Surprise Guest Blogger: Pocketful of Joules

pocketful of joulesSurprise! It’s so much fun to wake up and decide to feature a fellow blogger’s post without them even knowing. And today is one of those days! And this post is hilarious. It’s written by Joules from Pocketful of Joules and I cracked up when I read it.

She’s taking on a phrase that a person entered into the search engine of Google to find her blog. And when you find out what it is, it’s hilarious.

So go read it. I’m serious – go read it now! You’ll laugh, trust me.

To read it, click HERE.

And be sure to stop by and say hi to her on Facebook and Twitter!


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Lean In? But what if I just want to stand still?

we can do it but do we really want to“What are your goals for the next year?”

Her supervisor was sitting across from her at her annual review, asking the question that every supervisor asks at every annual review.

But this one was different.

Because the person being asked didn’t actually have any goals. She was, dare any woman actually admit, satisfied. She was happy with what she was doing and simply wanted to continue her job as it was.

But she couldn’t say that. She couldn’t tell the manager sitting across from her that she didn’t want any more challenges at work. That her plate was full and she felt no desire to add more to it. She didn’t want to consider a promotion or the chance to supervise staff. She simply wanted to do what she was doing.

This is what happened to a friend of mine. She’s home every night before dinner, gets to be at her kids’ activities and never has to work on weekends. She gets paid well and receives positive reviews and feedback on her work.

But it seems being satisfied isn’t enough.

Over the past few years, thanks in great part to Sheryl Sandberg’s movement to “Lean In”, women are being encouraged to constantly gravitate to more. To seize every opportunity for advancement, to never give up on your dreams.

But what if you have reached your dream.

Must we always lean in? When can you just stand?

Is it a gender issue? It would seem not because men have always been taught the same thing. There always must be a “next step”.  And it doesn’t stop at the top. Because, in reality, there is no top. There is always another big idea you should be having, or another position that aims just a bit higher.

Where did this come from?

I think back to the letters my grandmother and I would write to each other when she was alive. She would tell me about life in the 1940’s and how you worked to provide for your family. You didn’t have career goals – you had needs and those needs had to be met. There’s a beauty in that. A simplicity in knowing that you don’t have to keep climbing up some goal-oriented ladder. That no one is behind you pushing you up and telling you to move faster.

I’m not ready to completely lean out at this point in my life. But I will say that I’m leaning in far less than I used to a few years ago. Or should I say, I’m leaning more towards the things that really matter. The things that might not advance my career at a rapid rate, but definitely make me appreciate the scenery of what’s around me right now.

Perhaps I should write a book to start a movement like Sheryl Sandberg did. I think I’d call it “Just Stand Still”…


Romantic texts between my husband and I…

With all these shows like The Bachelor and The Millionaire Matchmaker, I thought I would give you a glimpse into what real marriage looks like.

Here’s a text I sent to my husband last night.

marriage texts

There you go. That’s REAL love, people.

And yes, he changed it.

And no, I didn’t rub something on his pillow.


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If you give a toddler a walkie talkie…

walkie talkieSo you know those books If You Give A Pig a Pancake or If You Give A Mouse a Cookie? Well, I’ve been reading those for over six years to my children. This past weekend, it became very obvious that I could write one myself. I would call it, If You Give a Toddler a Walkie Talkie

I’m not sure it’s going to hit the New York Times bestseller list or anything, but I’ll give it a shot.

If You Give A Toddler a Walkie Talkie

If You Give A Toddler a Walkie Talkie, he’s going to ask you to play with him.

When you agree to play with him, he’s not going to let you teach him how to use the thing.

When you try to teach him how to use the thing, he’s going to screech and abruptly pull his arm away.

When he pulls his arm away, he’s going to catch the end of his walkie talkie on your shirt.

When he catches the walkie talkie on your shirt, he’s going to fall down.

When he falls down, he’s going to cry.

When he cries, he’s going to let you help him up.

When he gets up, he’s going to again ask you to play walkie talkies.

When you start to show him how to talk into the walkie talkie, he’ll say, “I know, I know” and start to run upstairs.

When he runs upstairs, he won’t stop holding down the damn button and won’t be able to hear you.

When he isn’t able to hear you, he’ll start to yell.

