Friday, January 29, 2010

Is Yogi Tea Joint Support Showing Off?

Yesterday morning as I was waiting for the tea kettle to warm up, I stood reading the Yogi Joint Comfort box and found myself chuckling in a sad kind of way. On the side of the box it reads,

"Yoga to Spread Your Wings: Expand your mind and your motion. Sit with soles of feet together. Hold on to feet with hands, lean forward keeping back straight and chin at 90-degree angle to chest. Breathe slowly and deeply. Continue for 1 to 3 minutes. Feel your body transform with the strength to soar throughout the day."

Doesn't seem too difficult, right? Well, it is if you are the person most likely drinking the Joint Comfort tea and struggle just to get your knee to bend enough to get up and down the stairs or move from standing position to sitting position in a chair. I know many of us with rheumatoid arthritis do some type of yoga, but this just seemed wrong to have on Joint Comfort tea. Perhaps it is there to inspire us, but instead it seemed like a sad joke put on a box. Maybe it seemed wrong to me because after a few great days my knee is again throwing a temper tantrum or maybe it is because so many of my RA blogger friends are having bad days right now and struggling just to type a post on their blog. Whatever it was, it just felt wrong to me yesterday. In fact, looking at it again today, it still feels wrong.....almost like the gal in the photo is showing off that she can bend her knees so easily when I can't right now.

Here is me doing the same pose. My right knee bends with ease as the Yogi model does, but the left knee just doesn't want to cooperate. Maybe Yogi will use me as their model for Joint Comfort.

Oh, wait, with a little work and a little pain I am not doing too bad. Reminder to Cathy - we don't have to look like the models on the side of tea boxes. We can always make modifications in our workouts. The goal is not to have a perfect pose but to keep our bodies moving!

What would your photo on Yogi tea look like?

*By the way I do love Yogi products and this tea is actually REALLY tasty!

Quote From Body Ecology Diet

If we continue to eat for pleasure alone, ignoring the purpose of our creation, our minds and bodies will weaken such that we will never find the happiness that is our birthright. Once we discover our inner strength and glory, it becomes easy to turn away from negativity and dissatisfaction. It becomes easy to operate... from our positive, altruistic self and take care of the body that houses our beautiful soul. - Body Ecology Diet Facebook

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I Feel Awesome Today!

I have shared so many rough days here on my blog that it seems only right to share a fantastic day too. My fingers are bending with ease and although my knee is still stiff it is taking me up and down the stairs without a struggle and walking without a limp. My shoulders feel loose. I just feel good!!

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Last night I took a little nap and then I couldn't fall asleep at bedtime and ended up tossing and turning for several hours. Around 2am I could hear Alexander and Sophia still up talking and laughing. The mom in me wanted to say, "Hey guys, you need to get to bed. It is late." But something in me held back and thought, "They have had some upsets in their relationship this week and they need this time alone to reconnect." Like any two people in a relationship, they have their ups and downs, but they seem to know how to reconnect and keep their relationship strong. I like that about them. I also love not being able to hear what they are talking about. The laughter that comes from the unheard words is plenty for me.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Arame, A Sea Vegetable Worth Trying Out

The Body Ecology Diet recommends that each meal consist of 80% ocean and land vegetables. So far I have done deliciously well making sure that my meals consist of mainly land vegetables, but haven't incorporated as many of the sea veggies as I would like. In fact, besides adding dulce to my salads, rolling veggies in nori wraps and sprinkling kelp on my eggs, I haven't tried a lot. But yesterday I added to my list of sea vegetables by trying arame for the first time. Wow! It was not only easy to prepare but didn't have the strong taste that I found with dulce. I just sauteed it with my land veggies and some oil and it was delicious. This is one sea vegetable I will soon be adding to my family's meals.

Since my diet is dairy free I am always looking for foods rich in calcium. Arame is not only rich in calcium but also zinc and iodine. Plus, sea vegetables provide numerous other benefits.

Benefits of Sea Vegetables Include:

Prevent aging and chronic disease

Prevent cellular mutations that cause cancer

Relieve menopausal symptoms

Prevent birth defects

Alkalize your blood

Lower cholesterol

Balance thyroid function

Detoxify your body from heavy metals, environmental pollutants, and carcinogens.

