DIY A Beautiful Bridal Shower on a BUDGET!

As much as I love to photograph special events, I especially love to host a good party! My dear friend is getting married this Summer so having her a bridal shower she will always remember was important to me.  We've been close friends since our awkward middle school days so with almost two decades of friendship, this shower had to be special.  But, I also had a budget - I told myself I couldn't spend more than $300. 

But, that doesn't mean it couldn't be absolutely beautiful!

Always take the time of year into consideration. In SC we are experiencing a beautiful Spring season so an outdoor event would be perfect.  But, there is always the chance for extremely warm weather or a quick Spring shower so I needed some sort of coverage.  I looked into renting a tent but I quickly learned that spending $175 + $90 installation on a white tent from a party supplier was out of the question.  I took to the internet and Amazon to the rescue - I found a pretty white party tent that was 10x30 feet for only $85!!  And since I used my own backyard, the venue was free!

Now for decor...I had a lot of ideas in mind and I knew I wanted a soft, vintage feel to the shower.  I wanted custom signs that highlighted their new life together and gave the shower a special feel.  But, instead of ordering things - I took old wood and markers and went to work.  I also have some old windows - those turned into the bar and food menus.  Total cost for custom signs - $0!

Ask your close friends and family for things that you need.  There was no need to buy or rent tables, chairs, or table cloths - I had several of those items and what I was missing, I borrowed.  The mismatched seating and mix of lace and soft colored table cloths gave the feel I was going for.  Total cost for tables, chairs, and table cloths - $0!

Fresh flowers make wonderful centerpieces and to be honest, these all came from Sam's Club...I purchased bouquets of flowers and split them up.  Instead of using typical vases, I found items I had around the house - flour sifters, jars, tin measuring cups, etc and used those to hold the flowers (tip: use a plastic bag inside the containers that can't hold water so the flowers stay fresh).  All the vases were free so total cost of fresh flowers - $14!

The items I did purchase I found at yard sales, thrift stores, on on the clearance aisles.  I was able to pick up three glass containers for the bar, pretty framed floral prints and burlap banners for super cheap.  I spent a total of $15 on purchased decor and seed packs for party favors.  It doesn't take a lot of items to make a statement and always try to use what you already have first.

Last was food, drinks, and cutlery.  I made sure to stick with foods that are in season so they are cheaper and I purchased in bulk (Sam's Club).  I picked a party time that would allow for smaller portions and wouldn't need a full sit-down style meal.  Ham + biscuits, pasta salad, fresh fruit, cheese & crackers, different dips, and a few other finger foods made up the menu.  I also opted for a mimosa bar and lemonade for those who didn't want that.  My total bill for all food, drinks, and cutlery - $185. 

I also took the help that was offered.  Two other close friends wanted to bring something and offered to get the cake and bring some food items, so I gladly accepted their offers.  Other friends helped set up and decorate and that was also so appreciated.  So when help is offered, take it, it's free :)  The total cost of this shower - $300!

Spring Home Tour

Welcome! If this is your first time here, my name is Nicole and my family turned a 1923 mill house into our home.  Spring is the best time of year (even though in SC it only lasts a couple of weeks before the heat takes over).  This season epitomizes my style - simple, natural, light and bright! 

To be invited for the Hello Spring Home Tour with all of these wonderful bloggers and their beautiful homes is inspirational.  It's only Wednesday and I'm already planning projects for this weekend because these ladies have given me so many amazing ideas!  Carrie with Lovely Etc. did an amazing job hosting.  There is something new everyday this week so follow the links at the end!

For me, Spring means being outdoors!  We love to grill, sit on the back deck, wave to neighbors, and my son absolutely loves taking rides on the golf cart.  (Riding around the neighborhood on your golf cart is kind of a thing to do on week nights around here - welcome to Small Town, SC.)

So, let's start outside.  A broken old chair adorned with flowers and an old window, mismatched seating, and Ikea dinnerware complete the look.

From wreaths to counter tops, I really am a Do-It-Yourself person.  And if you can't DIY, buy it really cheap :) Michael's had their floral stems for 60% off so I stocked up on some really pretty stems for all of my Spring projects.

A few new (and on sale) pillows, bringing out my colorful throws on the quilt rack, adding simple touches of flowers, and freshening up the mantle complete the living area.