When he starts to yell, you’ll want to teach him how to use the walkie talkie.

While you are trying to teach him how to use the walkie talkie, he’ll lie to you and say he understands.

When he once again doesn’t let go of the button, he will throw it down the stairs.

When he throws it down the stairs, he will start to cry again.

When he cries again, you’ll want to get a flask.

When you can’t get a flask, you’ll want to cry with him.

And chances are, if you both are crying, you’ll probably want to play walkie talkies to cheer you up.


Why I have to stop watching The Bachelor…

watching bachelorI can remember watching the first episode of the very first Bachelor. It was 2002 and I watched it at a girlfriend’s house while we sipped wine and yelled inappropriate comments at the television screen.

And we watched the first few seasons together just like that every week, until something changed.

The show went from a group of women who were fun and normal to insane, desperate women who looked like characters from Single White Female.

So I stopped watching.

It’s been ten years since I’ve watched.

Then, they announced that the bachelor would be a farmer from Iowa.

Well then.

See I’m living in Nebraska so Iowa is our neighbor. And my husband’s grandfather, uncles, cousins, etc… are farmers.

So I decided to give it another go.

And after 15 minutes of watching, I realized something.

Just like ex-boyfriends should stay ex-boyfriends, The Bachelor should stay an ex-show of mine as well.

Here’s why:

1. No nickname is ever good in The Bachelor. Calling him Prince Farming just made me want to stick a pitchfork in my own eye.

2. Why, oh why, do the girls think they need a gimmick when they first meet a man? From a pig’s nose to a karaoke machine, these girls seem to have the inability to just say, “Hi, nice to meet you.” I’m hoping that their co-workers offered them buckets of money to do these gimmicks so when they are dumped by him, they’ll at least have some cash.

3. It ticks me off to see women being mean to each other over a man that they don’t actually know. Which brings me to my next point. They don’t actually know this guy. They gush over him as if they can see inside his soul yet they have no idea if he’s wearing a leather thong underneath that suit or keeps a whip in his briefcase.

4. I can’t stop laughing every time The Bachelor talks about what an “amazing person” one of the ladies are. Since he has only had one conversation with each of them, I’m assuming he is referring to their breasts and ass when he is discussing their amazing qualities.

5. Lastly, I realized something as the last rose was handed out. I don’t fault these women for looking for love. I don’t. I admire their courage to go on national television and try to find someone to spend their life with. However, I feel uncomfortable watching them. I feel as if they are searching for something with such desperation that it is actually hard to watch.

You know what I wish would happen this season of The Bachelor? I wish that all those woman would turn to him and say, “I’m worth more than to be just one of many. I deserve to have someone want to just be with me. I don’t need to compete to get someone to love me.”  And then I wish they would not choose him.

Now THAT would be a television show I would raise my glass of wine to again.



My daughter’s warmth…

daughter princess

One of the many trips to the children’s museum…

I’ve spent the past two and a half weeks being Julie, the Cruise Director from The Love Boat, for my children. Because they were off from school, I planned playdates, outings, movies, and all sorts of activities. Each night, I would sip a glass of wine and shake my head at how exhausted I was.

There were holidays, parties and even family visits in there too.

Each day, I noticed my patience getting less and less and my bitchiness getting more and more.

On the last day of vacation, I was just down right punchy. And sick. I finally got the head and chest cold that had gone through the whole family. I was exhausted.

And just when I was getting ready to find out the value of my children on the black market, something happened.

My six-year-old daughter asked if I would take a nap with her.

Usually this consists of her kicking me and poking her feet into various ribs and organs of my body. However, this time was different.

As I laid wrapped in five thousand layers to combat my chills, she snuggled in close and took both of my hands in hers.

She softly kissed each one and tucked them under her body to warm them up.

I should have pulled them away so as not to infect her with my germs, but I couldn’t. They were so warm and so kind.

Together we slept on the last day of vacation, our hands locked together, and I forgot all about the insanity from the past two weeks. I didn’t even feel sick for those few minutes. I felt warm. I felt loved.

Often, at the end of the day, I think about some of the things I did wrong as a parent. However, on that day, I thought of one thing I did right.

Loving her.

And loving her is never something I could do wrong.


