Friday, December 25, 2009

Technical Difficulties

Okay, I hate to admit this but I'm not nearly as technically adept as I would like to be. My husband excels in this area, so we make a good team. Rather, he makes up for my inadequacies. It rarely has an adverse impact on my life, but it does surface from time to time in small ways.

Like my blog layout? Good. Because I can't change it. I couldn't even copy and paste the html code correctly from another website. My friend (Hi Dana!) had to log into my account to fix the formatting for me. It was cute, but then one day I logged in and the formatting was gone. I couldn't revive it, so I went with the bland and boring Blogger standard. When I add photos to my posts, they have a mind of their own and go wherever they want. Fellow bloggers - want to help me out? I'm clueless here.

We have so many pieces of equipment connected to our TV, that I can't figure out how to play a DVD. If Evan wants to watch Bob the Builder, there are about 154 steps to play the stupid thing. I think our "DVD" player is actually the PlayStation, or the xBox or the Wii or something...

TV Input... Nope.
DVD Power... Input... Video 1... Nope.
DVD Power... Input... Video 2... Nope.
DVD Power... Input... Video 3... Nope.
DVD Power... Input... Explorer 8300 - Score!

Play... Wrong remote... I give up!

I got an iPod Nano from hubby for Christmas this year. It's pink and super cute. I also got to spend some time in the iTunes store today. I think the iTunes store and I may be a dangerous combination. It's a little like online gambling. Give them your credit card into, and just click your way to bankruptcy. But, I digress...

So, I'm embarassed to admit this, but I bought the Glee Volume 1 soundtrack tonight. Or, rather, I intended to buy the Glee Volume 1 soundtrack. You know what I bought instead? I'm even more embarrassed to admit that I actually bought the Glee Volume 1 KARAOKE soundtrack! Don't know what the karaoke sound track is? Welcome to the club - no pun intended. It is the background track to the Glee Volume 1 sountrack. Like, in case you are so serious about singing along to this silly music that you want your own instrumental tracks, buy this! Or, if you're so new to iTunes and you're a little trigger happy, we'll suck $7.99 from you to capitalize on your stupidity!

Dave - just roll your eyes and shake your head when you read this. Chuckle a little to yourself about how stupid your wife is. It will make you feel better about the $7.99 I just wasted.

Everyone else - stay tuned. I'm going to use my extra time with this to work on a rousing rendition of track 11.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

09 Blizzard - Digging Out

I haven't seen the "official" snow totals yet, but the "unofficial" reading we took on the deck last night was 24 inches. This is what it looked like:

See that man shoveling his driveway in the middle of the blizzard? That's my husband. Pretty much the BEST husband ever...
Where do you start with this? We can't even open the door...

Maybe having two cars is overrated. I wonder what would happen if I just left my car here until the spring thaw?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Driving to School with Evan

E: Ice! Ice! No Ice! Mommy’s car! You turn on car! I drive your car! I want to be warm! Why beeping? Toy magazine? Toy magazine! What that Jeep doing there?
M: It’s not a Jeep, honey. It’s a Hummer.
E: Why people in it? Where are they going?
M: To school. Everyone on the road at this hour is going to work or to school.
E: Yellow! Why that light yellow!?!?
M: It’s a warning sign. Like “Warning! The light is about to turn red!”
E: What red mean?
M: You know what red means.
E: Stop! Green. What green mean? Green means go! (Giant sneeze) What’s that sound?
M: Um, it’s you. Sneezing. (Looks in rear view mirror to see impossibly long trails of snot coming from E’s nose.)
E: I have a snail trail!
M: Hold on, don’t touch anything! I’m getting a tissue for you. Here, wipe your nose.
E: I can’t! You do it!
M: You have to try, the light is green and I have to drive.
E: Okay mommy!
M: (Looks in rear view mirror to see all snot is gone, but the tissue has not been used.) What happened? Where did all of that snot go?
E: In my mouth!
M: Oh, Evan, yuck-o!
E: That’s so silly!
M: That’s not silly, it’s gross. Next time use the tissue, okay?
E: Okay mommy! That’s the YMCA! Why am I going to the YMCA? Who drop me off? Who pick me up? Make u-turn! Why this a u-turn, mommy?
M: Because it’s shaped like a U. Look – long straight line, turn at the bottom, long straight line.
E: Do it again!
M: If we do it again, we’ll be driving in circles.
E: Do it again!
M: Look! We’re at school!
E: (Attempting to unbuckle his car seat) I do it ALL BY MYSELF! I can’t do it! You help me!
M: Let’s do it together.
E: Lock the car! Flash the lights for me! (lights flash) That’s so silly! Where’s my cement mixer? I play on the playground! Miss Sandy! Let’s play with your Christmas toys! Bye mommy! You say bye-bye mommy!
M: Bye Evan! I love you!
E: Who pick me up?
M: Daddy will pick you up. Love you!
E: Love you too mommy!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A fly on the wall...

