Thursday, April 28, 2016

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Miriam has been excited about being in a musical at school since Rachel's first musical, back when Rachel was in grade one. She loyally attended Rachel's second grade musical last year, and enjoyed watching Rachel's musical twice this year (once during school and once for the evening performance) and just a few days later it would be Rachel's turn to watch her.

But then the musical was postponed, as I've mentioned, which was an enormous disappointment for Miriam. Her excitement, which had been mounting daily, suddenly came to a grinding, screeching, anticlimactic halt. She'd have to wait to get her chance to perform?! And not only that, but she'd have to wait until an undetermined date—TBD!

Her excitement plateaued for a while, but soon began climbing once again.

After so many weeks of waiting, I was beginning to wonder if her little body could contain any more emotion. She made it all the way to seven weeks after the originally scheduled event all in one piece and was, needless to say, thrilled to perform for us tonight.

Andrew had taken Benjamin out (to use the bathroom, maybe?) and caught a picture of Miriam in the hallway. She opted to ignore him...

All that glitters is not gold. This carrot also glitters.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Rachel's Wax Museum

Last night Miriam said family prayer and was sure to pray a lot about the first grade musical—that it would go well and everyone would remember their lines and songs and so forth. When she finished her prayer Rachel caustically (and nervously) remarked, "Thanks for mentioning the wax museum, Miriam!"

Sarcasm runs deep in these waters. Miriam, you see, had made no petition in her prayer about the wax museum.

I assured Rachel that her wax museum would be fine and that she could pray for it to go well in her personal prayers and that I would pray for her, too. (And we talked with Miriam about how we should try to remember to think about others in our prayers, especially when we're saying family prayer).

The wax museum went on without a hitch.

We had a little bit of trouble leaving the house this morning and arrived at the school around 11:25 instead of 11:00 (the wax museum was from 10 to 11:30), but we were able to find Rachel and listen to her give her little speech a few times as well as visit a few of her friends. It was a fun little outing for Benjamin and Zoë, though by the time we got there the kids were getting a little tired of repeating their speeches since the entire school had come by to visit their museum already!

Each of the kids had a little "button" in front of them that you had to press to activate their speech. It was very cute and Rachel did very well.

Here's Rachel dressed up as Amelia Earhart:

The most beautiful carrot on the block

The days of walking into the store and exiting with a giant piece of florescent poster board are, apparently, over. Either that or I don't know where to find it! We looked in the school supplies section of our friendly neighbourhood grocery store. They had plain white poster board, and a few other colours but not what we needed. For this project we needed orange (and I wasn't about to try to colour a project that size orange).

"Staples," Andrew said as we gave up hunting through the rack.

So yesterday after I took the children to the dentist (no cavities—yippee!) and after we stopped at the museum to play for a bit (because why not; running them back to school (at 3:00) seemed pointless and I had them all with me) we ran to Staples to look for orange poster board.

For an office supplies store they were sorely lacking in the poster board department.

Power Point must've usurped poster board's throne at some point in time...

We finally found their rack of poster board. Everything seemed to come in packs though. And I didn't want a pack of poster board. I wanted one poster board. And I wanted it to be orange.

I could buy a pack of white poster board.

I could buy a pack of poster board that was neon yellow on one side and neon pink on the other.

I could buy a pack of poster board that was red on one side and green on the other.

Oh, look!

A single piece of poster board for sale...with balloons around the edges.

No thanks.

A single piece of poster board for sale...with a rapidly dandruffing glitter boarder.

Not for my worst enemy.

I sighed with defeat.

But then! A glimmering sparkle of something orange caught my eye...

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


Last night we had a post-activity-justification family night. We hadn't darkened the library's door for far too long and we had to exchange our books for new ones. Andrew didn't get home until nearly seven, which made for a rather late dinner and an even later trip to the library, but it was fun to be together (the library is one place I don't usually visit by myself with all the kids because 4 children + 3 bags of books = not enough me to go around) and pick out new books to read. When we got home it was definitely bedtime so as we pulled into the driveway Andrew said that we'd go in, have scriptures and prayer, go over our family calendar, and that would be it for family night. No lesson, because bedtime.

So I paraphrased D&C 88:118, "Seek ye wisdom out of the best books of learning and all that."

