Blogging Honestly

Sometimes Parenting Sucks…oh…and pregnancy, too.

AUTHOR: | POSTED: 08/11/14 8:54 PM
CATEGORIES: 1015 The River, Blog, Blogging Honestly, perspective

I bought four pillows the other day.  Not throw pillows or decorative little squares.  They were full fledged, I-need-this-to-sleep-comfortably bed pillows.  And they were all for me.

The clerk in the bedding section of the department store must have thought I was a little odd.   I mean, I’m sure it’s normal for people to hit the pillows or squish the pilllows but I was pressing them against my side;  squeezing them between my knees; and hugging them to my very pregnant body all in hopes of determining which one would help me sleep.

You see, I’m getting big.

I can no longer sleep on my stomach.  I haven’t been able to lay on my left side since I pee’d on that stick--sleeping on my left side makes me throw up. As a result, my right hip is starting to get a little sore–especially considering I can’t lay flat.  I have to keep my upper body raised in order for gravity to help my Nexium-Zantac-Tums cocktail keep the contents of my stomach–well–in my stomach.

Making matters even more challenging, I have a horrible case of restless leg syndrome.  I honestly didn’t even know RLS was a thing until two pregnancies ago.  With Mary Kate and Logan I had minor boughts of the condition but unfortunately, this pregnancy has me playing world class soccer in my bed.  It takes hours to fall asleep.  And, once I do…I have to get up and go to the bathoom.

I’d love to report the pillows have helped, but I’m not sure they have.  As a result I am a walking zombie.

But…I’m not complaining.

Oh wait.


Yes I am.

And that’s okay.


This morning I watched Savannah Guthrie bid the world of network morning television a maternity leave adieu.  Apparently her little bun in the oven is about baked.  In celebration of her momentous occasion the Today Show had a gaggle of celebrities give her some last minute parenting advice in a clever little montage.  You can read it here.

The messages were sweet.  Some of them were even funny. Many of them shared one underlying theme.

Enjoy it. Love every second of it.  Parenting is an honor.  It’s a privelege.  It’s the best job you’ll ever have!”

I don’t know if it was my sleep-deprived, grumpy, ill-feeling-pregnant-self but all I could think of was, “What a bunch of bull sh*t.

The more I thought about the well-intentioned, sugary advice to “lap up every second” the madder I got.  You see, after being a parent for the past 20 years I’ve realized that some of the duties us mothers are called to–well–to be frank–kind of suck.

For instance, last Friday night Sean and I lugged all five of our kids to the shores of Lake Michigan for an evening picnic at the water’s edge.  Great plan in theory but damn if every single kid isn’t their own little variable.  Four of our five were agreeable but one would have nothing of it.  Suddenly, after a week of playing at the beach without incident, she didn’t like sand, water, sunscreen and the site of seagulls made her scream.  In addition, she protested that her bathing suit was ill-fitting, her sandals were too tight and she had a tummy ache.

Therefore she screamed…for a solid thirty minutes.

Being the savvy parents that Sean and I are we weren’t about to let a crabby two year old thwart our plans.  We sat her in a chair, set up camp, and ignored her display.  It was us against her and we were determined to prevail.  After all, the sunset was brilliant, the other four kids were playing happily, and we figured we could outlast the tantrum.  It was a battle of wills and come hell or high water we were going to win.

Until…we didn’t.

You see, turns out two year olds have weapons up there sleeves–and in their pants–that can beat down even the most resolute parents.

Remember that tummy ache?  The one I ignored.  Turns out there was some truth behind her complaints.

Drew was the first to recognize there was a problem.

Drew:  Mom…what’s with the flies all over her?

Me: Um…I don’t know.  Maybe they are mistaking her tantrum as a mating call.

Drew:  Um.  No.  I think there’s a problem.

Ryan:  Oh my God.  Look at her leg.

Me:  What?…running towards her…”Shit!

There in lies the problem.  Shit.  Shit everywhere.  Turns out my recently potty-trained no-diaper-wearing little girl decided to end this trip to the beach the only way she could.  She used the one weapon in her arsenal we couldn’t ignore.

And she won.

And it sucked.


This pregnancy is getting difficult.  At this point, I thankfully have no reason what-so-ever to be worried about the dangerous complications that I’ve experienced before.  So far, my blood pressure is stable and my body seems to be cooperating with it’s new inhabitant.  I’m grateful for that.  I really am.