As you may have guessed, the reason for this blog is two-fold. I want to share insight into our daily lives with friends and family. I also want to capture pieces of our busy life that might be forgotten over the years. So, in that spirit I am going to start posting “A fly on the wall” entries. They will be essentially things that you might overhear in our house on a daily basis.

Here are a few snippets of recent conversations….


Evan (as we pull away from the Starbucks drive-thru): No latte for me?!?!?

Me: Uh, no. No “latte for you” for a long time…


Evan to Lauren in the morning: “Good Morning Sweetheart!”


Evan (standing on toilet, wearing his new winter coat and looking in the mirror): “I handsome. I very handsome…”

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Letters to Santa

This is the first year that Evan seems to "get" Christmas. He understands the concept of Santa Claus and is quite excited about him. In fact, I think Evan has a running loop of the song "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" in his head. If conversation in our house ever ceases, even for a moment, Evan will break into "Santa Claus is Coming to Town". Only he sings it twice as fast as usual and sings the entire thing through about seven times before he stops to breathe. But, I digress...

Evan is really excited about Santa Claus, so we decided to write a letter to Santa this weekend. Here is the letter:

Evan got a bit of help with the structure of the letter. But, when we finished I asked him is he wanted to add anything else. This is what he suggested...

I love that kid. So, then Evan mailed his letter to Santa Claus...

And probably committed his first crime. Notice the incorrect address and the lack of any sort of postage? I think the USPS frowns on shoving things like that in their mailboxes. We're living dangerously these days. Here is the fun thing... Thanks to Sealed by Santa Evan should be receiving a personalized response from Santa and some reindeer food in the next few days. Isn't the internet wonderful?

A Perfect Day!

Saturday was a perfect day! We met some friends for breakfast in the morning. When we arrived at the restaurant it was cold and rainy. When we left, it looked like this....

So, we went home, lit the fire, put on some music and decorated the house for Christmas...

I made Paula Deen's Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake. Then, we decided that the house was sufficiently christened with holiday spirit. So, Evan and I played in the snow. When I bundled him up in this get-up he walked around saying: "I'm cute! I'm cute in THIS outfit!"

We made a snowman. We threw snowballs at each other. Evan would say, "I'm going to throw this snowball at you! One... two... three... four... five... six... seven... eight... nine... ten... eleven... tweleve!"
Evan ate snow. I know better. ;)

We caught snowflakes on our tongues and eyelashes.

Then we went inside and drank cold apple cider. It was Evan's request.
Later that day, Kristin drove up from Richmond. She watched the kiddos and I had a date night with my husband. Want to be my new BFF? It doesn't take much. Watch my kiddos and let me go on a date with my husband. As my sister, Kristin already has lifetime BFF status, but this solidified her standing! It was a perfect, perfect, perfect day!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Thanksgiving Recap

Ever since we relocated from Texas, we have been talking about going to a log cabin in the mountains for a getaway. But, the timing was never quite right. Over Labor Day weekend, I stumbled upon what appeared to be the PERFECT log cabin for such an escape. So, we decided to rent the cabin for Thanksgiving this year.

It was a great decision! After a busy Fall, it was a much needed break. The cabin exceeded our expectations. And, we had HIGH expectations going into the weekend! We invited our local family to join us and cooked our Thanksgiving dinner at the cabin. We spent the weekend hiking around the lake, staring at the fire, reading, napping and exploring. We are already looking for an excuse to go back. Here are a few pictures from our weekend...

