Brought to you by Origin Energy and Nuffnang

Energy is magic. Seriously, it is hard for me as an adult to understand that something you can’t see yet runs your entire life and costs so much money… It is nearly impossible to explain it to children. At least my children who clearly need to leave the light on in every bathroom they have ever entered. It is like they enjoy burning money. They are really only aware of what energy is when their tablet runs out of battery power, so I pulled some ideas off the Origin Energy For Schools website to create a few games that explain the science behind the idea. I wanted the kids to be able to see the concept that for things to move then you must “power” them. To get that power, you must have a supplier and just like other commercial ventures, you must pay money.

First I let Bernard and Energy Bob explain things to my kids with this short video.

The twins are little enough that simply rubbing their hands together to create warmth would have been enough to explain the concept, but I thought I would employ their favourite toy…balloons. We all had a ball rubbing the balloons on our heads to generate static electricity and watch it attract hair.

OriginEngage

OriginEngage

To take it up a level for Gemma, we again generated static electricity with the balloon on heads method, but then attempted to move a tin can along the table. We had created magic and they all understood that energy inside one thing can be changed into something else.

OriginEngage

A couple of weeks ago, Origin Energy had a selection of bloggers into their Melbourne office to chat energy and the way Origin are changing their business to make everything easier for their customers to access and understand. We were able to ask questions of experts about every stage of the energy business from generation and distribution all the way to the running of their call centre. While it was all fascinating, the one segment that caught my interest most was the talk from Origin’s energy expert and her information on how to conserve energy in the home. In the end, it is not just to save yourself money, but to save the planet. 

It got me thinking in a new way about my kids and their one-way ability to use a power switch, on.

First, I took the kids on a specialised tour of our home pointing out each and every thing that consumes energy. We counted NINETY FIVE things. I am sure we missed something, but HOLY CHRISTMAS LIGHTS that is a lot of stuff. I did not even count ALL of my camera chargers, just the one I have been using lately…

Then we looked at ways we already do better:

-Solar panels on our roof and solar powered outdoor lighting.
-LED globes in all the lights
-Smart timers on TVs that turn off the unit when it is idle for a certain amount of time.
-Energy efficient appliances used once a day in off peak hours.
-Clothes line.
-Flash hot water heater so hot water is made on demand and not always being stored and heated.
-Keeping our heater when it is on, set to 18 degrees.

Finally we made another list and this time it was the result of a family meeting on what we can do better… in terms that the kids can understand.

-Get rid of the deep freeze in the garage. We no longer eat meat, so we have less reason to stockpile things when they are on sale. We eat fresher now.
-Walk to school more. This will mean getting up a bit earlier in the mornings, but it’s so good for both our bodies and the planet.
-Warm jumpers instead of heater. I am always cold, so even in my beloved Icelandic jumper I tend to shiver. I will just need to add a layer!

I know we could save even more energy. I would love to hear your ideas!

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  • Jessica Shaver Bennett via Facebook - I recognise that can!ReplyCancel

This evening I become Australian. Officially.

I am excited and proud.

Of course, it is also just any other day in the life around here. One where Clover stayed home sick so I had to take her on my errands. Since it is a special day and I have to return my beloved Olympus OM-D E-M10 this weekend, I decided to do a bit of a mini photo documentary.* 

school-morning-minus-one

coffee-and-chocolate

fever-medicine

shops

lunch-with-barbie

dog-day-afternoon

I hope to be able to capture the story of my citizenship ceremony tonight. I don’t know what to expect! All I know is that it is a very good day to become Australian.

*These are all black and white because I wanted to get back in the habit of shooting with my “two roll rule” in mind. That is where I shoot only up to 72 frames with no deleting in camera and very minimal post processing. I was imagining that I was shooting black and white film…looking for lines and light instead of colour to help my story. I ran out of time to run them through a levels adjustment layer in Photoshop, but I think a few would benefit from a little contrast bump. 

