Much Ado About Nothing (Hair Poll!)

February 18th, 2015

I’m getting close to needing another hair appointment.

My last one was the day before Drew was born and that was a whopping 10 weeks ago today.  10 weeks is how long I go between appointments, so I’m itching for a salon pick-me-up right about now.

My dark roots are growing in which I think makes my hair look GREASY no matter how clean it is.  Too bad I can’t pull off that “roots on purpose” look that so many blondes get away with.  But alas, it just doesn’t work for me.

You’ve heard me sing the praises of my stylist so I know she’ll do a fabulous job with whatever I decide, but right now I’m completely torn about what direction to head with my hair!

I’m ready for a change.  I’ve had this blonde angled bob for a really long time.  It’s been easy to style and I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on it, so I’m almost hesitant to mix things up, but I love to change up my hair so I’m in a pickle!

As I said in the title…this is much ado about NOTHING.

Total first world concern.

I’ve been asking Andy and Ellen what they think I should do next.  Andy said he missed my long hair the other day when he was playing with Grace’s long hair (collective awwwww for that sweet dad moment!) and Ellen’s vote is that I keep the angled bob, but go darker…back to my natural color (sans gray!).

But I don’t know!!!

Ellen has recently allowed me to have a hand in planning her wedding (yipee!) so we’re narrowing in on a September date.  If I keep growing my hair, I could have some real length by then which would be fun for wedding hairstyles.  Plus, I have to admit it would be nice to put my hair up in a ponytail or messy bun this summer.  Right now I can’t put it up at all (well, without having a weird stubby ponytail and lots of short pieces falling out at the base of my neck) and that can be a bummer.

The upside is that styling this cut straight or curly is super easy when it’s clean and when it’s a couple days dirty, so I don’t usually need to resort to a ponytail.

Dilemmas dilemmas.

I thought it might be fun to take a look at my hair through the years to get some votes from any of you who might care to weigh in!  I’ve pretty much had it all…long, short, brown, blonde, red, bangs, no bangs, you name it!

For about 12 hours I even had blackish hair in high school when a dye job went bad.

Oh, and I can’t forget about the spray-on black hair I had for my Kat VonDee Halloween costume back in 2009!

kat von dee collage

Isn’t that quite a look?! LOL

Ok, so I’m going to show the history of my hair for about the past decade (in random order).  I’ll include numbers on each collage and if you’re willing to cast a vote for which direction I should head, that would be awesome!  At the bottom, I’ll post a couple Pinterest pictures of looks I like and I’ll number those options too.

1. Med-long/no bangs natural color with some highlights

no bangs collage

2. Long brown with minimal blonde highlights and side swept bangs

long brown with highlights collage

3. Long very blonde with side swept bangs

long blonde collage

4. Long red with side swept bangs or dark auburn with side swept bangs

red and auburn collage

5. Short dark brown with side swept bangs

short dark collage

6. Long dark brown with side swept bangs

long brown collage

7. Short blonde with side swept bangs

short blonde collage

8. Long dark brown with caramel blonde baylage

long brown baylage
 9. Brown angled bob (keeping my current longish angled bob, just going dark again)

lob brown
10. Ombre angled bob

ombre lob 1
 

Ok, so I know these pictures span a LOT of years and numbers on the scale for me!  Try not to be swayed by how young or thin I may look…ha!

Just focus on the hair, people.

Is it ridiculous that I’m polling the internet?!

It’s so me though.

Isn’t it? ;)

Ok, cast your vote!!

surveys

Sorry mobile users! The polling tool might not work on your device, but don’t let that stop you! I’d love for you to leave a comment with your pick! :)


Lash Factory 3D Fiber Lash Review

February 13th, 2015

From time to time a company will contact me to see if I’m interested in checking out one of their products.  It’s definitely a fun part of blogging!  I never say yes to items that I wouldn’t normally consider using.  This is just not that kind of blog and I’d feel like a phony reviewing that kind of item for all of you who know me.

When the Lash Factory emailed me about trying their 3D fiber lashes I was like, ” HECK YEAH!”

Historically I haven’t had a problem with my eyelashes.  They weren’t very long, but weren’t short and sparse either.  They’ve always had a decent natural curl to them and when I find a mascara that works well for me, I’m usually pretty content with my natural lashes.

However…

After having 3 kids, my hormones must be pretty different.  I’ve noticed over the past year or so that my lashes are shorter and more sparse than they ever used to be.

I was wondering if it was a matter of mascara, but I’ve tried a variety of great mascaras and you can just only do so much with what you’ve got.

All that being said, I was very excited about having an opportunity to check out a product that might beef up my puny lashes!

Although it’s outside of my comfort zone, I thought it might be fun to do a little video of my first impressions of the Lash Factory 300x 3D Fiber Lashes.

300x 3D Fiber Lashes
I’m no YouTube Beauty Vlogging sensation or anything, but here’s an 8 minute clip of me trying these fibers for the first time.  No throwing tomatoes!!

 

Since you probably couldn’t see a whole lot of detail in the video, here are some photos…

both eye lash comparison

both eye lash comparison pic

The left eyelashes might look a little “spidery” but that’s because I made the mistake of applying my normal mascara to the fibers after I finished applying them.  The result is MUCH BETTER without doing that, so learn from my mistake :)

The two pics below are of my other eye with the fibers applied, but no additional mascara added.  Much smoother!

Aren’t they awesome??

extreme lash closeup both eye view

extreme lash closeup 2

 

Right now the Lash Factory is having a sale on this item.  It normally retails for $29.99 but right now you can grab it for $23.99 which I think is a great deal!

I was skeptical before trying these fibers, but I’ve gotta say I really love them.  I’m gonna have a hard time not using them every day!

 

 

The Lash Factory was kind enough to provide me with their 300x 3D Fiber Lashes at no charge.  I was not compensated in any other way for this post and all opinions stated are my own.

