Monday, October 31, 2011

The Loot

Every year since we have moved here we've gone to All Hallows Eve at the Grotto nearby. They have a beautiful set up. All the kids come in costume as their favorite saints and then they set up trick or treating along the pathways for the kids to go and snatch up every goodie possible. Don't kid yourself either- just because they look like little angels ( or saints) doesn't mean they didn't act like greedy little urchins!

Here is what the day looked like for us:

Sunday, October 30, 2011

My Favorite Sesame Street Episode

This is my 'favoritest' Sesame Street episode ever.

 I'm not totally sure why I have always liked it so much, but I take it as a good sign that Fred likes it just as much as I do. I think it may be a subtle reminder to me of how I have felt every time I have held one of my newborn children and "tried to figure them out". It happens again with the toddlers, and the adolescents, and the teenagers. There have been plenty of times I was certain what I was encountering was a 'chicken' only to discover what I thought they were didn't matter at all. It was once claimed that England and America were two countries divided by a common language- of course I think that probably holds true for all of humanity; and is especially recognizable in families with a few generations going  at once.

Try as we may- alien encounters are all too common.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Hidden Treasures

The snow is here. I won't bother complaining about it any longer as it won't make it melt any faster. I decided instead to post some positives I had forgotten come from the cold, wet, weather that forces you indoors.

#1 We all pitched in and cleaned the house this morning so we could relax for the rest of the time we had to spend in it today ( and tomorrow).

#2 Thousand piece puzzles are already being put to good use. Fred and I managed to sneak in a game of Scrabble this afternoon while the girlies were napping.

#3 A big pot of stew cooked on the stove all day. My neighbors dropped off a loaf of homemade bread earlier in the day that went perfectly with it, and I also had some cheddar and brie to serve up along side it with crackers. Talk about comfort food.

#4 All events were cancelled for my kids.( Boo) We had a birthday party for Matthew to head to, and a homecoming dance for the older boys. I did not want to worry about any of my kids on the road today, now I KNOW they'll be safe. As sad as it was for the events to be cancelled they were all rescheduled for dates we can make! Yay!

#5 Lastly, I saw Freddy relax for the whole day today. We snuck out to noon mass together before it got too slippery, and then we had a really leisurely afternoon. It was good to see Fred sitting still for a while. He has way too much energy generally speaking.

(We also happened to have put new tires on the car this week and our HVAC was finished being installed yesterday, so when the snow hit we could actually turn on the heat! That should be #6 and #7 but I like round numbers so I stuck them in at the end.)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Really? Snow?

Somebody needs to have a conference call with Mother Nature. I don't know about you, but I am simply not ready for SNOW. I have been congratulating myself on switching to Fall clothes just a few weeks ago ( and right in time I might add, my timing remains impeccable!). I certainly am not going to start pulling out snowsuits and winter coats no matter what kind of weather we are having outside currently. I am telling you if you give this storm an inch it will take a mile. DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES TAKE OUT YOUR WINTER CLOTHING! Th weather gods will take advantage of you if you do. 

We must stand in solidarity on this one and shiver through it for a few days if we are ever to win our rights! I have decided that the  earliest I will allow my children to wear Winter coats or boots is going to be the first week of December. Hopefully this will send a clear signal to those vindictive gods and let them know I am not to be toyed with. Someone has to stand up for the mere mortals around here. 

What say you?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Dangerous Friendships

Proverbs 13;20 He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companions of fools will suffer harm.

My Mom and dad told me to be careful of my friendships when I was younger. The old adage "Show me your friends and I'll tell you who you are" has always rung true. Truly our friends are a big influence on us. Some more than others. 

I have finally decided  that my dear little friend Christine is a dangerous friend to have. She has exerted a subtle but alarmingly strong influence on me and my family that only seems to be growing stronger. 

Take today for a prime example. Christine has been asking me to come over to see her new chicks for a week now ( and planning it for much longer) and to 'bring all the kids along!' We finally arranged for today. I kept the plans secret for as long as possible from the children because they would have whined and bugged me for way too long had I not. Fred pulled up while I was pulling out of the driveway and when he heard where we were heading, he asked if he could come along. (Fred has had a soft spot for Christine since we went to the 'town fun day' and when he spotted the old race cars- she was over by them before even he could get there asking question and saying things like 'swwwweeeeeet' in a high pitched voice). 

