing more than to cause us harm, watch us fall, and lead us away from our God-given responsibilities and love for the Lord. Did Satan set the whole traffic incident up today? I don't know. But, I do know that God turned something meant for bad, really bad, into a minor annoyance of the day. That is fulfillment of His word.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

I tried to show the love of Christ in my interaction with the three men in the other vehicle, when they truly did not want to be nice. I sincerely apologized and asked for forgiveness. Maybe they needed someone to be nice to them today. I asked God to give me patience with the officer assessing the
situation (he clearly had no where else to be today...) and prayed for grace and mercy. What do you know? He informed me that while it was my fault, he didn't want to make my day any worse, so I 
would not be receiving a ticket. I continued to pray to God for His protection, and mercy, throughout the day, and when I finally talked to my husband who I assumed would be rightfully irate, he was 
absolutely loving, compassionate, and grateful for our safety. Then, when I assumed we would have to pay a $500 deductible, the insurance agent said that because it was a business rental, everything was covered. 

I tell you all of this to encourage you. Mommies, God has got our backs! Read through the verse at the top again. He protects those who love him. And through us, He protects our children. It can make you crazy thinking about how much worse a situation could have been, but sometimes it is necessary to see how our all powerful God has thwarted the plans of the evil one. Yes, problems will come. Bad days will happen. Really awful things can happen to those who love Him. But He knows how to work all things out for His glory. Be sure to thank Him when He does. For you, and for your children. Be blessed today, mommies. And, watch out for 1-way streets in unfamiliar towns :-)

I apologize for the lack of MMSM and OT's. Our computer has crashed on this trip, and I'm using the iPad to blog. I'm not very good at typing or navigating this fancy thing, so the tips are on hiatus. Don't worry...they will be back soon!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Mini-Devo...Matthew 5:14-16

"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your father in heaven." Matthew 5:14-16

Welcome to another week! As I was reading the bible this morning, I came across this verse and felt clear direction from Him. As Christians, we are to be as obviously noticeable as a city on a hill.  
Continuing our trek across th country, it's hard not to notice large cities atop hills in the distance. You can't miss them. And we, as daughters of Christ, shouldn't be missed, either. We are not called to shrink back and stay away from those who don't share our beliefs, those who make us uncomfortable, or stay in a location or a life that feels good, safe, and unchanging. We are to be powerful examples of Christ...starting in our homes with our husband and our children, and then going out where God leads us to be shining examples to those who don't know him. Sometimes, often times, this will feel weird, unnatural, silly, or even embarrassing. But, God will give us the strength and courage to set the right examples for our family and for the world. We must simply ask, "God, where can I shine your light today, and who needs to see it?" Then, imagine a world with Godly children who grew up watching their mothers show Christ's love to a myriad of people every day. That is a life worth doing. Be blessed today, mommies, and enjoy the music video that I didn't get posted this weekend. Lots of driving and a cold interrupted my postings :-)

"10,000 Reasons" by Matt Redman

Friday, August 3, 2012

Lessons from the Road, part 2

Happy Friday! When I was teaching, Fridays were the best day of the week, hands down. I think that has been ingrained into my personality, and I wake up with a certain spunk on Friday morning regardless of what the weekend may hold. Ours may hold another road trip to Illinois, or we may go home. Not sure yet. Regardless, I thought I would share my top ten reasons for hotel living with a toddler for a Funny Friday post. No, this isn't biblical. But, it sure is true! Hotel living may be making a comeback...just wait and see!

Top 10 Reasons why Hotel Living is best for a toddler, and a family...
  1. Everything is nailed down. I'm pretty sure this is so nothing can be stolen and to prevent lawsuits due to toppling furniture, but I certainly appreciate it for my climber.
  2. It is a small space. If I can't find my son, he is either under the desk or attempting to climb under the bed, which is nearly impossible.
  3. There are no knick-knacks for eating, throwing, crushing, or hiding.
  4. Honestly, the bathroom and bathtub are probably cleaner than mine.
  5. When traveling, you have a limited amount of space to transport items. This, in turn, leads to less items you must keep track of in a hotel room. Lost a pair of shoes? I promise you they are somewhere in that room.
  6. They feed us a complimentary hot breakfast, there is a high chair in the dining room, and hot coffee is available in the lobby 24/7. It's like a mini-Starbucks right downstairs...for free!
  7. Because we only have twenty TV channels due to our strict budget, it is an absolute luxury to watch HGTV and the Food Network.
  8. This should be #1, but someone comes in every day to take out trash, clean our bathroom, change our sheets, vacuum, replace towels, and straighten up our junk. L-O-V-E that.
  9. Because someone else is cleaning our space, my responsibilities are very few. This way, my husband and I can lay in bed and eat pizza with our son instead of them watching me run around the house and clean up another mess. The family time is awesome!
  10. Because we are in a hotel room, I can't cook. So sad! Restaurants it is!
I know that I will eventually tire of hotel living, but right now, it's pretty dang sweet! I will update next week on our ongoing adventure. Until then, we're off to the pool. Oh yes...reason #11 why hotels are pretty fantastic. Be blessed, mommies!

MMSM #39
When traveling by car (nearly impossible to do this by plane), make room for all the baby food, diapers, and wipes that you will need. You probably worked hard to get those items for a good price back home, so don't blow your budget on full-priced items while vacationing. Simply, pack a bag with more than enough diapers, wipes, and non-perishable baby food and snacks. Since we've put this into practice, we've only had to buy milk and a few other things at the store while away from home. Happy traveling!

