Bobcat FunRun

I’m a Bobcat now. I’m a feral, crazy, vicious animal! All because I switched schools this year. I used to be a Husky, but now that I’m at my new school, I’m a wild thing! :) Today the bobcats had their fun run. I was rather impressed with my superstar second graders: they exceeded their goal of $750 and raised almost 1000 dollars for our PTSA! We celebrated that with an extra free choice time yesterday and a fun run today.

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Whenever there is an opportunity to work out while on the clock, I always jump at it. So this morning, I woke up, got dressed, and packed the clothes I would need for a solid run into my go bag and prepared myself to run for real at the fun run.
The first roadblock happened on the way down the hill away from my house, still in my car. I realize I forgot my inhaler in my bathroom. I put my brave face on until I got into my classroom, read the schedule and realized that I was going to be outside for nearly two hours. I either had to run for the entirety of the run, or I had to run for a portion of the time and then stand around outside in the cold air, and I had failed to pack my running jacket. I was going to be standing around in my humongous PTSA t-shirt, running pants and my dress jacket on the track, or shivering. Classy. But still, I thought, no problem. I can do this.
During my morning break I whined to Bradley via text. Ever my superhero, he sprang into action and brought me my inhaler and two jackets. Two old jackets. Two jackets that hang in my closet because I loved them when I was a beginning runner and I’m sentimental about them, but they are huge. Coupled with my huge sail of a Tshirt (there was a size mixup) and I felt heavily laden with clothing. Again, my superhero sprang into action, went to Target and bought me a brand-new running top! He wished me a happy early birthday and took off to deliver Gigi’s helmet before gym class. Our hero…
It certainly changed my outlook.
The run itself was very fun. Our awesome PE teacher set up a bunch of stations around the track. While mileage was encouraged, the idea was simply to stay active for the whole time. Kids could run obstacle courses, do ball kicks and a bunch of other stuff, and enter their data into a drawing for prizes. It was really neat. I ran almost the whole time. I forgot my inhaler in my classroom and had to run back to get it, but after that got taken care of, I ended up running about 4.5 miles, or 17 laps. I had one little girl who stuck it out with me for well over a mile. I was so impressed with her tenacity and willingness to take it slow, rather than burning out in a sprint. I kept turning in surprise that she was still there with me every time I turned around. What a sweetheart!
It was so much fun to run and play and sweat with all of my students. I had several kids who I didn’t know who ran with me for a bit and made conversation with me. I felt very included in my new, school community, today, and just plain good. Today started out a little bit hard but ended up just totally excellent. Thank you, Bobcats!

Holla!

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Did you look outside today? If you’re from the Seattle area, you know that we had an unseasonably warm day today. In fact, as we were headed down the street in our turtle necks, scarves and vests on this lovely 70 degree day, we started to kind of feel silly… But how else are you supposed to dress for an autumnal harvest festival among friends???
But I digress. I’m giving a holla because today I did something that has been looming menacingly in front of me ever since I became a runner: I ran to St. Edward Park and back. It wasn’t a terribly far distance- just under 5 miles- but the hills terrify me. St. Edward Park is located in a fairly hilly area and, before I started considering exercise a thing in my life, I just wondered how all those crazy people were climbing up and down those hills. I would watch people riding their bikes down to the park and I would silently warn them in my head of the job in front of them: if you go down, you have to come back up… So the distance is not so hard, in my mind, it was the altitude that had scared me all those years ago.
I needn’t have worried. It was a lovely run. I promised myself that I only had to run there- I could walk back. When I reached our agree upon stop point, I took my heart rate and found out I was at 178 BPM, so I took a little walking break to calm it down, but I managed to run, pretty much, all the way home, too. It was a really proud accomplishment for me. Next time I want to run down to the water’s edge too! It felt wonderful to beat that big, scary challenge, and even better to go a different route, to see different things, the colors of autumn… What a great run!