For Christmas I asked the hubby for things from local thrift and antique stores.  I gave him no direction and honestly just wanted to see what he would think I'd like.  He was spot on!  Seriously!  He scored a trunk (below) that was in great condition and only needed a little paint to take it from black and bold to bright and beautiful.  He also picked out the above RC Cola tray and everything that's on display in it. 

Our home is on the smaller side so our main living area doubles as my office.  By painting the desk my favorite color, teal, keeping the cords hidden, and having simple decorations I turned an eye-sore into an extension of the room.

I think our kitchen is the heart of the home.  When people gather here we tend to spend most of our time in this area.  If it's just us hanging out, you can always find us making snacks, cooking dinner, or toy race cars lining the table.  When friends and family arrive, coffee is brewing, desserts are devoured, and our children race around the island.

With the amount of traffic in this area, I really keep it simple in here.  I thrift containers to hold wooden spoons, use dough bowls for fruits and veggies, and my refrigerator is our social calendar (I mean wedding season this year is CRAZY!).

We did almost everything in this kitchen ourselves - from painting the cabinets and the counter tops, installing an island with a dishwasher, to painting the second-hand table and chairs.  This home has a lot of sweat and tears involved but it's our sweat and our tears.

It just so happened that the day I snapped these photos was the same day of a very special dinner with our family.  We are expecting another baby this September and we all gathered to find out the gender :)

These are the moments our home is made for.  It's great to take photos of a spotless home and wish that it would stay that way forever.  But, honestly having 15+ people over, a toddler running everywhere, crumbs on the counter and laughter in the air - that's beauty.

After a delicious dinner, we handed out surprise-filled cupcakes and waited for everyone to take a bite.

And...

It's a Boy!

 

I beyond thankful that you stopped by and spent a few minutes with me today.  I'd love to get your feedback or simply say "Hi" so feel free to leave your comments below.

It's only mid-week so there are still lots of wonderful blogs to tour for the Hello Spring Home Tour.  You do no want to miss anything that these lovely ladies have in store.

In Home Family Session

This year has already been so crazy...and it's only March.  We will welcome a baby sometime in September and thanks to our wonderful photographer, Amber, we captured our special announcement at home.  Take a look at our fun session (all photos by Sugar Snap Photography).

-Nicole

Merry Christmas Tour!

First off, welcome - I am so appreciative you are here!  I love this time of year and celebrating the true love of Christ with family and friends.  "We love because He first loved us."

Before our 2 year old woke up and started pulling toys into every room, I had about 30 minutes to photograph a clean home!  I love traditional reds and greens and this year I also decided to add some cotton and natural elements into the mix. 

I had the pleasure to photograph Christmas mini-sessions at a local tree farm in Greenville (Mystic Tree Farm) and while I was there, I picked out our tree.  Instead of the traditional green fur, we went with a Blue Ice tree that really does have a little blue hue to it.  It's beautiful and smells so wonderful!

I didn't have room on my mantle to put four stocking holders and I don't like using command hooks since the top of our mantle is a little thinner.  So, a white curtain rod and two flat stocking holders did the trick! 

Décor in the kitchen is a little more subtle - just a few small wreaths and pops of red and green!

I shopped around for a cotton wreath but the price tags were a little more than I wanted to pay...so a friend informed me of a place in Greenville called The Tomato Vine and they sale cotton by the stem or by the bunch for super cheap!!!  So, a DIY cotton wreath it is!

I've spent weeks searching for a wooden bench for our kitchen table.  I wanted to move things around and center the table with the mantle.  After no luck at my favorite antique and thrift stores, my wonderful father made me one instead.  I can't decide what color to paint it though...all white, stained and white, a color...

Our son will empty an entire toy box looking for his cars (he calls them "beep beeps") so I've started putting them in smaller containers that he can easily find.  This saves us a few minutes of toy clean up each night...one afternoon, he put them in this dough bowl on his small table.  So for Christmas, I thought I'd keep it that way!

But literally, as soon as he woke up - straight to the toys and the photo taking was done.  Mostly because I wanted to play with him too!

I hope this season is merry and bright for you all but never forget why we truly celebrate.  We can make our homes beautiful and get inspiration for one another but His beauty, love and inspiration are unending and all powerful.

Merry Christmas!