Boom. Lessoned.

You'd think, after how many years of being at BYU that I'd have that scripture nailed down. That particular scripture is on the wall of the landing of the staircase between the third and fourth floor of the Harold B. Lee Library. My mom has worked on the fourth floor for the past fifteen years or so. I trudged up those stairs to her office every day when I was a student (both to visit her and because I worked on the sixth floor so...) and continued to visit her nearly every day after I had graduated and was working on campus as an actual employee (we'd often go for lunch break walks or I'd just stop to visit for a few minutes while waiting for Andrew to finish up on campus (because we've only ever had one car)). Anyway, I have read that scripture a billion times; I should be able to quote it verbatim, but I've never sat down and formally committed it to memory so I can't.

I just finished reading Still Alice by Lisa Genova. And I think I failed like half the memory tests she put in there—the "remember this address" test and the "remember this list of random words from the dictionary" test. Seriously. When she got to the part where Alice was trying to recall this information I was always like, "Aw, man! I can't remember either!"

But I'm pretty sure I don't have Alzheimers. I think I'm just overtired.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Zoë at 11 months

This year has flown by! Already I'm worried that I didn't savour Zoë's babyhood well enough. With three other kids to look after it's difficult to know if I'm giving any them the attention they need. While I'm happy to know the difficult moments are passing just as quickly, it's hard to know that childhood is fleeting. These babies are growing up right before my eyes.

Zoë turned eleven months old yesterday. I'm not sure I've ever quite caught her turning a month older on the actual day she turns a month older. I'll never be one of those moms who takes a picture of their baby with a sticker on their onesie declaring how many months they are. Obviously. But here's Zoë at around eleven months "with" her cousin Maren (who is around a year old). They're both learning how to balance:

Friday, April 22, 2016

Benjamin's first family portrait

Benjamin was born a fighter. Once he decided he was coming there was, literally, no stopping him (believe me, we tried). As a little preemie in the NICU he refused bottles and pacifiers alike (even with coaching from an occupational therapist). He could roll over before he'd even reached his due date and I think the only reason it took him so long to crawl or walk was because his head was too big for him to hold up. He hardly babbled until he was 18 months old; I was sure he was suffering from a speech delay, but he finally started talking (and hasn't stopped since).

Potty training him has been the worst.

Getting him to do anything that wasn't originally his idea is...difficult.

He's a bouncing-off-the-walls, pooping-in-the-corner, talking-much-too-loud, always-getting-into-mischief kind of boy.

Would it surprise you to learn he's resisted learning how to draw/write/colour? It's been quite the uphill battle. For the longest time all he'd do was scribble—and I was excited about those scribbles!

Now, scissors? Those he learned to use early on.

A good "project" for Benjamin involves cutting up paper and then taping, gluing or stapling those little pieces back together in haphazard fashion. And then cutting it up all over again.

Occasionally he scribbles on the paper before cutting it, but very rarely.

During sacrament meeting while his sisters create colourful, full-page masterpieces, Benjamin can be found twisting the ward bulletin into a "lightsaber."

To sum up: Benjamin is not interested in writing.

This morning when he brought me a piece of paper and asked if he could draw on it I, of course, said yes. I always (usually) encourage him to write/draw/colour when it's his idea because it so rarely is his idea. I was even more excited when he brought me his picture for praise and it was actually a picture!

He'd drawn our family! From left to right is Daddy, Benjamin, Zoë, Rachel giving Miriam a piggyback ride, and Mommy.

After the musical

We been slowly readjusting to life post-musical. On Saturday Zoë and Daddy were suffering from burnout (and rightly so since we'd been out late for the musical the night before and were destined for another late night that night as well) and had a bit of a sleep-in together:

How someone so small can take up so much room in the bed I will never quite understand!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Knock on wood

Last week Benjamin stayed dry three nights in a row. Three nights, people!

"Maybe he's finally finished potty training," Andrew remarked casually.

"Noooooooo!" I howled dramatically. "You said The Words! Now you've jinxed everything and he's going to wet the bed and then not stay dry for another month all because you said The Words!"

So, of course, he's back to regularly wetting the bed because he was on a three-day fluke, not a three-day streak. 