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To top things off, when I checked in on my WiiFit today, I found out that at 202 I am NO LONGER OBESE!!!!. I’m simply ‘overweight’ now! I’ve been clinically obese for 20 years. I never expected to not be obese- the nastiest, grossest word ever: obese. I hate that word. It’s like ‘panties’ or ‘moist’- just one of those words that gives you the hoovery-cooveries. Anyways, it is incredibly freeing to be out of the obese category. I burst into tears, as I am wont to do, and spent a moment celebrating in shock.
“Hey, I’m Tamara. Guess what, I’m no longer obese.”
Weird.
In a good way. :)

Sunny Autumn

I got home again today and got another surprise on the scale:

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Uh-huh! That would be 201.8!
So close I can almost feel it! To top it off, I’m now less than ten pounds heavier than my husband! Why that matters, I don’t know, but it feels important. All that stuff about weighing less than the man, and I’ve never. It doesn’t matter. Really it doesn’t. But it does. Does that make any sense? I don’t think I’ve ever been in a relationship where I’ve been the smaller one and I’m kind of looking forward to seeing what that is like. It doesn’t matter, like I said, but I’m still looking forward to that moment when I pass him on the scale!

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I decided to go for a run to keep up the momentum- plus it was beautiful out- and I rushed out as soon as I got home, but I forgot to use my inhaler before I went! I didn’t think it would be that big of a deal… Talk about a tough run! The thick, autumnal air with my lack of consistent exercise and no puffies (it’s what I call my inhaler) made for a horror of a time. Breathing was hard so my heart started beating like mad. My chest constricted down and I just started feeling intense. In my panic, I snarked at Bradley, making him kiss me on the cheek and take off running, leaving me in the dust. I finished the run, but when I got home I couldn’t get my body back under control- slower breathing and heartrate were slow in coming. It felt like it was my first time again. That said, I was happy to have done it, and I learned how important consistency is. I was also happy to get a kiss of forgiveness when I walked through the door. :)
We will try again tomorrow, with puffies, and hopefully the weather will be as lovely and sunny as today and I will be able to enjoy my run much more.

It’s Another Disney Adventure!

It’s been busy! Oh my goodness! I kept sitting down to write over the past few weeks and found that all I was writing were lists of tasks that I had to complete or a litany of complaints that I felt just served to inject negativity into the world. No one needs to read about my bad day, right? So I took a break from writing…
And went to Disneyland again!

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Yup. We used our passes one last time for my daughter’s birthday when Bradley found a screaming deal online. It was a great trip after spending August and September in a vortex of insanity. Getting going in September is difficult any year, add moving schools and grades and adding new curriculum and my head was spinning out of control. I also managed to lose a few pounds through September, so my hormones went bonkers when I had to process them from the fat loss. With the onset of PMS, I was an imbalanced nightmare (fat stores lots of toxins and, when morbidly obese like I was at 340 pounds, it also stores lots of hormones which kept me from having cycles at all. Now I process all of the hormones as I get smaller and smaller with each PMS cycle and it ain’t pretty!)
Disneyland was a great break!

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When we are Disneyland, of course there is a lot of walking. I banked between 15,000-22,000 steps per day and was on my feet for about 12 hours a day. It was in the mid to upper 80’s while we were there, so food didn’t sound so good. We generally eat a light breakfast then subsist on granola bars, fruit leather, water, cheese sticks and veggie chik nuggets until afternoon when we eat a later lunch, then usually get something back at the hotel for dinner. We move a lot, eat lots of fiber, solid protein and the result is…

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I left 1.5 pounds in Disneyland! I have two weeks to meet my goal of 199.9 by my birthday on October 29th! Two weeks to lose a little over two pounds! If there has ever been a call for the weightloss warrior in me, this is it! I’ll walk tonight and start running again tomorrow. I’m determined to get there or, at least, as close as possible!

