Sunday, October 26, 2014

Are you sad? That is the Big Question

Nick did not want to find out what we were having. I told him I had to know and of course everyone else was going to want to know. And if he could find a way not to find out then I was all for it. I would wait until the baby was born for him to find out. Impossible. I couldn't keep it a secret anyway. I like shopping and talking too much about the baby. My friend Destinee had agreed to go to my appointment with me. She was going to take the sono picture with the gender on it, go buy a gift for the boys to open with all of us together. Well last minute, we decided to invite our friends over so they could share in the excitement with us. It was such a fun time to spend with friends.

Oh the anticipation while waiting for everyone to get there. I was trying to be casual and cool but on the inside I was like a kid in the candy store. And then, it was time. Everyone had arrived and to the backyard we headed. Destinee thought the boys would enjoy spraying silly string everywhere and she was right, they loved it. So the time came to spray and they did and the silly string was white. White? I kept thinking, is this going to turn a brighter color after so many seconds. They kept spraying and we kept looking, kinda confused. And then we could see it. A light blue was coming out of the cans, not white. It was not going to turn pink any time soon. No matter how hard I thought or how many times I clicked my heels, it was not going to turn from blue to pink. It.was.a.boy.

I tried my hardest to smile and be happy and I was because hello, I'm being blessed by another baby. But this baby was not the girl I had hoped for. Dreamed of. Longed for. I wanted to just bend over and cry. No need in me lying about it, God already knew the outcome and he already knew how I would feel. But, for the sake of the people standing before me, I smiled, I carried on, I laughed and I held back the tears. The little girl I had always wanted was now my baby boy.

I cried that night after everyone left, away from my husband even. I even asked, Why doesn't God want me to have a little girl? I couldn't think of a very good reason honestly. I wanted to buy big bows just like everyone else with a girl. I wanted to buy frilly fun clothes and watch her dance recitals too. I couldn't think of the why because I could only think of the now. God was looking at the bigger picture and already had plans for this little boy and he chose me to help him fulfill them.

Oh I'm sorry, you just can't believe that I wouldn't be happy? You can't believe I wanted to cry even though I was still having a wonderful little blessing? Well, I'm sorry then that I'm a little more human than you. Have you never wanted something so bad and when you didn't get it, your heart fell to the ground? Have you prayed for something you thought would be wonderful and the Lord had different plans than yours? No? Interesting.

Yes I was sad. Yes I cried. Yes I asked why. And yes I woke up the next day still thinking, I'm having another boy not a girl. I got to work that day and told someone it was boy and their words....that's terrible. No little girl huh? And all changed. I could feel my face get red and my body heated up and out came the claws. I said, no it's not terrible. I am a boy mom. I love having boys. And now, I have been blessed with one more. And that's when I knew... I was born to be a mom of boys. I felt it. I didn't think about that he could have been a girl but he was a boy. No, I thought about how if you say that about my son again, I'll punch you in the face. (Let me also say, this person knew I really wanted a girl so I know their intentions were good, it just came out wrong. They meant well and was trying to make me feel better but....)

I'm now a mom to 3 boys and I couldn't be happier. God gave me what I needed, not what I wanted. I don't know how our lives will play out but I can't wait to see what these three amazing little boys do in the future. Now we live with the anticipation of meeting him. Who will he look like? What will his name be? (No, we don't have one picked out.) I love picturing myself wearing three different numbers for three different little athletes. And who knows, this one may not care about sports. The anticipation of his little personality makes me heart smile.

In 5 more months we will  meet one of the 3 most wonderful little boys in the world. I can't wait to hold him and help raise him to be the man God wants him to be.

Thank you all for the congratulations and the kind words. Please pray for him and that he would be a healthy baby boy.