But speaking of flukes, I had the most fantastic fluke last night: Zoë slept in her bed, alone, from around 11:30 pm to around 1:00 am. 

First of all, this is the first time she's gone to bed before 2:00 am in weeks, and the first time she's gone to bed before midnight in months. 

Second of all, she let me put her down in her own bed. Her own bed, people! She hasn't slept in her own bed in...ever. She even woke up and looked around and then decided going back to sleep was a fine thing to do. Of course, I ended up sitting beside her with my arm draped over her for about twenty minutes because every time I tried to leave she'd wake up to shoot me a killer look, but eventually I was able to leave her side and she stayed sleeping. 

FHE x 3

Tonight for FHE we went to the stake centre to help strike the set—the final nail in the coffin of the musical. I should probably do a final blog post on the production (and I'm sure I'll get around to that eventually). Right now we're feeling relieved that it's over but are also missing all the action.

Rachel cried herself to sleep on Saturday night. I had to remind her that we had this FHE planned for Monday, and she has a stake Activity Day Girls activity on Saturday, and we have a little cast party in a couple of weeks—all wonderful times to see her new friends. She was really mourning the end of the show.

She took a shower after we got home on Saturday and left me a note in the shower thanking me for making her try out and do the musical. Side note: is there anything more rewarding as a parent than that? Side note #2: Andrew got this "AquaNotes" thing that he saw because he always has such great ideas in the shower, and while he has written down a few ideas of his own it's mostly been used for the girls and I to write notes back and forth on (which is fun and, though not its intended purpose, useful in its own right).

Anyway, Andrew wasn't 100% sold on attending this cast FHE since we've already invested a billion hours in the musical and he was sick of driving to the stake centre and all that was planned was cleaning up the big mess our cast had left behind. But the girls were both adamant that we attend, so we did. And we had fun helping clean up our big mess. I'm always amazed at how many hands make light work—a lot more people showed up than I'd expected (yes, treats were promised; we brought cookies) and it felt like no one did very much but all together we dismantled the set, cleaned the stage and gym, and packed up everything in an hour and a half. Quite remarkable!

We came away with a few souvenirs: my socks from Me Ol' Bamboo, a tray from Toot Sweets, our head shots, a copy of The Suppression of Children Act, and a bamboo pole, among other little trinkets.

Here's Zoë doing her best impression of the bamboo dancers:

Monday, April 18, 2016


Yesterday in Relief Society we talked about the most recent General Conference. Someone mentioned that we should focus on getting what we need to get out of conference, rather than watching it and thinking, "Oh, I hope So-and-so is listening because they really need to work on!"

Being introspective rather than judgemental is certainly important when it comes to matters of the spirit, but I had to laugh because one of my most touching parts of conference was listening to President Uchtdorf's talk on Sunday morning and thinking, "Oh, I hope So-and-so is listening because they really need to hear this!"

And I was filled with hope that, perhaps for the first time in years, they were listening.

So-and-so sent me an email recently that said, "I know nothing about genealogy (mostly because I suck and am just now trying really hard to be a good person) but our ward has a goal to submit a name to the temple. Can you help me?"

I've been thinking about So-and-so a lot (more) since that email. I don't think I've helped them much with genealogy because I've never actually had much success in finding long-lost ancestors. Most of what I do has to do with stories more than line-work, and I think that's okay because it's still turning my heart to my fathers. (Though, don't worry, So-and-so, I am still slowly sifting through our family tree searching for a name for you...but I make no promises).

Anyway, I've been thinking about So-and-so and how much I don't believe that they suck.