So our whole clan showed up at Christine's to be welcomed to the smell of chocolate chip pumpkin cookies. Then she showed my kids the chicks. Oh my goodness- they went crazy! It was so cute watching them hold and cuddle with all those little balls of fluff! She even let the kids feed them yogurt off their fingers ( good for baby chicks digestive systems). When we had to pack them in the car the wailing and gnashing of teeth commenced.

On the way home Michael asked when Spring was. I told him around his birthday. He followed up by saying "Mom, guess what?" 
"What Mike?"
"For my birthday I am getting a whole BOX of chickens!"

Oh the danger of some friendships!

( psst- you can read more about Christine and her chicken adventures by clicking right here!)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Quarter One

This is all the papers, grading, and report cards for our first quarter. It is going in the mail tomorrow morning. It encompasses grades Kindergarten, first, third, fourth, sixth, ninth,and 2 seniors. I am so glad we are 25% done!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Apple Cider Vinegar Challenge

Since we are working very hard on our health these days, I have been doing some research on 'natural' cures and potions for 'wellness'.What a strange word, huh? My friend Christine has got me hooked on cod liver oil ( pill form thank you) and I am already a vitamin junkie. BUT, I finally decided I was going to try taking Apple Cider Vinegar as there are just TOO many things written about it for it not to be good for something.

Fred took me to the Common Market on Sunday. This is a heath food store. I don't think Fred has ever been in one. It was actually quite entertaining to watch him encounter such a different world. As we entered the store a man with dreadlocks to his knees greeted us and Fred looked like he suddenly found himself on an parallel universe from one of our sci-fi movies.

Fred decided most of the items on the shelf were not edible despite the fact that people were lining up to buy these products. In any case we found what we needed and proceeded to the check out where we were asked if we wanted a small bag for our purchases. We had several items and it would have been totally awkward to NOT have a bag so we had to say yes, but Fred said it took all he had to keep from saying to the cashier "yes but do you have any plastic ones back there somewhere?"

We also had to pick up the dreaded diapers so we headed from there to Wal-Mart where we entered another universe we both despise. I do occasionally stop at Wal-Mart now-a-days but I just don't like the whole generic experience.It may be the best fortress for the Zombie Apocalypse but for every day life it gets old quick. I just know lurking behind every shelf is some exploitation I can't put my finger on. In any case it was quite an experience to view these 2 worlds in such close proximity. If there had been a cashier I am sure Fred would have asked for a bio-degradable bag but we opted for the self checkout.  I would have liked to spend more time at Common Market but well- I love my husband.

So Fred has thrown down the gauntlet for me with sit-ups saying he was certain I could not do 20 and he bet me 20 bucks on it, ( which I gladly took BTW). So now I have added them to my work out for the next 3 weeks. In return I challenged him to drink 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar daily in 8 oz. of water daily for a month to see if it did SOMETHING, ANYTHING for our health. He has agreed. I think its much harder to drink ACV than to do 20 sit-ups. (Don't  even bother trying to decide if I am correct until you've had a glass.)

Some of my boys have also decided to join us in the ACV trial. Tonight when we got back from the gym Matt and Joe were in the midst of a bet on who could actually drink any of it. Joe won. (Matt puked. ) I'll let you know how the elixir of life goes shortly. Have any of you heard the benefits of ACV yourselves? Tell me what its good for if you don't mind!

Monday, October 24, 2011

New Goals

OK. Today is the day of reckoning for me. Officially 6 weeks have passed since I started exercise and diet. I have officially lost 10 pounds and hit every one of my goals! I am now within 8 pounds of what I weighed when I got married, and I never-ever-ever- thought I'd see that again. 

I am super happy and I also feel great. I have decided to set a new 3 week target goal. I am still running a couple of miles every day, but I am also adding in weight lifting machines to help tone and strengthen, and then some core work. I started tonight. I gotta tell you those 20 sit-ups H-U-R-T!!! I  also think I hate the work out/weight lifting machines which I had to set each one on the wimpy "1" setting but  its a start. I have no upper body strength what-so-ever. I hope it grows on me but if not, its only 3 weeks. I can do anything for 3 weeks. 