 

 

 

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Brought to you by Officeworks

I’ve always thought it was not fair that Father’s Day in America and Father’s Day in Australia are on two different dates while Mother’s Day is the same in both countries effectively giving Alec two days where we celebrate him as a parent and one for me. I blame the confusion around the date for why I tend to forget every year or maybe it is my subconscious being all passive aggressive. Either way, suddenly Father’s Day is rolling around again in Australia and I will be headed out of town this year, so I need to secure something quick for the guy who, despite getting two Father’s Days each year, wants nothing! My “blogging office supply closet” happens to be my local Officeworks and I am in there for one thing or another at least twice a month. While I was at Officeworks last week, I took notice of the Kodak Kiosk Services and since I had a bit of time and my coffee, I sat down in front of one machine to see if I couldn’t make something meaningful for Alec. I always intend to print some of the thousands of photographic memories I create and share on the blog. I tell myself that I will place an order for prints or put some shots together for a book, but as the shoemaker’s child goes barefoot, the photoblogger’s family has no photos. Well, unless you are looking at one of my social media streams. It works well for Alec as he likes to have as little “stuff” around him as possible and is happy to look at pictures on his phone, but I thought it might be just the perfect time to get him a photo for his office. His coworkers probably think he has made his family up. A selection of nice simple frames had caught my eye as I walked to the Kodak Kiosks, so a plan for a personalised Father’s Day gift began to form. The only problem was that I did not have my photos with me. They were either all on the hard drive at home or the USB drive marked PRINT ME!, also at home. I thought I would see what things would cost and get a few ideas before returning home to grab the photo files and since I just wanted to order prints, I learned I could pull the images right from Facebook and Instagram which is handy as that is where I also keep them. If I wanted to make a mug or some of the other fancy options, I would need the files, but simple was what we were going for. Simple is what Kodak and Officeworks make it. I pulled a rare family photo from Instagram and another favourite shot that represents our shared love of the kids, wanderlust and summer to print and frame. Since I was already sitting there, I selected a bunch of other pictures stored on Facebook and Instagram from our trip to Hawaii for “someday projects”. I even printed some of their Social Prints which not only include the photo, but the text that you included as a caption online. What a brilliantly convenient way for anyone to create scrapbooks after the fact! Just include a bit of the story you want to remember as you post the photo and print it all later on at Officeworks. You know you will be there anyway for something that you need.

OfficeWorks Printing

The prints were ready in just a few hours and I bought the frames as I paid for my order. Now Alec has a simple display of family love for his office that says; “Thank you for working so hard so that we can travel the world together.” One additional framed print will go to my father-in-law. I’ve never felt so prepared for Father’s Day!

OfficeWorks-for-Fathers-Day

There are many different photo items on offer at officeworks.com.au. Maybe a canvas print is more your style? Have a look online at all Officeworks offers and then answer the following question for one reader’s chance to win a $100 Officeworks voucher!!! (Please note that the giveaway of 1 X $100 Officeworks voucher ends 5pm AEST next Thursday 28 August. Terms & Conditions for the  can be found here.)

‘How would you make use of the Kodak Kiosk Service for Father’s day?’ 

Need more ideas? Watch this. 

 

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  • Dawn - That looks like a cool gift. We don’t have that many photos on the walls, of the kids, but hubby is a newspaper photographer, and the one year that both of the kids were in high school at the same time, he got a picture of them playing their instruments for pep band, at a basketball game. He got both girls and their band teacher. We did print that one and bought a nice frame for it. I’m glad we did.ReplyCancel

  • Annette Silsby - I would get a mug for my Dad with a picture of me and my three siblings on it. At his work they all have a sneaky competition on who has the coolest mug, this would definitely help him win!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa King - Father’s Day is a hard day for us. We can’t buy anything for my husband as he passed away two and a half years ago, so I would love to make collages of each of my boys with their dad to put in special frames as a special Father’s Day gift for each of them.ReplyCancel

  • Jane D - I would use the kiosks to pay for the collages for Lisa King.ReplyCancel

  • Rana Rankin - Oh I know exactly what I would spend my voucher on!!!!! …. Have you seen the awesome BLOX, these things are soooo awesome, I would by a selection of sizes and prints to match and put a collection of photos and quotes together for his office wall or his classroom. The bloxs are seriously my fave DIY photo thing :) http://www.officeworks.com.au/shop/SearchDisplay?searchTerm=blox&storeId=10151&langId=-1&pageSize=24&beginIndex=0&sType=SimpleSearch&resultCatEntryType=2&showResultsPage=true&searchSource=Q&pageView=ReplyCancel

  • Kate Geikowski - Father’s Day. Hard for my husband and I as we have both lost our own fathers and also difficult for us because my husband’s birthday is on the 6th of September, so every year he gets to have his birthday and Father’s day combined! Boring for him I think!