What it’s REALLY like to get a mammogram…

mammogramTurning 40 comes with many glorious things. You care less about your body shape, you truly say anything you want most days, you feel a bit wiser than you were in your 20’s when you thought wearing a bodysuit was a good idea. But the biggest milestone that occurs when you hit the big 4-0 is the famous trip to the mammogram machine.

Public service announcement: Mammograms save lives. It’s stupid not to get one. Seriously, it’s just plain stupid. Go get one and make sure you stay healthy not just for yourself but for those that love you.

Now, back to my story.

So let me tell you what it’s like to get a mammogram. Not the scientific version, but the real crap you need to know.

1st thing you need to know: Don’t wear deodorant. I, of course, failed to remember this detail the nurse told me when I scheduled my appointment. So for five minutes before the xray, I was topless in a doctor’s bathroom scrubbing foam soap on my pits to wash away any trace of deodorant. For the rest of the morning I smelled like Dial hand sanitizer every time I lifted my arm slightly.

2nd thing you need to know: You’ll never want to put your top back on. When I got into the changing room, the nurse opened a magical warming machine and removed the hottest and softest scrub-like-tie top for me to wear. It felt like a marsupial had wrapped its cozy, fuzzy arms around me and let me sleep in its furry bosom.

3rd thing you need to know: The machine was definitely created by a man. No woman would ever think of a system where a cold metal plate would be used to crush the most beloved parts of our body. If a woman invented a mammogram machine, it would be covered in crushed velvet and caress our breasts until we were ready to smoke a cigarette afterwards.

4th thing you need to know: It’s not that bad. It takes four pictures and each picture pinches pretty hard for about 3-5 seconds where you think about crushing the nurse’s head in that cranking machine. But then it is done and you realize that she’s a nice old grandmother who is probably jealous that your boobs don’t touch the ground yet.

5th thing you need to know: They don’t give you a “get out of sex card” at the end. It’s not like a pap swear where you can work that stuff for a day or two and tell the husband that you are sore and couldn’t possibly be on top. Nope, your boobs feel fine five minutes later. Heck, they probably would welcome a caressing touch after the metal plate of hell just crashed upon them.

So if you are 40 or have breast cancer in you family, go get one. And the best part is that I got to wait in the waiting room with all the pregnant folks who were going to have their first ultrasound. As I drank fully caffeinated coffee and thought about the cocktail I was going to drink that night.


My holiday break predictions…

snowman cardThe children are out from school. Which means that I have to actually parent. What a bummer.

My predictions for the next two weeks:

– Someone will cry at least twice an hour. One of those people will be me.

– Someone will get sick from a casual trip to the children’s museum. Which then means I will.

– Someone will be in time-out every four to seven hours. I wish it were me.

– Someone will ask me for a snack every fifteen minutes. I will eat it along with them because I am weak.

– Someone will want to cuddle and wipe snot on various parts of my body. I will leave it there for hours.

– Someone will leave food in a spot that I won’t find for two weeks. I will wait for the ants to show me the way.

– Someone will be drinking massive amounts of alcohol on a nightly basis while finding stickers on her ass. Of course, that will be me.

– Someone will make me laugh every day. That’s what makes it all worth it.

Happiest holidays to all. And to all, lots of alcohol.



The ending of Serial… my thoughts.

serialI had the pleasure of interviewing Rabia Chaudry a few weeks ago, the woman who first approached NPR’s Sarah Koenig with the case that went on to be investigated for the now famous Serial podcast. It’s a series that I have been addicted to since one long road trip in November.

The last episode of the series was last night and the response from listeners on social media has been everything from nasty and name-calling to supportive and insightful.

So where do I fall on this spectrum?

Each week, I sat with my husband next to the speaker as if we had traveled back in time to the era of the Fireside Chats. We huddled together without a sound except Sarah Koenig’s voice, or the occasional painful screeching of the defense attorney. We shut off the television, we took a break from our busy lives, and we spent time listening. Then talking. Then listening again.

And on the day of the last episode, I went rouge and off plan and listened all by myself in the car after preschool drop off. I couldn’t wait, I was too eager.

And I was disappointed.

But not in the podcast.

I was disappointed in myself.

I was disappointed because the whole allure of the experience was listening with my husband and dissecting it together.

See that’s what I think the whole point in the series was.