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Kodak Moments

My daughter is a beautiful baby. I know I am biased, but I am quite certain if you saw her in person you would agree with me. Unfortunately, I cannot take a decent picture of her to save my life. I have friends who capture adorable photos of their children. I, on the other hand end up with pictures like this:

and this....

and this....

I can just imagine when she is in school and has to bring a baby picture to class for some project. I'll have to send her with something like this:

or this....
or one of these....

Some day, when she gets married, maybe she will ask me to contribute baby pictures for the photo montage. I'll have to send her something like this.....

If you don't get a Christmas card with a great family photo this year, maybe you'll understand why..... :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Is this Heaven? No, it's Iowa...

Every night we pray for our family members before Evan goes to sleep. This afternoon, he was going through all of the family members. He listed off all of the family members in Pennsylvania, and then all of the family members in Iowa: Nonna, Pop Pop, Aunt Dee, God.

The last one surprised me. So, I asked Evan where God lives.

In Iowa.

My family will be happy to hear that.....

Friday, September 04, 2009

Popped Right Out!

At least, that is what Evan said the first time he saw his baby sister. He looked at her, looked at me, looked back at her and said, "Popped right out, mama!" Out of the mouths of babes...

My last day at work was Friday and that evening I started to have some mild contractions. Unfortunately for everyone in my house, I thought I was having contractions for the last month of my pregnancy. And, I WAS having contractions - they just didn't result in full-on labor. I think everyone was tired of hearing me say "I think today is the day!" only to watch me go to bed and sleep peacefully through the night while they were on edge wondering if that night would be THE NIGHT. So, I decided towards the end of my pregnancy that I wasn't going to say anything more about going into labor until I was certain that I was, in fact, IN LABOR.

So, I started having mild contractions about 10 minutes apart on Friday night. But, I slept through the night. In the morning, the contractions were still there but they were about 8 minutes apart. I had a hair appointment that morning and decided to go. In hindsight, that may not have been the best decision. Could you imagine if I had gone into active labor with permanent hair dye all over my head? Fortunately, the Lord had mercy on me and my sweet stylist and we avoided that scene. I think I made her a little nervous though because I kept checking my watch. She asked if I was in a hurry. I assured her that I was not in a hurry, I was just timing contractions. Based on the look on her face, I think she would have preferred that I was in a hurry.

By that afternoon the contractions continued and they went from 7 minutes to 5 minutes apart and stayed that way for about an hour and a half. I decided to call the doctor on call to see if this was the magic formula for going to the hospital. The doctor didn't seem all that convinced that I was actually in labor, but suggested that we go in anyway to be monitored.

In my attempt to avoid being the pregnant lady who cried wolf, I hadn't mentioned anything to Dave about the contractions all day. So, I think he was a little surprised when I woke him up from a nap to say that it was time to go to the hospital. (My wonderful husband was terribly sick that day, and he was such a wonderful support to me despite how terribly he was feeling at the time!)

When we arrived at the hospital, they confirmed that Iwas indeed in labor. We were admitted around 5:30 that evening. I'll spare you all of the details, but the highlights included the epidural, a nap, and a few interior design shows on HGTV. (NOTE to Genevieve Gorder: PRODUCE, especially lettuce, does NOT make a great design accessory. That is just a stupid idea. My husband and the nurses agree with me - and I'm pretty sure it wasn't just because I was in labor.) Of course, the real highlight of the night was Lauren's arrival at 11:36 PM. She is beautiful and perfect, and has brought new joy into our lives.

Evan is adjusting pretty well to his new sister. But, he has told me that he wants to be "tiny" several times. Oh, and he keeps climbing onto my lap and announcing that he wants to "be born"....

I am finding everything a little easier the second time around, and loving my time with both children. Dave continues to be fantastic with them and we are enjoying our expanded family!

So, without further adu, we would like to introduce you to Lauren Anne...

Thursday, August 13, 2009


The following conversations occured in our house this morning:

Evan: What dis momma? (pointing to Dave's shampoo in the shower)

Me: That's shampoo, honey. Daddy uses it to wash his hair. Do you use shampoo to wash your hair?

Evan: No momma! I'm a big boy!