    This year, I would like to make him a book with photos of his father who passed away in 1989. I think he would love that!ReplyCancel

  • Kirsty - I saw some great photos online recently where adults re-enacted their childhood photos in the same locations and wearing similar clothing. The results were hilarious – adults in baths, wearing nappies or with food smeared all over their faces. I plan to recreate one of my favourite photos of my sister and me from when we were toddlers and enlarge both the original and new photos to give to my Dad.ReplyCancel

  • Emma - I had a think and then read Lisa King’s. I’m with Jane D – that’s where my kiosk money would be going.
    xReplyCancel

  • Nicole - Father’s Day always creeps up on me, I think it’s because its at the start of the next month and I don’t see it on my calendar till the week before when I turn the page! Throw in moving house that weekend, I think Father’s Day might be a bit of a fizzier…I have to pack. If I had the time to get into Officeworks I’d love to print out a picture of my Dad’s dog for him and frame it or put it on a mug, and for my husband from the kids, a calendar would be great.ReplyCancel

Today I let the stress of behind the scenes adulthood break through the cracks of my mother facade. Keeping it all together for the kids crumbled when Kieran did not come back to his line up at the bell to start school. I always give them the option to play with friends out of sight, but on school grounds if we are early, under one condition…they must return when the music sounds as a warning that the bell is about to ring. They can’t wait for the bell because it is not respectful to the teachers and they always follow that rule with no problems. Until today. A day when my heart is torn between the states where my sweet mom is in ICU recovering from a heart valve transplant and here where my father-in-law ended up in the hospital for an infection. I’m angry and sad and fearful and I panicked as his line filled up with all the students except Kieran. I searched the concrete sea of red and green uniforms for his little face, but could not find him anywhere. The oval was empty as was the playground. All his usual mates were accounted for, just my guy was missing.
The bell rang. He is never this late. The other classes started to go into the building. Maybe he fell. Where is he? I forgot the swimming forms to sign and turn in, didn’t I? Come on, Kieran, you must have heard the bell! Why isn’t my mother recovering quicker? Did I eat breakfast? Why is my phone buzzing again, I KNOW I HAVE DEADLINES. WHERE. IS. MY. SON?

Then there he was running towards me and my face must have told him that I was upset because his smile quickly turned to crying and apologies fell from his lips like the tears. I said sternly, “You are late. Get in your line right now.” However, my face was silently screaming; “Don’t you understand that I can’t fix my mother, I can’t make my in-laws take better care of themselves, I can’t bring back my cousin or my neice’s baby and I just need you to do this one simple thing and be on time because everyone expects you to get in trouble because of your issues when I know you are a beautiful boy and I have to do so many different projects right now that other people are counting on and I just can’t make everything OK for everyone.”

damn it
He was in the bathroom.
I suck at being a mother today and a daughter and a daughter-in-law and a wife and a photoblogger and I just need this ride to stop for a second so I can get some breakfast.

Some days it just feels overwhelming to be a grown up. I feel terrible I let that dump out on my kid. I wish I could go back to school and pull him out of class and give him a big hug. I need one.

my babies

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  • tara pollard pakosta - I am so sorry.
    we are all allowed to crack sometimes.
    kids are so accepting of our faults.
    he loves you to pieces.
    don’t beat yourself up.
    i send a big hug and love to you.
    taraReplyCancel

  • Sue Banks via Facebook - Cyber hugs coming through…..ooooo xReplyCancel

  • Sue Banks via Facebook - Cyber hugs coming through…..ooooo xReplyCancel

  • Melissa@Julia's Bookbag - Oh Rachel. I’ve been following your work and blog for over a year and this is one of my only comments I think. How well I recall my mother’s valve transplant 14 yrs ago. It was SUCH an awful scary time. You get a PASS, and a big one! I fell apart in front of my daughter the other day, wasn’t feeling well, and the tears just started flowing. Being a grownup is the hardest, some days! Big XO to you, and know that you have friends all over the world pulling for you.ReplyCancel

