Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Freedom!

I've got nothing for you tonight folks, and I know you won't mind, because I've got a great excuse. I left the house tonight ALONE.

Yes, you read that right. The WBH handled bedtime duty and I escaped for a couple hours. I did a little shopping (and not even grocery shopping!) and ran to Target.

It was a nice break. And you never would have known I don't get out by myself much if you didn't see me open the back door of the car to get a child out of the car seat not once, but twice.

I'm not sure if that makes me attentive or absent-minded.

Let's just go with attentive, shall we?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

White Chicken Chili

Fall is definitely in the air here. So it's a good time for me to post another recipe, as promised.

So here's my recipe for white chicken chili, adapted from a recipe by Sandra Lee. It's perfect for busy moms, dads, anyone, because you can throw everything in the crockpot. That leaves you free to chase kids, change diapers, work, do laundry, and tackle everything else that needs to be done.

Wine is usually my beverage of choice, but this is great with a beer.

White Chicken Chili (for the crockpot)
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces (I like a mix of white and dark meat)
2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 can creamed corn
1 can corn
2 cans diced mild green chile peppers (1 if you want less heat)
1 C. chopped onion
2 tsp. garlic
2 tsp. ground chipotle
1 C. chicken broth
2 packets McCormick's white chicken chili seasoning mix

Throw all the ingredients in your crockpot and stir. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high 2-3 until chicken is cooked through.

Enjoy!

Christy

Monday, September 28, 2009

For Sale

Earlier today I put one of the children up for sale on Twitter:


I didn't get any takers. Perhaps because I was too honest?

I had to rescind my offer though. Because laughter like this not only offsets the screaming fit at naptime, it is absolutely priceless!




Saturday, September 26, 2009

Life on the Frontier

Today these three rapscallions hung out with Dad...

Isaac, Alex and Sam

...and Amelia and I went to a living history museum with some friends.

We had a blast. We milked a fake cow, petted a real calf, pretended to churn butter, played in the old-fashioned kitchen, had a little tea, recited our ABCs for the teacher in a one-room school house, learned how to spin wool into yarn, and shoveled and ground sand to make clay.


Amelia leads Bessie to the barn after the milking.


It was a busy day, and boy am I ever grateful that I don't have to haul water and firewood, throw my own pots, spin my own wool and take care of the cows and chickens, too. I'm quite busy enough as it is, thank you.


Amelia brushes (and brushes, and brushes!) the two-week-old calf in the petting barn.


I think I could deal with caring for the animals, making my own candles, tending a big garden and putting up food for the winter. I could handle the loss of electricity and running water, but what in the world would I do without disposable diapers? The very thought strikes fear in my heart.

(Yes, yes, I know. The environment. Landfills. But all the water and electricity to launder diapers times three, not to mention all the time and effort! Recycle something or plant a tree to offset our 24 diapers a day, would you?)


Nicole, Aiden and Amelia enjoy a cup of tea.


Amelia and I had a lot of fun visiting the past, but we decided that we didn't want to live there. No disposable diapers was my biggest reason, but Amelia had a different take on it.

When we were playing in the old-time kitchen she noticed that there was no refrigerator. She asked me where they kept their milk and eggs. I tried to explain that in the old days they could only keep things cool in the cellar or maybe in a cold spring. Ultimately we came around to the fact that they couldn't keep things really cold, which meant no ice cream.

"WHAT?" said Amelia. "No ice cream? I'm not living there."

Me either, Amelia. I don't have time to make my own wine.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mom

Today is my mom's birthday. Last year she was here with us on her birthday, helping take care of me, Amelia and the house while we waited for the boys to be born.

She cooked. She cleaned. She did laundry. I should have been doing those things for her by the time I was 36, not the other way around!

My mom nested on my behalf, since I couldn't do much. So she painted and sewed, and in an trip to Home Depot that had us both shaking our heads, pushed me (at 33 weeks pregnant) around on a rolling chair to pick out a washer and dryer after the electric cart died.

Bet she didn't bargain on that when I was born.

In exchange, we treated her to pizza and a beer on her birthday. Oh, and gave her our undying gratitude. And three beautiful, healthy grandsons.