 


Bulletproof

February 11th, 2015

For whatever reason, I cannot seem to get myself to sit down and type out a blog post lately.  I have the best intentions, but between wrangling the kiddos, making lots of Whole30 food, getting a shower once in a while, and trying to keep the house in order I just haven’t been making it happen.

And I miss you guys!

I usually spend a lot of my words transitioning from topic to topic when I blog and that can get tiring for me and for you, so today I’m gonna go with bullets.

Little snippets about what’s happening these days…

*Our Whole30 journey is going surprisingly well!  Many people experience discomfort (headaches, bloating, major mood swings) in their first weeks, but somehow we’ve avoided that!  I’m not sure we are exactly to the “tiger blood” phase, but I for one feel incredible!  I’m falling asleep quickly at night and sleeping hard.  Andy has often joked in the past that I sleep so hard the bed hurts!  That is totally the case right now.  I hit my pillow, fall asleep fast, and am completely unconscious till Drew wakes up in the morning!  Praise Jesus for that!

*Drew is sleeping through the night consistently!!!!  We’re talking 11-7 just about every night.  I couldn’t be more grateful. Lack of sleep is my kryponite and it seems like the sleepless newborn phase was shorter with Drew than it had been with either Grace or Avery.  I’ll take it!

*Winter is in full effect here in Michigan.  Snow everywhere.  Freezing temps.  Lots of time spent inside.  Or having tantrums about long sleeves, pants, coats, and mittens.  That would be Grace.  Although I can’t fault her too much, I’m a bundling up hater too!  Unless I’m skiing or something you’ll never see me in any type of hat or ear muffs.  I bought a couple pairs of gloves this year and I pretty much never wear those either.  At least I’ve graduated from wearing a fleece jacket or puffer vest only to wearing the nice coat Andy bought me for Christmas!  I’m really growing up! Ha.

*Valentine’s Day is this weekend and unlike last year, I haven’t pulled out or made any decorations.  This actually bums me out.  I know how much the girls would love to see everything looking festive.  Hmmm….maybe tomorrow after school we’ll bring out the V-day stuff.

*I may have mentioned in a previous post, but my sister has turned me into a bit of a beauty junkie!  It started innocently enough with suggesting I follow @youngwildandpolished on Instagram because she posted a ton of incredible manicures.  Then I tiptoed into watching YWP’s YouTube channel, and the rest is history!  One thing led to another and I found myself watching all kinds of YouTube makeup and skincare videos while I was up all hours of the night nursing Drew.  Makeup has always been fun for me.  I remember my friend Karen and I having sleep overs in my parent’s RV and playing with makeup and nail polish till the wee hours of the night.  In highschool she and I were all about Revlon’s Sandalwood Beige lipstick.  The perfect 90’s tawny brown :)  As I’ve been watching videos I’ve been making a list of the things I want to try out.  Ellen even has me couponing at CVS to get good deals on things!  My sweet Andy saw a high-end eyeshadow palette in my Amazon wish list and surprised me with it last week.  Isn’t he a doll?!

*I’m cooking up a storm for Whole30 but feel bad bombarding you guys with all those “recipes” since I feel like everyone and her sister is doing Whole30 right now.  Is there any interest in me posting those meals here on the blog?  I have a dedicated Instagram account (@wholedailyrebecca) were I’m posting just about every meal I make, so I hesitate to post things here too.  But maybe I’m just being a weirdo!  I know I love to read any and all blogs I come across that talk about the Whole30 plan, so maybe it wouldn’t be too annoying…

*One of my Whole30 favorites is bulletproof coffee!!  I was pretty hooked on my hazlenut creamer but I think I’ve found something MUCH healthier that I enjoy just as much!  It’s basically black coffee blended with coconut milk, ghee, and cinnamon.  SO rich and delicious.  I think I’ll do a blog post about that soon :)

*As much as my darling kiddos can drive me up a wall these days (3 under 5 is really something!) they are each so incredibly precious.  In between moments of sheer chaos, I’ll sit and look at all of them and feel overwhelmed with gratitude.  I can’t believe they are all mine and that they are so incredible.  I’ve been trying to capture more photos of them so that I can look back and remember these precious days.  I really need to pull out my big camera to get some really good shots, but here are some recent iPhone pics…

Photo Feb 08, 8 42 02 AM

 Not wanting me to get a standing up picture before church on Sunday. LOL

Wearing tights of her own free will!

Photo Feb 09, 10 40 45 AM

The cutest pig tails ever :)

Photo Feb 08, 8 45 28 AM

Church clothes :)

Photo Feb 07, 12 10 22 PM

All tuckered out.  And so snazzy!

My brown eyed girl :)

Photo Feb 06, 9 59 49 AM

Morning jammie cuddles.

Playing a game on my old iPhone.  Don’t judge! Lol

The “first time” he fell asleep on her.  She was SO EXCITED!

Photo Jan 29, 6 21 06 PM

Sweet boy :)

Poor only boy with two sisters. LOL

I love how Avery is looking adoringly at her cool big sis :)


Hopping on the Whole30 Bandwagon

February 5th, 2015

Andy and I have been joking that 95% of posts on social media right now are about Essential Oils or Whole30.

We suspect that if you’re doing both, you probably have rainbows shooting out your rear end! LOL

But seriously, I know that our country as a whole is more mindful about health and wellness than ever before, so it only makes sense that holistic healing methods are taking the world by storm.

I’m the kind of person who very easily becomes obsessed with stuff like this which is why I’ve been hesitant to dip my toe into these waters.

Very hesitant.

I’ve posted about food again and again and again and again, so if you’ve followed me for a while you know I’m on a quest to see what ultimately works for me and my family.  Along this journey I’ve experimented with being Vegetarian, Vegan, Paleo, and at times I’ve thrown in the towel and eaten garbage.

