A Month of Gratitude: My Husband

A Month of Gratitude - DoyleDispatch.com

So I know that I haven’t posted some updates from my #monthofgratitude challenge, but they have been ones that I really wanted to keep to myself this past week (and a half). But I have still found the good in each day. That being said, there is something about being accountable and actually posting each and every day. So for the final 1/3 of the month, my goal is to post each day with a new item I’m thankful for.

During this past hiatis, the one thing that has been constant as a source of my gratitude is my husband, Tim. He is my rock and my best friend. He is my sounding board and the one who lets me say whatever I’m thinking without judgement. He watches the kids first thing in the morning and right when he gets home at night so I can have some time to myself and my work. He understands when, as soon as we say goodnight to A and D, I go into my office and start working. He gets it and doesn’t complain.

I could go into a million reasons from our 12 year history as to why I love this man, but let me just say that I am grateful for him and our love and our commitment to our family. I wouldn’t be half the person that I am without him.

Dory and Tim 2014

SAHM Mom Survival Guide eBook Review

“We don’t have the benefit of a routine ‘eight to five’ job where you accomplish the same tasks day in and out. Our lives take us in a million different directions and there is no way anyone can keep all of those things. Getting the events, appointments, and schedules out of your head and onto paper will free you from the stress.”  – Rebekah, The Stay At Home Mom Survival Kit

SAHM SK Book Mockup

As a Stay at Home Mom of our twins, I have a soft spot for other mamas who try to do other things in addition to mothering and taking care of the house. Many of us were professionals before becoming wives and mothers, and it is honestly hard to just completely turn off the switch to want to have adult interaction and help others, thus setting a good example for our children in being a steward of the world.

Most of us bloggers don’t blog just for ourselves. We are hoping to reach others and somehow touch them, whether that is to make them laugh, cry, or create. Today, I want to feature a Stay at Home Mommy Blogger (Rebekah with Charming Imperfections) who has done that with her new ebook, The Stay At Home Mom Survival Kit. I had the chance to read an advanced copy, and it is fantastic for anyone who needs a little (or a lot of) help getting organized to run an entire household. Don’t let the name fool you, as this is really fantastic for all moms, dads, or even those without children. It really could be called the “Household Survival Kit,” because of how versatile it is! Although, if you are a SAHM, you will love Rebekah’s tidbits and discussions at each section.

So what is included in this survival kit?

  • Schedules: More than just a cute calendar, the scheduling pages will give you the chance to organize and plan for every event and appointment (with 6 printable pages)
  • Finances: Get on a budget, organize your bills, tackle that debt, and commit to becoming financially wise with the pages included in this section (with 13 printable pages)
  • Meal Planning: Meal planning is simplified with the inventories, planning pages, shopping lists, and strategy worksheets to help you feed your family and save money (with 10 printable pages)
  • Housework: Every checklist and chore chart you need to get started and stay on track towards a cleaner, more comfortable home (with 7 printable pages)
  • Activities: Take the work out of fun with the planning pages included in the Activities section. Plus, get the Vacation Planning Kit for free (with 11 printable pages)
  • Health: Monitor your weight and fitness progress, keep track of medications, and have information on all the medical facilities you visit on one page (with 10 printable pages)

The book is structured with a narrative and then the printable pages. Each section explains the background and also instructs you how to use and modify the printables to fit your family. It is absolutely beautiful, but it is also designed to take minimal ink when printed. It will also look gorgeous in black and white if you want to save your colored ink.

“As a mom of twins, I have to be organized. Our household wouldn’t function any other way. I really loved this eBook, as it was almost as if I wrote the book with the way that I try to keep my home, finances, and lists organized. Rebekah does a wonderful job explaining each of the sections well and then having thorough and cute charts, lists, and calendars that we can print out and use. This isn’t just a book for Stay at Home Moms, though! All families could take their household organization to the next level with the help of this kit!” – Dory Doyle

The entire eBook is $15, but there are also some free printables available on the book’s webpage if you want to try before you buy.  If you purchase this book during the launch week (September 15-22), you can save $5 by using the code LAUNCHWEEK. In addition, 10% of all sales from September 15-October 6 will be donated to a local charity called Esther House, which is a transitional, grace-based facility for women and/or women with children who have experienced incarceration, abuse, homelessness, and emotional and spiritual wounds.

There are also a slew of other products and updates coming from Rebakah and Charming Imperfections, including a holiday planner coming in mid-November and a New Year Planner and expanded Health and Fitness section coming at the end of December.

SAHM SK 46x60

 

Disclaimer: In the spirit of full disclosure, this post includes affiliate links, which means that I may get a commissions if you decide to purchase anything from Charming Imperfections. I only recommend products & systems that I use and love myself, so I know you’ll be in good hands.

A Month of Gratitude: Teamwork, Family, and Fresh Haircuts

So many things to be thankful for this weekend!