To create a narrative. To get people talking. Not staring at a television screen or getting consumed in their own day to day routines. But stopping, listening and then talking. Each week, I loved that. I loved pouring that glass of wine and picking apart each detail, each witness and laying them out as if we were detectives on Law & Order.

I was disappointed I didn’t have that for the finale. However, I did own up to it and had to kiss his ass for the next four hours after admission. Finally, he asked if I would listen again and we were back on track.

So what did I think of the ending?

I loved it.

I loved it because it was true, it was honest, and it was what storytelling should be.

It was impossible to have a wrapped-up-like-a-bow ending. That isn’t real life and the entire point of the series was the reality of it. Not like “reality tv” reality, but real reality. Real people in real time.

Not all stories have a happy ending. Some are on-going. Some are heartbreaking. But what the ending of Serial did was leave us wanting more. Which, in my opinion, is the always the mark of a wonderful storyteller.


Elf on the Shelf ideas for us regular parents…

1. Move him to a new location

2. Next night, move him to a different location.



Thanks For The Coupons For All The Sh*t I Didn’t Buy… Guest Post by Meredith Gordon from Bad Sandy

bad sandyA few months ago, I had a little contest where writers got to submit a hilarious post they had written as part of my week of guest bloggers. Choosing just five was pretty much impossible so I decided to save all the submissions and spontaneously post them whenever I felt like laughing. Today was one of those days.

After returning back from Target for the third time in less than four hours, I remembered this post. I have a purse full of coupons that came out of the register at the end of my purchase for crap I will never buy. So if anyone is looking for a dental water pick kit, it seems I’m your gal with a free coupon for ya.

But I can’t possibly express this sentiment as well as Meredith Gordon from Bad Sandy. (By the way, check out her about section to see why she named the blog this – it’s hilarious.) Her letter to the grocery store is absolutely hysterical and I couldn’t stop laughing more and more each paragraph. She says that words that I longed to say as those stupid coupons came printing out at Target.

To read, click HERE.

And go tell her I said hi by giving her some Facebook and Twitter love.


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My interview with Rabia Chaudry from the Serial podcast

serialListening to the radio for me predominantly consists of annoyingly catchy Taylor Swift songs that kill a part of my soul each time I listen to them. With two children usually in the vehicle, the idea of listening to NPR or other news stations seems obsolete.

That is, until Serial come into my life.

For weeks I had been having friends, family and total strangers online ask me if I was listening to the podcast by Sarah Koenig from NPR called Serial. Of course, the answer was no because if it wasn’t Taylor Swift or Kidz Bop, I wasn’t truly aware of its existence or how to bring it into mine.

But then my husband jumped on the band wagon.

And then we went on a long road trip where I wised up and purchased ear phones for the kids and decided it was my time to jump into the Serial pool. I’m a sucker for peer pressure.

But, before I could that, I needed to learn two things.

1. What the hell was a podcast?

2. And how the heck to spell “Serial”. For quite an embarrassingly long amount of time I believed it was a show called Cereal. Perhaps about Wheaties.

So once the answers to these questions were revealed, I was in.

And man, was I in. I’m actually still in. Very much so.

Let me bring you into the fold.

A woman by the name of Rabia Chaudry, a wife, mother, attorney, President of the Safe Nation Collaborative, National Security Fellow at the New America Foundation, and a senior CVE consultant, contacted Sarah Koenig from NPR about a case involving her brother’s best friend. This friend, Adnan Syed, was arrested for the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, in 1999, when he was 17 years old. Adnan was convicted and sentenced to life plus thirty years.

Rabia reached out to Sarah Koenig because she and her family believe he is innocent.

Now Sarah is playing the role of investigative reporter into the case and presenting her findings week by week on the program called Serial (NOT cereal).

After listening to all the current podcasts, I started thinking about Adnan but from a perspective I hadn’t read or heard anything about. I started thinking about his family and what this must be like for them. What did they want people to know about their life, not just Adnan’s.

I decided to take a huge leap and see if Rabia was willing to be interviewed by me. I’m not a reporter, and geez, I barely can keep up with my hair color let alone the news. But I was drawn to her because she wrote that Adnan was like family to her. And family is what I DO write about.