  • Kate Glancey - By the time you get to school to pick him up he will have forgotten all about it…you on the other hand will dwell all day. You will punish yourself, feel guilt and berate yourself for being a terrible mum…but in all honesty, unfortunately, your just human. Have your breakfast, have a coffee, have a massage or get your hair done. Be kind to yourself…rejuvenate and go back to school the mum you want to be and the mum he knows you are. Be Kind to Yourself!ReplyCancel

  • Claudia O'Brien - This. I have felt this so many times. nice to know I don’t feel it alone. And neither do you.ReplyCancel

  • Amanda Lovell via Facebook - hugs…thank you for your post. it doesn’t feel so bad when it happens to us. because it does. to all of us.ReplyCancel

  • Amanda Lovell via Facebook - hugs…thank you for your post. it doesn’t feel so bad when it happens to us. because it does. to all of us.ReplyCancel

  • Cat - I love you to bits. I have a big hug for you in a few weeks.ReplyCancel

  • Catherine Brink-Flahaut via Facebook - Love this ❤️ReplyCancel

  • Catherine Brink-Flahaut via Facebook - Love this ❤️ReplyCancel

  • LouiseFletcher - I am hugging you from Sydney with tears of recognition xxxxxReplyCancel

  • Ingrid German via Facebook - I don’t know you but I’m sending you a hug, tooReplyCancel

  • Ingrid German via Facebook - I don’t know you but I’m sending you a hug, tooReplyCancel

  • Nicole Colinarez via Facebook - Oh, mama, we’ve all been there. All of us. You are not alone, and you ARE doing the best you can. xoxoReplyCancel

  • Nicole Colinarez via Facebook - Oh, mama, we’ve all been there. All of us. You are not alone, and you ARE doing the best you can. xoxoReplyCancel

  • Lea - Hear you :( xReplyCancel

  • Susan Rankin via Facebook - I had a few mornings when I was a single where I was just such a terrible mother that I had to go find Cameron in the middle of the day just to hug him and tell him that we’d start fresh tomorrow and that I loved him oh so much. Luckily, he went to school where I taught so getting to him wasn’t too hard. We’ve all been there, Rachel. Huge hugs to you.ReplyCancel

  • Susan Rankin via Facebook - I had a few mornings when I was a single where I was just such a terrible mother that I had to go find Cameron in the middle of the day just to hug him and tell him that we’d start fresh tomorrow and that I loved him oh so much. Luckily, he went to school where I taught so getting to him wasn’t too hard. We’ve all been there, Rachel. Huge hugs to you.ReplyCancel

  • Monica Lima Shulman via Facebook - ❤️ReplyCancel

  • Monica Lima Shulman via Facebook - ❤️ReplyCancel

  • Kerry Carmichael via Facebook - (((((Hugs)))) <3ReplyCancel

  • Kerry Carmichael via Facebook - (((((Hugs)))) <3ReplyCancel

  • Rachel Devine Photography / sesame ellis via Facebook - Just for the record, the corn flakes I had gave my mouth ulcers. Today can go right to hell.ReplyCancel

  • Rachel Devine Photography / sesame ellis via Facebook - Y’all are making it better though. This is why I blog. You are my global village.ReplyCancel

  • Rachel Devine Photography / sesame ellis via Facebook - Y’all are making it better though. This is why I blog. You are my global village.ReplyCancel

  • Melissa Bowles Martin via Facebook - So sorry – these things happen but I know you feel bad about it. I think that’s the sign of a good parent though. xxReplyCancel

  • Melissa Bowles Martin via Facebook - So sorry – these things happen but I know you feel bad about it. I think that’s the sign of a good parent though. xxReplyCancel

  • Katie Duda via Facebook - Big hugs to you. We’ve all been there. ❤️ReplyCancel

  • Katie Duda via Facebook - Big hugs to you. We’ve all been there. ❤️ReplyCancel

  • Danielle Hamilton - big hugs from me to you, my dear <3ReplyCancel

  • May - Definitely understand. I feel like I crack more often than I should. They know you love them. Hugs.ReplyCancel

  • Karen Linnell via Facebook - Been there exactly! You are not alone. (( cyber hug ))ReplyCancel

  • Karen Linnell via Facebook - Been there exactly! You are not alone. (( cyber hug ))ReplyCancel