-Nicole

 

 

 

Christmas Tour | The Britton's

I am beyond blessed to call The Britton's some of my most dearest friends. They are truly the sweetest, most giving, compassionate and caring people you will ever meet.  I was able to visit them this weekend and in true Nicole fashion, I brought my camera along.  And boy am I glad I did!  This is their first Christmas in this home and it is AMAZING!  So amazing, that I have to share it with you!

I've decided that before I post my very own Christmas Home Tour, I'll share theirs!

So welcome...you are not going to want to miss this.

From the moment you walk in the front door you are swept into each detail - from every pine cone to every ornament on the massive tree (it's 12 feet and framed by floor to ceiling windows)!

Once you witness the main living area filled with traditional red and gold, you can venture into the bedrooms to find even more festive decorations.  Blues, pinks, and other vibrant colors take hold and each room brings the season to life in a different way.

And then you walk outside and take in the pond and the amazing view.

Thank you so much to this beautiful family for opening their home to me on so many occasions, loving my family as their own, and for being such beacons for the Lord.  So many are blessed to know them - I know I am!

Stay tuned for my very own Christmas Home Tour coming soon.

-Nicole

Last Minute DIY Halloween Costume

Most of my family is all about "last minute..."

When you get the label in your family of being the "crafty one," you get lots of requests for help - especially with those last minute projects. Which is why, I spent my afternoon making a scarecrow costume for my cousin (who is 20 months old and adorable)!

After a detailed phone call with my aunt while she's in Hobby Lobby, the list of supplies was purchased to make a cute scarecrow costume.

 

List of items needed:

  • Tulle (and lots of it) - we used 4 rolls of 6in tulle that came in 25 yard spools.  The colors used were brown, yellow, orange, and cream. 
  • Ribbon - we used 1in thick brown ribbon for the waist and the neck tie; also used was 1/4in yellow ribbon for decoration on the front
  • Faux Sunflowers - we purchased one stem that had approximately 6-7 sunflowers in various sizes
  • Burlap - we used two colors (orange and regular) for the hat "patches"
  • Straw hat
  • Hot glue
  1. For the tulle you will need to measure from above the chest to the desired length.  Multiple that times two and that's how long one piece of tulle will be.  My cousin's length needed was 15in x 2 = 30in per strip.
  2. Cut the first piece of brown ribbon to be enough to go around the waist and tie a bow in the back.  Then fold the tulle in half, wrap it around the ribbon, and pull the tail pieces through the loop to tie a knot around the band. 
  3. Cut another piece of brown ribbon long enough to tie around the tutu and around the neck (think halter).  Take the middle of the ribbon and wrap it around the center of the ribbon on the tutu and tie a knot.
  4. Hot glue a sunflower on the knot and tie some smaller decorative ribbon to hang in front.
  5. For the hat, cut smaller pieces of burlap and hot glue them to look like patches.  Attach a few sunflowers and viola! 
  6. You can also add leggings and a shirt for those cooler nights!

There are so many DIY Halloween costumes you can make - happy crafting :)

-Nicole

Fall tour

I was able to sit down and enjoy an almost spotless home for about 15 minutes yesterday before I heard the first, "Uh Oh" that came right after a dropped cup of milk - lucky for me my dog licked it right up...  This preceded the sandy footprints, crumbs on the floor, and toys thrown about in every room.  But, that's life and that's my style. 

I've had several people ask how I can manage to decorate with a son who likes to climb, crawl, run, and jump on everything!  I don't purchase expensive items for a reason.  I have a two year old and many of my friends that visit have children the same age.   That doesn't mean I don't like nice things, I just keep things simple.  My decor fits with our life and our home.  Small items that are clean and simple with pops of color (usually teal haha).  I also really like old pieces that go with the feel of our 1923 home. 

More times than not if you visit you will see dishes in the sink, toys everywhere and smudges on surfaces.  But, you'll also hear a lot of laughter, little feet running and songs being sung.  Occasionally you will find my home "presentable" but those times only last for about 15 minutes! 

But, here is one of those 15 minute moments from yesterday morning...welcome to my Fall home tour.

 

Thank you for stopping by - I truly appreciate it.  You took time in your day to come here and that means so much to me.  Have a blessed day!