Have anti-inflammatory effects

Control the growth of pathogenic viruses, candida, and pathogenic bacteria

Fight constipation

Lower your blood pressure and reduce tension

Improve your heart health

Contain powerful antioxidants

Did you notice a few of the benefits that would be helpful for those of us with rheumatoid arthritis? To read more about the benefits of sea veggies and find new recipes, check out The Body Ecology website.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Body Ecology Diet and RA Update

I am on month four of the Body Ecology Diet. I really like being on the diet. I like having control over what I eat rather than food controlling me. I like not feeling bloated all the time. I like that my jeans fit everyday. I like that my digestive tract is balancing out. I like that I am listening to my body. I like buying a ton of veggies and never having to throw any out because they are ALWAYS used. I like that my children see me working towards a goal that improves not only my health but also their health. I like that we aren't spending money on eating out. The kids even mentioned the other day when we got takeout for them that it feels more special now. I like eating soups. I like having more energy mentally and physically. I like that the cyst on my wrist disappeared. I like that the stomach fat I have been fighting the last two years has disappeared. I like trying new foods.

What I miss since on the diet is sharing meals with others. I always bring my own food or eat before going so I am not tempted to get off the diet. There is something to sharing the same meal with others that I miss, but with time it will come and for now I am able to expose others to new recipes. The other thing I really miss is wine. I love sharing a glass of wine with Steve. (I went through this same withdrawal in 2004 when I eliminated coffee.) But, I have figured out a little way of tricking my mind and it seems to work. When Steve is having a glass of wine I make a drink out of stevia, unsweetened cranberry juice and either mineral water or coconut kefir and pour it into a wine glass. Then I just pretend I am drinking wine too when in reality I am nourishing my body. Pretty clever, huh? All that time of imaginary play with the kids is paying off for me now!

Overall I am having some good days and feeling very positive about the changes I am making and feel many will remain with me for life. I feel like the first elimination diet I did at the end of 2004, just a year after my symptoms hit, helped set the stage for this diet. I experienced great relief from the diet (it does take many months of staying on the diet strictly to see results) that meds just didn't seem to help with. Unfortunately I let some things slip back over the years that just don't work for my body.

I am currently coming out of a flare that lasted a little over a week. There are three ideas in my mind of what might have caused this flare. First idea is that the last two days in Wichita I ran out of food options (not really true, my dad and step mom would have happily made something for me) and ended up eating very undesirable foods. Then I came home and made a gluten free carrot cake (full of sugar) for Steve's birthday and ate that. It just may have been worth this flare-up - it was that good! The second idea is that we have been tweaking my homeopathy remedy and it may have aggravated my symptoms so that is now being adjusted too. The third idea is this is just RA reminding me that it is still at work and I have lots of work ahead of me.

Asking to Write and Loving It!

Since Alexander has asked for more writing, I gave him the assignment of writing about a book we recently read together on the Boston Massacre. He was working on the assignment a couple of evenings ago when Steve and I started heading up to bed and he stopped working on the assignment to join us. As a family, we generally all hang out in our bedroom together watching a little TV and talking before Steve and I crash.

The next morning Alexander shared that he almost wished it hadn't been time to head up the night before because he was really enjoying his writing assignment. This is one of the many, many reasons I love unschooling. We are following his lead. He has come to a point where he is ready for the projects, he is the one asking for them, and then he is the one enjoying them. Well, in all honesty, I am enjoying them too. I love spending time with this guy listening to his thoughts and watching his progress. Yay for unschooling and Yay for Alexander.

Monday, January 18, 2010

I'm With Coco

It's true. I LOVE The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien. Conan has been a regular in our house for many years. Steve and I started watching him during his early days on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, the kids have grown up watching him, and we have even talked about going to see his show together as a family when the kids are old enough to attend. That's how much we love the show and Conan.

Since we are generally asleep before the Late Night show came on, he was always included in our DVR lineup and we would catch up on shows throughout the weekend. We were so excited when he got The Tonight Show and moved to the earlier time slot. (Jay is okay, but we prefer the edgier humor of Conan.) We could actually watch him before dosing off to sleep. Wasn't that the intention of The Tonight Show anyhow?