Sidenote: To my future DILs, please know, I am going to pick you a part, background check you, watch you like a hawk.  Hurt one of my boys. Go on, I dare you. :) Kidding. I'm kidding.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Our Month of September

We have finally made it to October! Not so keen on the weather (thankfully its still warm) but I do love decorating for fall. I HATE anything with a pumpkin taste. Weird? Non-American? Don't care. Yuck Yuck Yuck. I do however love the taste of caramel apples, the smell of smoke coming from a chimney, college football, bonfires and hayrides (although, they don't seem to do those here much)...... And I must add, I HATE cold weather. Hate hate hate

Anywayyy, the month of September has been none too exciting. Why? Because I spent more than my share of time sick in the bed. As if morning sickness wasn't enough, I caught that dang stomach bug and I'm pretty sure it had me knocking at deaths doors. Awful. It was absolutely awful. Even when I finally kicked it, I still had/have morning sickness. Mostly right in the middle of the day, sometimes at night...the point, I still have it!!! So over it. Thanks to my co-worker who gave me some zofran, those little pills work tremendously. I never took anything with the boys because the sickness didn't last that long and it was never this bad so I caved and I am so glad I did. Everyone keeps saying, "You know what that means? It's a girl." I really really want that to be true and believe them but I also no there is a 50/50 chance he's a boy. Which I will be ok with. After all, I know what I'm doing with boys and who doesn't want to be the most protected woman in the country? ;) Nick has been a pure saint during this sickness. He has not complained (to my face at least) about me laying around 24/7 and he has, as always, takes great care of the boys. I couldn't ask for a better husband.

Malachi loves talking about the baby. He gets real excited and tends to pat my stomach a little hard at times. lol I can't wait for him to feel the baby move. He's doing great in school and loving playing soccer. He loves all sports actually. Lawson is doing good at his "school." He loves his teacher which is a big help knowing I'm leaving him with someone else. I don't think he still quite understands I have a baby in my belly but I know he will be excited once he/she gets here. He's wanting to play sports now which makes his daddy happy. Only one of those is football.......ay yi yi.

We also had our Be the Church September 28th. It is absolutely one of my most favorite days of the year. I love helping someone in our community. And then going back to the church that evening for food, fellowship and worship....well, it doesn't get much better than that. There's just something I love about having worship service outside.
16 Weeks Today
Can't wait to find out what this little human is...........Come on October 22nd!!!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Our First Week of School.....

Last week was our first ever......first week of kindergarten and my first week of teaching. I'm happy to report, WE ARE STILL ALIVE!! I have had two babies, woke up every two hours for feedings, still get woke up every night but never in my life have I been more tired than when I finished my first week of teaching. Was that a for real situation?!?!  Walking kids to their car for an hour in 98 degree weather just took the icing right off the cake. Every night I would come home and all but die. My body was here and breathing but my mind was in a land of zzzzzzz's. I felt so bad for the boys because they of course wanted to play but I literally couldn't move. When I would wake up in the morning, my calves felt like I had been to boot camp the night before. I would just pray, please don't let me get a charlie horse in the middle of class. :) All in all though it was a great first week. I had so much support from my co-workers. I couldn't ask for a better group of people to work with.

Malachi is absolutely loving it kindergarten! He loves his teacher, especially the treasure chest they get to pick from on Fridays. ;) He usually gets him in a good little nap between school and home in the evenings. Wiped out. I'm so thankful that I am able to see him during the day. Even just the little things like when I walked by he was using the teacher pointer and "teaching" the class. He was really just the helper. But I loved that I get to witness these first memories of him in school. (Did I mention before he even started school he asked for a pointer for his birthday??)

Lawson had a great first week in the 3's class. He had a new teacher but seems to be doing ok with her. Nick said he had a great first week too. He's an old pro at this teaching thing so he came home and was an actual living and moving human being. :)

I'm looking forward to a great year and a lot of growing!!!


Thursday, July 17, 2014

A School Year of Firsts.....

This school year will be a year of firsts. For me, it will be my first year teaching!!! I will be teaching computers. Runs in the family? Maybe. (Nick teaches computers at a different campus in case you didn't know.)  This was kind of an unexpected door that opened and I was happy to jump on board. I love where I work and the teachers that work there. I love our principals and office staff. I'm nervous but oh so excited!! I love the fact that I will get to be with the kids this year. It's definitely not what I thought I would be doing but I'm happy to take the first step. Who knows, I may end of loving computers and wanting to stay here instead of teaching a grade level. I am going to miss my peeps in the other building...but I know I'll still see them everyday. :)

The other first is........Malachi starts kindergarten! Holy moly, where has the time gone??? He is so excited to be going to school. He has even practiced putting on his backpack and walking to his class. Even though he will be at school with me and I know he'll do great, it still makes me a little nervous. It's just a whole new ballgame compared to pre-school/daycare. The kinder teachers at our school are amazing so I know he will be in good hands. He's not a baby anymore. :(   School supplies, uniforms, paperwork, field trips, packing a lunch, making sure homework is in the take back folder......this is getting real people!