Thanks for all your encouragement! 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

When the Strong Suffer

It was an unusual weekend for me. Beyond all the regular 'surfacey' comings and goings of our household, there was some difficult news filtering in as well. There was news of loss and suffering coming at us from several directions, and all in very sad an unexpected conditions- a father, a brother, a baby. Primary relationships deeply attached to the recesses of the  heart.

What is more difficult  to see, is that these people whom I love and who are now suffering are all very strong individuals. Unusually strong in my opinion. And for all those around them (myself included) this somehow makes it harder to bear. The difficulty comes in in a strange way. These unusually strong folks around us, offer us all a glimpse into the real meaning of life questions. They are the ones who we turn to when we are down and out, are confused or feeling a bit lost, or are just having a bad day; and their clear insights and gentle wisdom often lifts us up out of our little pits and back into the sunshine. They smile softly and steady our hearts and somehow they are able to reach into the darkness and reassure us that all will somehow be well. 

So, when ones of these 'strong ones' suffers a blow we  struggle to find the words and deeds to lift up the soul that has  so often lifted us up. Our faith seems to shrink by comparison and words elude us. We wonder if they need the same things we need, or if the comforts that work for us in our difficulties, will be of any value at all to them?  I wish I had some perfect answers of how to solve this problem. I can simply tell you that when strong people suffer- they still need a hug- they want to know we care- they need to talk- they need to be listened to- they need to feel loved-they need to know they are not alone-and if all else fails chocolate cake helps every heart.

For all you strong ones who are suffering right now, ( and you know who you are):

 I love you,
 I am  praying for you,
 and most importantly I am here if and when you need me! 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Costume Ballroom

We had some friends over for dinner last night. Andrew started a big discussion on going to ballroom tonight, as it was also a costume party. He has been thinking about this for weeks. In the midst of the party he asked a few people how hard it would be for him to make a costume instead of buying one. Everyone pretty much suggested the same thing I did- just buy one Andrew- it is way more work than you realize.It is just too late in the day. Andrew remained stubbornly undeterred. 

You would think I would get used to this quality after 17 years, but it still catches me off guard. I wonder so often what will become of Andrew and then he does something that completely surprises me and reminds me I am merely a guardian of his destiny and not the final arbiter. As the night was ending Andrew asked if he could run to the store to pick up a few things with his brothers. I agreed. About 10 pm he came back and started asking more questions about making a costume. I told him he should have done this much earlier and there was simply "NO WAY" he could accomplish what he wanted at this point in time. While Fred and I were unwinding for the evening, he came up carrying a box. Inside was our sewing machine. He then asked me if I could help him set it up. I once again told him he was in over his head. Being who he is, he turned to his father. Fred very adamantly insisted I was right.

Andrew turned and asked me one more time if I would just show him how to thread the machine. I was suddenly transported back in time to the age of 17 when I asked my mother if she would buy me some material so I could make a dress. She reacted the exact same way I had tonight. I stubbornly did it anyway. It did not and would not have stopped me from trying. It is not in my nature to give up once I get an idea in my head. (Apparently Andrew has some of my qualities.)Once I had this epiphany I walked to the sewing machine and explained to Andrew it took a lot to thread it and that Fred could probably figure out the mechanics of winding a bobbin for us both. Reluctantly we both did our small part and then stepped back.

As you would expect Peter and JP and Matty all did their best to razz Andrew asking if he wanted to join a sewing circle. Andrew, very good naturedly laughed along with them and kept on stitching. It did not even phase him slightly. This morning he woke up and started in again. By this morning all my biases and negativity had passed. I watched Andrew who has never had a sewing lesson in his life use a machine as if he had been doing so his entire life ( Apparently he also has some of Fred's qualities). At one point I asked him matter-of-factly, how he knew to turn the pieces  inside out in order to get a good seam? He told me when we lived in Vermont ( he was 8 at the time) a neighbor had told him that when she knit socks she always did it inside out so the seams wouldn't show- he figured that must apply 'to all clothes making' as it made more sense to him that way. By the end of today he had sewn an entire costume. 