Evan: What doing momma?

Me: I'm going to blow my hair dry.

Evan: I do! I do! I help you momma! (proceeds to lean over and start blowing on my wet hair)

Cute! But not so effective.... :)

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


Okay. Newsflash for anyone who hasn't gotten the memo yet - I'm pregnant these days. Like REALLY pregnant. It's actually not a very pretty sight. Thus, the reason that recently you either a) haven't seen any pictures of me, b) have only seen pictures of me from the neck up, or c) have only seen pictures of me hiding behind a two year old.

So, this afternoon I innocently walked through the kitchen at work to get some water. Only water. I swear. But then I saw some Skittles in the vending machine and I knew things were only going to go downhill from there. I'm not a big Skittles fan, but for some reason they seemed like the perfect snack today. Don't judge me.

So, I walked back to my office to get some money for the Skittles. When I returned to the machine, I purchased the Skittles. BUT, the bag got stuck. And I really wanted the Skittles. And it wasn't really THAT stuck, but just enough that it didn't quite fall out. Just enough that I was certain a little "hip bump" from an 8 month pregnant person would definitely dislodge it.

But, a little hip bump to the front of the machine wasn't quite enough. I looked around and didn't see or hear anyone else. I was quite certain that a little hip bump to the side of the machine would do the trick. No such luck.

Just as I was about to take more drastic measures, I thought about being 8 months pregnant and caught in the act of trying to dislodge the Skittles from the machine. That thought alone was embarassing enough for me to stop acosting the vending machine and go back to my office.

For another dollar bill. To buy a SECOND bag of Skittles. To dislodge the first bag. :)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Big boy bed. Big boy bed! BIG BOY BED!

As you know, we are expecting baby number two in August. So, Evan needs to vacate the crib to make room for his sister. I need to have the room ready for the baby so I can satisfy this nesting phase I'm in. So, that can only mean one thing... Time for Evan to move to a "big boy bed".

We have been talking about moving to said bed for several weeks. Last Saturday morning I asked Evan if he wanted to get a big boy bed. For whatever reason, he totally latched on to that idea. Throughout the day on Saturday, he probably said "big boy bed" 3,000 times. (I'm totally not exaggerating here....) When he took his nap, I'm pretty sure the last words out of his mouth were "big boy bed".

So, we decided to go to Ikea for the big purchase. Throughout the entire store, he kept repeating "big boy bed... big boy bed..." It was really sweet....

You know what wasn't so sweet? What happened towards the end of the trip. As we were waiting in the eternal check out line, Evan decided that he wanted to get out of the cart. When we did not oblige, he started looking at complete strangers yelling "Help me! I NEED HELP!"

After some disapproving looks from fellow shoppers, we finally made it home with the famed big boy bed.

On Sunday, Dave and Evan set up the new bed. Here are a few pictures:

I know that a picture might be worth a thousand words. But in this instance, I really think that the words do it justice. Take a listen:

Sweet Dreams!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Help Me Rhonda!

Evan is just now really entering into the world of coherent verbal communication. So, we are encouraging him to use words to describe what he needs/wants. His grandmother was working with him on this a lot last week. When he gets frustrated, he lets out this pathetic whine and cries. So, she told him to say "help" or "help me" when he needed something. Well, it took. Maybe a little too well. Our conversations this weekend went something like this:

Evan: Help! HELP! Help me! HELP me! HELP ME!

Me: What?!? Are you okay? What do you need?

Evan: Banana please


Evan: Help! HELP! Help me! HELP me! HELP ME!

Me: Are you okay? Did you get hurt?!?!

Evan: Bob Builder! (Evan's newest fascination...)


At least I know that he should have no trouble asking for help when he actually needs it. I can just see him if we get separated in a store. He will be the two year old walking up and down the aisle screaming "HELP ME!!!!"

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Nine years ago today, I married the love of my life. At the time, it was probably more accurate to say the love of my young life, because I was only 20 at the time. But, over the last nine years, the love of my young life has continued to be the love of my slightly older life. And, one day I will tell you that he has been the love of my entire life.

My wedding day was a happy day. But, it wasn’t the happiest moment of my life. It was just the beginning. The happiest moments have happened, with the love of my life, on normal days over the last nine years. I can’t wait to see what moments the next years will hold for us.