Stay tuned for a first day post!!!

Monday, April 21, 2014

I'm So Tired of Not Being Fed At My Church, I Think I'll Look Elsewhere

"I am so tired of not being fed at the church I attend. I think I'm going to start looking elsewhere."  Have you ever said this to yourself or to someone else? Maybe you've even left your church to go somewhere else because your current church wasn't "feeding" you enough. I've been there. Sunday after Sunday, mid-week service after mid-week service, I would go to church, sing, listen to the preacher and leave. I would feel like I wasn't getting anything out of it. I wasn't being "fed" the way I thought I should have been. I was going because that's what your "supposed" to do. "The preacher's message wasn't ringing any bells for me. Why??"

I recently read a blog and some of the comments were about how this person didn't feel like they were being fed like they should be at their church. Since then, it's just been on my heart about how many of us feel this way. And the more I pondered on it, the more the Lord kept saying.... It's not that they are not being fed but it's time they start pouring out what they have been fed. I began visualizing and by (I) I mean the Holy Spirit kept showing me through a coke. That's right folks, He knows just how to keep my attention. You know how when you pour a drink or something and that drink begins to overflow, you rush to put something under it to catch it in so it isn't wasted? (maybe not so much a coke but something else) Well, if you don't get something else it's going to be just that. Wasted.

God began to show me that is how we as believers often are. Saying we aren't being fed but in reality, maybe it's time we start to do the feeding. God is filling us up so that we can pour into others what he's fed us. But if we are just sitting around, all of that that God has filled us with is being wasted. Also, eventually, you have to start feeding yourself some. Your pastor, your youth leader, whoever it is, can't be the one always "feeding" you. There eventually comes a time when we can feed ourselves and let the church be our refreshers and are refills.

You may think that you can't pour out because you're not on the worship team or you're not the preacher but there are so many other ways to pour into peoples lives. Random acts of kindness, working in your church nursery, be a greeter, an usher, pick up trash, get involved in your community, write someone an unexpected note to encourage them. Pouring into someone's life doesn't mean standing at the pulpit or shouting in their face about getting saved, pouring into their lives can just simply mean loving them when the world is crumbling around them.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Spring Break

I'm pretty sure I blinked and spring break was over. I love having time off with the whole family. Staying up late, sleeping in, not cooking.....sounds like a good week to me. :)  We didn't have a lot of plans, just hanging out and getting things done around the house. One day we went to Klyde Warren Park so the boys could play. It was my first time there and I must say, it's a very nice place to hang out and eat. I love that they have food trucks even though we didn't eat from them this time. (The lines were just way too long.) After the park, we went to the bookstore. We really need to take the boys more often. They loved picking out their own books and I loved the prices of them. We found a baseball field at one of the local parks and decided to get a little practice in. Then we headed home to end our day with ice cream.
Day 1

Tuesday we went to the zoo. It was such a beautiful day and it actually felt like spring. The boys enjoyed the zoo so much more this time. Well, the last time we went, Lawson was just a baby so I guess he didn't care either way. Malachi enjoyed it a lot more this time. We rode the dart from downtown which made the trip that much more exciting. A train ride is a win win either way. 
 Day 2
Lawson did not like the big Iguana. 

The rest of the week was spent on house projects, studying and reading. I almost have our bedroom redecorated. I can't wait to show you. We haven't had it decorated since we moved in, almost 5 years ago! We got the living room painted.....Love the color! Now we are getting ready to put in wood floors. This makes me so excited. I am so sick of our cheetah colored carpets. (That's how many stains are on it.) There is still a lot to be done in with the living room and kitchen but at least we are making progress!!

Monday, February 17, 2014

To the Parents of Athletes.....From a Coach's Wife

So your kids on a team and probably the star athlete, at least in your eyes. Maybe he or she got to play the whole game tonight because well, they are that good. Or, maybe, they only played the last 3 minutes of the game. I get it. You want them to play no matter what. So now we come to the part where your star athlete was taken out of the game for whatever reason the coach sees fit or finally your kid is getting to go in the game. How dare he take your star athlete out of the game. How dare he only let your star athlete play the last 3 minutes.