He had called on our friend  Nia who had been at dinner last night to ask advice about some of the design details, she also had told him when he initially asked that "sewing machines are not magic- you can't put in fabric and get out a costume!" Today when she came down to help, she too stood watching him a bit awe-struck and finally said "Andrew sewing machines are not magic, but you Andrew, you are magic!" and I felt the exact same way. It may not have been perfect, but it was far better then anything I could ever have done with or without a machine. It was so cool to watch Andrew take a machine he had never used before and know HOW to use it so instinctively. I hope he and his brothers have fun tonight. I know it is a night I won't personally forget for a very long time.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

In Case You're Wondering

My Mother always said when she was raising her family that as soon as anyone found out she had 12 children the next question they would ask was how she fed them all. (Unfortunately y Mom was not the best cook- but that has little to do with this posting.) I have to agree with her that it is pretty much the number one thing people ask me about now that I have ten "Gosh what do all you eat?" And then they always seem to follow that logic up with the guess that we subsist on pasta. Go figure. In fact my kids would barely touch pasta for the first ten years we were married until I insisted they try it and get used to it occasionally. Unlike my Mom, I actually enjoy cooking. I have also taught my oldest boys to cook. Andrew hates it but can make handle all forms of breakfast quite well plus a few other handy dishes to get by, Peter and John Paul are great in the kitchen and make dinner often, and Matthew is coming along beautifully too and has fun cooking.

So tonight I figured I would interrupt my normal posts to bring you my weekly grocery list just in case you are still wondering what a family of a dozen people puts in their mouths 7 days a week. The list leaves out meat which I buy half a cow at a time and put in my freezer along with about 20 roaster chickens and pork when it is on sale. It does change a bit according to the season, but this is an accurate view.

Weekly List
2 bunches of bananas
1 bag of apples
1 bag oranges
3 heads of lettuce ( romaine generally)
1 bag carrots
1 bag onions
1 bag potatoes ( 10 pounds)
1 wedge of cheddar cheese
2 wedges mozzarella cheese
1 bag of shredded cheese
3 frozen pizza
1 bag chicken nuggets
20 bean and cheese/beef and bean burritos
2 packages frozen french fries
1 hummus
1 container fresh mushrooms
3 tomatoes
6 boxes of cereal
1 container of oatmeal
1 package of pop-tarts
1 cucumber
4 bags of potatoes chips
1 bag of pretzels
2 boxes shells and cheese
7 containers of fruit juice ( apple, grape, orange)
5 lbs pasta
3 jars pasta sauce ( red)
1 bag mini marshmallows
1 jar peanut butter
4 cans veggies ( corn, peas, carrots)
1 dish soap
1 bag pecans ( nuts)
2 pounds butter
2 dozen eggs
8 gallons of milk
1 package cream cheese
one bag of bagels
2 packages frozen sausages
3 cans vienna sausages
5 gallons ice cream
2 rolls paper towels
1 4 pack of toilet tissue
4 boxes of cookies
2 boxes brownie mix
blueberry muffins
4 loaves white bread
1 pack hot dog buns
1 pack hot dogs
3 boxes of crackers ( all kinds)
1 box animal crackers
3 cans of soup
32 ounces of vanilla yogurt
1 pineapple
2 boxes quick bread
1 English muffins
1 box of garbage bags
1 aluminum foil
1 zip lock freezer bags
1 pancake syrup
1 pancake mix
1 cooking spray
3 bags broccoli ( frozen)
1 bag green beans ( frozen)
1 container ham
1 container turkey
1 ketchup

Obviously this doesn't cover all the items in my pantry but it is an accurate portrayal of our weekly food purchases.We fill up 2 carts. Fred makes one breakfast on weekends, the other days its cereal or oatmeal, though the older boys make pancakes for the little ones once or twice a week. Lunch is always sandwiches  or cheese and crackers . We do all love to eat chips.  I cook chicken  twice a week ( one roaster the other meal  breasts or tenders) We go through about 6 pounds of ground beef a week ( meatballs/shepherds pie), one small ham, one night of leftovers and generally Fridays are meatless. I make bread fresh twice a week for dinner ( but I am avoiding it while I am dieting...sorry kiddos!) I like salad and make a big one most nights, otherwise the kids will eat broccoli, corn carrots, and peas. Thomas is almost completely vegan but we're trying to get him to eat a bit better and it seems to finally be working. My weekly grocery bill for feeding all 12 of us............. 215.00 ( that is an average but it is really close as I only bring the money I can spend with me to keep me from zoning out!)