Tip #27

When staying in a hotel room, things can get messy and cluttered very quickly! I've implemented some rules when we travel together as a family. Each of us has a "spot" for our suitcases. Each of us has a "spot" for toiletries. We live out of our bags, since I think it takes too long to unpack and re-pack. We have a communal pile for dirty laundry, and the desk holds our electronics and chargers. Food stuff goes by the fridge, and all of Caleb's things are stored in his pack 'n' play when he isn't sleeping in it. I straighten up and return things to our respective piles before housekeeping comes each day, and then we call come back to a clean and put-together room at the end of the day. Give it a try! It's working for us!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Mini-Devo...Psalm 37:23-24

"If the Lord delights in a woman's way, He makes her steps firm; though she stumbles, she will not fall, for the Lord upholds her with His hand." Psalm 37:23-24 (man changed to woman)

It pays off to seek the Lord for direction. This verse, and many others, offer the promise of His constant support if we are following His plans for our lives. We're human, though, and we're going to stumble. We're going to mess up in our lives, with our husbands, and with our children. But, He is promising to uphold you...even through the really messy days. Be blessed today, mommies!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Lessons from the Road, part 1

"The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for He founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters."
Psalm 24:1-2

A cross-country road trip with a toddler (and I mean 24 hours of driving in two days) probably doesn't sound like anybody's idea of fun. But, despite our reservations, we did it! I've mentioned in several posts that my husband travels a LOT with his work...lately, every week Monday through Friday. Because I stay home with our son, we've decided to make the trips with him more often. We need family time, and this is the only way we can get it! This week, we're in Virginia. Happily, we lived here for a short time a few years ago, so the thought of spending great catch-up time with our dear friends, and introducing them to our son, excited me enough to agree to this drive.

When it was all said and done, it actually wasn't that bad. Bring enough toys, snacks (yes, feel free to eat your children's snacks to keep you awake at night!), things that make noise, and a never-ending supply of Baby Einstein's on the iPad, and it's actually quite manageable, even enjoyable :-)

On one of my driving stints, I fervently prayed to God to let this go smoothly, safely, and quickly. Oh, so quickly! During the quiet while both the hubby and son were sleeping, I felt like the Lord encouraged me to simply enjoy what I saw, enjoy where I was, enjoy who I was with, and enjoy His creation of my life and the world around me. I don't mean for this to sound like we were the happiest family on the block trotting across the country, but I actually had a change in my spirit after that encounter! I have prayed so long for my husband's job responsibilities to relax enough to allow him to be with us. Here he was sitting right next to me! His company allowed us to rent a car, and they covered gas and hotels, so we simply had to stay awake and drive. What a blessing! My son was happy and content (except for the whole afternoon/evening when he couldn't, ahem, get things moving, shall we say??? What is it with kids refusing to poo-poo on a trip! Poor guy...). Ultimately, I actually tried to focus on the joys of His creation around me, rather than obsessively watching the arrival time on the GPS.

The truth? Patience is not my strongest spiritual gift, to say the least :-) Driving mile after mile on I-70 across the country is a patience-building exercise. But truly, when I watched the dried up cornfields pass and prayed for the people it affected, when I focused on the gorgeous thunderstorm clouds and rainbows, watched the baby cows frolicking (do cows frolic?) around the fields, and then focused on gratefulness as I remembered the sweet, sweet life we had in Virginia for two years, the 24 hours of driving time actually felt like a fantastic mini-vaca all alone with my two favorite boys, and my God.

I don't mean to sound like a cheese ball here, but I really learned a lot this last weekend! I simply wanted to share it with you. As the verse above says, He created all of it. Even the long, drawn out stretches of land in the Plains. Everything He has done is beautiful in it's own way. Perhaps if we all started trying to focus on living in the moment and not what the GPS destination is, we could enjoy what He has done so much more. Perhaps if we weren't constantly waiting for our children to outgrow "this phase" (oh...the biting...), we could appreciate the incredible phase that they're in, for such a short time. Maybe if we stop running around always trying to get the next thing done, we could take a deep breath of Him into our lives, and feel His love. 

Just some thoughts after a great time with the Lord this weekend. Be blessed as mommies and managers of your families. These are sweet days, in the car and on the road, or not. Enjoy what He has made!

"This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."
Psalm 118:24

MMSM #38
Just say NO! After completing a cross-country trip with my husband and son, I've learned that fast food kids meals are a complete waste of money. The portions are ridiculously small, typically unhealthy, and the "meal" is full of mostly packaging and a toy that will break in two hours. I've found that ordering a la carte is a much better option. For example, you can get a yogurt parfait and a grilled chicken breast at McD's for around $2. You can get four nuggets and a side salad for about $2 at Wendy's. You have to ask, as some extra items aren't listed. The worst they can say is no! Be creative when you have to do fast food, and see if you can't design a healthier, and cheaper, meal for your kiddo!

Tip #26

Over the next few days, I will be offering some travel tips that have made our cross-country trip much easier! Today's tip? If you have to stay in a hotel or with relatives on the way to your final destination, simply pack an overnight bag. That way, you don't have to drag everyone's suitcase in with you. Place it closest to the back door of the car, and it's ready to grab when you arrive at 3am! I used one bag for the three of us with jammies, next day clothes, and bathroom necessities. I also brought in the diaper bag and pack 'n' play. Loading back up was much easier, and we were well on our way to the next destination!