Not real garbage, but you get my drift.

My Recipe Index is even a history of the twists and turns my eating has taken over the past several years. Lol

What ends up happening is that I get so obsessed with all the “rules” that I create an idol in my heart which takes my focus off God – or – I start feeling so restricted that I throw in the towel and eat like crap just to rebel.

Neither one of these is good for my overall health and well being.

I want to have my heart and mind focused on Christ while also taking care of my physical body so that I have the health and energy to serve God and my family well.

That’s why I’m doing Whole30.

doing-the-w30-IG
 

After Drew was born I went into survival mode.  It was all kinds of “Don’t worry about what you eat, just get through each day!”

Then it became, “Well, you ARE breastfeeding so go ahead and soothe yourself with ice cream and junk food every night!”

All of that has left me feeling overweight and overwhelmed by my poor choices.

Andy started the plan before me since he’s working to lose “holiday weight” before his upcoming Navy physical and he’s had really great results in just the first week.

I gave myself until Monday to get started because I wanted to eat up some of the non-compliant foods we had in the house.  Let me say they weren’t near as enjoyable as my mind always thinks they will be.  My nightly bowls of ice cream have become so habitual that they don’t even feel like a treat anymore.

It was definitely time for a change!

While most people feel optimistic on day one, I felt total anxiety.  I wanted to quit after lunch and the idea of 30 days eating like this felt like the end of the world.

After a nap and a good dinner I felt slightly more hopeful, but still doubted that I’d be able to see this through till the end.

Drew had a rough night getting to sleep and as a result, I woke up late the next morning.  Normally that wouldn’t be a problem, but I co-lead a Bible study at church on Tuesdays, so I had to get my booty in gear!

This would generally mean I’d down a cup of sugary creamed coffee and grab a high carb snack as I rushed out the door, but thankfully I was prepared and had some veggie egg “muffins” in the fridge so I ate two of those and grabbed a black coffee at church.

After Bible study I came home and made the girls and myself lunch and felt even better.

There really is something to feeding out bodies nourishing foods rather than subsisting on things we know aren’t good for us.

Of course I still get hit with cravings and urges to eat foods that are not compliant with the Whole30 plan, but I’m not dreading the next month the way I thought I would.  It’s even been kind of fun to plan and prepare meals that follow the “rules” of the program.

Here are some of the things I’ve made and enjoyed so far:

Homemade mayonnaise

Compliant tuna salad in butter lettuce wraps (with mayo above – wild tuna no additives from Costco)

Roasted potatoes and brussels sprouts with pre-cooked compliant roast beef from Costco and this incredible chimichurri

Crockpot roast beef with onions, carrots, and potatoes

Sauteed broccoli slaw with onions and Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning topped with fried eggs

Giant salad with tons of fresh veggies and compliant smoked pulled pork from Costco, topped with a Wholly Guacamole cup and Trader Joe’s salsa verde

Italian chicken fingers with steamed asparagus and broiled potatoes

Shrimp Scampi with Zoodles

and a bunch of other random “meals” we made up with meat, eggs, and veggies.

I’ve got a Whole30 Pinterest board going to provide some inspiration and variety as we continue on this journey and there are a bunch of Instagrammers who have great Whole30 feeds (@teamwhole, @wholesisters, @whole30recipes)

Have you done Whole30?  If so, what did you think??


Netflix Is My Sister-Wife

January 31st, 2015

Since Drew came on the scene things around here have been a little less predictable.

How much sleep I’m going to get, when I’ll get to take a shower, how I’ll have to get creative to make dinner…

oh yeah, and HOW MUCH SLEEP I’M GOING TO GET.

Mostly that.

As we all know, newborn babies eat around the clock.  They also tend to have their days and nights mixed up, at least initially.

This makes for one tired mama.

Add to that the fact I get pretty antsy when I don’t know how things are going to play out (hashtag control freak) and you have one cranky mama.

I do that whole “If he falls asleep now I’ll get X hours of sleep” game.  That game has no winners.  I just end up a grumpy mess.

As much as I think God has bigger fish to fry than worrying about my sleep issues, I do believe He cares deeply for me.  I also believe the things I worry about matter to Him.  Just like the things my kids worry about matter to me.

This phase of life has been deepening my faith in cool ways and I’m thankful for that :)

BUT, when I’ve been up much of the night feeding and comforting Drew and he finally falls into a deep sleep in the wee hours of the morning, I just want to get some sleep too.

And then two sweet little rosy-cheeked brown haired girls come to my bedside saying, “Good morning, mama!” and I’m supposed to be awake.

Even though it’s 7am and I’ve only slept a couple hours.

It’s at this point I’d love to ring a bell and have a wonderful nanny whisk the children away to a hot breakfast while I get back to bed.

No such luck!

I don’t agree at all with a polygamist lifestyle, but part of me thinks having a sister-wife around might not be so bad! LOL

She and I could take turns watching the kids while the other one sleeps!

Or SOLO GROCERY SHOPPING!

Remind me why I don’t believe in polygamy again?

Oh right!  That whole “sharing a husband” thing.

Ok, ok.  Enough kidding around.

Lately my morning solution has been to let the girls watch a little Netflix while I doze just a little longer with Drew.

Don’t judge.

A mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do, and for now it’s this.

I’m glad I don’t have to worry about them switching channels to anything I don’t want them to watch.  And unlike the Sprout channel, there are no commercials on Netflix so they won’t be bombarded with marketing.

They know the shows I approve of and they stick to those.

Both of my girls love animals and this month’s Netflix Stream Team Theme is four-legged friends.

Netflix has launched a new series based on a beloved character from Shrek: Puss in Boots.

Adventures of Puss in Boots

 

They’ve released 5 episodes so far and all of the reviews look great.  Targeted age is 11-12, so if you have kids around that age, or you’re a kid at heart, you should check it out!  Even though I’m not an animal person, I was a total sucker for his sweet manipulative face in Shrek 2.  I mean come on!