Grandma Alice holds all the triplets for the first time ~ Sam, Alex and Isaac ~ 10/10/08

I honestly don't know how we would have done it without my mom's help, even though I never went on bedrest. I'm sure having her here helped me carry the babies longer because I was able to do less and rest more.

I don't know if my mom would say that this year's birthday was better than last year's, but it certainly had to be more restful!

Grandma Alice & triplets in the baptismal gowns she made ~ Sam, Isaac and Alex ~ 01/16/09

Happy birthday, Mom. Thanks for always being there.

Love,

Christy

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I Spy

Amelia loves to play I Spy right now. But, it's a little hit and miss with her.

Sometimes you get, "I spy with my little eye, something that is a stop sign." Hmmm. Not too tough to figure out.


Sometimes you get, "I spy with my little eye, something that is blue." And then suddenly everything in the room that is blue is what she had in mind.

So tonight we were playing I Spy while we were getting ready for bed and Amelia said, "I spy something that is gray."

I looked around and didn't see anything gray, so I said, "I don't see anything gray. What do you spy?"

Amelia looked around, thought about it, and said, "How about your hair?"

Excuse me while I go open a bottle of wine.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Late Summer Fun

Yes, it's officially fall, but we had some really nice weather at the tail end of summer and were able to get out in the yard and have some fun.


Amelia, Sam, Isaac and Alex enjoy the sprinkler.

This beach ball sprinkler has been a huge hit with the boys. And Jeff and I like it because it's easier to manage than the baby pool. Seemed like it really took two of us to make sure everyone was safe when we used the pool.


Sam, Isaac, Alex and Amelia play in the sand.

The sandbox has also become a lot of fun -- once the boys learned not to try to eat the sand. Yuck! They only tried a couple of times each before they decided sand was not for putting in their mouths. Clearly, the sandbox won't be big enough to hold us all next summer.

The lesson that wet diapers (from the sprinkler) and the sandbox don't mix. I'm pretty sure each boy dragged in at least two pounds of sand, even after we removed the diapers!

And since I don't have much time to clean the floors we thought we'd just put up a couple of fake palm trees and pretend we're getting ready for a luau. Bring your flip flops!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

34 Weeks Pregnant Revisited

It is surreal for to me to think about what life was like at this time last year.

I was 34 weeks pregnant, with no complications and headed for the max of 37 weeks my doctor would allow me to carry. I had been off work for just two weeks, but was not on bed rest.

I was nearing my max of 48 1/2 inches around, and I was slow as an elephant on Ambien, but still moving!

Here's the glamour shot:


Sept. 21, 2008 ~ 34 weeks pregnant with the triplets.

Our 34-week ultrasound showed the babies weighing in at a combined 15 lbs., 13 oz. of babies.

Baby A (Sam) - 5 lb. 4 oz.
Baby B (Isaac) - 5 lb. 3 oz.
Baby C (Alex) - 5 lb. 6 oz.

When we delivered 16 lbs., 8 oz. of baby boys two weeks later because the ultrasound showed Baby A (Sam) had quit growing, their weights were:

Baby A (Sam) - 5 lb. 4 oz.
Baby B (Isaac) - 5 lb. 3 oz.
Baby C (Alex) - 6 lb. 1 oz.

True to form, Alex sure ate his fill those last two weeks! He's still our champion eater.

And if the photos make me shake my head in disbelief, this video of the babies moving and grooving at 34 weeks really amazes me. I can't believe my body ever contained these three active babies, and for so long!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Picture This: The Reality

Well, the photo session for the church directory went pretty much as I predicted.

The day started out wonderfully, with all three boys sleeping in until 7 a.m. Of course, their timing was terrible, as late wakeup meant late nap and I needed to keep things moving. But church directory be darned, I was NOT waking them up. I've had enough of 5:30 a.m. wakeup calls to last me a lifetime.

In order to make our 12:10 appointment on time, we had to start lunch at 10:30. So I'm waking babies up and strapping them in their high chairs half asleep so they can eat before we go. And Amelia's still in her pjs so we don't have to worry about her spilling lunch on her photo clothes.