Its not really glamorous, but its what we eat. Hope that lays all those concerns to rest!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Where the Wild Things Are

No, I am not referring to my children in the title of this post. I am really sad to hear about the guy in Ohio who had a whole mess of exotic animals on his property and went a little 'wild' himself. Apparently, he opened all their cages and then shot himself.

Not only was school cancelled for local kiddies, but most of the townies were locked in their homes while police and rescue workers hunted down ( and killed) most of the exotic pets. That seems like a real shame to me. They used tranquilizers where they could, but apparently most of the animals were shot anyway. I never really understood why private citizens would want to to 'keep' exotic animals. The risks seems kind of high to me.
Lions and Tigers and Bears Oh My!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

More Confession Embarrassments

You may remember that I don't have a lot of luck when it comes to the sacrament of confession. On this past Saturday, after mass I figured I could sneak in without too much trouble. I asked the priest outside of church if he had the time. To be honest Father seems like he may not be in the best of health, not quite sure what is wrong but he just doesn't look well. So when he smiled and answered me "yes just go wait inside the church and I'll be there in a minute." I obediently walked into the building and knelt down to examine my conscience.

After a couple of minutes I felt Fred tapping me on the shoulder. "Pssst!" What are you doing? he asked me. I told him I was waiting for father so I could go to confession. "Oh." and Fred disappeared back outside. Another minute later and Fred was tapping me again. "What???" I asked. "Do you realize Father is waiting for you outside- he's sitting on the wall out there???" I was surprised but told Fred "Look he told me to wait for him in here, so I'm waiting." Fred left again annoyed.

After another minute I started thinking about Fathers health and didn't want to make him walk too far unnecessarily. So I  second guessed myself and decided Fred must be right ( because he is ALWAYS right isn't he???) And so I cautiously walked outside and approached father. "Father, did you mean I should come out here for confession?" The response "NO, I told you to wait inside, please just give me a minute!"

(Cue sinking feeling)
I felt like a total jerk.

Now I found myself slinking back into the pew while I waited and wondering if I should just make a break for it right then. Too late he had already opened the door. "Its a good thing I believe its really Jesus forgiving me" I said to myself. And then proceeded to go through all the steps of a good confession. When I got to the end Father told me I made a good confession and told me I should pray for patience. Of course- I didn't confess impatience ( at least not this time)  so I think we all know where he got that idea. It was all I could do to not blurt out:
 "forget the impatience father I'm about to go kill my husband."

But I didn't. I just said "Thank you" and walked away mortified- again. But I guess that's sort of the point isn't it? I just always seem to get there through a back door.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Back to the Grindstone

We began our second quarter this morning. I was kind of glad to get back to the routine. I actually really WANTED a vacation, but it wound up being way more work to be 'off' this week than my normal weeks 'on' are. Oh well. We are learning and that makes me happy. The kids are showing improvements in many areas and that is an awesome feeling for me. Soon enough we'll hit All Saints Day festivities and then Thanksgiving is around the corner. From there second quarter is smooth sailing onto Christmas time, so it shouldn't be too bad ( just a little busy).

At least I am not suffering as badly as my friend Alexis is. She decided to go to Jamaica
( without her kids!) during her break. Talk about having a rough re-entry!Ouch!

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Sorry I haven't posted in a few days. I've been busy. We actually had a super-duper-luper busy week, despite the fact it was supposed to be our week 'off'. We also got a call our friend Barney was going to be staying with us for the weekend. Boy we couldn't wait for him to get here! To have our friend Barney come and stay with us is sort of like having Christmas come early for our kid. When I told them he was staying for the weekend, they came unglued. Thomas pointing out to the others "He's my godfather!" He has a simply magical way with children. It takes about 5 minutes for the most shy to warm up to Barney.

Debbie ( Barneys wife) was at a high school reunion for the weekend and Mary Anne his daughter got married 2 weekends ago, so we got to hog Barney to ourselves for a few days! Mostly we did ordinary stuff like picking up pumpkins ( then slobbering them with paint) and watching movies together, or going to the park, but it was all special because they know Barney really loves them.