  • Sheryl Campbell Lemma via Facebook - We have all been there. I hope your loved ones recover quickly and well. The fact that your impatience is causing you this grief is proof that you are a great mom and your babies know it. Here’s to a better tomorrow.ReplyCancel

  • Barbara Taylor via Facebook - Breathe in, breathe out. Mommies blow their top sometimes, but your kids KNOW they are loved.ReplyCancel

  • Marianna Cafeo via Facebook - Sending you hugs. Sometimes it’s just too hard & overwhelming. I hope tomorrow is better day and things start looking up.ReplyCancel

  • Marianna Cafeo via Facebook - Sending you hugs. Sometimes it’s just too hard & overwhelming. I hope tomorrow is better day and things start looking up.ReplyCancel

  • Julie Devine via Facebook - Huge international hugs reaching you from Maryland and Im cracked too. <3ReplyCancel

  • Robin T - So very sorry. Sending hugs and peaceful thoughts. I had a not very pretty motherhood weekend myself. I said some things I regret (said? more like yelled). My kids forgive me much faster than I forgive myself and I bet your sweet ones are the same. hoping your family members are healing. xoxoReplyCancel

  • Patrina Walters Odette via Facebook - Oh man, I so hear you. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Chin up! ❤️ReplyCancel

  • Bron - Me too honey. Had the same kinda morning and left Lilly a little the same xxReplyCancel

  • Gabbie Smith via Facebook - Rachel I hear you loud n clear. Give yourself a break. Spend the day in your pjs. Cry. Out loud. It does make you feel better. Your a great mother – and your human. Glad your village here, helps. Take care of you. XxReplyCancel

  • Chris Leung via Facebook - Hugs, mama! You are not alone!ReplyCancel

  • Tuesday Veldhoven via Facebook - Oh love. You don’t suck at anything. It’s ok xoxoxoxReplyCancel

  • Sarah Black via Facebook - Oh sweetheart, that’s made me all teary. You seem like an unbelievably wonderful mother, otherwise you wouldn’t have been able to write that post. Thinking of you today, but know that tomorrow is always better. Have a big night’s sleep, it always helps.ReplyCancel

  • Aimee Osbourn-Gille via Facebook - Sending you hugs from France. I know do well the overflow of emotions. Good thing those hugs from our kids are oh so healing. Hang in there, Mama. You are doing it right.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - Breathe. Take that break you need. Call a friend, or 2, or a sibling, get a hug or 10 even if they’re long-distance. We all have a breaking point and that is okay. You can give Kieran a hug once he’s out of school and everything will be fine. And remember (realize?) that for as much as you might like to help, it is not your responsibility to fix your mother or your in-laws or everyone else’s problems. You can care, you can offer support, and that is wonderful, but at the end of the day you’re only responsible for you. That said, I hope they all get better soon.

    I understand perfectly what it’s like to have a horrible day (while living abroad) and to just want a break from life, parenting, and myself. Two weeks ago I decided to close the gap and sent an email explaining what was wrong to a bunch of good friends back in the States and the responses I’ve gotten have been so nice, so supportive. Life has rough patches for everyone. You’re not alone. Or, as one of my best friends said last week (and it made me laugh, so I’m passing it along): today sucked, and that’s okay, but tomorrow will be better. Hugs.ReplyCancel

  • Anna Mari Green via Facebook - Awe. Glad he is ok and you will be too. Enjoy your bowl of cereal and a few deep breaths.ReplyCancel

  • Hélène Simard via Facebook - We all crack sometimes, makes us real. deep breaths.ReplyCancel

  • Hélène Simard via Facebook - HugsReplyCancel

  • Katie Bee via Facebook - hugs sweet aunt. you are an amazing parent, aunt, sister, daughter, mother, and everything else you could be.ReplyCancel

  • se7en - Well you just totally need some encouragement… You sound like you need someone to make you some tea and tuck you in for a nap… sending huge hugs.ReplyCancel

  • Belle - Hugs to you today.ReplyCancel

  • Bre Bryant via Facebook - Sending prayers, hugs, and good thoughts your way from Kentucky!ReplyCancel

  • Colleen Ayson via Facebook - Been there many many times…….the tyranny of distance.ReplyCancel

  • Melinda Black via Facebook - Rachel, is the blog down? Tried to read but no luck. It’s gonna be ok honey, no matter what. XOReplyCancel

  • Laney - I’m this mum right now too – big cracks – HUGE! Hope you got some breakfast xReplyCancel

  • christine gill - We all dump on our kids. F is the good one, the easy one, the one that doesn’t want to cause anyone a problem ever. And when my frustration at the others or my own anxiety problems comes in her direction it kills me. an explanation usually helps, “i’m sorry babe, but you see there’s this thing going on and i feel a bit stressed and i took it out on you and that shouldn’t happen and i’m sorry. Shall we have a cup of tea?”

    you’re a good mum. It shows, glows even.