But, here’s the thing,

Pregnancy is tough.  It alters a woman’s life in a way that forces her to sacrifice so much.  Discomforts that range from the minor to the major often plague women during the forty week gestational period.  Yet, and I can only speak for myself,  I always feel guilty complaining.  I feel like I should be thankful for this opportunity because so many women would give their left arm to be in my position.  My pregnancy is a miracle.  This little life I’m carrying is a blessing from God.

And just like those feelings, sometimes when I’m having a challenging parenting moment I catch myself thinking about how my life would be easier if I wasn’t a parent at all.

I know.

Can you believe I just admitted that?  Me.  The woman who went to the extreme of extremes to have this brood of children.

But I admit it.  There are moments where I wish I could beam myself to a parallel universe in which my current “challenge” (aka. “kid”)  didn’t exist.  For instance,  in the moment that I was wrapping my sh*t covered two year old in a beach towel and carrying her through the sand while she was kicking and screaming because suddenly she didn’t want to leave the beach–I wanted to be somewhere else.  In fact, I wanted to be someone else.  Anyone but this child’s mother.

Do I feel bad about that?  Maybe.  Kind of.  Not really.

Dare I say, “It’s normal”?


Look…I know it’s  not on trend to complain.  Gratitude:  Enjoying the small things:  Basking in the minutia of parenting;  well, it’s all  supposed to be the bomb.

Sometimes it is.


Some parenting moments suck.  Kids puke.  They destroy things.  They can make bad decisions that put parents in undesireable positions.  They can break hearts with their tongues and do things that make you feel like you’ve have failed.   And, damn if they don’t have a special knack for embarrassing you.

When those parenting moments happen it’s okay not to love every single second of it.

We need to quit telling each other to cherish every moment.  As well intentioned as the sentiment is–it can lead to feelings of inadequacy and guilt.  And those are feelings that mothers don’t need any more of.  I’m pretty sure most of us walk around every day worrying that we aren’t doing a good enough job and feeling guilty about it.


Considering my Y-list celebrity status I’m not at all surprised the producers from the Today Show didn’t invite me to participate in the advice laden montage for Savannah.  But, if they had, this is what I would’ve said,

“On most days you’re going to love being a mother.  But there will be days where you don’t; and that’s okay.  They pass.   But for the love of God don’t feel bad for not loving every single second of motherhood.  Oh…and don’t ignore complaints about stomach aches.  They often result in sh*t.”


We were visiting my parent’s last week.  They live on the shores of southern Lake Michigan.  Here are a few snap shots of the parenting moments I actually did love.



On the lawn of my parent's yacht club.

On the lawn of my parent’s yacht club.

Lawn bowling.  She's kind of dangerous.

Lawn bowling. She’s kind of dangerous.

Cousin mayhem.

Cousin mayhem.

Burning off some steam.

Burning off some steam.

Uncle love.

Uncle love.

Cuddle time.

Cuddle time.

Uninhibited smiles.

Uninhibited smiles.

“Stop Worrying about It. It’s Done. I Survived” A Worthwhile Piece of Advice

AUTHOR: | POSTED: 02/18/14 1:57 PM
CATEGORIES: 1015 The River, Blog, Blogging Honestly, Food on the Fly, Glass City Parent, perspective, Recipes, Resilience, thankful

Yesterday held a mixed bag for me.  It was a planned day off from school and in attempt to do something outside the four walls of our home I schlepped the kids to the other end of town with the promise of some fun at a Lego play center.   After a forgotten purse, a trip back home and then back to Lego land Reagan vomited on the sidewalk right as we were getting out of the car.  She was car sick because  I had dressed her too warmly and should’ve adjusted her clothing when the 15 mile ride became a 45 mile trek.

All my fault!

The entire episode got me thinking about all the times in my almost twenty years of parenting that I’d screwed up.  I’ve forgotten to sign permission slips and packed my kids the crappiest of lunches because I had nothing of substance in the cupboards.  Once I lost seven year old Drew in the Orlando airport, and when the boys were three and five I thought they had lice and shaved their heads only to learn the next day they had dandruff.  When Drew was an infant he fell off the couch twice because I didn’t know he could roll over.

TWICE!  Apparently I had no idea how it happened the first time.