Super Saturday

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We ran a 5K today. Collectively. We, the Lj’s, got up super early, tied on our sneakers and headed out the door to run with a mob of my fellow school district supporters, kids and adults. This race is my favorite. It is so fun to run along, and because it’s a-there-and-back race, you see EVERYONE you know, either coming or going! It’s like a high school reunion, except you don’t stop and have long conversations because you’re running! I ran with current students, former students, current colleagues, former colleagues, Bradley, Guinevere and Jude. It was an amazingly social event. It was surprisingly emotional, too, as I saw my friends (colleagues, former students and families) from my old school. As I hugged them hello, I got very emotional and started crying. It was like breathing, again, to see them and feel their love. I loved running that race. :)
Performance-wise, it was not good. I think my finish time was a little over 40 minutes. It was difficult to look at that number, but I decided to be a mom-runner this time round and ran, first, with just Jude, and later with Jude and a current student. Welp, they got tired and there was a lot of walking during that 5K. It was good for me to have my student with Jude. I really worked on being patient and coaching the boys along rather than hustling them along like I usually do with Jude. Instead, they picked the intervals of when they would walk and run, my goal being to make this race fun with my son. I’m not sure I made it nearly as fun as the cheerleaders did, though. Jude really turned it on high gear when running past all the foxy ladies!
I love this picture of me crossing the finish line, running to Bradley. It was a nice moment that was captured by a friend… I only wish that lady wasn’t right there in front of me! And can you tell how giant Bradley and I are?! We look freakishly tall. I had no idea! LOL!

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A non-scale victory happened recently. Bradley heard about the Brooks Running Outlet store clearance event that is near our house so we went to check it out. We ended up with a case of crowd anxiety and a t-shirt that Bradley bought without trying it on, assuming it would fit. He put it on and it looked super girly on him, super tight. I said, “It might fit me.” Because it did look like it might fit me… But I was dubious, so we put it on Gigi. It fit her like a nightgown. Again, I thought that it might fit me, so I snatched it off the child’s body and put it on my own. Guess who got a new shirt that was too small for her husband? That has never happened. I’ve always been bigger than him. Unbelievable.

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All of this is nice stuff. It’s good to have a few victories. This week was a killer. Oh. My. Goodness.

The Weekend

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I’m proud of this weekend. I’ve been afraid of running, as I mentioned. Running indoors too much coddled me and made me soft with my hill-free running in front of the television. On Saturday we decided to kick that bad thinking pattern to the curb and I picked a 3.2 mile route that is one giant loop. There would be no option of stopping when we came by the house. This was a real run, and wanna know what? I ran my first mile in 10:19. The others were slower, but I was pleased to see I could still pull a faster mile. Later that day we also took the kids and dog for a walk. All-in-all it was a super day!
The next day, we invited a few friends to the track for a run, and I got to run with my friend, Esther, who I am running the half marathon in June. She was full of fire on Sunday morning, so she was better than television and the 2.5 we did before my groin started to pull few by faster than I would have thought!
It was a great weekend for both exercise and celebrations- yep! That’s a few times now that I’ve seen myself under 204! The low end of my range is 203!!! Woot!

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I included this because sometimes I forget how blue my eyes are! This was my ‘on my way home, baby!’ Text from Friday. :)

May I Suggest…?

People often ask me what I do and what I have done to lose the weight. At first, the list was small, but now the list has grown and grown to be a set of life rules that I don’t even think about anymore. It’s like how I’m a vegetarian- I don’t even consider options on a menu that aren’t vegetarian. These are the things I do, without question, without fighting myself. Of course I fall down from time to time, but this is the consistent stuff that I try to stick to.
(And I’m not a doctor, nor do I suggest that you should do what I do. I’m only telling you what I do and did to lose 137 pounds.)

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On a recent hike on the Lime Kiln Trail
Try to walk 10,000 steps per day.
Don’t let yourself watch TV until you’ve met your walking goal. If you’re dying to watch TV and haven’t met your goal, march in place in front of the television until you meet your goal. Then you can sit down. (Sometimes this is really hard to do!)

Get intentionally sweaty five or more times a week for at least 20 minutes at an interval. Longer is better.
The more consistent I am results in feelings of power over my destiny, control over my food and better mental health. I’m not usually depressed when I have a solid exercise routine… Hmmmm… Connection? I think so!

Make goals.
I don’t know about you, but I’m super disappointed in myself if I fail to meet a goal. Keeping my plan for the week and weekly goals in mind is a tremendous driving force as I keep moving forward in my health and wellness quest. I make goals for the kinds of foods I want to eat for the week, about keeping a food diary for a few days, about how many miles or minutes I want to run and also longer term goals like running the half marathon in June or getting below 200 by my 40th birthday!