Love,

Nicole

From Hobby to Small Business

I honestly have so many talented family members.  Which means I have the best options for help when needed.  Something needs to be fixed in the house - call my Dad; my computer won't work properly - call one of my brothers; I need to shop or help with projects - call my Mother or Mother-in-Law!

Not too long ago my Father-in-Law took up woodworking as a hobby.  He would piddle with this and mess with that for a while and then he started taking it really seriously and is getting really good!  As in, I've been having him make me ALL types of things.  I look at it as I'm helping him progress by asking for all of these off the wall requests!  "Hey Billy, we just built a new kitchen island, can you make me a butcher block counter-top?" Or, "Hey Billy, I want new shutters on my house, can you make me those too?" 

He's decided to start selling some of his work and will also be doing his first vendor show at the Pumpkintown Festival on October 8.  If you are in the area, you should definitely stop by to see his pepper-mill grinders, cutting boards, and much more. 

One weekend I hand him the old wood, the next weekend he hands me a new frame!

I'm not really a "made-from-scratch" baker but this French-style rolling pin was too cute to pass up!  When he told me about these, I just had to have one.

And the time and effort he put into making this serving-tray wedding gift for a friend - perfect!

Just like me, he took a hobby and wanted to do more with it.  He wanted to show that he was really good at this and could turn it into a small business.  If you're interested in any of his work, look him up on Facebook - Handcrafted by BigHig.

Love,

Nicole

 

 

Simply Fall...

My love for Fall is beyond words - I mean college football, pumpkin spice EVERYTHING, perfect weather, and colors that match my hair - what's not to love!  I couldn't resist and I started decorating before September...I tried to hold myself off but once the store shelves were lined with candles and white pumpkins, I just couldn't make it. 

I thought this was the best time to work on a project I have been envisioning for a few weeks.  We have some great, original mantels in our home (but no actual working fireplace).  To showcase the one in our main living space, I thought a simple window with a magnolia wreath would look great.  The task was, how to get the window to "float" where I wanted it to.  So, a drill, four hooks, and heavy duty twine later - it's a hanging window!  The best thing about this, I can use the hooks for so much more than just this window (hanging mason jars with flowers, Christmas decor, you name it)! 

It wasn't the easiest thing to hang - these mantles are made of super hard wood (I actually lost a screw from the back of the hook in there somewhere).  I also had to make sure to get products that could hold the weight required.  The hooks each have a safe working load of 35 pounds and the twine has a working load of 90 pounds.  The little extra elbow grease was worth it though :)

I've added simple touches of Fall throughout our home - white pumpkins, candles, some wood pieces, and an adorable sign I found on clearance at TJ Maxx that says "Pumpkin Kisses; Harvest Wishes."

To start off September 1, 2016 I even made pumpkin cookies...yum!

Happy (almost) Fall Y'all!

Love,

Nicole

 

 

My Thrifty Road Trip | Part 2

Our mini-road trip was a lot of fun and a huge success.  Not only did we stop at 10+ different shops (and roadside barns) but we also had time to take our son to a fun hands on museum. 

We traveled to Hendersonville, NC and stopped at all the small towns along the way.  Some of my best finds came from the roadside barns selling antiques - the type of places that don't show up on Google!  But, I did hit the jackpot at a HUGE warehouse called Needful Things.  This place is over 50,000 square feet and holds over 200 antique and thrift vendors.  I needed more than just a few hours to go through everything so I'm already planning a trip back.

I've been on the lookout for an old tobacco basket for quite some time now but I haven't liked the price tag on many that I've found.  So when I scored this one for only $30 and the teal paint was already splattered on it, I was more than excited!

And a cute, white chair for under $10 - YES please!

There were many smaller finds too - blue mason jars, wooden spoons, wooden bowls, books, trays, etc. 

And let's not forget the amazing shutters I found and all the photo session props!  Our truck was definitely overflowing with all kind of goodies.  I even fell asleep on the way home and woke up to the hubby pulling into another roadside antique shop that he found for me :) It's the little things... :)

We are gearing up for vacation soon so I'm sure I will find some more interesting places to stop at.

Thanks for reading,

Nicole

My Thrifty Road Trip | The Pink House Antiques

My style is based around being thrifty, simple, but pretty.  I love spending Saturday afternoons searching thrift stores, antique shops, yard sales, or flea markets to find anything I can use to re-purpose for our home.  That's why I was completely ecstatic when my husband agreed to take a short road trip for our anniversary to visit several antique and thrift shops.  I've started planning our route and picking which places I would like to stop at but I also want to leave time open to finding those places that aren't mapped out!