Honestly, I could go on and on about how, due to my preoccupation, absent-mindedness or just plain stupidity, I’ve put my kids in less than optimal situations.

Not too long ago I was lamenting to Drew about losing him in the airport.

Me:  Do you remember it?

Drew:  Yes.  I got on the tram before you and you turned around and the doors shut and off I went.

Me:  Do you remember what you thought when that happened?

Drew:  Um.  Yes.  I figured I’d get off at baggage claim and wait for you.  It wasn’t rocket science, Mom.  I was fine.

We went on to talk about some of the other mom fails that are so deeply embedded in my memory.    He laughed off the crappy lunches because apparently he traded most of it away.  He has no memory of having a shaved head and was just glad to know that he never had lice as a child.  He does remember me tripping him with my purse strap as he left our church pew to take up the gifts during his first communion mass but apparently it didn’t scar him…although he’s never taken up the gifts again.  And, he thinks that maybe his two falls off the couch as an infant are the reason he can’t do a back dive.

In the end his general consensus was  “No harm, no foul.  Now stop worrying about it.  It’s done.  I survived.“.


Ever since the moment I found out I was pregnant with Logan I’ve thought about how badly my fertility doctor felt about what had happened.  Devastated doesn’t even seem to capture my doctor’s emotional state on that first evening.  I remember the immediate days after finding out about my mistaken pregnancy and worrying about the professionals responsible.  I knew there had been no malice.  No one had done this to me on purpose.   I also knew that they hadn’t gone into their professions to cause this kind of emotional strife.  They wanted to help families—not hurt them—yet there we all stood.

It was an awful mess.

Five years have since passed and although I’ll probably never say, “no harm, no foul” about what happened, I’ve learned a little something about forgiveness  from my kids.  Although my parenting misteps have probably–at times–negatively impacted the trajectory of their days, they are resourceful little souls who take life as it comes. They move forward as best they can dealing with the deck they’ve been dealt.

Stop worrying about it. It’s done.  I survived.


When I put Reagan to bed last night I gave her some extra back-scratch cuddle time trying to ease my guilt from earlier in the day.  For some reason God has been so good to me by allowing me to parent my five children.  I often don’t even know how to articulate how grateful I am for my life, and when I screw it up I get so down on myself because I want to be worthy of being the person my family deserves.  I’m guessing a lot of mothers feel this way at times.  That’s when I think it’s imperative to realize that the only thing we can do after a screw-up is vow to learn from the mistake and do our best to never to let it happen again.  I communicated that message to a fertility doctor a few years back.   It’s probably time I took my own advice to heart.

Stop worrying about it.  It’s done.  They survived.

Now onward.


A few pics from our weekend…

Bedtime sister silliness

Bedtime sister silliness


Sister love

Sister love

"Doin hair, Mom."

“Doin hair, Mom.”

Taking turns, "doin hair."

Taking turns, “doin hair.”


Sacked out.

Sacked out.


It was Valerie's birthday this past week.  Valerie is our the Savage family life-saver.  She watches the girls so I can actually get some stuff done without neglecting them!  She is a true blessing in our lives!

It was Valerie’s birthday this past week. Valerie is our the Savage family life-saver. She watches the girls so I can actually get some stuff done without neglecting them! She is a true blessing in our lives!


For the recipe we talked about on Wednesday’s 101.5 The River Segment please see this blog post!

Why Life Should Come with Warning Labels

AUTHOR: | POSTED: 02/4/14 6:32 PM
CATEGORIES: 1015 The River, Authentic Life, Blog, Blogging Honestly, Glass City Parent

I finished a book last week.

That, my friends, is a small miracle because time to read around here is scant.  But, as luck would have it, my sweet husband surprised me this past Christmas with a 48 hour get away from our kids which made way for some light reading.  Except this was far from light reading…for me anyways.

I’ve decided that certain things in life should come with customized warnings—private heads up messages that are specific to each of us and the baggage we carry.