I do not want to embarrass him if he is reading this at some point, but rarely if ever have I ever met a person with as good and kind a heart as Barney has. I have never known him to turn away anyone who has asked anything of him. His friendship is such a treasure to Fred and I. What a perfect way to end a long week.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Sarah is 3 today! She was very happily excited about her birthday. Also by a stroke of  good luck, our dear friend Christine was able to join us with her 3 little girls! Christine has been mothering solo all week while her husband is away with work and so we asked her to join us for dinner. Sarah was REALLY happy her friends could be here for her party. It had been an otherwise stressful day until musical chairs fixed it all! Who doesn't love musical chairs? Happy Birthday darling Sarah!

( Sarahs birthday also marks the year anniversary of this blog! I began writing on sarahs birthday exactly one year ago today even though I barely posted in the first few weeks- still it is a beginning!)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Mary, Mary

Mary Mary quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockle shells
And pretty maids all in a row.

(I am in a rush tonight so I only have a minute to post- hope a nursery rhyme will hold you all over!)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


When I turned 16 my Mom and sisters threw me a "sweet 16" party (surprise) and had all my friends there. It was a real girly event and I remember how much fun it was. Today my second oldest son Peter turned 16. He too wanted a party, only his idea of a party and mine are a little different.

Peters theme was paint balling. OK. BUT this time he bought a ghillie suit kit and worked feverishly for 2 and a half days putting it together in time for the party.When it was completed, and Peter donned the costume he looked like, well a bunch of leaves.  At the appointed time a swarm of teenaged boys descended on my house and proceeded to camouflage themselves and load up their paint ball guns while heading into the woods. They then chose up sides and spent the next 2 hours shooting at one another hoping to hit a vulnerable spot.

They returned laughing and joking and happy as could be ( and looking dog tired to be honest). 5 pizzas,  10 liters of soda, a few bags of chips, one cake and a dozen ice cream sandwiches later they went home.

I think from the looks and sounds of Peter tonight, the party was a success. They talk about being in the woods and rapid firing like they just did a tour of duty.

Happy Birthday Pete! You have made the last 16 years of my life richer each day.Love you!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Cream Puff City

I already told you about Leigh and Dan's wedding over the weekend. What I haven't mentioned yet is that we were also in Gramaland for the rest of the time. It was a very quick weekend trip but we did pack a lot in. Angela had skin cancer removed a few weeks back and every single time I spoke to her she told me "I look hideous". Fred wanted to see his Mom and we were bracing ourselves for her description of how bad she looked after the surgery.What we actually saw was just a tiny bit different. NO ONE would ever know she even had surgery. She looks beautiful (and she IS beautiful inside and out) and is just the same as ever. I yelled at her a little for fibbing about how hideous she looked but was so grateful she has recovered so beautifully. (Seriously I have had worse acne!)

Dave, Phil and Freddy

Needless to say, the kids were in heaven getting to spend some time with Gram and Grampa, and their cousins next door. When we got back to the gym tonight Andrew and Fred both commented the workout was harder after visiting "Cream Puff City". Angela makes unbelievable cream puffs topped with fudge, (I prefer her Napoleons- and there were plenty on hand). You cannot go to Angela and Phils and leave hungry. Its simply impossible. She feeds people from the moment they walk through the door, til the moment they leave. My kids always look a bit rounder after a few days at Grams.
Sophie getting used to being stuffed
JP, Stevie, Pete and Michael B

Nikki with her girls

I guess I should be honest tonight and give you a fitness update. Its been 2 weeks since I last checked in and 4 weeks into my 6 weeks program. I am running 3 miles a night and have lost another 3 pounds for a total of 8! Yippee! Only 2 weeks to go and then it will no longer be any of your business what I weigh! I was really nervous about getting onto the scale tonight (I only weigh myself once a week) after a dinner out for Fred's birthday , and 2 weddings, and a trip to cream puff city, I was pretty sure I would see the numbers creeping up. I was absolutely delighted they are still headed down. (I did thoroughly enjoy myself, but I just didn't over do it.)