That got me thinking - why not show you the places that are local to me and that I visit often?! 

First up: The Pink House!

The Pink House Antiques is located in Williamston, SC and it is literally a pink house.  There are two floors, 10 rooms, a huge porch, and yard all filled with great buys.  This is the type of place you could spend an hour in one weekend and come back the next and spend even more time looking around.  The owner, Joan, does a great job finding items to sell.  There is a wonderful mixture of low-budget/needs a little work items and high-end antiques. 

Make sure to look up, down, under the tables, behind the doors, and all around so that you don't miss out on anything.  I've purchased so many things from here - old windows, antique chairs, kitchen items, milk glass, books, photo props, etc. 

Since the items that fill this store are older, they all have a story.  Joan knows those stories and if it isn't written on the tag already, just ask her and she'll tell you all about it.  It makes purchasing those items even more special knowing where they came from. 

This is such a fun spot to stop by - so add it to your list!

Thank you for reading,

Nicole

 

Weekend Beach Trip

Every now and again you need to get away for the weekend, relax, enjoy family, and have fun!

We spent the weekend of the Fourth of July at the beach.  It was a fun, quick vacation with some of our family.  We are very thankful that Aden has several cousins around his own age that he will get to grow up with and take more trips like this one.

They are the absolute cutest (even though I am a little biased).  This is such a fun age to take to the beach and see how they react.  Each one of them loved the sand and the water.  They played for hours, fought off naps, ran around and just laughed. 

They also loved the pier.  I might have had a few panic attacks as Aden wanted to look over at the water and them immediately run to another area.  It was fun to see his reaction to it all though.  They even sat still long enough for me to snap a cute photo of them in their matching, monogrammed Prodoh shirts.  Aden finally has a shirt that matches his Dad's wardrobe :)  All fishing, all the time!

Aden's aunt, Brooke, even made the trip with us!  We had so much fun getting to spend time with some of our family in the beautiful sunshine. 

I'll try to always remember how he reacts to new things.  At first he's cautious but then he jumps right in.  Our first afternoon here he made his Dad hold his hand while exploring the ankle deep water of the ocean.  By day two he ran straight for it with no fear.  He's such a joy!

Now that we are home and the next vacation is over a month away.  I have plenty of time to tackle my next home improvement project - building a kitchen island with a DISHWASHER!  Stay tuned for updates :)

Love,

Nicole

A Room to Play

This morning we ran around the house until I was out of breath and then we had to take every toy Aden owns out of the toy box.  I realized then I had never taken photos of his playroom.  Mostly that's because it's always littered with books, cars, blocks, and balls.  But, before it became too cluttered with this morning's top pick of toys, I snapped a few photos.

When we decided to convert this room from a guest bedroom into a playroom, I wanted it to be a colorful room that he could grow into and make his own.  The walls are a bright green and the accent wall sports large stripes of red, blue, purple and orange. 

This adorable frog shaped toy box was given to us by his aunt who also used it when she was a little girl.  It's the cutest thing - even when it's "mouth full" of toys risk spilling out at any minute.

Reading is a huge passion of mine and I hope that Aden loves it as well.  A reading nook was a must-have in this room and the large, stuffed bear gives him a comfy place to sit.  I love watching him grab a book, plop down and start "reading."  His favorite books right now are shape books that he can go through and pick out familiar items while he yells out, "ball, boat, cookie, etc."

The colorful owl futon cover and pillows were made by my favorite Etsy shop, Studio Slumber.  It gives a fun pattern to break up some of the bold colors on the walls.

This room belongs to Aden and his imagination can run free.  Cars come to life and chase over blocks and stuffed animals, the walls become bumpers to his ride-on cars, mirrors reflect his silly faces, and he scores goals using whatever will fit through the hoop. 

He's such a joy to watch and we're so thankful for him.  And I'm thankful for you too - thankful that you stopped by to read what I had to say.  I hope you have a blessed day!

Love,

Nicole

Functional Storage in a Small Home

Have I mentioned how small our home actually is?  It's only 1200 square feet; three bedrooms, one bath, and lacking massive amounts of STORAGE!  Seriously, we only have three closets, total...