For instance, in December 2006 Sean and I innocently took the boys to the movie, Santa Claus 2.  We’d seen the first one and loved it, so when the sequel came out we couldn’t get our sons to the theater fast enough.  I remember readying the boys with popcorn and smuggled candy and being excited as the lights went down.  Movies always provide such an escape from reality and after having just suffered an early second trimester miscarriage after our first IVF (and after nine years of trying to get pregnant) I needed a reprieve from my grief.  A comedic Christmas movie was just what the doctor ordered…until we realized the premise of the movie was that Mrs. Claus was pregnant, and Tim Allen (aka Santa) had to do some fancy maneuvering to save Christmas and bring his new baby into the world without unfortunate incident.  I’ll never forget Sean looking at me—in horror— as the plot started to unfold.  He didn’t need to apologize for taking me to a movie about a pregnant woman, but he did…about every five minutes during the movie.

Yup…could’ve used a special warning for that.  It would’ve read, “This is a great family movie…UNLESS …You’ve been suffereing from secondary infertility for nine years, have suffered three miscarriages, just paid for your first IVF and gotten a positive pregnancy test only to have the rug pulled out from under you when you discovered your baby had no heartbeat at a routine 14 week ultrasound.  IF that just happened…avoid this movie.

Turns out I could’ve used a warning for the book I decided to read for our get away as well.

Warning…Spolier Alert… If you have plans to read, “The Light Between Oceans” by M.L. Stedman stop reading now.  I’m about to blow the entire plot for you.

“The Light Between Oceans” in a nutshell, is about a woman, Isabel,  who has suffered two miscarriages and one stillbirth.  While consumed in grief she finds an orphaned baby girl.  Having good reason to believe the child has no surviving family, she decides to claim the child as her own (she convinces her husband to go along with her plan) and they allow their family and friends to think the baby is actually their biological child.  Fast forward two years when they learn their daughter  actually has a mother who is devastated over the loss.  One thing leads to another and when the little girl is four years old the jig is up, and the child is returned to her rightful family.

Excellent plot for a book?  You bet.  One that should come with a special warning label for me?

Hell yes…and it would read, “Compelling and beautifully crafted must-read novel.  UNLESS…After years of infertility and pregnancy loss you accidentally get pregnant with the wrong baby after a fertility lab screw up, and because you’re a mom you decide to protect the pregnancy and reunite your unborn child with his/her rightful family upon delivery even though every ounce of your being falls in love with your unborn child leaving you with all kinds of pride in what you did but also haunting you with what-ifs from sunrise until sunset for the rest of your life.  If that has happened to you…you probably shouldn’t read this book.” 


I know.  Kind of long for a warning label but what are the odds that this author would write a book that scratched at so many of my peronal and slow-to-heal wounds?  While I was reading it I was mentally screaming, “This book is titled, ‘The Light Between Oceans’ dammit.  It’s supposed to be about lighthouses and oceans and ships getting lost…and oceans.  What the hell?!”

When Isabel finally lost her daughter and lived out the rest of her life without so much as a mere conversation with the child, I sobbed.  Big, wet, crocodile tears of fear and loss…all while sitting at a swanky pool in South Beach.

Thank goodness for sunglasses.

I don’t  think a piece of literature has ever frustrated me more.  Why?  Well, it seemed to me that both of the mothers were so wrapped up in their own grief over what they’d lost that they couldn’t see the solution that was obvious to me.

Love this child enough to share her.

Have enough compassion for one another’s pain and share her.

Suppress your personal need to restore what you feel you’ve been cheated out of and share her.

You both can love her.

She can love both of you.

Sharing the child would’ve been such a gift.  Both mothers could’ve learned to accept and appreciate each other’s roles in the life of their daughter.  And their daughter would have been given a great gift.  The love of one mother is powerful, but the love of two mothers?  Well…a child loved by two mothers would be beyond lucky.  Right?

But it didn’t happen.  Doors were shut, walls were bricked and one mother was sentenced to a lifetime of worrying, wondering and being haunted by what-ifs.

Did I mention I was sobbing poolside after finishing this book?

It seemed that the author wanted to write a book where the reader couldn’t have it both ways.  One mother’s happy ending was the other’s life sentence.  That made me sad because every day I’m fighting for a happy ending, and I know I’m making progress.  Long gone are the days of waking up to the sucker punch of my personal reality.  I get out of bed happy now.  And each night when I teeter at the edge of consiousness I don’t find myself begging for the impossible.  I haven’t bargained with God to get my baby back in a very long time.

That’s progress.

But it would be dishonest of me to say that my thoughts aren’t still occasionally riddled with “what ifs” and “why nots“?  It’s the “why nots‘ that still trouble me the most.