So there we all are at 10:30 a.m.: Three semi-awake boys who are being force fed, a three-year-old who just finished breakfast and is now lunching in her pjs, and two adults who suddenly realized they are at T-90 minutes and counting and are running around like crazy people.

We're throwing things in the car, packing the diaper bag, loading the stroller, making bottles for later, and I grab the clean shirt I'm planning to wear. It came straight out of the laundry basket, and it was still dirty.

Seriously? Could I get a break over here?

I spot the stain, chuck the shirt in the washer with the ever-present load of clothes, and rush back upstairs to continue the force feeding. About halfway through the meal, the boys wake up and decide they are HUNGRY. They eat and eat and eat, and I begin to realize I'm going to have to cut them off if we are going to make it to the church on time.

(Cue music here. "Get me to the church on time...")

By now it's 11:30 and we have 15 minutes to load everyone up to make our 12:10 time slot. And by God, I am NOT rescheduling and going through this again!

So with 15 minutes until wheels up, we've got three boys covered in lunch, a child still in her pjs, my shirt has just been transferred to the dryer, and Jeff still has to get dressed, too.

Am I the queen of good planning or what?

I start diapering at lightning speed and tossing clothes on the boys, then handing them off to Jeff to strap in the car without even fastening the bottoms of their shorts outfits.

Sam has smeared food in his hair and my attempts to get his hair clean leave him looking like a koala bear -- flat on top with curls springing out on both sides over his ears.

Oh, what the heck. He'll probably never see this photo anyway. And he looks better than Isaac, whose cowlicks completely defy description.

We're almost ready to roll when I turn around and realize Amelia is till in her jammies. I hastily shove her into her clothes and run her out to the van sans shoes, then sprint to the dryer to retrieve my shirt. It's still damp.

Necessity trumping reason, I put it on anyway, even though the color clearly shows that it's partly wet. It will dry by the time we get there, surely.

We screech out of the driveway a couple minutes late and head for the church. Park, load the boys in the stroller, and try not to look too harried as we run into the parish hall.

That's little tough to pull off when your children are half dressed and you're wearing a damp shirt. But I mentally adjusted my tiara and went with the illusion.

Our time slot was only 15 minutes long. Sam was pulling hair. Alex was trying to crawl away. Isaac kept standing up. Amelia was crying. Jeff and I were smiling through gritted teeth. And the photographer kept saying, "Great!" "Perfect!"

Bartender, I'll have what he's having.

The guy enthusiastically took 11 pictures. And reviewed the digital images. He was thrilled with his results. So you'd think we'd have choices.

You'd be wrong.

The sales guy goes slowly through each photo as if it's hard to choose. Hmmm, that photo has three screaming kids in it and I look like my head's about to start spinning ala The Exorcist. Really. You can move on without giving us five minutes to ponder.

Photo 10 out of 11 turns out to be our only hope. No one is screaming. The tears on Amelia's face are not apparent. Jeff and I don't look like we want to abandon the children then and there. Someone might even have been smiling.

We make the choice and prepare to run off even as the sales guy is trying to show us the last photo with a different background in case we want to buy extras. Jeff's eyes are partially closed, making him look drunk (which would be perfectly understandable) and I'm clearly hissing at the kids, none of whom are looking at the camera or smiling.

I'm sure it's only a matter of time before that treasure finds its way to http://www.awkwardfamilyphotos.com/.

Ah well, at least our photo shouldn't scare our fellow parishioners away. It may even garner us some sympathy and an extra prayer or two. And we'll take all the help we can get.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Picture This!

So yesterday I got a reminder phone call that tomorrow we are having our picture taken for the church directory.

It's written right there on my calendar, but I completely forgot about it. Of course, I had to schedule it nearly three months ago, so it's no surprise that I forgot.

I instantly panicked about what the kids are going to wear and wondered why I thought 12:10 p.m. was a good time when we are usually just cleaning up from lunch then.

And then I realized that it won't matter what they are wearing or that the boys had lunch at 10:30 a.m., when they are usually just getting up from their nap. The photo sessions are scheduled in 15-minute increments, and there's NO WAY they will be able to get a decent picture of all of us in that amount of time.