Real life puss in boots

Since that series is a little grown up for my little ones, I’ll share two of their favorites animal shows on Netflix :)

One of the very first shows Grace ever enjoyed watching was Kipper.  It’s a sweet British cartoon about a dog named Kipper and his animal friends.  I loved the innocent content and irresistible British accents and Grace loved the physical comedy and cute animal aspect.  If you have a little one who likes animals (especially puppies) this show is really great.

kipper the dog

Lately Grace and Avery both love watching Clifford.  Grace’s love for puppies runs deep!  But only cartoon and stuffed animal puppies.  She’s totally freaked out by the real deal.

clifford

Fun fact – If I’d have been a boy like my parent’s thought (and the 1980 ultrasound indicated) my name was going to be Clifford James.  After a soap opera character (Cliff on All My Children) and my Grandpa and Uncle (James).  Thank God I was a girl!  I can only ever think of the big red dog when I hear Clifford.

So, as much as I should drag my tired booty outta bed when they come calling in the morning, I feel better knowing they’re at least watching sweet and innocent shows like Kipper and Clifford :)

Now that Drew is sleeping longer stretches at night (over 7 hours last night!) I’m feeling hopeful that I’ll start waking up more ready to face the day and we’ll save our shows for the afternoon like we usually do (hello pre-dinner witching hour!).

Until that all levels out, I’m glad I have Netflix as my sister-wife! LOL

StreamTeamBadge

Disclosure: I am a member of the Netflix Stream Team and will be sharing monthly tips and stories about how my family uses Netflix on a regular basis. As a member of the Stream Team I was provided with welcome kit including a voucher to apply towards my Netflix account. I was not otherwise compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.


Things I’m Loving Lately

January 22nd, 2015

Finally!!!

I’m getting around to posting about some of my recent favorites.  All the stars have aligned and all three of my children are simultaneously napping!!!

Praise the Lord!

Ok, for the good stuff…

AMAZON PRIME

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 3.19.12 PM

We’ve had Amazon Prime for over two years now and I can’t remember life without it!  We are talking FREE 2-DAY SHIPPING ON THOUSANDS OF ITEMS.

I fell in love with the hand creme I’m about to mention, but it can be difficult to find so I checked Amazon and sure enough it was there and qualified for Prime shipping!

Two days later I’m sitting here with soft, smooth banana scented hands.  The UPS man has become my favorite person.

Not really, but I’m always very happy to see him!

We took advantage of a discounted membership price when Andy started med school a couple years ago, but now that I’m totally hooked on this service I’d gladly pay the $99/year fee.

Amazon Prime features include the following:

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 3.23.48 PM
Besides the hand cream, I’ll give you another example of the awesomeness that is Amazon Prime…we fell in love with these Mama Chia fruit pouches at Costco.  They are tasty, nutritious, and a HUGE hit with both of my girls.

As often happens, Costco stopped carrying them.

Womp womp womp.

I checked Amazon and they had boxes of them at a fair price!  They qualified for Prime shipping and I was even able to subscribe to have them sent to me on a monthly basis and that saved even more money.

If you like to order stuff online but hate paying shipping, check this out! I figure you only have to order about 10-12 times to make it well worth the annual fee!  That doesn’t even take into consideration all of the other membership benefits!

Amazon has no idea who I am, so this is not a paid advertisement.  I just LOVE this service.

BURT’S BEES BEESWAX & BANANA HAND CREME

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 3.29.32 PM
I have been seriously battling dry skin this winter.

Nothing I seem to do is helping my problem and I feel like I might go crazy from being dry and itchy all day long!

I have various small tubes of hand lotion laying around the house.  Most of them are from gifts or free samples and they range in scents and supposed benefits.

None of them have been doing anything for me.

Until!

I was rooting around my bathroom stuff and I came across an old jar of this Burt’s Bees Banana Hand Creme.  The jar was well used, but still had some cream left so I decided to give it a try.

I will say it goes on very thick and a little greasy so you don’t want to put it on just any old time.  This cream would be great before bed or watching tv so you have time for it to soak into your skin and lose it’s greasiness.

But THIS STUFF WORKS.  My hands were shockingly soft, silky and smooth once the cream absorbed.  No more flaking, itching or dryness.  It was miraculous considering how futile all of my hand lotioning efforts have been so far!

I’m not a big fan of banana scent or flavor, but I find this lotion to be very pleasant.

If you have dry skin, check it out!

MOBILE CHECK DEPOSITS

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 3.36.17 PM
We bank with Charterone and have really been pleased with their service. Our local branches are staffed with the friendliest people!  So much so that my girls LOVE going to the bank to see our favorite tellers.

And get suckers.

The suckers are probably the real reason they love the bank!

Now that I’m juggling 3 kiddos and it’s winter in Michigan, going to the bank is the last thing I feel like doing.  Even going out of my normal route to stop at the drive thru seems like a pain for the most part.

Enter mobile deposit.

I have a Charterone app on my iphone and once I log into my account I can easily enter info about my deposit, photograph the front and back of the checks I’m depositing and BAM!  The deposit is entered and the money is available by the next business day.

I can’t tell you how nice it is to deposit checks this way from the comfort of my own home!  See if your bank has an app with this feature, you’ll be so glad you have this option if you ever can’t make it to a branch during normal business hours!

DISHING IT UP WITH LISA

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 3.43.25 PM
 

Lisa is a friend of mine and besides being one of the kindest women I know, she’s an incredible cook!  Her recipes are all fresh, beautiful, and healthy!  I get hungry every time I visit her blog and I secretly want to move into her house so I can eat her food every night!  She develops her own recipes so they aren’t run-of-the-mill repeats you see on Pinterest.  I really want to try these two…

Roasted Grape Bruschetta

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 3.46.27 PM
 

and Kale Pesto!