 I mean after all, he/she is JUST the coach. You're the real coach. You're the one who gets up at an ungodly hour in the morning to get to the gym, practice field, etc., to make sure someone is there when your athlete arrives. You're the one who stays late after school for practice. You're the one who practices with them day in and day out. You're the one who knows the abilities of everyone on the team. You're the one who gets the failure report for everyone on the team. You're the one who not only tries to coach the entire team but also the one who tries to instill life lessons in them. And let's not forget the one who travels to and from away games with them and makes sure EVERYONE on the team returns safely to you, not just your athlete. You're the one who studies game film to make sure the team makes it to the playoffs and you're the one who works toward getting your athlete a scholarship.

Since you already know all of this because let's face it you know way more about the team than the coach does, let me tell you something you may not know:

When that coach is getting up in the morning or staying late for practice....those are hours he is spending time with your kid not his own. We would love for him to be at home but instead he/she is trying to help your athlete become a little bit better.

When he/she checks grades and failure reports, he has 10+ kids to worry about, you have one.

When he/she goes to an away game, he/she has to make sure that the entire team follows rules and returns home safely to you. You only have to worry about your athlete.

When you jump down his/her throat for the game they just lost, he/she has already beat themselves up a thousand times over in their head of what they could have done differently.

Oh and guess what. The coach that is trying his/her hardest to make your athlete the best that they can be has 50+ other kids during the day that they teach. That's their first job. Coaching is a choice your right but it's also a passion. A passion that they have to see kids excel in their sport.

Until you spend the hours evaluating and watching every player on the team to see who excels in which area better, know that your athlete may just in fact not be the best player on the team. So, go home and work with them, help them get better. What? That's not your job, it's the coaches job. Then why do you spend the whole game trying to get your athlete to look at you up in the stands instead of listening to their coach.

I know the coach doesn't always call the correct play and yes, they could have probably made a change that would've won the game. And yes, he probably could have played your athlete a little more. Still, at the end of the game, he/she cares about your athlete. Support them. You may not agree with everything but support them. Teach your athlete to respect. Teach them that it's not an everybody gets a trophy kind of world. You have to fight in life, you have to fight for your position on the team. Make that coach want to put you in. Show him/her that you are worth more than 3 minutes. Don't just let your athlete sit on the sideline and roll their eyes and bash their coach because they chose to play video games or sleep in when the rest of the team chose to put a little extra time in the gym or on the field. Teach them responsibility.

Side note: My little athlete is about to start his own journey in the world of sports. Trust me, I know I will have to remind myself of this. Trust me.

Friday, February 7, 2014

When Doubt Clouds Our View.....

The verse that went along with my devotional this morning was from Matthew 14:28-32. It’s the story of Peter walking on water to Jesus and when he saw the wind he began to sink and cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus reached out his hand and caught him, asking, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

 In past months I've been like Peter, trusting God enough to walk on water until the wind began to blow and then I start doubting. Are you really there God? Are you really going to help me through this? And, just like with Peter, He always reaches out his hand and saves me. Not usually at the time I would like for him too but in the perfect time, in His time.

I’m so thankful for a God who already knows our tomorrow. A God that already knows that our tomorrow holds doubt and fear yet He still meets us in that tomorrow and is ready to save us. What about you? Does Peter’s walk on water look like yours right now?  Remember (I have to remember), this life is full of problems but it’s where we put our focus that will help us overcome. It's so easy to focus on Jesus and the things He has for us until doubt creeps in and clouds our view.  

Where is your (my) focus? On the problem or on the one who can instantly stop the wind? This is so much easier said than done but I pray that it be something I work on daily. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

It Pierced My Heart

Last night was a moment I knew would come eventually. A moment I had not waited on all my 5 years of motherhood. A moment that pierced through my heart. The words from my 5 year old that I can't get out of my head: I DON'T WANT YOU TO BE MY MOMMY ANYMORE!! I know I know what you're probably thinking: "This is the first time he's ever said that or something like that??? My kid has said that a million times to me and I just brush it off." Why yes, yes it is.