Maybe we'll snap a real winner that we can submit here: http://awkwardfamilyphotos.com/

I foresee us mulling over which shot makes our children and us look less demonic. The one where half of the children are screaming their heads off? Or the one where the parents look like they would gladly abandon the children on the rectory doorstep at any second?

I suspect no one will notice what we're wearing.

Instead they'll be studying the picture so they can make sure they never end up sitting next to us in church.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Dark Side of The Moon

(With apologies to Pink Floyd for the title of this post.)

It's time we talk about one of the less desirable aspects of parenthood: Diapers. And in our case, diapers times three.

Hoo, boy do we have diapers around here! Fewer than in the early days when we often topped out at 36 diapers a day, but we still average 21-24 a day. More depending on the reaction to new foods.

If you're keeping score at home, that means we go through a Costco-sized box of 200 size 3s in less than 10 days. That's a $40 box of diapers if you really want to do some math that will make your head hurt. And your wallet.

Of course there was that one bout of gastrointestinal distress that led us to go through an entire package of 96 diapers in 12 hours. And then there was the time that I had one constipated baby so I fed all three prunes. POOPAPALOOZA!

But diaper cost and contents aside, my real problem with diapers these days is the actual changing of them.

Back in May I wrote about Isaac's skill at flipping over on the changing table. Turns out he was just warming up, and he's been sharing notes with his brothers.

I'm quite certain it would be easier to milk a wild cow than to change this trio of bucking broncos, especially now that they've had months of practice.

Talk to them to keep their attention? They were over that months ago.

Distract them with a toy? HA!

Tell them "No," firmly, but lovingly? I hate to admit this, but that only makes them grin and laugh. (I know, I know. I'm in trouble.)

Hog tie them? Ah, then we might be getting somewhere.

Since they employ a number of world-class wrestling moves, I've decided to employ a few of my own.

Now if I only had an extra hand to actually change the diaper with once I've succeeded in wrestling the little buggers into submission.

Oh well, I'm sure I burn a couple hundred calories at every diaper changing session. So bring on the ice cream!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sam Struts His Stuff

Since I gave both Isaac and Alex a chance to strut their stuff via video, here's a clip of Sam's rapidly growing expertise in the walking category.



While he was the second to walk, Sam waited almost two weeks to get up and moving again after taking his first steps. But as you can see, he's getting around pretty well now!

*********************************************************
I know many of you are anxiously awaiting cake pics from the boys' early first birthday bash. Hang in there. I've got photo editing and compiling times three you know!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Amelia's New Favorite

While visiting Aunt Susie and Uncle Andy, Amelia discovered a new food that she LOVED.

Now, if you know Amelia, you know that food is not her thing. She'll even take a bite or two of a treat and walk away without finishing it.

But this, this was a big hit.

Cereal. With chocolate.

Amelia: The new poster child for Special K's chocolatey delight.

Courtesy of Aunt Susie, Amelia fell for Special K's Chocolatey Delight.

Left to her own devices, Amelia would have eaten only the chocolate chunks (of course), but with some persuasion, she ate the flakes, too, and found she liked them.

Up until this point we've avoided chocolatey cereals in our house, but I may have to give in on this one once in a while.

At least it isn't Cocoa Puffs.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Is That Your Mommy?

My parents were just here for a short visit. One day I called my mom, "Mom," instead of "Grandma."

If we were in a cartoon, a light bulb would have appeared over Amelia's head.

"Is she your mommy?" asked Amelia.

I explained that yes, Grandma Alice was my mom and Grandpa Ernie was my dad. We've been working on this concept for a while, but it's a tough one. I thought Amelia was going to get it now.

Amelia with Grandma Alice and Grandpa Ernie. Sept. 2009.


But she looked at all of us and said, "Don't be silly! She's not mom. She's grandma!"

We tried to explain that I used to be a little girl and that her Grandma Alice was my mom, but Amelia was having none of it.

Still, something soaked in.

Today when Grandma Alice and Grandpa Ernie were pulling out of the driveway, Amelia asked if my mommy and daddy were leaving. I said yes, they were.

Then she asked why I don't live with my mommy and daddy anymore.

So, I explained that I used to live with them when I was little like her and her brothers, but I got all grown up and married her daddy. Now we live together with our own family instead of with our mommies and daddies.