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 3.48.50 PM
 

Add her blog to the list of sites you follow.  You won’t be disappointed!

SONIA KASHUK No 105 BRUSH

 

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This brush is the ultimate brush for cleaning up the edges of your nail polish!  I really admire a beautiful, clean-looking manicure but I’ve struggled with getting my polish on as neatly as I’d like it to be.  This brush makes such a difference!! My sister turned me on to Young Wild and Polished on YouTube and she’s not only hilarious, but she does incredible manicures!  This brush was her recommendation and it really is as awesome as she claims!

Target sells Sonia Kashuk, so you should have no trouble finding this brush at your local store and it’s only $5.

These are a few of my favorites lately, but I’d love to hear what you’re loving these days!  Let me know in the comments :)

favorite things


Random Chit Chat

January 21st, 2015

Drew had been making strides in his overnight sleep habits and is now, shall we say, regressing.

I know newborns don’t sleep through the night.  I know breastfed newborns wake even more often than formula fed newborns.  I know this too shall pass and that these baby days are quickly fleeting.

But mama wants some sleep.

I just want to go back to laying him down at 11 and having him sleep till 2 or 3.  I don’t mind being up for an hour feeding him and cuddling him and going back to sleep for another 3-4 hours.

That’s not my perfect world scenario, but by golly I’ll take it!

Just a couple of good stretches with Drew in his crib and me unconscious in my own bed.

Snoring and drooling like it’s my J.O.B.

But alas, he has different ideas lately and I’m trying to be patient.

Trying being the key word there.

Funny thing is that I think of the girls as not having done this to me.  I’ve almost totally forgotten most of the sleep woes I had with them.

I think God does this.  So we keep having babies!

Forget all the hard parts so that you’re willing to do it again.

Touché, God.

Touché.

In other news, Andy and I are planning to do a Whole30 soon but I keep pushing back the start date.

I was going to start on January 12th to do it along with a group of my online friends, but then I decided t0 wait till Drew was 6 weeks old.

Then I pushed it back so I’d have a chance to use up my coffee creamer. It would be a crime for it to go to waste, right?

Now the coffee creamer is gone and I’ve survived 2 mornings without it, but I can’t conceive of a life where I don’t binge watch House on Netflix while stuffing my face alternating sweet and salty treats.

Pathetic, I know.

But this junk food thing has got a serious grip on me at the moment.

Kids are napping? How about a cookie! And then some random leftover Halloween candy!

Hubby is gone for the evening? How about some white cheddar popcorn!  How about the whole.giant.bag. in 2 days.

O_o

Yeah.  That’s my M.O. lately and I’ve got to quit A.S.A.P.

The craziest part is that I’m eating like this while I’m reading the Whole30 book It Starts With Food.  That’s like watching the Biggest Loser while eating a giant sundae!

Ultimately the issue isn’t a food issue, it’s a heart issue.

Things feel out of control right now with the 3 kiddos, sleepless nights, assimilation into real life now that Drew Boo is getting a little older and I can’t hide out claiming “newborn!” forever.

On top of all that, Andy is starting to make plans for his final year of med school.  Plans that include traveling for 2-4 week stretches to visit the various military hospitals he might be placed at for his residency  Planning those trips is tricky enough from a scheduling standpoint, but he also has to plan them based on what he wants to specialize in.

That adds a whole other layer to things.

We spent years wondering what Andy wanted to do when he “grew up” and when he decided to go to medical school it seemed like we found our answer.

In many ways we did, but now there’s the issue of “what kind of doctor do you want to be?”

He’s had a lean toward family medicine from the start, but now that he’s rotating through various specialties he’s having different thoughts.

His classmate was dead set on becoming an OBGYN since well before medical school.  She recently did an OB rotation and discovered that she hated it.

She honestly didn’t like it one bit and is now excited at the idea of becoming a family doctor.

Andy has maintained an open mind from the start.  He knew his personality would be a good fit with family med (he’s one of the most approachable and disarming people you’ll meet) but he knew rotations could change everything.

His recent Neurology and Anesthesiology rotations have really piqued his interest.

For now we are in the thinking and praying stages…well mostly Andy is because I kind of have my head in the sand about all this being real.

I fully support whatever he decides to do.  I feel so very fortunate to be able to stay home and take care of our babies and I’ll continue to do that no matter what he picks, so I want him to make a decision he feels excited about.

Poor guy has to carry the burden of that looming decision on top of everything else he’s juggling.  Good thing he’s so awesome :)

Well, now that I’ve rambled for 850 words, I think I’ll wrap it up.

My plan is to do a favorite things post next!

Hope you’re all well and enjoying the new year so far :)


Avery Turns Two!! (A Disney Princess Party)

January 16th, 2015

Our sweet Avery Jane turned 2 years old on New Year’s Eve, and this year it was her turn to have a fun themed party!!

Last year I just could not get it together to throw her a first birthday party so we had a low-key celebration at home.  I’m still feeling bad about it since Grace had a blowout bash for her one year birthday, but the end of December is a HARD time to have a party, especially when you live in a tiny little house in the freezing cold midwest.

This year I was DETERMINED.  Come hell or high water my Avery was getting a party!  I didn’t care if I had just given birth the day before or heck, even at the party!

My little Disney-princess-loving-baby-girl was gonna have a par-tay.

And she did!!

She’s absolutely bonkers about Disney Princesses at the moment and after hearing her identify them by name every time she saw them (including on random packaging at the grocery store!) I decided that would be the theme for her party.

I’d been considering farm animals because she loves those too, but Princesses won out and I’m so glad that’s the route we took :)

Grace had a princess party for her 3rd birthday, but in my opinion this one took the cake!

Here’s a photo rundown… (sorry to all of the extended family we could not accommodate…we love you guys and wish we had a bigger house!)