All of us have stories that are unique.  Some have faced challenges.  Others have experienced loss that would slay most of us in seconds. After reading Stedman’s book I feel even more compelled to try and craft a way for everyone in my story to win.  I truly want it both ways.  I hope I figure it out…one way or another.

In the meantime, warning labels would be much appreciated.


From our weekend…


It was cloudy when we arrived on Thursday afternoon...but it was 68 degrees.  No problem.

It was cloudy when we arrived on Thursday afternoon…but it was 68 degrees. No problem.

These throw pillows were on our bed in our hotel room.  Perfection.

These throw pillows were on our bed in our hotel room. Perfection.

Leaving on Saturday afternoon.  Quick trip...stellar results.

Leaving on Saturday afternoon. Quick trip…stellar results.

Most of us are about to get pummeled with another crazy snowstorm tonight and tomorrow.  Stay safe, friends.  Stay safe.






A Setback and A Reboot

AUTHOR: | POSTED: 01/13/14 8:55 PM
CATEGORIES: Authentic Life, Blog, Blogging Honestly, Choices, Constructive Criticism, Holidays

When the alarm went off this morning it might as well have been a code red alert buzzing at 1000 decibels through headphones buried in the deepest part of my ear drums.  After knocking my alarm clock to the floor and clearing my eyes from what seemed like a very long winter’s nap  (Let’s be honest…when you haven’t put pants on for seven days waking up at 6 am feels more like 4 am) I went about waking our sleeping home from the equivalent of a monster, snow-dazed hangover.

It was dark, cold and just a little bit ugly.

Going back to school after Christmas vacation always is, but after a bonus week of pajama time due to the polar vortex this morning was just a tiny bit uglier than normal.  Regardless of the fact that every single person in our house wanted to crawl back under the covers we rebooted.

It’s time to get our new year on!

For me that means getting back to the routine of writing here.  I realize I haven’t been the most consistent read over the past few months.  I’ve thought a lot about the  reason behind my absence and as most things are in life…it’s a little bit complicated.  Of course, like you, I was busy with the holidays and my family.  But my recent apathy was about more than time being in short supply.  I actually kind of walked away from this space because I experienced a bit of a blow this past fall that had everything to do my writing and ultimately had me questioning whether what I do here is worthwhile.

It all started when I approached a “big time” blogger about writing a guest post for her online space.  It was a shot in the dark for me but given that this blogger had advertised she’d be taking a trip around the end of September, I figured she might be interested in a guest post to help her fill in the gaps that always happen when writing routines are disrupted.  So, I held my breath, contacted the blogger and pitched a post.  A special post.  A post about Logan’s fourth birthday.  I was elated when she replied within minutes of receiving my email.  The guest post was on!

Cool.  Or maybe not.

In retrospect I’m not sure why I thought guest blogging that post was a good idea.   Traditionally I write my recap of “lessons learned” since Logan’s birthday here.  In my own little corner of the blogosphere.  After all, Logan is the reason this place exists and a huge part of the reason I keep it up.  You see, there’s purpose behind all the funny anecdotes, family recipes and other random posts that litter this blog.  Of course, I do like sharing with my friends here, but my ulterior motive has everything to do with creating a public footprint about who our family is.  I figure some day he might want to know more about us and if, for some reason, I’m not able to fill in the gaps this place will be here to teach him about who I am.  (The good, the bad and the ugly included.)

So why on Earth would I outsource a post as important as his fourth birthday recap?

I’ve been asking myself this question since the middle of October when it became apparent the blogger I sent it to wasn’t keen on sharing it with her readers.  At first I was all, “Oh…she’s so busy.  She’ll get around to it.  She knows how important this is.  She said so.”  And those thoughts were always paired with justifications about how sharing such an important piece of my journey with a wider readership was better than sharing it here.  If more people read it than it does more good…and makes everything I’ve been through more worthwhile.  Right?

As time passed with no publishing my earlier dismissals for the radio silence started to fade.  The blogger in question had only communicated that she was “looking for a good time to publish it” when I inquired but, as things work in my brain, I  started to concoct worst case scenarios about why the piece had been shelved.

Maybe my writing was horrible or my message wasn’t authentic enough.  Perhaps she found the piece overly emotional or maybe she thought I came off as unrelatable.  After all, the whole pregnant with the wrong baby experience is unique.  