Amelia pondered that for a minute then said, "I don't want to be all growed up. I want to live here with you and Daddy."

I told her that she wouldn't be "all growed up" anytime soon, and she'd live with Mommy and Daddy for a long time still.

She responded with a dramatic, "Phew! That's a relief!" and made me laugh out loud.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Busy, Busy

Sorry things have been a little quiet on the blog this week. We've been busy getting ready for an early celebration of the boys' FIRST BIRTHDAY!

Can you believe it? Sam, Isaac and Alex turned 11 months old on the 8th. And we are celebrating with friends and neighbors and volunteers this weekend.

The time has flown by, and it's impossible to believe that this time last year we were celebrating making the milestone of 32 weeks and I was carrying 12 pounds of baby.

I can't even wrap my head around what my body did during my triplet pregnancy. It's just surreal to me, even though I went through it -- ALL the way through it.

Who can believe we've gone from this:

Isaac, Alex and Sam ~ 3 days old, October 10, 2008

To this?

Isaac, Alex and Sam enjoy story time with Amelia. September, 2009

The year has flown by, and I know it's only just the beginning. Already I have to admit that I have toddlers, not babies. And while it is a lot of fun, it's a little sad, too.

Don't grow up too fast, Sam, Isaac and Alex. Mama would like to keep you little for a short while, OK?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

"Vestigating"

Amelia called today. She was at the zoo and had to tell me that they heard a noise while they were there and, "had to 'vestigate."

The noise was "rahring," according to Amelia.

Turns out they were feeding the lions, and they were all roaring for their food. Amazingly, Amelia was thrilled by this instead of terrified.

She rushed through what she wanted to say to me so she could get back to having fun. Clearly, she's having a great time!

Tomorrow Amelia and Daddy are coming home. I can't wait to see them and hear all about the trip and share pictures with all of you.

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Great Baby Proofing Wars of 2009

My new weapon in the Great Baby Proofing Wars of 2009?

Duct tape.

No, I'm not using it to hog tie the kids, though there are days when I think that might be the only way to win this war. I'm using it to tape my lazy susan cabinet shut and to supplement the "childproof" locks that my triplets have already figured out how to thwart.

Don't even get me started on lamp cords and my cable connection. (Which is vital to life, as it is my Internet connection.)

I started out with the idea that I could use clear packing tape to tape the lamp cord to the table leg and the floor so it wouldn't scream "BABIES IN THE HOUSE!" from across the room. Not that the crib in my family room doesn't already take care of sending that message.

So subtle, don't you think?

The "experts" actually tell you to do this. HA! It was just sport for the triplets to pick the tape off the floor and try to chew on the cord.

So, out went the table and the lamp.

Next came the team effort to crawl behind the crib onto the fireplace hearth.


New territory: Alex and Isaac check out the hearth behind the crib.

Sam, Isaac and Alex could all get up pretty efficiently, but down was a problem. And I got tired of rescuing one stuck child after another from behind the crib.

But the crib had to stay, so some creative stacking of stuff to block the entrance ensued. Now, they are crawling UNDER the crib to get to the hearth, but haven't figured out how to wiggle up there yet.

All of this brings me back to my original point: duct tape. It's cheap, easy to use, and a great supplement to my current cabinet door locks.

See, before I had these three boys, I had Amelia. And she did not prepare me at all for what her brothers would get into.

When we left the cabinet door locks undone, it bothered Amelia so much she would make us fasten them. Never once did she yank on the locked doors with all her might to pop the locks open. Probably never even considered it. BECAUSE SHE'S A GIRL!

These beautiful boys on the other hand...*sigh*

I'm afraid that this is a war I can't actually win. I'm just hoping to stay half a step ahead so the injuries are minor.

Or, I could follow a fellow triplet mom's advice, "For this stage of triplethood you might need to go with the industrial/insane asylum style of decorating -- just take everything out of the room."
What the heck, we're already well on our way. Here's hoping the boys don't rip the drywall off the walls.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Off to Visit Aunt Susie & Uncle Andy

Amelia and Jeff left this afternoon for a visit with Aunt Susie and Uncle Andy in Denver.

Amelia is ready to go!