Elder Uchdorf's talk spoke to me, personally, assuring me that my faults aren't unforgivable. His words were so sweet and hopeful that I found myself hoping that So-and-so was listening, too, and finding them sweet and hopeful as well:
As I pondered the history of Dresden and marvelled at the ingenuity and resolve of those who restored what had been so completely destroyed, I felt the sweet influence of the Holy Spirit. Surely, I thought, if man can take the ruins, rubble, and remains of a broken city and rebuild an awe-inspiring structure that rises toward the heavens, how much more capable is our Almighty Father to restore His children who have fallen, struggled, or become lost?
It matters not how completely ruined our lives may seem. It matters not how scarlet our sins, how deep our bitterness, how lonely, abandoned, or broken our hearts may be. Even those who are without hope, who live in despair, who have betrayed trust, surrendered their integrity, or turned away from God can be rebuilt. Save those rare sons of perdition, there is no life so shattered that it cannot be restored.
The joyous news of the gospel is this: because of the eternal plan of happiness provided by our loving Heavenly Father and through the infinite sacrifice of Jesus the Christ, we can not only be redeemed from our fallen state and restored to purity, but we can also transcend mortal imagination and become heirs of eternal life and partakers of God’s indescribable glory.
This talk goes hand-in-hand with one of my favourite talks from last April, by Elder Brent H. Nielson:
All of us fall short of the glory of the Father (see Romans 3:23). All of us need the Savior’s Atonement to heal us. All of us are lost and need to be found. This revelation that day helped me know that my sister and I both needed the Savior’s love and His Atonement. Susan and I were actually on the same path back home.
 I don't know how to tie this up neatly with a bow right now because I mostly want to pull my hair out (Zoë screamed until 2:00 in the morning, was up several times in the night, and has now been screaming for about four hours today and I don't know what's wrong with her and since nothing seems to be (she's fed, changed, not running a fever) I've trapped her in the living room because I can't hold her right now so she's just...screaming) so I suppose I'll just say that no matter how much you think you "suck" you—and I—are still 100% redeemable.

Saturday, April 16, 2016


Benjamin enjoys waiting for the girls' bus after school. Sometimes we play outside together while we wait, sometimes we sit at the corner to wait, sometimes I let him play in the yard by himself while I watch from the window. Regardless of whatever we're doing while we wait, he always runs to the corner yelling, "GIRLS!" when their school bus drives up.

Yesterday their bus took forever to bring them home. We started out waiting outside together but their bus kept on not coming and I had so much to do to get ready. I had to have something ready for the kids to eat, I had to do my hair and makeup, I had to double check our costume bags, I had to change and feed the baby...

Eventually I decided to let Benjamin wait by himself while I got some dinner ready for the kids. He asked if he could wait at the corner by himself and I told him that he could because I can see him through the kitchen window.

He plopped down on his belly—probably about eight to ten feet away from the curb—and started picking clover, kicking his legs gaily (and probably singing a made up song).

I heard a bus rumble down the street, slow down for the speed bump, and then start honking as it pulled into view.

I sighed heavily and ran outside to wave at the bus.

Rachel's old enough now that she's allowed to get off the bus without a parent being present at the bus stop and Miriam's allowed to get off with her, but sometimes if they have a substitute driver (which was seemingly likely considering how late their bus was running) the driver won't let the girls off until they see me, which means I have to stop doing whatever I'm doing to go wave at the bus so they know a parent is home.

But Benjamin was sitting right there, so surely that's a good sign that a parent is at home...

Benjamin sat up (still eight to ten feet away from the curb), in awe of this hulking machine parked beside him, honking and honking and honking and honking and honking...

I stood on the driveway and waved at the bus driver, quite confused about why my girls weren't running off the bus until I realized that...this wasn't their bus...

Eventually the doors to the bus opened and the bus driver shouted, "Get back in your yard, kid!" before addressing me. "You gotta keep your kids away from the street!" she yelled and then slammed her doors shut and puttered off.

"You have got to be kidding me!" I fumed at the back of her bus.

I was livid.

Winding down

We had our second to last show tonight and our last dress rehearsal last night. I've been snapping pictures like crazy trying to make up for lost time because I simply didn't bring the camera to much of anything beforehand. We were kept so busy with "if you're not singing then be dancing" and "if you're not dancing then be singing" and "if you're not singing or dancing do something else" that there wasn't a whole lot of time for capturing memories. But a girl in the cast is working on a scrapbook and asked for photos, which is when I realized that...there weren't many.

So I stared bringing around my camera.

Like, my actual camera. Not a phone camera.

You guys! Kids these days don't know how to use cameras. They were all like, "What? People still use those?" And when I assigned one of the youth to a picture (of our Toot Sweets gang) I actually had to have him do it twice because the first time he tried he didn't actually take any pictures.