As October became Novemember and November bled into December the entire ordeal had me second-guessing this blog.  If this blogger, who I admire, thought I wasn’t good enough maybe she was right.  Perhaps it would be best to just walk away from this space.

Time to take inventory of what I’m doing here.

Of course, this wasn’t the first time I’ve experienced an opportunity turning into a disappointment.  I’ve had my share of false starts and unexpected turns towards self doubt.  What I’ve learned over the years is that as uncomfortable as these discouraging moments are, they can serve an important purpose.  Without rejection and failure I’d probably never engage in self introspection because looking at myself honestly is never fun.

Most days I prefer the shiny veneers of success and at-a-girls.

But life’s setbacks provide me with opportunities to reconnect with my motives.  It’s up to me to do the unpleasant work of checking myself.  Hopefully by doing so I can move forward in a direction rooted in purpose.

I wish I could report that I’ve overcome the sting of being rejected by someone I greatly admire.  I haven’t.  Regardless, I’ve decided to reboot this space.   I’m not giving up on why I share here.  It’s important.  I’m sure of it.



A few pics of our Christmas holiday…

Reagan on Christmas Day

Reagan on Christmas Day



Savage Cousins, Christmas Eve

Savage Cousins, Christmas Eve


Lights at the Toledo Zoo

Lights at the Toledo Zoo


Christmas Morning

Christmas Morning


My girls

My girls

Finding The Smiles While in A Funk

AUTHOR: | POSTED: 10/7/13 10:11 AM
CATEGORIES: Authentic Life, Blog, Blogging Honestly, Choices, Focusing on The Joy, Home Projects, perspective, Resilience, twins

I’m in a bit of a funk right now.

I have no good reason to be but I actually think that’s what a “funk” is.  Feeling “blah” but having no reason to feel “blah”.  Knowing that a funk is temporary I usually just muddle through while looking for a way out.  The way out always comes from inspiration—or a good old slap upside the head in the form of a reminder as to why I have no good reason to be down. Then again…could be hormones.  I think mine are starting to change.

My poor husband.

One method of funk extraction I always try is cleaning and organizing.  I’ve written before about the positive impact a clean and organized cupboard can have on my mood.  The problem is I started in the basement which got me wondering if we may be hoarders.  Then, as every project goes, one thing leads to another and suddenly I’m overwhelmed—and annoyed—by the amount of organizing that needs to be done.  At that point I have two choices.  I can lower my head and barge through it…or I can quit.

I’m still deciding which way to proceed.

In the midst of my funk there were a few smiles…

First Smile –  College Roomie Visit

Last Tuesday my college roommate visited with her five year old daughter.  Amy and I met in 1987 during freshman orientation at Miami University.  We immediately hit it off and decided to room together.  Little did we know we’d live together all four years.  Twenty-five years later we both have five kids.  Her youngest is the same age as MK and as luck would have it…they love each other almost as much as Amy and I.


Swimming on October 1st is not normal in northwest Ohio. But…we’ll take it!



Second Smile –  A Reunion

Drew ran at the University of Notre Dame this past Friday.  It was his fourth meet for the Bobcats and seeing as how South Bend is only two hours from home, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take the girls to see their big brother.  It was their first visit since he left in August.  There is no doubt they are  his biggest fans!

The start...

The start…



Third Smile –  A Pumpkin Farm

After we waved goodbye to Drew we headed to my parent’s home in Michigan for the night.  The next day brought us to a fall festival for the girls with their grandparents.  It was a special trip because they got to go with Grandma and Papa.



Wondering how Reagan got in that pumpkin?

Wondering how Reagan got in that pumpkin?


It’s always interesting to me that a funk can have windows of smiles.  I remember a time in my life where my funk was more serious because the smiles didn’t come.  I think by remembering the difficult year that was 2010 I can keep my latest blah mood in check.

I’m so grateful for perspective.

Now…if you’ll excuse me I have a freezer to defrost and a refrigerator to clean.  God knows it’s the “cupboard” in my house that I open the most so I figure if I spiffy them up I’m sure to be giddy.

It’s the simple things sometimes…

Isn’t it?


Would love to know how you pull yourself out of a funk?   I need a new strategy.  Cleaning and organizing is getting old.