Start slow. Do only what you honestly feel like you can.
When I started running I could only run for thirty seconds- and I let that be a celebration. When I first started taking control of my food, I let myself be weaned off of things slowly. Had I shifted over to what I eat now, I would have been miserable. It’s ok to take to things like a fish to water, but it’s also ok to ease yourself in and get used to it as it feels comfortable.

It’s ok to get scared.
I freak out all the time and worry that I can’t do what I think I can do. It’s ok for me to freak out and start again. Presently my brain thinks I can’t run long distances outside anymore. I’m not sure what is up with that, but my answer has been to run short loops over and over that keep bringing me by my house. That way if I get too tired or overwhelmed I can stop anytime. The good news is that I don’t need to stop, usually, so I just end up learning that I CAN do it and it rebuilds my confidence.

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Commit.
I knew I was changing my life when I began this project. This is not a temporary shift in behavior. When I’m done losing weight, I want to keep it off. I want to be active as a great grandma or at least alive to greet him or her. I have to work to maintain this, so I can’t go back to my stagnant, carb-rich diet existence. The shifts I’m making now are ones I’m committing to making for my life, not just to get skinnier.

Eat as much vegetables, fruit and clean protein as you want.
As a vegetarian, without investing in a bunch of highly processed fake meat soy meat replacements (which I love) it’s hard to go too wild. I think of clean vegetarian protein as stuff like plain tofu, eggs, beans and high protein yogurt. It’s hard to really go nuts and overdo it on any of that stuff so it’s not a huge risk for me. I’ve learned to LOVE fruits and vegetables in a whole new way. It’s been a really pleasant surprise.

Don’t deny yourself, control yourself.
I’m a chips and ice cream girl, so we buy chips and ice cream in serving sizes. We buy chips at costco in the lunch packs and eat those and are amazed at the savings in calories and cost. I buy the single serving sized ice cream and that keeps me in check.

I really try not to eat after 7:30.
It’s a rule I have that I break more often than I like. When I follow it, though, I really lose weight and feel in control.

Look cute even when you’re not at goal.
I am not making myself wait until I reach my goal to buy new, better fitting clothes- I want to look and feel good at every stage so I’ve bought a lot and left a lot behind. I miss them and when people I’ve given hand me downs to share that they’re wearing something I formerly owned it makes me so happy!

Start growing your hair out right when you start.
It may seem vain and silly, but I’ve never ever had long hair, and growing it out made me feel like a different person. It often helps me see myself as I am now, which is way harder than you would think. In my minds eye sometimes I’m still the short-haired 280 pound woman I was two years ago. The hair helps make the visual shift easier to process.

Promise to keep the promise that I will really do it this time and I won’t break the promise.
I realized that I would readily break commitments, deals and promises that I made to myself. I decided that if I was going to see myself and a capable person who was truthful, dedicated and hard working, I was going to have to actually follow through. I haven’t broken my promise yet and don’t plan to. My belief in myself is so different and has altered my confidence and willingness to work on deeper issues within myself.

It’s all on me to do this.
My will drives this dream, not my belly or my laziness- my will. I use the word determination as my driving force. When I feel weak, I always remind myself that it’s my determination to power through that makes this possible. No one else can force anything. No one else should need to motivate me (though I do appreciate motivation) , determination is taking responsibility to myself, waiting for motivation is passive. Thank you Katie from Runsforcookies.com. :)

Be honest with yourself.
I lied to myself all the time, telling myself it was PCOS that did this to me, that my insulin issues made me pack on the pounds… But truthfully, pizza and donuts make it easier to pack on pounds. The PCOS and insulin resistance just really enjoyed the fodder and I became a highly functional fat making and storing machine. It’s amazing what I am capable of hiding from myself and justifying. Saying no to those lies was a huuuuuge step for me.

Journal your food.
Do it a lot at first and then as you need when you fall off the wagon. This just helps to remind you of what serving sizes are and you have to put that honesty thing into practice pretty fiercely here. I would journal even nominal amounts like eating three Cheetos and stuff like that. 100% honesty really helped me to see what I was really eating. Hint: it was too much.

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At the actual lime kiln – it was built in the 1890’s and still stands today


Be transparent
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Let people know what you’re doing. You will succeed very publicly, and falling back down, publicly, will be hard. You have no idea how important this website is. Sometimes my runs are photos opportunities because I need something for a post, but then I forget to even do a selfie. :)

Use an exercise tracking device for your smartphone.
As you rack up miles you’ll be impressed with yourself. I found the mileage counter to be incredibly exciting as I wracked up miles!