While this won't be the first time Amelia has flown, it will be the first time that's she's old enough to realize what's going on.


So far, she's been very excited about it, and couldn't get out of here fast enough after she woke up from her nap. I hope that excitement doesn't turn into a major freak out.


I armed Jeff with a bag full of treats and some new toys for the trip, along with a million pieces of advice that he didn't need.

"Be sure she uses the potty before you get on the plane."

"Don't let her touch anything in the airplane bathroom."

"Gum makes a good bribe. Or calling Aunt Susie to tell her you are getting on the plane. Or taking a picture to show Mom when she gets home."

"Make sure she still has rules. She needs to try all the foods on her plate and eat all her vegetables."

"There's sunscreen and hand sanitizer in your backpack."

"Take lots of pictures."


I know, I know. Give it a rest! It's not like he's new at this dad gig or didn't handle the whole crew by himself when I went to my brother's wedding in California when the boys were just 7 months old.

Fortunately, Jeff handled my rapid-fire "help" with his usual grace and good humor. It's just one of the things that has earned him the title of WBH (World's Best Husband).

Amelia offered me her trademark advice, "Bye, Mom. Don't bite the brothers."

So now they are off and the boys and I will be hanging out together for the next five days. Since I only have to feed myself, I am planning to cook some things for the freezer and see if I can get Amelia's closet turned over from summer to fall. (That will certainly guarantee the summer weather will last an extra couple weeks.)

And maybe, just maybe, I will be able to achieve the state of Laundry Nirvana while they are gone.

I know, you're on the edge of your seat over that one. Stay tuned.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Fry Guys

We have a play kitchen and the requisite ton of play food. The set came with these plastic crinkle-cut french fries, and the boys have been obsessed with them ever since they first laid eyes on them. I think all those ridges must feel good on their gums.

It's not unusual for one of the boys to be crawling around with a french fry hanging out of his mouth, like some cigarette for tots.

Of course, one of the boys likes the french fries more than his brothers. A LOT more. He may even be obsessed. I'll give you one guess who that is...

Alex: One fry in the mouth and one in each fist.

Isaac gives his fry a good chew.

Sam: Caught in the act.

They love having these in their mouths so much that if we offer them a fry they will often just open their mouths instead of taking it with their hands.

McDonald's, any chance you're looking for some cute spokesbabies? I've got the perfect Fry Guys for you.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Powers Like A Super Hero

Thanks to Disney's Choo Choo Soul, for the past two days we've been singing: "Vegetables they, they give me super powers. Vegetables they give me powers like a super hero."

(My apologies to those of you who will now be singing that to yourselves for the next two days.)

Amelia was singing the song the other night at supper, and that led me to ask: If you could have any super hero power, what would it be?

Amelia said she'd like the power to turn into a princess and live in a castle. Jeff informed her that she already is a princess and she does live in a castle.

Jeff said he'd like the power to sleep. Perhaps he means to sleep through the night despite crying children? (I hope not! That would leave me on the hook!) Or, perhaps he means the power to sleep because everyone was sleeping? That I could get behind.

I said I'd like the power to be in more than one place at once. That could also take care of the sleep problem, come to think about it. It would let me take the triplets to the park and turn them loose. And I know it would come in handy down the road when we have too many after school events or parent-teacher conferences happening in different places at the same time.

Some other great super powers for moms:

* X-ray vision - to see who really pushed whom through the walls.
* Lightning speed - because, seriously, who can keep up otherwise?
* Rubber arms - to grab kids from across the room, yard or block.
* Ability to freeze motion - think of all the accidents you could prevent!

On the other hand, there are some bad super powers if you're a mom:

* Super-sonic hearing - c'mon, regular hearing is bad enough.
* Super smell - Huggies. Enough said.
* Ability to blow things up - unless it also came with enormous self control!

So how about you? If you could have any super hero power, what would it be?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Meet The Shriners

Have you ever been to a parade and seen the Shriners drive around in their crazy little cars?

Well, we turned the boys loose on the driveway tonight with their walk-behind toys, and it looked a lot like the Shriners gone wild.

Check it out for yourself!

video


Just wait until next summer. Nothing will stop us then! (Help.)