Since all four of us love his humor we feel deeply saddened by the changes NBC is making. I know. It is just a TV show and we probably watch too much anyhow. But, we really LOVE this one! We are desperately hoping that another network picks him up quickly and we are back to enjoying his humor. (Of course with Andy Richter who we also love!)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Charting RA Progress

One of the best things I have done for myself lately is to start charting my daily rheumatoid arthritis progress. This includes documenting any offending foods, extra stress, dreams, daily inflammation, remedies, etc. I like that it not only gives me a chance to reflect on myself each day and all that is happening around me, but that it gives me something to refer back to when I am not feeling so well, like today.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Rheumatoid Arthritis Diet More Than Just About RA

Choosing to follow an anti-inflammatory diet for my rheumatoid arthritis is more than just about calming my joints. It is a way of life and a philosophy that my family and I feel is important. By following a diet that doesn't include preservatives, high amounts of sugar, gluten, animals that have been mistreated. and more we feel like we are honoring our bodies with respect. In my mind some foods are like harmful words or abusive behavior. We would never allow our children to say mean spirited things to themselves or allow others to treat them abusively, yet when it comes to food, we, as a society tend to feel it is acceptable to treat ourselves with disrespect. I want to nourish myself and my family with foods that show we are respected and loved.

By following a diet that we believe in we continue to find positive consequences around every corner. The most important one for me is that my children are learning to listen to their bodies. This is something that I feel is a lost art. We have learned that with every ache and pain we must run to a doctor and have him/her tell us what to take. My children are learning to listen to their bodies and realize that when they watch hours of TV or computer they sometimes get a headache. They are learning that when they consume large amounts of sugar they feel dragged down afterwards. After being 100% gluten free for several years my daughter's eczema disappeared and sadly returned with the return of gluten. She doesn't like that feeling and recently asked me to help her return to a gluten free diet low in sugar. She is listening to her body that is telling her what is right or wrong for her as an individual.

There is a lot of controversy in the RA world about whether diet helps with RA symptoms. Since I realize that autoimmune diseases can be hereditary, I am willing to take a chance and reduce the inflammatory foods in my family's diet. Really, why not? But it goes beyond that. I believe our bodies are very intelligent and want to heal and can heal when we treat them with respect.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Highlights from Wichita Trip

I was born and raised in Wichita, Kansas. Eleven years ago my husband's job took us to the Chicagoland suburbs where we are quite happy. The only thing missing? My extended family. Last week we returned home for many celebrations.

Steve played for two hours to a packed sandwich bar/restaurant. It was great. The place was filled with family from both sides and many friends Steve hasn't seen since high school. (Thank goodness for Facebook and the connections that can be reestablished). Towards the end of the evening he had two buddies trying to steal the attention. It worked!

The last hour or so of the gig the cousins from Kansas, Illinois, and New York had warmed up to each other and headed to the pool room. What a great feeling to see all of them playing together.

The original eight (in birth order with parents on both ends). For the first time in 10 years all eight of us were together at once. We started off as a family of eight and have expanded to 22 grandchildren and almost 12 great grandchildren.

The highlight of my visit of course was hanging out with my three sisters. There could never be better friends than sisters. I miss you guys already.

We must have predicted photos since Stacey and I color coordinated.

Sophia and I were able to attend my niece's baby shower. These kind of get togethers are something I regret that Sophia misses out on being so far away from family, but glad she had this opportunity.

A year and a half ago when we were in Wichita Alexander was the exact same height as me. What happened? I am now the shortest one in our family of four.

Of course I had to get a photo with my best friend.

The main focus of this trip was to celebrate my oldest brother Mike turning 50! Mike is a true inspiration.

My dad and step mom Carol always make our visits perfect. Carol made wonderful breakfasts each morning, they made fried rice for dinner that is out of this world, and made sure we were happy campers everyday we were there. Thanks Dad and Carol.

Okay. So, in this picture with my brother Danny I look happy, but that was after being upset with him for not telling us that he and his wife were four months along with baby #2. They live in Florida and apparently nobody "asked him" if they were having another baby so he didn't tell. The funny thing is my sister and I did ask as soon as seeing him and my sister in law revealed her stomach while taking off her coat. She looks beautiful.