    Get well soon to your mom and father in law xxReplyCancel

  • Catherine V - xoxo. Good mommies are not perfect mommies.ReplyCancel

  • Heather Lesley via Facebook - My heart reaches out to you, and every mother who ever feels like this, including me. You are not a bad mumma. You are a wonderful mumma, in family grief and work stress and anxious for your youngling’s wellbeing. And you are not alone. xReplyCancel

thomas

Tomorrow my cousin has to say his final goodbye to his twenty six year old son, Thomas. 

I used to babysit for Thomas during the hot summer days when I was home in Virginia from my California university. He was a sweet little boy with a ready smile and beautiful swoopy eyes, the kind I would one day many years later recognise on my own son. Growing up next door to my father’s only brother and his family, I was the youngest of the nine kids between the two houses. Thankgivings and Christmas times were epic gatherings filled with laughter, love and lots of noise. They were built in babysitters for me as a child and I became one for their babies. My cousins all had their own families while I was a teen. Now that generation of second cousins numbers twenty with some of those already raising the generation to follow. Again, I am bringing up the rear with the littlest ones. The age gaps are as wide and varied as our physical locations are far. The strength of the Devine clan to care for each other as we sailed our own ships far from the Virginia coast is admirable. We have love and connection over the miles. Our holiday celebrations together are just memories now and even if we had one more for old time’s sake, there would be too many founding members absent from the table. The ones you would expect gone from old age and divorce are heartbreaking enough, but Thomas… it is almost too much to think about. While we had not seen each other in person for many years, the internet kept us connected like many others from our family. I should be looking on Facebook and thinking; “Wasn’t I just babysitting you and now you are getting married?” Instead, I am looking on Facebook and mourning; “Wasn’t I just babysitting you? You are  too young to die.” 

Thomas’ heart unexpectedly broke and in doing so, it broke the hearts of many more.

Michael and family, my heart is one of these broken at the enormity of your loss. I will never forget your gorgeous boy. His smile lights up my memories of him. 

I wish I could find some photos I took of him as a tiny guy, but for now, I will just put these from his Facebook here so you who never met him can get the benefit of that unforgettable smile. 

thomasdevine

Thomas, give uncle Pat and my dad big hugs in heaven.

 

 

 

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  • Alice Richards via Facebook - Thinking of you and your family Rachel. Such heartbreak xoReplyCancel

  • Sonia ED Bertozzi via Facebook - Thinking of youReplyCancel

  • Allison Walker via Facebook - Beautiful words Rachel. Wishing you much laughter with your happy memories amongst your tears xxxxReplyCancel

  • Michele Botwin Raphael via Facebook - So beautiful, Rach. My heart aches for you and his family. I love his smile and his eyes. It’s so special that part of him lives on in Kieran. His smile lives in your hearts. I’ll be thinking of him and all of you tomorrow.ReplyCancel

  • Bronwyn Curnow via Facebook - XxReplyCancel

  • Shannon McDonald via Facebook - Beautifully written Rachel. I’m sorry. :( ReplyCancel

  • Cindi Blyberg via Facebook - I’m so sorry, Rachel.ReplyCancel

  • Angela Auclair via Facebook - My condolences to you and your family.ReplyCancel

  • Sheryl Campbell Lemma via Facebook - I’m so sorry for your loss.ReplyCancel

  • Maile Knight Wilson via Facebook - So sorry Rachel. Thinking of you and your family.ReplyCancel

  • Breanne - I’m so sorry for your loss Rachel. My thoughts and prayers are with your family.ReplyCancel

  • Jane Devine McLemore - Beautiful, Rachel.ReplyCancel

  • Robin T - So very sorry for your family’s loss – sounds like he will leave a huge hole. :-( hugsReplyCancel