Happy Anniversary Dave! I love you!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Drawn from Water

Recently, I have been haunted by children I've never met, from a tribe I know very little about, in a country I've never visited.

Last week, I learned about the children of the Karo tribe in Ethopia. The people of the Karo tribe in rural south-western Ethiopia have a culture rich in tradition. However, the tribe lives in fear of evil spirits who they believe bring ill fortune to their villages. They use the word “Mingi” to describe persons they consider cursed or otherwise imperfect. Those deemed Mingi face severe consequences, as the Karo believe the presence of these children on their land curses the tribe.

There are many different ways in which a thing may be considered “Mingi”; but there are a few that are more common and have severe consequences, such as pregnancy outside of marriage. A second example of Mingi refers to married couples who conceive before announcing their intention to the rest of the tribe. The parents must notify the tribe they are trying to conceive; otherwise any pregnancy is considered illegitimate. Another example is when a child’s top teeth come in before the bottom teeth. Their solution to this perceived threat is to drown Mingi in the river.

Late last year, a Christian team of photojournalists traveled to Ethiopia. They met with Lale, a Karo tribesman who attended a Youth with a Mission training school in Hernhut, Germany. Lale informed the team of the Mingi belief and of his vision to convince the tribal elders to surrender these children to an orphanage he would oversee. This action would save lives while he in turn, would focus on the diplomatic process of convincing the local tribes that the Mingi belief is baseless.

Lale and the group members had an initial conversation with tribal leaders regarding Mingi. They asked leaders if they are willing to explore options, and if their group could help relocate the children sentenced to death far from the Karo land.

One of the team members began to cover the story of a mother with a Mingi child. They promised to return in January before the child was born. In January, 2009, they returned with additional students for a photo journalism workshop to find that the mother gave birth early and they had already killed the child. The team vowed to return to save Mingi children via the river or car.

In January, the first child, Bale, was saved from her demise for having “Mingi” teeth. In February, the orphanage was legalized with the Ethiopia government. The orphanage is named “Drawn from Water” because the group utilizes the same river that the children were normally drowned in to rescue them.

The group relocated an additional 5 children from neighboring tribes. Later that month, the group rescued two additional children from within the tribal community, but an additional two children died because they could not be reached in time.

The story of the Karo tribe seems so distant from the world of iPods, 24-7 media connections and online grocery services. So, why am I telling you about it? First, the need is urgent. Not only is this an actual matter of life and death, but the events described above happened this year. This is a real-time opportunity to help. Second, the orphanage is supported by people that I personally know and trust. Donations to Drawn from Water go directly to rescue and care for these children. Finally, as a parent I can only imagine to horror of realizing that I had allowed my own child to be killed for a lie. One possibility is that the Drawn from Water orphanage may only exist for the time it takes for the tribe to hear the Truth and recognize that these children are a blessing and not a curse. Children who would have been killed could one day be reunited with their parents. This is amazing grace defined.

Recently, I have been haunted by children I've never met, from a tribe I know very little about, in a country I've never visited. Inevitably, when I think about these children for any length of time, their faces change and I see Evan staring back at me.

For more information about Drawn from Water and how you can help, visit the following websites:

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Thanks, Martha...

The following is an excerpt from an interview the Washington Post conducted with Martha Stewart:

Washington Post: How is the recession affecting domestic life and people making things at home?
Martha Stewart: People are staying home and enjoying it by crafting and beautifying their home with decorating and cooking. They can't afford to travel, but they can afford a $23 glitter kit.

Did I mention that Martha just launched a new craft book complete with a $23 corresponding glitter kit?

In our current economic condition, it's nice to see that Martha is looking out for us...

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Drumroll Please.....

This conversation occured in our kitchen yesterday morning:

Me: Evan, mommy and daddy are going to the doctor today. The doctor is going to take pictures of the baby in mommy's tummy. We will also find out if the baby is a boy or a girl! Would you like it if mommy had a little boy baby?

Evan: No!

Me: Would you like it if mommy had a little girl baby?

Evan: No!

Me: Those are really the only two choices, honey.

Grandma: Would you like it if mommy had a MONKEY?