So slap my ass and call me Sally, she actually said yes to the interview. I was like a giddy school girl when she agreed. Not because of her somewhat celebrity status, but because I was dying to get the real answers to some of my questions. Not legal or case questions, but the personal stuff. The ones that connect to things we all could understand. You don’t have to be a listener of the podcast to be moved by her answers. Check it out.

You mentioned on your blog, Split the Moon, that Adnan is like family to you – him being your younger brother’s best friend. I’ve never had a member of my family, or even close friends, have to do time in jail, let alone time for murder. How do you maintain a sense of family with someone who is incarcerated?

RABIA: First we have to recognize there is no ONE WAY to be a family. My heart is connected to people who are halfway around the world, and they’re my family. Its connected to those who have passed, and they’re my family. So certainly, being incarcerated doesn’t lessen bonds of love, affection, concern, and all the other attachments we have to family. We continue to treat Adnan like a human being, with dignity, talking to him like we would in any other circumstance, sharing kids stories, challenges, work related stuff, crazy things my parents did or said, laughing, crying, etc.

What are misconceptions the public has about someone who is incarcerated? What are the misconceptions the public has about that individual’s family/friendships?

RABIA: There are so many misconceptions, the first being that every inmate is evil, a socio or psychopath, etc. Often these are people who were young, stupid, in the wrong place at the wrong time, have regrets, hopes, anguish. Another is that they don’t change. Like anyone, they grow, change, mature, develop. Some become spiritual, some contemplative, some active for justice. Many of them try to better themselves, continue to learn, study, read. They aren’t just rotting away. Also, they often know whats going on the world better than those of us in it – they watch the news carefully, read a lot, keep on top of events and developments, etc.  The saddest are those who are away from their children because they miss so much, and because they’ll get arbitrarily moved around so they may end up in prisons far from loved ones. In many prisons, it costs money to make calls, so inmates with little means are stuck.

You have stood by Adnan, even going so far as to contact NPR’s Sarah Koenig to investigate the case further. If the tables were turned, do you believe he would have done the same for you? 

RABIA: I don’t know, and I don’t operate like that. No one does, not for your loved ones. Adnan is a very compassionate and sensitive person, and I think he would go to many lengths for those he loves.

What have you learned about the law from being so involved in this case that you wish more people knew? What would surprise people to learn about the law, and specifically, this case? 

RABIA: I’m a lawyer but not a criminal lawyer. I learned how easily the system is manipulated, how many factors play into an outcome, how one thing can turn a case in either direction, and how many flaws and gaps exist in investigations and prosecutions. As for this case, I want the public to think about this – if it was your loved one convicted on the exact same “evidence” used against Adnan, would you buy it? Would it be a solid enough case for you? Would you accept the testimony of Jay? Would you dismiss how Gutierrez defended the case? When looking at it through that lens, most people wouldn’t stand for it.

What’s been the hardest thing for you to deal with publicly, being so close to Adnan, since the podcast started? Has it put a strain or strengthened your relations with him and his family?

RABIA: No there hasn’t been a strain, but its stressful keeping up with interview requests, messages, wanting to honor all the supporters, and stay on top of the podcast by digging up pertinent documents for each episode. I have kids, family, a job and juggling all this is hard. I think we’ve grown closer during this, his older brother who was estranged for many years is back in the family’s life, and we all stay connected constantly.

As a mother yourself, how did you talk to your daughters about what’s happening to Adnan? Has the publicity of the case changed/altered their opinion of him?

RABIA: My older daughter has lived this her entire life, she was 2 when he was arrested. She’s visited him in jail, etc. So there isn’t much explaining. She isn’t following much of the show or other stuff because she’s a senior in high school and busy with applying for college, projects, etc. My little one who is 6 has not met him but she knows that there is an “Adnan Uncle” who is in jail that Mama is trying to bring home.

What do you love most about Adnan? How has that changed/evolved since you first met him as your brother’s best friend

RABIA: What I love most about him that he always does his best to shield those he loves from any sadness. He won’t share his pain, though I know its there. He doesn’t want us to be sad. He loves to make people laugh.

And lastly, Adnan has said that the pain of being wrongly accused is far worse for his family than if he had actually committed the crime. As someone who is like family to him, would you agree?