A Month of Gratitude - DoyleDispatch.com

On Friday, I co-taught an online class with some amazing crossline members of Young Living. Many of them had never taught an online class before, and they rocked it! We were able to launch a new class for our team and these amazing women were able to gain experience and become confident YL educators.

On Saturday, we traveled to our hometown to visit Tim’s cousin, her husband, and her new baby, as they were visiting from New Jersey. It was so fantastic to see them and let Audrey and David meet their new cousin. Audrey kept wanting to hold Baby Liv, and David wanted Baby Liv to hold his trains (um… he must have been in love to want to share his Percy train!).

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Today was haircut day! Tim’s cousin is an amazing hair stylist in NJ, and when she came down here, we had Audrey and David get their first haircuts! It was the best experience. We timed it so that A & D were having lunch, and they were so happy throughout the whole haircut. How often does that happen that we have such a great experience for a first haircut.

Audrey's First Haircut

David's First Haircut

 

Do you want to participate in A Month of Gratitude? You can either comment on each post or write something on your own, tagging it with #monthofgratitude. Let’s see if we can start something special!

A Month of Gratitude: Naptime and Birthdays

It’s late, but I really want to post things that I’m grateful for today. This will be brief though (you can tell I’m tired because I’m not going to be wordy). Since I didn’t post yesterday, I wanted to post two things I’m grateful for today: naptime and birthdays.

Moms, you know what I’m talking about! We go through weeks or months of struggling with naps. Just when we think we get it figured out, your kids will decide not to nap on a day that you need rest. But when you get a good naptime, it’s sooooo glorious.

And as for birthdays, today is my awesome nephew’s birthday. I can’t believe that he is 8 today and going into 2nd grade. It seems like yesterday that my brother called and woke me up to let me know that I was going to be an aunt. We rushed in to our hometown so that we could hold L for the first time later that day. How lucky that we can celebrate something so wonderful as birthdays.

A Month of Gratitude - DoyleDispatch.com

Do you want to participate in A Month of Gratitude? You can either comment on each post or write something on your own, tagging it with #monthofgratitude. Let’s see if we can start something special!

A Month of Gratitude: How Do You Do It? Blog

 

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Ever since I was pregnant with my twins, I have been a blogger with How Do You Do It?, a blog for parents of multiples. I can’t even begin to express what this group of women has given to me: a community of support, gifted writers willing to share their lives and experiences, and individual women who have become such dear friends. It even led me to my great friend Angela and now business partner with my Young Living business (Healthier Oil the Thyme). I have depended on these women and their words so much in the last couple of years. Being a mom is hard. Being a new mom is even harder. Being a new mom of multiples is harder still. Yet each and every one has given me the confidence that I needed to become the mom that I am today.

Today has been a bittersweet day. My last post went live for HDYDI, called “Twinfant Tuesday: Gender Differences in Infancy.” After over two years of contributing, I realized that I needed to take something off of my plate. It wasn’t an easy decision, but it was one that I needed to do for me, my family, and my other commitments. I knew that I just couldn’t keep it up and give the type of posts that I wanted to contribute.

So today, in honor of my last post, I wanted to just say two words to my HDYDI mamas: thank you. I love you all so much, those who I have had the pleasure of working with directly, and those who are new to the team. I love you for what you have given our twin community: strength, communication, assurance, support, and motherly love. Thank you for sharing your hearts and children with us, and thank you for what you continue to do for us. And I wanted to especially say some words about Sadia, who has kept HDYDI going. She is our (and my) rock and cheerleader. Sadia, I can’t wait to meet you in person one day and give you and your girls a big, huge hug. Your friendship will mean more to me than you know.

You just don’t know what inner strength is until you meet a Mom of Multiples.

A Month of Gratitude - DoyleDispatch.com

 

Do you want to participate in A Month of Gratitude? You can either comment on each post or write something on your own, tagging it with #monthofgratitude. Let’s see if we can start something special!

A Month of Gratitude: When Things Fit Together

Doyletwins Feeding Each Other

Today was hard to narrow down to one thing. So much happened, yet so little happened as well. We cuddled on the couch and watched morning PBS after Tim went to work. I took the twins to our local gym so that I could have a few minutes by the adult-only pool and they could play with the other kids (they love it there). We had a fun lunch where Audrey and David didn’t want to give up their yogurt bowls because they were trying to get every last little drop of yogurt. They had a really terrific nap and woke up happy (and were ok just hanging out quietly for a little while afterwards). We played downstairs happily, and when they were ready for their snack (pretzel sticks), they shared from the same container. Audrey fed David, and David fed Audrey. They had a terrific dinner of avocado, homemade mac and cheese, and meatloaf. All of the Doyles were members of the Clean Plate Club (which is a feat when two are toddlers). David wanted Audrey’s toy, but instead of throwing a fit, our 1 minute warning worked (I’m sure that will be the subject of another #monthofgratitude post). They had a fun bath and went to bed relatively easily. Tim and I were able to cuddle on the couch without any computers and watch some TV together.