Sorry also to the family that was present but not photographed :( My postpartum ADD was off the charts that afternoon!  I should have had someone with their wits about them take the pics…

Here’s what I snapped!

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Princess banner…reused from Grace’s party!

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Grandma and Avery.  Avery’s not too sure about wearing the crown at her party. Lol

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Lots of themed snacks!

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And cupcakes!

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I was so happy with how the cupcakes turned out!

I cheated and bought boxed golden butter and chocolate cake mix.  My plan was to make the icing from scratch, but when I was standing in the aisle at the store and I saw cans of frosting in colors that would totally work for what I had in mind, I caved.

In the end I’m really glad I took the shortcut.  With nursing around the clock and all the other party prep, it was SO NICE to just pop open the frosting and pipe it onto the cupcakes.

The princess “toppers” made the cupcakes so festive!  I saw on Pinterest that another mom cut paper princess cups from Walmart to make princess toppers, so I gave it a try and they turned out great!

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Avery wasn’t quite sure what to make of all the festivities…

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She enjoyed all the snacks though!

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She was looking around very curiously at everyone singing Happy Birthday.  I’m pretty sure she liked it though :) I know she enjoyed her Belle cupcake!

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Everyone was so generous and she received a bunch of fun gifts!

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tom and the boys

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Our immediate families comprise so many people, but it was really nice to have everyone together!

Cousins

Look at all those Gould cousins!

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Then there’s the real twins and cousin “twins”!

andy and me averys party

I certainly couldn’t have pulled off the party without this guy.  Man I love him!

daddy mommy and avery 2 years

I’m so glad we didn’t let the time of year or the new baby or the tiny house deter us from celebrating our precious girl.

Happy 2nd Birthday Princess Avery Jane!!

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Here’s a handy pinnable image in case you are planning a princess party of your own and you want some snack ideas :)

disney princess party collage


This Christmas

January 13th, 2015

It has taken me forever to write this post.  I keep feeling overwhelmed at trying to capture this Christmas.  Then I wonder why because nothing was particularly epic.  In fact, this Christmas felt less “holiday euphoric” than probably any other.

I’m not sure if that’s due to the postpartum range of emotions I was (and continue to!) experience or if it was the rainy warm weather or if it was our departure from many of our usual traditions, but it was just sort of “meh” this year.

Not terrible by any means, just not the gloriously profound holiday I had been pining for.  This post from last year really serves to remind me that Christmas cheer can never meet the ache in my soul.  I think that’s probably what much of it boils down to.

I’m looking for something at Christmas (and every other day) to meet a need that only my Creator can.  Just knowing I’m doing that has helped draw me more quickly back to the source, and for that I’m grateful.

There were certainly moments to remember this year, and I want to capture those for posterity.  Looking back to last year’s “Things I want to remember” post made me smile, so here goes…

Grace and I stayed up late one night to watch White Christmas.  We snuggled and ate Christmas cookies and drank eggnog and gushed over the beautiful costumes and dance numbers.  It was such a sweet time together and I’m looking forward to having Avery join us when she’s a little older.

Drew and I spent countless hours on the couch in the light of the tree.  Nursing, burping, cuddling, and getting to know one another.  His little Santa-bottomed Christmas jammies were so cute.  My ugly Christmas turtleneck was…not! LOL

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Christmas just isn’t Christmas for me without my favorite Frosted Butter Cookies and Buckeyes. I was in the throes of the newborn fog when I made them this year, but I’m so glad I did it anyway.  They were delicious and it ended up being really fun decorating them all together.

Andy and Drew had some good snuggle time too :)

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Grace and I made a gingerbread house one afternoon!  It was really fun to decorate it and watch her creativity shine.  I think it turned out super cute and we all had fun picking it apart to eat it only a few days later which was major growth for me! Normally I’d want to keep it around until well after Christmas, but when I saw how much they wanted to eat it, I decided to be a “Yes Mom” and let them do it.

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The sheer joy and excitement on their faces when they came into the living room and saw all of the gifts under the tree was priceless.  This picture cracks me up every time I look at it…

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Avery was pretty happy too :)

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Stockings stuffed to the brim! I try to come up with lots of non-candy stocking stuffers that are inexpensive but fun, and I think this year was a success!

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What four year old gets this happy about a flashlight?! This one does. LOL

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Lego sets made up the bulk of her wish list this year.  She requested Merida, Cinderella, and Ariel along with a stuffed lion.

She got all four wish list items and was super excited.  You know, until the gifts ran out and she wanted MORE.  I’m not really sure how to teach thankfulness and moderation at this age, but I’m working on it!

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Me in my ugly Christmas turtleneck!  It was comfy and good for nursing, so I went with it.

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Avery LOVES princesses right now so this carriage and the accompanying princesses was a big hit.

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My very own little princesses.  Thank you Joann’s for the $1 comfortable tiaras!

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Frozen board books were a huge hit!

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More princesses!

Elsa is still the ultimate princess in Grace’s opinion, so this nightgown pretty much made her day.

The chalkboard slates were a hit too!  The chalk dust is a little annoying, but it’s much easier to clean up than marker :)

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Plus, they look so “Little House on the Prairie” when they use them :)

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Avery was putting some of the ONE MILLION stickers from grandpa on her new princess!

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And her eyes…LOL

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Grace and daddy were hard at work building Lego sets all morning.

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Look at that sweet smile!

It was hard to catch Avery in action, but I love this one of her sweet brown eyes.  She has been having lots of fun with these mini mini animals from a local toy shop though.

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Drew pretty much did this the whole time.

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We changed up our traditional breakfast of biscuits with eggs and bacon gravy this year.  Instead we made one of our regular breakfast favorites…Cinnamon Chip Scones.  We thought the girls might not like the other meal as much and the last thing we wanted was to fight over breakfast, so we made the switch and everyone was very happy.