Rewind to the reasoning of his outburst...... He has started yelling at us in this growling kind of way when he doesn't get his way and we are trying to cut the cord on that. So when he didn't get his way last night, he did just that, growled and yelled at me. (I guess when I read it like that it's kind of funny.) Anyway, so I sent him to his room. Time was up, he came out and wanted to do the same thing. I again said no, he growled and I told him to go back to his room. He stomped away, stopped, turned around and did the whole stick your tongue out with that spitting sound...well you get the picture. So, that was it. Now it was time for bed. Let.the.meltdown.begin. Screaming the whole time he's getting his pajamas on. I put him in bed. I got Lawson ready for bed and as I was laying him down I hear those heartbreaking words...I DON'T WANT YOU TO BE MY MOMMY! GET OUT OF HERE!

A big lump filled my throat as I walked out of the room. I was trying so hard not to cry because I knew they were just words and he didn't mean them. Let's face it, he's 5 years old and it's probably, I mean it IS, gonna happen again. But as I walked in the living room my eyes filled up and tears started rolling down my face. I felt so hurt. It wasn't necessarily because of what he said (again, I knew he didn't mean it) but I just kept thinking, what if I wasn't his mommy anymore? What if something happened to me and he got a new mommy? (I would haunt Nick for the rest of his life.) (kidding) What if something happened to him and someone else was raising him? I could not get these haunting thoughts out of my head. I was trying hard to dry it up because Nick was on his way home and I didn't want him to know why I was crying. lol I think words take a different toll on mom's more than they do on dad's. I'm not saying dad's don't get their feelings hurt but mom's are just by nature more nurturing. We are the lovers, huggers, kissers, make my boo boo feel better, cheerleader no matter how bad you stink at what you are doing, etc. I just didn't think he would understand.

It  made me think so hard about what being a mommy is. The blog I read the other day that was talking about "I Signed Up For This," was right on the money. I thought of how much my job as a mom really means. I was given the chance to help mold and shape these two tiny humans to be men of God, men that are respectful, men that value other people for who they are, I was chosen. I knew I was doing what was right and I had to stick to my guns. He wasn't dying and going to bed a little early wasn't going to kill him. I know it is only going to get harder the older they get. And as hard as it may get at times with the screams and the yells and the I hate you's or the I don't want you to be my mommy, I will also be thankful and beyond grateful that I have the chance to be called mom.

And....just like I thought, this morning was a new day. I talked to him about what he said and he got tears in his eyes and said, I only want you to be my mommy. A part of me was like, Boom!!! I won! But the even bigger part of me was trying not to cry again because that little person sitting by my side, holding my hand was mine forever and no screaming fit and no words could ever change that.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

More of a Life Long Goal than a New Year's Resolution

This year we spent Christmas with my family in Arkansas. We had a great time with cousins, our niece and nephews. We were able to watch my nephew play basketball. He's a senior this year and so I'm afraid our "time" with him is getting slimmer and slimmer. ;)

As I laid in bed last night trying to go to sleep, I thought about how much I love going home. I love driving through my high school town. I love driving up the mountain thinking about all the times I've driven back and forth on that road. And at night, by yourself, it seems you always "see" someone out in the woods or feel someone in your back seat. I'm so glad I have three passengers with me now. I love popping up over the small little hill before my mom and dads house, seeing their car and breathing a sigh of I'm back home. I miss home. I miss the sound of a crackling fire place or now, sitting by a 5 burner stove. I miss the sound of the box fan and the feel of the electric blanket as we lay our heads to sleep. I miss the sound of crickets on a still summer night. I miss the sight of lightning bugs all across the fields. I laugh now at how exciting it actually is when a car passes by and you wonder who it is and where they are going. :) I miss sitting up late at night and watching tv with my mom as we turn it up louder and louder only to drown out my dad's snoring. These are just a few things about my home I miss. 

And then I thought about my husbands home. I miss the morning rain showers that make you think your day at the beach is ruined but then it only lasts for 20 minutes and out comes the beautiful sun. I miss the sound of the ceiling fan in the bunk bed room. It is the perfect noise for falling asleep. I miss the sound of the sliding doors when someone is going in or out of the bathroom. I even miss the sound of those stupid frogs at night that won't let you sleep. But if your not sleeping, there is something soothing about them. I miss my FIL's homemade apple pies. I miss seeing my MIL sitting under the hair dryer as she falls asleep studying for her Sunday School lesson. I miss my brother and sister in law coming over with their kids. There is a small part of me that misses my BIL and husband laughing at the nonsense things no one can understand but them. I miss when we all 6 get to come home and sleep in the same house, find a spot to sleep and claim it. 