My mom - a superwoman. She planned a beautiful party for my brother, made tons of food, hosted my sister and her three kids and granddaughter for three weeks while experiencing lots of physical pain. She makes her plans and doesn't let pain get in the way. What a great role model for me. I love you Mom!

Me with Stacey and Robyn. Sorry Sherry. I am sad to say that I think you were working in the kitchen while we were out taking photos.

We had a girls night out before Steve's gig. Sherry wanted to return to a restaurant she frequented often before moving to New York. Yummy.

The photos of cousins playing together, siblings laughing together, and hugs being shared are too numerous to share here. However, our visit was perfect in every way. I am one lucky girl to have such a supportive, loving family that also happens to be the best friends a girl could ever want.
(I guess I am in every picture but one. Hmmm.....)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Unschooling is Turning Out Perfect!

Unschooling is turning out EXACTLY as I hoped it would when I first read about it over eight years ago and we incorporated it into our family life. Over the years both Alexander and Sophia have been given the freedom to play as often as they desired. It is unbelievable how much can be learned from building with Lego's, creating homes for Playmobil, or even playing video games! I am a big believer in the power of play and feel sad that it is taken from so many children at an early age. We have spent countless hours snuggled together reading book after book. We have explored museums and other interesting places. We have done fun science experiments together generally lead by the kids. We have found learning in cooking together, in exploring together and even on the days we were just being plain lazy.

Both Sophia and Alexander have had their own timetables and styles for learning reading, writing and math. Sophia learned to read almost completely on her own while Alexander needed more phonics instruction. Math has been something that has come from living life. We tend to include them in talks about grocery spending, our mortgage payment, pay from work, credit cards, cooking, music, and more. There is so much math that just comes from living. The secret is really including your children in your daily life and being a part of their daily life. This is the part that is missed by many who believe unschooling parents to be lazy or irresponsible. I have noticed that even some that have tried unschooling and never "got it" just didn't understand this crucial part. You have to really be a part of each other's life.

Unschooling and the freedom it allows has benefited our family. I feel proud of both my children. They have their individual learning styles. They are both always asking questions, always open to exploring new ideas and just naturally curious people.

What I have always loved about unschooling is that our children are given the same privileges to learn as we as adults give ourselves. As adults we dive into things that interest us, but let them go when we feel they have satisfied our needs. We take breaks and do absolutely nothing until our curiosity comes back and we are out reading and researching something new again. This is how unschooling works for us.

Recently we have seen changes in Alexander and what he needs to learn. Alexander has always had a very inquisitive mind. Even while playing video games he has had questions that have set us off researching additional information about the time period, the weapons, and the clothing. Recently he has decided that he wants to incorporate more academics into our schedule. After sharing that he wanted to learn algebra, a class was formed with other boys his age and is run by a homeschooling dad with a lot of math/teaching experience. He loves this class! At home he makes sure we work on reading and writing everyday. I mean EVERYDAY. Weekends don't mean days off to him. Just like adults, once we have something we want to learn, we don't think of our learning time in "school" time. We spend as much of our time with it as we feel we need to.

Since the first day of learning about unschooling it has felt right for me. I have never doubted it because I see my children constantly moving forward in their learning and thinking. As we move into the teen years, we will need to adjust how we unschool to meet the needs of both kids whether that means more social outings, participating in more classes and doing more sit down school work at home. It might even mean that at some point they want to try out public school or an alternative school. Unschooling allows for these changes because you are meeting the needs of the individual child rather than the parent or a school district. So far our journey has been amazing and I look forward to the changes that will be coming our way as both kids get a feel for what they need academically.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Thoughts on Food

Slow Food Movement and Gift
While I was in Wichita, Kansas last week, my siblings and I exchanged Christmas gifts. My brother and sister-in-law gave my family and I a variety of Analon cooking utensils which I am totally excited about!!! (Sad when your family realizes the bad shape of your cooking utensils.) Not being familiar with this brand, I looked it up this morning and was happy to see that Analon is a partner of Slow Food. How cool is that? I have been familiar with Slow Food for several years but when I read "How to Go Slow" on Analon's site, I was pleased to see how far I have come with food.