Evan: Uh-huh! (emphatically)

Thanks Grandma! ;)

So, without further ado, we are excited to announce that we are having a GIRL!

I'm sure that Evan will be thrilled once he gets over the disappointment of not having a MONKEY for a sibling.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Love in Any Language

Evan has not been in a big hurry to start talking. More than anything, I think it is because he doesn't see much of a need to talk. So, a big theme in our house these days is to use words to communicate. "Evan, what would you like for dinner tonight? Use words to tell Mommy..."

Before I walked out the door this morning, I told Evan that I loved him. He smiled and I asked him if he could use words to say that he loved me. He thought about it for a moment, then ran over to me, gave me a big hug and kissed my leg.

Maybe using words is overrated afterall...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Smarty Pants

I am not a Smarty Pants, and I have the GMAT scores to prove it. But, I'm always looking for opportunities to use that phrase with a straight face. Alright, with a little bit of a smirk...

Anyway, I am excited to announce that after months of preparation and planning, I have been accepted into the University of Wisconsin's MBA program! UW offers their MBA program online, so we won't have to relocate to Wisconsin. Have you been to Wauwatosa in January? Enough said. ;)

I expect that this will be a pretty slow process, but I am excited to start! I am also thrilled to have found a program that should be flexible enough to work with the rest of my life demands.


Friday, February 27, 2009

You lookin at me?

I have been trying to think of how to start this post. I can't come up with a clever intro, so I'll just come out with it.

Yesterday, my son was attacked by a rooster.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, a rooster. We live in a densely populated suburban part of northern Virginia. But, there is a working farm/community park near our house. Evan and Grandma took a trip to the farm yesterday. It is a great experience for the kids because they can walk through the farm area to see the barn animals. They have horses, cows, sheep, chickens, roosters, bunnies and a peacock.

The animals are usually confined. But apparently one of the roosters got out yesterday and was roaming free around the farm. I guess that Evan made eye contact with the rooster. The rooster thought that the two year old was challenging him, and in turn strutted up to Evan, jumped up in the air and kicked Evan in the chest with his talons. It knocked Evan to the ground, and he started crying. Fortunately, Evan was not injured. He had enough layers of clothing on that the talons did not pierce his skin. Afterward, the rooster fluffed out his feathers and strutted around the area making all sorts of noise.

Alright Mr. Rooster, you think you're so tough because you could take down a two year old? Well, you'd better pray that you never meet his MOM alone in a dark alley.....

Thursday, February 26, 2009

We have been trying to prepare Evan for some of the changes that will come his way after his sibling is born this summer. So, we have explained that I have a baby in my "tummy". He knows that when the baby comes we will have to feed the baby and change the baby's diaper, and that the baby will sleep in his room. So far, he seems to be pretty receptive to the idea.

Recently, he has started to come up to my stomach and kiss the baby. He waives goodbye to my stomach when I leave. It is really quite sweet to watch. But, this morning I think he may have taken things too far. After he brushed his own teeth, he came over to me, lifted my shirt up, and started to "brush" my stomach with his toothbrush. :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I have a confession to make. Evan is 2 and we haven't totally baby-proofed our house. We have addressed most of the safety issues, but the kitchen cabinet doors can be opened and our toilet seats aren't on lock down. We also chose not put protective covers over the door knobs. So, Evan has access to all of the rooms in the house. In fact, this may be a good time for a quick PSA. If you come over to visit and you need to use our powder room, you should probably lock the door behind you. Evan doesn't have a good grasp of the importance of "private time" just yet...

But, I digress...

This weekend, Evan kept going into our pantry to try to eat yet another bag of Craisins. I kept telling him not to, pulling him out of the pantry, and shutting the door. I thought that my message had finally gotten through when he closed the door on his own and walked over to open the door to the powder room. (I wasn't thrilled about moving the action into the powder room, but I'm a big fan of distraction, regardless of the form it takes.) So, Evan opened the door and motioned for me to enter the powder room. As soon as I did, he shut the door, leaving me alone in the dark powder room. Nice. I opened the door, only to see Evan back in the pantry going after the Craisins.

Evan: 1
Mommy: 0

Well played, Evan. Well played...