RABIA: I do agree. There is closure in that, a sense of justice. As Muslims we believe in a scripture that says “stand for justice, even against yourself”. So if he had committed a crime, we would have felt justice was served. The sense of injustice is what keeps us up at night.

Thank you to Rabia for doing this interview. I really appreciate your honesty and determination to help someone you love.

After reading Rabia’s answers, her last sentence really hit me the hardest. I keep going around and around in my mind about this. Was injustice what occurred? Go listen for yourself. I’d love to know what you all think.

And please check out her blog, Split the Moon, for not just aspects of this case, but also for her strong dedication to stopping social injustices and human rights violations. You can also follow her on Twitter at @rabiasquared.


I went to a fashion show…. at the airport.

airportI’ve always dreamed of going to Fashion Week in NYC. To see the slew of people walking the runway in crazy-ass get ups and clothes real humans over size zero would never actually wear. But alas, no one is beating down my door to have me cover fashion. Weird, I know.

So instead, I have figured out the the airport is actually, in effect, a catwalk.

So while I waited in the airport security line, I pretended that I was sitting next to Anna Wintour and observed.

First down the runway was the young woman in her early twenties wearing leggings as pants. Pants that give her camel-toe and the ability to see the Hello Kitty underwear she was rocking underneath them. She is also the same girl who wears an Aerosmith shirt she bought at Old Navy without having a clue that the band produced songs beyond what is heard in car commercials.

Next down the runway was the high-level business woman. She’s wearing heels that would be used in a James Bond movie to kill a man, as well as a briefcase that is perfectly situated on her shoulder without the slightest bit of strap falling off her shoulder. I had no idea that was physically possible. She is using a Bluetooth device so the entire catwalk  can feel included in her conversation about the merger. Not to give away the ending, but the merger doesn’t seem to be looking good.

Following her is the teenage couple who walk with their hands in each other’s back pocket. Although they both don’t fit horizontally in the space, they are determined to defy the laws of spacial relations and squeeze their adolescent bodies together, as if they were Siamese twins. He is kissing her neck which makes me want to slap him like a fly grazing over a plate full of hot dogs. She is fiddling with one of those earrings that stretches out the pierced hole larger that a crater formed by a meteor. I’m sure she won’t regret that one when she can soon use her ears as a scarf.

Lastly is the disheveled mother. I rise to my feet to cheer this final model. She’s the definition of grace as she balances two diaper bags, a stroller, three children and a husband who is looking at his phone completely oblivious to his surroundings. She is wearing sweatpants with a mysterious stain on the thigh, tennis shoes with one shoe untied, and her hair in a messy ponytail. Her children are grabbing at her for snacks but she still stands tall and walks her strut with ease. She’s the crowd favorite, no doubt.

If I could have applauded at the end of the show, I would have.

Instead, I handed the TSA agent my ticket and hoped for a pat down.


The Big Book of Parenting Tweets – I’M IN IT!

big book of parenting tweetsIt’s so awesome to see a group of bloggers come together and want to publish a book. What’s even more awesome is when they ask me to be part of it! I was thrilled when the ladies from Science of Parenthood asked me to be part of a new book they were putting together with Kate Hall from Hall of Tweets. They are driven ladies that are not just successful but kind and hilarious to boot!

So this is what they did. They put together a laugh-riot collection of more than three-hundred tweetable moments straight from the parenting trenches from the most hysterical comedians on Twitter, who just happen to be parents.

For some reason, they think I’m one of them. And for that, I’m honored.

And the funniest part is the illustrations they put with them.

Really funny stuff.

So check it out. Put them in some stockings, bring them to a baby shower, or just sneak into the bathroom and pretend to be pooping so you can read for a few minutes in peace.

You can read more about it HERE. And you can purchase it HERE.



A REAL day in the life of a parent video – IT’S HERE!

Woo hoo! It’s here! The completed video!

What is this I speak of?

Last week I put a call out for you all to send me a picture of what a day in your parenting life looks like.


Because the holidays are a time where parents feel stressed, overwhelmed and usually in need of great amounts of alcohol. I wanted to create a photo montage video that shows what we ALL are dealing with as parents on a daily basis.

It’s a video that will make you laugh, might make you cry and will definitely make you realize that you aren’t alone in this crazy world called parenthood.

Thank you so much for your photos.

Enjoy and have an awesome Thanksgiving!