My camera isn't touch screen. You have to actually press a button. How archaic!

Honestly, though, I don't think cell phone cameras have caught up with the quality of a good ol' point'n'shoot (at least not the calibre of phone I'm carting around).

So, without further ado, here are some pictures of Thursday's dress rehearsal...

Here are my sweet little Vulgarian children with their friend Carolina, who is ready for the Fun Fair:

Thursday, April 14, 2016

My backyardigans

Daddy mowed the lawn this weekend so with our jungle-like yard tamed the kids have been spending more time playing outside.

While I picked up all the gravel that Benjamin threw on the lawn this afternoon (and while Benjamin was supposed to be helping pick up the gravel that Benjamin threw on the lawn), Benjamin and Zoë had fun playing together on our play sets.

We got the small set from some friends when they moved (thanks Alders) and though it had a good run when Benjamin was smaller, it's spent the better part of a year feeling rather neglected. Benjamin's interest in it has rekindled now that Zoë is big enough to play on it (and so the big-kid-sized play set is sitting neglected in the background of most of these pictures).

Zoë prefers climbing up the slide and ignores the ladder/stair part, which I thought was kind of funny:

Sleeping and breakfasting

Thursday already!?

I can't even claim to have been too busy with rehearsal because our only rehearsal so far this week was on Tuesday and about an hour before we needed to leave our director cancelled the practice (and I was so happy). We definitely have rehearsal tonight, our last one (which is a little bittersweet (though perhaps a little more sweet than bitter because we're worn out over here)).

Zoë has been maintaining her late night schedule. I was just complaining to her last night (around 2 am) that it's hard for me to be a good mommy to all my other kids when she keeps me up all night long. She was sympathetic but fussed until 4 am anyway.

I had a breakfast at the school this morning, celebrating volunteers. I've never gone to one but I decided to go this year because the girls were both so excited about it. Why they were excited I will never know because they weren't invited. But they knew so much about it, so I went.

I didn't go in 2013 because I felt like I didn't know anyone else who would be there (as an introvert I don't attend social gatherings to meet new people, as a general rule). The same was true in 2014 because Rachel switched schools. By last year I was starting to feel more like I was part of the school community but I was also a bitter diabetic and knew they wouldn't be serving 2 eggs with melted cheese, 1 piece of toast, tomatoes and green pepper for breakfast (and that's what I had for breakfast every day the last few months I was expecting Zoë). This year I felt like I could go without it being too taxing of a social engagement, so I went.

It was rather low-key, but with the way the girls were talking it up I was almost afraid it wouldn't be.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Deranged ramblings of a sleep-deprived woman

I erroneously imagined that Zoë would willingly sit through all of our Chitty Chitty performances because she's always pretty good about sitting through long church meetings and seems to enjoy the school performances we've been to. I forgot that I was taking out a very important part of her equation for happiness: me.

On Tuesday Grandma wrestled with Zoë during dress rehearsal. On Thursday it was Andrew's turn. We had our first performance on Friday and I thought that between the two of them they could keep Zoë happy, but Andrew ended up missing most of the show to wander the hallways with a sad baby.

Benjamin enjoyed his little date with Grandma, though.

Apparently at one point Andrew was in the back of the gym with Zoë on his shoulders and she had fallen asleep without him realizing it—or she was in the process of falling asleep and kept losing her balance. Either way he noticed she kept shifting her weight funny but she'd been fussing so he just kept her up there...until a mom who was taking a different fussy baby out did a double take and then approached him to tell him that his precariously balanced baby was falling asleep. He took her down then and she slept for a bit, but not for long, because if there's anybody who knows how to fight sleep, it's this girl:

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Dress rehearsal

We didn't get home from rehearsal until around 11:30 last night, but here's the whole cast looking chipper when we finished our run around 10:00:

I put little yellow stars by our heads, but I don't know if you can really see them.

I'm hoping the play runs a little smoother at Thursday's rehearsal. We're aiming to start at 7:00 and end at 9:00, but last night we had some technical difficulties and didn't start until 7:30, so it only took us 2.5 hours to run through it. Still, we've got to shave that extra half hour off!

I guess that's what these rehearsals are for--to get all of the mess out of the way before the real performances!