So, storage is really important and I have to get creative with our limited amount of space.  There is a difference in the attic storage we have versus everyday storage.  With our small home, we have to have access to everyday items but also have a place to put them when they are no longer needed.

Thanks to Amazon, I stumbled upon these cute leather ottomans that double as storage bins.  They hold a lot of stuff.  I keep two in the living room (one for toys and one for throw blankets) and the larger one at the foot of our bed. 

Having easy access to the things you need but being able to store them away is essential to making storage work in our home.  It also keeps me sane and clutter free.

When you are looking for items that help with functional storage, you need to look for items that are needed but offer a dual purpose.  Coffee tables with storage inside, ottomans with storage, floating shelves for important items, decorative baskets or crates that can sit at a fireplace but also hold essential items, the list goes on!

These especially allow my son to play with toys he loves but can easily be put out of sight at night.

What are your functional storage ideas?  Share below :)  As always, thank you for reading.

Love,

Nicole

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today I didn't Rush...

My old Friday's consisted of waking up early, rushing around to get ready, heading out the door by 7:40am, and normally forgetting something...

Today, I didn't rush.  There was no pressing alarm clock (although we were still wide awake by 7:30am).  Blueberry pancakes were made and devoured while we sat next to the big window in the kitchen.  With our pajamas still on, we rode the golf-cart around the neighborhood.  We spotted Memaw in her front yard and stopped in - this lead to a brief piano lesson and lots of toys to play with.  We departed with a popsicle and a smile. 

My prayer this morning was of thankfulness.  I held my son and prayed with my heart full of gladness and love.  I was excited to start this new chapter working part-time but I never knew how much of a blessing it was truly going to be. 

I also have more time to work on his potty training - which he's doing really great at so far!!! :)

So thankful you stopped by to read about our morning.  Have a blessed day!

Love,

Nicole

 

 

Thankful

Dear House on the Mill...

I'm sitting here thinking of the changes that will happen overnight.  After tomorrow, I no longer work at my 9-5 job full time.  Tomorrow is the last day that I'll spend 8+ hours at work and only 3 hours with my family.  Tomorrow is the close of one chapter and the beginning of another.  And that both excites and scares me.

Change is scary - especially when that change effects your household income, your way of life, your career, and your family.  But, I can feel that it is the right decision for us.  From the moment we discussed it, It happened so quickly and I felt God there telling me that this is possible and this is what I needed to do. 

I'm thankful. Very thankful.

I'm thankful to work for a company who takes the needs of their employees into consideration, for leaders who went above and beyond to accommodate my request to work part time, and for co-workers who understand and aren't judging me for this decision but are supportive.

I'm thankful for our family members who help out in so many ways.

I'm thankful for my husband who works hard to support his family, who is loving and kind, who makes me laugh everyday, and is my best friend.

I'm thankful for our son who makes each day bright and fills it with such wonder, who reminds me how fast we grow up, and teaches me something new everyday about a mother's love.

I'm thankful for our God - a powerful and mighty God who loves us and when we listen and follow Him we can do things we never thought possible. 

 

A Normal Night

Dear House on the Mill,

Tonight was refreshing.  Long-time childhood friends gathered together in this home, each with their own children.  We discussed life, we read, we laughed and we prayed. 

We discussed how "normal" our lives really are.  But "normal" doesn't mean perfect, frustration-free, without pain, or always right.  "Normal" means normal.  It's normal for you or the kids to have a bad day, to question things, to want to pull your hair out.  "Normal" isn't always a perfectly put together life like social media portrays.  And sometimes we get bogged down with the idea that we have to be perfect to be "normal."

We gathered together tonight for our first book club meeting.  We've decided to start with "Mom Enough: The Fearless Mother’s Heart and Hope."  We are loving this so far and the discussions it brings up that relate to our own lives.

We laughed together.  We laughed about childhood memories and the hilarious things that our kids do today. 

We prayed.  Together, four moms and six children stood together to pray for our "normal" lives.  We prayed for the community we have in each other and we prayed for the strength to teach and show our children the Gospel in everyday life.

It was a fun evening that we four moms needed!  But, it wasn't perfect.  Between the six kiddos there were a few tears, broken toys, spilt milk, food stolen by the dog, and bathroom incidents.  It was completely normal.