Buy real exercise clothes and a few really good bras.
That way you’ll feel like a real exerciser. I find that if I’m wearing my gear I’m self conscious if I’m walking. I run harder when I’m dressed for it.

Drink lots of beverages with meals.
When I want seconds, I really want a glass of water. I drink the water and don’t want seconds anymore.

Celebrate success with tangible rewards.
For some reason I like to dangle the carrot even more than I like the prize when I get it. The reward of meeting a weight goal always surpasses the boots or whatever I’m getting, but I still do it. I suppose it’s for those moments when I can’t feel the excitement of what it will feel like when I weigh whatever…

Build up your lean muscle mass.
I know that this is an uphill battle after 40, but I feel like it’s one worth waging. It’s difficult to build lean muscle mass now, but if know it’s possible and I feel like spending time lifting and getting stronger will do a lot for my health as I age AND lean muscle mass burns a lot more fat. I also have fantasies about plumping up with muscle to fill out my loose fleshiness.

Get the kids involved.
I realized that my lifestyle will influence my kids. I don’t want them to have the battles I’ve dealt with, so I want to teach them these skills now and have them imprint as a blueprint for the care and keeping of their bodies. So far, so good. She wants to be a personal trainer or fitness instructor of some kind (not as a PE teacher, though) and he is starting to run like greased lightning.

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Do whatever seems interesting in the quest to move forward with health.
If I get motivated to continue to exercise by signing up for a race then I definitely need to do that. If I have an interest in an online weightloss contest, it’s ok to take the risk and try for it. While those events may not help after the event is over, leading up to it gets me to a good spot.

Forgive yourself.
I’m not perfect. It’s ok if I fall off the wagon in any capacity. What is not ok is to let myself stay down. This is not a battle that is won over a year or two, it is a battle that is won by the second. I may have screwed up and eaten something I wasn’t planning for or I might not work out as hard as I was hoping, but as long as the next second or minute or hour is turned back around I’m ok. I don’t wait until tomorrow or Monday or the new year to get a fresh start anymore. A fresh start can happen immediately.

We Are Family

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This morning I promised myself that I would, indeed, run outside today. There are two reasons: one is that I miss my husband and want him all to myself to thirty minutes without being interrupted. The second is because I’ve become an outdoor scaredy cat runner. I’m scared of the terrain all of the sudden. I get scared that I’ll get tired and not be able to make it home or something? It’s totally silly, whatever the reason, and I was determined to break the cycle of waiting until it’s dark to get my workout in and running on the treadmill in front of the TV.

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The moment I pulled into the driveway was the same moment that the clouds decided to tear open and let their mighty contents fall on my neighborhood; it was a deluge. I felt defeated and pleased at the same time- Bradley wouldn’t want to go- it was raining! But I was wrong…

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In fact, my whole family was waiting downstairs, sneakers on, laces tied and running gear ready! They were all ready for a run! Bradley started talking to me right away about how I used to relish running in the rain, how I used to prefer it to dry running because it cooled me down, and before I could utter a single complaint, my dearest cheerleader sparked some important memories of rain running…
So out I went with all of them, into the rain, to run a little over 1.5 miles. Gigi breezed through the whole run, Bradley and I were fine, but it was my little Jude, chugging along, that made me feel so proud. He has suddenly decided he’s an Lj runner, too, and has started running several miles per week, he joined cross country and is determined to run miles. It’s pretty cool to see.
And as much as I wanted my husband to myself, it was pretty special to be out running with my husband, son and daughter. I always wanted to be a part of a running couple. I never thought I’d be part of a running family. I’m so glad I promised myself I’d run a mile outside this afternoon!