Monday, April 04, 2016

Farewell to OBX

...we woke up to a terrific storm on Friday morning. By the time Andrew had the car packed, he was soaked. And he was under the carport. You should have seen Rachel! We made her run the trash out to the garbage can on the street and she came back absolutely drenched.

There was thunder and lightning and crazy wind.

I couldn't imagine trying to sit out a hurricane out on these islands! Of course, they're a mandatory-evacuation zone so I don't think I ever would try to sit out a hurricane out there. But still. The storm was crazy.

Probably the island was mourning our departure or something.

We had our wipers going full blast and could hardly see out our window. We couldn't even tell where the road was and where puddles were. It was all one big watery mess. It was terrifying to drive through (so I was glad that Andrew was doing the driving).

OBX: Last afternoon on the beach

Because the water at Ocracoke had been so warm we were hoping that maybe our beach had somehow magically turned warm as well. So when we got home we changed into our swimsuits and headed to the beach and found out we were so very wrong. It was just as cold as ever.

We had fun in spite of the cold.

OBX: Ocracoke

The village of Ocracoke is on the opposite end of the island from the Hattaras-Ocracoke ferry terminal, so we had a bit of a drive after getting off the ferry, though not too much of a drive because the island is tiny. It wasn't permanently settled until 1750. Before then it was a popular hangout for...pirates! And, in fact, Ocracoke is the death place of Blackbeard himself.

A few miles after starting on our journey we pulled over to see the island ponies. Unlike the Shackleford ponies, these ponies are penned up, though still essentially "wild," just not "free-roaming." Or something like that, according to signage. They're not sure where the ponies came from—likely the same mysterious stock as the Shackleford ponies (some sunken ship from Spain or something). Apparently residents of the island would occasionally use the horses for labour but no one ever bothered to capture them and call them "theirs." They would just catch a pony, use it, and let it go again. Nowadays they're all corralled and are owned by the US government, technically, so no one uses them for labour anymore.

OBX: We're going to Ocracoke!!!

We woke up with the sun on Thursday morning, hoping that if we made it to the ferry terminal early enough we'd have half a hope of making it on the boat.

Brought to you by the letter B

Benjamin has become rather obsessed with the letter B. He's sitting on my chair with me (relistening to General Conference because my first listen wasn't very thorough (that video about refugees—wow)) and saying, "There's a B, Mom! And there's another one! And another one!"

He looks for Bs all day long and finds them everywhere.

Last night during family scripture study he decided to begin every word he said with the letter B. The results were rather hilarious.

The scripture he was reciting was Mosiah 3:19, which really goes, "For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father."

He doesn't have that quite memorized, though, so Andrew helped him.

Andrew prompted, "For the natural man is an..."

"Benemy to Bod," Benjamin said.

Friday, April 01, 2016

OBX: Jockey's Ridge, take two

Everyone was hankering for a quiet day yesterday. Our first item on the itinerary was a good old fashioned sleeping, which was spoiled by Benjamin, who woke up at 7:00 am.

The best laid plans of mice and men....

Lucky (for us) he decided to head up to Grandma and Grandpa's bedroom instead of coming to our bedroom. Grandma put a show on for him and at some point he came downstairs to wake us up.

When everyone was up for the day, Grandpa took all the big kids out for a walk while Andrew worked and Zoë and I went down for a nap. That poor girl had a rough night. I was so exhausted I couldn't think straight. When I came upstairs after waking up in the morning, the very first thing Andrew asked me was to look at a chart he was working on.

"I don't know if I would use a rexagon," I said. "It doesn't really go with the rest of your design..."

"Rexagon?" Andrew snickered.

"What? Oh, uh... Rectangle!"

My poor brain was too tired for basic geometry. We're not even talking, like, eighth-grade level geometry. We're talking, like, preschool level.

Rexagon. Dude. It's a real good thing I got to take a nap yesterday.

When Zoë and I got up from our nap we got ready to head back to Jockey's Ridge to play in the sand for a little bit more. We left Grandma and Grandpa alone at the beach house to enjoy some peace and quiet.

It was a little chillier than it was on Monday, but we still had a lot of fun. We stayed at the very beginning of the dunes where the hill is steep and the sand is soft. Andrew threw the children around a bit...