How To Go Slow
Plant a garden and grow your own food. - This is a goal I will attempt as soon as my knee allows me to crouch down.
Get cooking. When Steve and I were first married and in college we ate tons of frozen meals. I remember telling my dad that cutting veggies took too much time. Now, after a busy day away from home I actually find cutting veggies to be relaxing and somewhat meditative.
Eat seasonally. In the last five years or so we have participated in CSA's and frequented farmer's markets whenever possible.
Buy local. We have definitely made improvements here but have much work to do in this area. The greatest improvement in this area is buying all of our meat, honey, milk, eggs, maple syrup and more from local farmers. I love knowing who is growing our food and can ask questions that are enthusiastically answered.
Avoid genetically modified food. Doing fairly well here.
Buy organic. An elderly woman at Whole Foods the other day told me she doesn't believe organic food is any better for us. I disagree. Not only are more vitamins packed into organic food but pesticides that are used on non-organic food is terrifying. We have to look at the whole picture of what is happening.
Pack a bag lunch. I 100% have this one down. I take a lunch bag with me almost every time I leave the house. Also, we bought this cool reusable sandwich bags or use reusable containers.
Conserve, compost and recycle. I need to do more research on recycling because I am hearing some talk that the process of recycling is actually using a lot of resources. Conserving and reusing I love.
Eat together. My family likes to eat together. We aren't always good about eating at the table but eating together in a spot that works for everyone is fairly important, I think.
Talk food politics. Homeschoolers tend to think a lot about food and politics come up frequently. I am glad to hear a variety of thoughts and opinions on the subject.
Drink from the tap. We had a reverse osmosis put in a few years ago.
Try making things from scratch. When we went gluten free I was forced to start making almost everything from scratch and the Body Ecology Diet has made me even better. I feel like the nutritious food I make from scratch is my gift to myself and my family and I feel good about putting in the time for us.

Body Ecology Diet and How I Feel
We just returned from a trip to visit our family in Wichita, Kansas. Before leaving I prepared several quarts of soup, cut veggies to saute when I arrived, and had prepared salad for several days. This helped tremendously with sticking to the diet. However, during the last few days I started running out of food and found myself in a few situations where I was starving and ended up getting off the diet. I am better off staying on the diet because once I get off, I give myself permission to eat whatever I want which isn't good at all. But, I am back on today and feeling better.

Several times I was asked, "So, will you feel it?" People wanted to know if I will feel the difference in my body by going off the diet for two days. The answer is YES. My joints don't always feel it right away but after eating gluten my face starts itching, after eating sugar my nose twitches, and after eating preservatives, I just feel awful. My digestion gets totally out of whack. When I eat whatever I want on a regular basis, like I did before starting elimination diets, I didn't realize these were the side effects. I have had eczema since I was little. As a child it showed up on my arms and as a teenage up until going gluten free I had it on my face. So, yes, eating off the diet is enjoyable as I am eating the food, but quickly takes over my body and makes me regret getting off and oh so happy to return to good foods that nourish my body.

I am happy with the relationships I am building with food.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Weight Loss

When I began the Body Ecology Diet in September my ultimate goal was and still is to reestablish a healthy body in order to decrease the inflammation in my joints. While I believe this goal has not been reached, it is getting there. My energy levels are higher and my overall mobility is increasing.

While the decrease in inflammation is moving along slowly, the weight loss has moved quickly. In four months I have lost 22 pounds which is quite a lot considering I wasn't overweight before and I stand only five feet tall. In all honesty I wasn't sad to see the first 10 pounds go as I generally feel more comfortable at that weight, but I have discovered that this weight loss experience has been a little weird. Generally when I lose weight I have set out to lose the weight. This time that wasn't the case. My full attention has been on the diet - preparing meals, making sure I have enough of everything I need, preparing fermented veggies, fermented coconut water, and more. My focus has been on the inflammation rather than the weight loss. So, the weird part comes in when I look at myself in the mirror. Since I have not necessarily been watching the progress of my weight loss, I still see myself 22 pounds heavier. When I look in the mirror I don't recognize the person looking back at me.