Mimosas on Christmas are a tradition that’s not going anywhere though! :)

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This was the first year we didn’t leave the house on Christmas day.  The pediatrician advised us to keep Drew mostly home for the first 6 weeks to avoid the nasty flu going around this year.  A fever would automatically be an admittance to the hospital for him at this age, so we don’t want to take any chances.  I have to say it was lovely not having an agenda all day.

The girls played with their toys, we stayed in our jammies, we had filet mignon for dinner and my mom came to spend the night with us.

Christmas euphoria or not, it was a good year :)


Let’s Get a Few Things Straight…

January 3rd, 2015

I’ve had such lovely and encouraging feedback on the things I’ve been posting since our little Drew came on the scene.  I’m so thankful for my IRL (in real life) and Internet friends.

All of the congratulations and kind comments about how well we seem to be doing or how nice my hair looks, have been so sweet.

BUT…

I don’t want anyone out there to think I have it all together!

I most certainly DO NOT.

There are moments throughout the day when I feel like I’m starting to get into a groove.  Like I’m on the ball and will be just fine with 3 kids.

THEN there are moments where I can’t even think straight and I smell terrible and Drew won’t stop fussing and Grace won’t stop whining and Avery won’t stop begging to watch “SUPER WHY PEASSSSS.”

In those moments I start to wonder how I’ll even survive when Andy goes back to school/work on Monday morning, let alone get anything done.

Andy has been SERIOUSLY INCREDIBLE.  He is taking such good care of the girls and the house and the meals and the shopping.  Seeing what needs to be done and doing it.  Not playing into my raging craziness when I start to protest him doing so much because it makes me feel guilty.  He keeps pressing forward.  Keeps doing the next thing that needs to be done.  Keeps anticipating our needs.

I’m beyond thankful for what a wonderful husband and father he is.  I honestly don’t deserve him, I’m just so grateful he sticks by me no matter what.  I don’t take him for granted.  Not even for a second.  He’s the best thing to happen to me since Jesus!

So, back to keeping things real.  I want to go through a sampling of pictures I’ve recently posted on Instagram and I want to give the background information on them…

birth

Y’all were SO KIND in your comments on this picture.  For as many people congratulated me on his birth, a whole other group commented on me and/or my hair.

I can’t take any credit for the phenomenon that was my hair that day!

I mentioned in my birth story that I had a hair appointment the afternoon before Drew was born.  I see Esther Tolnai at Lamia Lamia salon in Grosse Pointe Woods.  I used to babysit for her when she was a toddler and now she’s a beautiful young woman.  That whole thing makes me feel a little old, but her awesome hair skills help me get over it.

She’s absolutely stunning (I mean look at this wedding picture!) and yet she’s the sweetest girl ever.  She’s been doing my hair for a few years and I am toying with the idea of driving back to Michigan every few months once we move just to keep her as my stylist!  I love love love her.

She gave me a great hair cut and color 24 hours before Drew was born and I LITERALLY didn’t touch my hair for the next 3 days.  I finally broke down and showered at the hospital, but I didn’t even want to because my hair still looked good!  That’s one amazing blow out.

You rock, Esther!

week 1

Then there’s this picture taken the first week I was home with Drew.  Andy happened to be working that week, so it was up to me to run the show alone.  Drew came home from the hospital a little jaundiced which I found out later made him extremely sleepy.  Like only-wake-up-to-eat-for-almost-the-first-entire-week-home kind of sleepy.

I had a feeling things were too good to be true.  That he was too content and too easy.  And I was right!  He’s still a good baby with no major issues, but he’s much more normal now.  Not napping at all the times I need him to.  Having fussy sessions multiple times a day where nothing seems to help.  Being wakeful much of the night and not breastfeeding quite as perfectly as he was week one.

I’m not complaining by any means, but all of the tiredness and anxiety from lack of sleep and extreme ADD from being exhausted have kicked in at this point.  I’m not so much on the ball as I am underneath it, gasping for air. LOL

Thank God for Andy handling everything else while I care for Drew and work on getting him on a more predictable routine.

So that day up there ^ where I look all bright-eyed and bushy tailed?  I was.  It was a fluke though and I’m longing for that girl to return!

hair

In this one Drew is sleeping and I have good hair.  These phenomenona are due to #1 how long he fussed and nursed before passing out and #2 my awesome haircut by Esther.

I can honestly get 3 days out of each shower with this haircut.  Just add more hairspray and a few curls and I’m good to go.  Too bad my lady bits don’t stay fresh that long!  Post-birth ::ahem:: aroma is no joke.  Yes, TMI, but anyone who’s given vaginal birth can probably relate to what I’m talking about. Gross.

jeans

I’m wearing pre-pregnancy jeans in this picture and I mentioned that fact in the Instagram caption.  I failed, however, to mention that these are my fat jeans.  I bought them after I was pregnant with Avery.  They tided me over while I was waiting to get into my regular sized jeans.  So don’t be too impressed.

cookies

Yes I made a crap ton of Christmas cookies right after birthing a baby.  The kind that have to be frosted & decorated and the kind that have to be dipped in chocolate.  Both are a pain in the butt.  Both are my all-time favorite Christmas cookies.  Christmas isn’t Christmas for me without these cookies.  I even had to make a double batch of each because I wouldn’t have been willing to share any if I’d only made a single batch.  So basically I’m shallow and greedy.

Also high on all the sugar I’ve been consuming this season.

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These are my nails.  Yes, I have a newborn and I still paint my nails.  It’s something I do just for me and it makes me feel happy to look down and see a fun manicure that I’m probably too old for.