All of these things I mentioned, they didn't make those houses a home and they are not even the things that make me want to go back. What made them a home is the love from the two people that live in each of them. Every home has some hard times and times that really make you stop and think. But the love that comes from each of these, make me want to go back and take my kids back. 

That, that is my life long goal. To make my home a place my kids want to come back too. There are certainly some things I am going to try and accomplish this year. I hate saying I'm making a resolution because as soon as I do, I break it. So, I just try and come up with a few goals I would like to accomplish and pray I can do that. For instance, keep my house a little cleaner not just when we are going to have visitors. (Thank goodness God looks at the cleanliness of our hearts and not our homes.) Yikes. Also, I am going to try and drink at least one glass of water a day. Trust me, this is huge in my life. But my biggest goal this year is to make my home a place my boys feel loved. They are young, I get it. They won't be moving out anytime soon. And, I am more than certain that they know we love them. But I want it to be more than that. I want them to want to come home. Even from school, I want them to be excited to come home and share their day with us. I don't want it to be a place they dread coming to. I want them to know we have time for them. I'm ready to make our family time more of a priority. I know there will be days when we just want to come home and crash and that's ok. But I want to do more things with our boys. I want them to want to be with us. Play games, jump on the trampoline, family game nights, etc. 

I'm realizing these days just how precious time really is. And really, this may all sound silly to you. But I'll be the first to admit, my phone and especially facebook, have had way more of my time than my kids have. It's almost like I'm more worried that I will miss something going on in someone else's life than I am missing the moments right in front of me. I'm not going to stop getting on FB but I am going to monitor my time more and make sure my kids and husband are first priority. It's just not worth it. I mean, I have a 5 year old now who will be starting kindergarten this coming year. Really?? Where did the last 5 years of his tiny self go?? My kids mean the world to me and so does my husband. I want to have more husband time too. More date nights, more time with just the two of us. but it's certainly not not doable. So be on the look out, I may be asking you to watch some cute little boys so we can have a date night here and there. ;) 

I'm so thankful we always have a home we can go back to and visit. I pray that one day my boys will sit and think of the things they miss about our home and just smile when they finally reach the point they can see our car in the driveway. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A Glimpse of our 2013

Some highlights of my 2013...........
Keeping some of the most awesome kids in my home......
 Taking my baby to daycare for the first time and watching my big boy start Pre-K
 Taking a mini-vacay with two of the most wonderful people/friends we could ask for. (Must do it again.)
 Celebrating 6 years with this man......He truly is my best friend.
 Connecting and becoming a part of an amazing church and group of believers 

We had an amazing 2013.  There were some hard times, sad times but more amazing times than anything. We lost my sweet grandpa this year but we know he is rejoicing in his heavenly home. This summer we were able to spend an entire month with our family in Florida. And, although it was probably a week too long, I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. We were able visit with family we hadn't seen in almost 4 years. We met our niece Grace for the first time. We soaked up every bit of GiGi and Papa that we could and our niece and nephew (cousins). One of the best summer trips ever. Malachi did TOTs for the first time and loved it. Lawson started daycare which broke this momma's heart but he has loved it and it has been so good for him to be in a structured setting. Malachi turned 5 and is now ready to start kindergarten. I can't believe he will be going to "real" school. I started back to work in the outside world. I love my job and the people I work with. Nick has continued to do what he loves, coach basketball. We were able to be there on the day our friends adopted their daughter, Lucy. She is beautiful and a blessing and has the greatest parents. So many friends had babies and they are oh so precious. Our good friends moved to Colorado. Sad for us, new adventure and calling for them. We found a church home that we absolutely LOVE. 

All of these things are only a glimpse of what took place in our 2013 year. There is so much more to share and a lot more blessings to remember. I am thankful for what God did for us last year and how he opened our eyes to things we needed to see. I'm looking for a brand new year full of blessings and signs that our God is still alive.