Yesterday really brought the weight loss home to me. I ordered some new jeans to take with me on a trip I am taking this week and they didn't arrive. Sophia and I went shopping to find something for me to wear as everything is hanging off of me. The first store was not a success. I am wearing the smallest size I have ever worn and the first store didn't have a large selection of this size. Lucky for me that we continued on because the the second store was the jackpot! Most of their jeans were on clearance and then 25% off. I was able to buy a pair of jeans, a pair of corduroys and a sweater for just under $50. The only thing I wasn't able to find that I was hoping for was a pair of slacks. Oh, and yes, the items that didn't arrive on time will be returned. Why pay double or more of what I paid yesterday for the same amount of clothing?

When I got home I tried the jeans on again with some different tops and I really liked what I saw in the mirror. The stomach fat that I have been struggling with the last few years is basically gone. (I wonder how much of that was built up toxins?) As I looked at myself in the mirror I felt a new struggle emerging within me. A struggle of commitment. With new clothes means a new commitment to the weight loss. Hmmm....I am not sure I like that feeling. I am committed to following this diet long term but once I put the nicely fitting jeans on I felt this overpowering commitment to the weight. I think what I have liked about this diet is for the first time I haven't worried about whether I lost weight or not and all of the sudden I feel a commitment to the weight. Weird, huh? Will this new feeling of commitment stop me from wearing the new jeans? No way! I am going to wear them with pride and learn to start accepting that my body is where it needs to be right now and if in six months that changes, than that means that is where my body needs to be.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy Birthday Izzy

Our puppy is officially three years old. We have been told that three is the magical age for border collies to mature and calm down.....well, as much as a border collie is able to calm down. Actually, we call her a "lazy border" because compared to stories we have heard about border collies, she is fairly calm.

We have made a lot of progress since she became a member of our family at 16 weeks old, but I still turn red with embarrassment when she goes nuts barking at the window if she sees a car other than mine or Steve's pull into the driveway or when a visitor is attacked at the door with enormous excitement. But, we have worked hard with her and those things will work themselves out too. She has a lot of energy and honestly we like that about her. Just Friday she was running along the fence with our neighbor dog, very frustrated, and responded right away when I called her in. That is progress.

Izzy is our first dog as a family. We have taken lots of dog training classes with her in order to be good dog owners. It has helped us tremendously. Early on in a class I was told by one of the instructors that borders collies are one of the most difficult dogs to own. The reason? They require a lot of mental and physical exercise. Also, they are extremely smart. I read once that border collies have thinking skills comparable to a five year old. That is amazing isn't it? Due to their intelligence, they pick up on everything you do. That is where the challenge comes in. They watch everything you do and before you know it, they are responding to your body language and words. Border collies thrive on routine, which generally works great for our family since we do too but when events like a New Year's party happen, poor Izzy is totally out of whack and is like a child with too much sugar.

Like most dogs Izzy learned quickly who gives out the commands in the family and who is in charge of the food which makes me her favorite person to follow around the house. Steve was laughing this morning because she knows my different voices and when I am discussing our plans for the day,she stops whatever she is doing and listens, even though I am not talking to her. So I was upstairs this morning and she was downstairs when I was talking to Steve and her head went from side to side as she listened to me talk. She picks words out of my sentences and responds to them. She even goes to her crate now as soon as I get the dinner dishes out.

On the evenings I work Sophia calls me on the phone to chat. As soon as Sophia gets on the phone, Izzy heads to her spot in front of the window to wait for me. And when Sophia says, "Bye. See you in a minute." Izzy jumps from her spot on the chair and heads to the door. How smart is that?

Izzy is my baby. She follows me everywhere I go and she sleeps me with at night. She loves the kids, knows each one by name and follows my command of knowing which one to wake up in the morning. However, her best human friend is Steve. She absolutely loves him. He is her playmate. In the morning he gives her long belly rubs before kissing me good-bye and generally chases her around the living room before heading out. When she sees his car pull up she runs to the door to greet him and then finds a ball ready to play.

The kids and I have taught her many tricks and she seems to enjoy showing them off for visitors. We have worked hard at making sure she is walked several miles a day rain or shine, mentally challenged each day, given plenty of ball throwing throughout the day, fed a healthy raw diet and given lots and lots of love. For us, she has kept us from being couch potatoes, we have met tons of our neighbors through our walks with her, we have laughed hard, and we have learned patience and endurance. We often say, "Izzy was meant for us." It is true. She came into our life for a reason and we are so grateful for her. Happy Birthday Izzy.