Andy bought me a set of nail dotting tools for Christmas and I was itching to try them out the other day. I grabbed a few fun polish colors and set about painting silly polka dots while Drew was napping.  Of course he woke up before I was finished! #murphyslaw

I had to hussle to get my favorite topcoat on and then I very carefully picked him up out of the crib while trying very hard not to mess up my new mani!  Thanks to the incredible topcoat, I was successful.  That stuff is unbelievable with how long my nails last and how fast they dry.  Buy yourself a late Christmas present and make it this topcoat!

So there I am yesterday, sitting by my Christmas tree, admiring my fun new manicure and snapping pics for Instagram. The next thing I know, Andy is shouting, “No Avery! No no no!”

Avery had wandered over to the dining room table where I foolishly left my nail painting supplies, and she unscrewed the BLACK polish! Not the lavender or clear or white or glitter! THE BLACK NAIL POLISH! (Essie “Licorice” is the ultimate black polish, by the way) and she spilled it on her brand new dress.

A dress she received as a birthday gift and hadn’t even worn out of the house yet.

So yeah, send my Mother Of The Year award to 2165…..Harper Woods….Mich….


Netflix and Having a New Baby

December 31st, 2014

Our little Drew Bear is 3 weeks old today and Avery turns 2!

We’re all adjusting to our new family size pretty well for the most part.  The girls are more emotional than usual and that has created a bunch of extra drama around here.  Sharing is at an all time low, temper tantrums are at an all time high, and I keep telling myself these things go in cycles!

Soon all will be better and I’ll be patting myself on the back thinking it has something to do with my awesome parenting skills.

Ha!

Week one was too easy.  Drew was a little bit jaundiced and that apparently made him extra sleepy.  He honestly just ate and slept that first week which allowed me to get a lot done and feel really hopeful about this 3 ring circus I’m in charge of ;)

The past couple of weeks have been more challenging.  I’m really grateful Andy is on break from school until next week because he has been an absolute gem.

Taking care of the girls and the house almost exclusively.  Running to the store, checking things off my to-do list and being just overall awesome.

Netflix has also been really helpful.

I’ve mentioned before how much I love Netflix and now, more than ever, it’s a life saver!

I’m not a proponent of sitting kids in front of the TV for hours on end, but sometimes you just need to catch a break after a full day of fighting and protesting and whining and general ornery-ness.

No that’s not a word, but it should be!

Enter Netflix.

A couple of 22 minute shows can make a world of difference when I have to nurse Drew one more time before making dinner.  Or when I can’t keep my eyes open even though it’s 8am and the day is in motion.

Avery’s current favorite shows are Jake and the Neverland Pirates and Super Why.

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She really loves Super Why and has gotten really good at singing the alphabet thanks to the catchy jingles on that show.  I even hear her talking about the characters when she’s playing.  Princess Pea and Alphabet Pig come up in conversations regularly :)

She’s at such a fun age right now and her vocabulary is exploding.  I’m SUCH a sucker for her sweet little voice and I’m especially weak when she looks up at me with her big brown eyes and whispers the name of a movie she wants to watch.

“Watch Snow White?” “Movie?”

“Watch Frozen?” ” Peas!!!” (Please)

I often say no because I believe it’s really important for little ones to use their imaginations to really play, but sometimes I just can’t resist that sweet face and quiet whisper.

A feature length film is a special treat, and she’s starting to know that so she’ll follow up with…

“Watch Jake?” “Watch Super Why?”

“Peeeeas!”

Thank you Netflix for offering fun and educational shows I can feel good about :)

Most of the time Grace asks to watch Jake and the Neverland Pirates or  The Busy Town of Richard Scarry.

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Just before Christmas, Grace and I had a girls movie night and stayed up late watching White Christmas on Netflix.

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I knew she’d love the singing and dancing and I was right! We cuddled on the couch with mugs of eggnog, plates of Christmas cookies, and, of course, baby brother.  We “oohed” and “ahhed” over each dance number and pretty costume.  I answered 101 questions about the plot and story line and we made such a special memory together.

I’m already looking forward to doing it again next year :)

Netflix has been excitedly promoting a new show called All Hail King Julian….a fun spinoff of the movie Madagascar.

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There’s even an episode featuring a New Year’s Eve countdown for kids.  No need to wait up till midnight (as if!) since King Julian can count down to the new year at any time you decide to start the episode :)

Clever, huh?

I’m pretty sure this show is targeted for kids ages 7 and up, so I’m not sure we’ll be tuning in tomorrow night, but I know the girls will be plenty happy watching one of their other Netflix favorites.

Andy and I have been binge watching episodes of House almost every night.

We like to look at it as 2 parts entertainment and 1 part learning for Dr. Gould. I love listening to Andy predict the diagnosis and I know how much he loves to get it right!

I also love spending quiet time with him at the end of our very busy days.  This show has been a big hit for both of us and I’m glad we’ve got something to tide us over till The Walking Dead comes back on!

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Disclosure: I am a member of the Netflix Stream Team and will be sharing monthly tips and stories about how my family uses Netflix on a regular basis. As a member of the Stream Team I was provided with welcome kit including a voucher to apply towards my Netflix account. I was not otherwise compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.

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Merry Christmas From Our Family To Yours

December 25th, 2014

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There are coordinating outfits, big smiles, and presents heaped beneath the tree.  Cookies and carols and eggnog and laughter.

Also sorrow and pain and loss and remorse.  Sickness and death and sin have robbed us and it’s never fair.

Praise God there’s a Savior!

A baby boy born in the most humble way.  The greatest gift of all and He was unwelcome anywhere but a cold crude cavern in the desert.

He came to change everything.  To restore us to the heart of our Creator.  To usher in a kingdom SO GOOD that all the bad of this life will be chased away like a shadow in the morning sun.

Oh how we need that tiny baby who changed it all!

The baby who became the King who promises to make it all right again.

Today as I feel joy for all the good and sadness for all the bad, I’m ever so grateful for the greatest gift we have ever been offered.

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas…

 

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