Weekly Fitness

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My new all-time low is 203.4, as of Friday. I’m so excited to be three pounds away from 200 now!! Onederland is totally in my sights now and I’m determined to get there before I see my 41st birthday on October 29th. It’s funny how my birthday has become such a marker to me, though it only makes sense that the day I was born be the day that I measure my success. I should be getting better every year and making effort to maintain some level of health. I suppose it’s a very good thing to take stock once a year, make a goal and see if I can meet it.
To support this goal, I’m still doing a lot of low impact cardio. Like I wrote last week, I’ve been running and using the elliptical for at least thirty minutes a night, often closer to an hour, at a heartrate between 130-150. I’ve also been fastidious about hitting 10,000 steps per day, and so far I’m pleased with my progress! Since school’s beginning, I’ve gone from 210 to 203.
Last week I walked and ran about 12 miles and met my 10,000 steps goal daily. I love working out on my treadmill and find that it is so low impact that I can run and run and run, and before I know it, 45 minutes have gone by and it feels like 20. That is a very good feeling!

September Update

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We had fruit flies, I tried this trick and Bradley illustrated it :)
I’ve been going around and around lately trying to figure out what I want to post on my website. If I’m perfectly honest, I’ve had a bit of a tough time lately because I just don’t know what to write. Sometimes I think it needs to be dedicated to fitness and weight loss, and other times I feel like it needs to have more about who I am and how I live my life, like a lifestyle blog or something- with importance placed on Weight Loss and fitness of course. Mostly think, though, that September rolls around and life just takes on a whole new complexity as I get rolling with the new year and new students.
This year has had additional stress because I moved schools and grade levels. I didn’t think it was going to be that big of a deal, I have moved schools before, I have started at new schools before, I have started new jobs before and it has never been a big deal. I’ve always thought of myself as very flexible and that I adjust very easily to new situations.
It has been hard, though, to adjust to the newness of the place. It’s weird to walk around and not know anybody. I mean, I know some people, but the majority of the staff is still nameless to me. I say hello and talk to many, but am having that difficulty. The culture of the school is very different than the ones that came before. There’s nothing wrong with anything, but it’s an adjustment. More than anything, however, the extra commute stinks, coupled with the adjustment of my work hours, I leave home at 7:30 and get home around five. That’s a full hour longer than I’m used to, and I really feel it in my family time. I miss my kids so much, I miss Bradley terribly and they are missing me. You wouldn’t think an hour would be that big of a deal, but it is!
I’m not going to say that I’m entirely unhappy, though, or anything even close to that- quite the contrary. As I’m adjusting to my new setting, I’m finding myself in more of a comfortable place than I have been in a long time. I’m actually believing in myself again, I’m seeing myself as the wonderful, warm educator that I believed I was, then wondered if I actually embodied, for several years. I’m finding joy again, actually. I’m realizing that all those years I taught intermediate grades were wonderful and good, but I think for now my heart is in the early primary grades. I love these little people. They’re busy, silly, out of their seats all the time and complaining about the hard work of counting on their fingers from seven to ten to find out the difference and all I can do is smile and laugh, because what else can you do? Seven year olds defy logic and reason, so it’s laughter, now. I find myself so much more forgiving and I find myself playing along with them, having fun with them every day. I’m finding the joy I was seeking in my job again.
This week, when I saw that glimmer of joy, I committed to finding it. I realized that part of being a happy person and a happy teacher is looking at my job and seeking out the positive things I like about being there. I realized that a few years ago teaching started feeling like a job, and you need to understand that I was the type of teacher who was antsy during her six week maternity leave to get back to work. I enjoyed summers, but really looked forward to getting back in the classroom. Over the past few years I started missing Bradley all day, every day, every moment while I was at work. I started fantasizing about being able to stay home every day, quitting teaching altogether, but I gritted my teeth and forged forward in order to support my family. I saw it as a necessity; selling my life by the minute to someone else, when I’d rather be doing things with my husband and family. That’s not to say I didn’t love the kids or didn’t put my all into my job, but my heart wasn’t backing it up, my will was.
But this year I keep being surprised by moments of joy, and every time I think excitedly, “I’m enjoying teaching!” I marvel and wonder that this is happening. I thrill at my excitement to do my job. We play, every day. We act things out. We sing, we dance! They love openly. It’s just so fun and happy! So while it’s still an adjustment, it’s one worth being patient for and one I’m excited to re-engage with.

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Do I know my ABC’s? My students pointed out that I got this mixed up… I agree but have to wait for my taller husband to take it down for me!