You know how some days things just work? When all of those routines and preparation and giving transition warnings just works? Yeah, today was one of those days. Rarely is a day as smooth as this. I don’t expect to see one like it again for a long time. But today I am reveling in it. I am soaking it in. And I am going to go to bed before midnight.

 

A Month of Gratitude - DoyleDispatch.com

 

Do you want to participate in A Month of Gratitude? You can either comment on each post or write something on your own, tagging it with #monthofgratitude. Let’s see if we can start something special!

A Month of Gratitude: Baby/Parent Dates

As a mom of twins, I never was able to go to baby yoga or “playdates” out and about by myself (with them out of the stroller) or baby gymnastics without a second set of hands (thank you Aunt Kat!!!). So Tim and I recently decided that we needed to each take a child and have a Mommy-and-Me or Daddy-and-Me date.

Today was the first day of this. We had errands to run, but we got to do it with just one child. And it was so much fun. Tim went with David to Home Depot (to look at the tractors and get an air filter), Target (to try to find another Percy die-cast train), Toys R Us, and then the grocery store.

I took Audrey to Franklin Goose and Walmart. We all had so much fun! Audy and I held hands, sang to songs we had never heard before as if we knew every word, played with the toys, held every single Sesame Street “friend” in Walmart, and ran up and down the aisles in the cart shouting “wheeeeeeeeee!” This was definitely something we will be repeating.

A Month of Gratitude - DoyleDispatch.com

Do you want to participate in A Month of Gratitude? You can either comment on each post or write something on your own, tagging it with #monthofgratitude. Let’s see if we can start something special!

A Month of Gratitude: Music

How often do we go through life just trying to make it through one day? How many times do we fail to remember and honor the small things, the things that made that day special, the little moments?

We are all guilty of this. As Audrey and David are now 20 months old, we are starting to think about what changes will be happening in the next 4 months and then when they are 2. Potty training… possibly moving to a big boy/girl bed… maybe even turning the car seat to face forward… walking without a stroller all the time. Can my little babies really be getting so big?

So in an effort to really stop and remember, I will be writing about things that I am grateful for. A month of gratitude. My goal is to write each day, even if it’s just a short little post. Let’s see what this month holds.

A Month of Gratitude - DoyleDispatch.com

 

Today I am grateful for music: those who are blessed musicians sharing their music with us, those sweet lullabies (sung by both professionals and Audrey right before she falls asleep), the pitch that David tries to match with the Sesame Street or Thomas songs, classical music which just permeates into your soul… Life is so much more full because of music.

I am writing this because we had the pleasure of having a private family/friends concert with my brother’s favorite band (and who he has been interning with all summer), David Wax Museum. It was a wonderful set, and it was even more special to see Josh and his friend Hannah sing and play along with them, totally where they were meant to be. We then drove home listening to a beautiful new CD of lullabies and classical music, helped with Audrey’s adorable voice trying to match the songs that she had never heard before.

 

Do you want to participate in A Month of Gratitude? You can either comment on each post or write something on your own, tagging it with #monthofgratitude. Let’s see if we can start something special!

Surviving Toddler Allergy Testing

Well, we did it! David survived his marathon of allergy testing today. I was so proud of my 20-month-old baby boy. He did so well through all of it! Here’s some background:

David and Audrey were exclusively breastfed from birth until about 4-5 months old. I got sick around this time with a stomach bug, and my supply seriously dwindled, so we started supplementing with formula once every few days, only as needed. We found that this did a number on A & D’s stomachs when we didn’t have a regular routine with the formula, so after a few months, we did one bottle of formula a day, while still breastfeeding the rest of the time. We also introduced solid foods at 4 months old, per the suggestion of our pediatrician.

Around this time, we also started to see some rough skin patches on David. It wasn’t a lot, but it definitely was noticeable. We treated it with lotion, and we kept it contained, but it didn’t totally go away.

Last fall (about a year old), we noticed that David was scratching his ankles to the point of bleeding, and so we used lots and lots of creams, lotions, and even some steroid cream to treat it. It would go away temporarily, but it never fully healed.

Fast forward to this summer (about 18 months old). We started seeing that rough skin in more places along his legs, especially the ankles, back of his knees, and inside his elbows. We wondered if it was heat rash, but our pediatrician thought it was just eczema (keep it moist with lotions and the rest).

Then, just about a week ago, his legs erupted and were completely covered in red, raw, irritated inflammation. It was on his back and stomach too. He itched everywhere. He scratched so hard on his chest that he has a scar along his sternum. When it only seemed to be getting worse over the weekend, we went back to the doctor. When the pediatrician took one look at him, she recommended that we get allergy testing.

That was Monday. I was able to get an appointment for two days later… today.

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So, this morning at 7 AM, David and I left for our 7:15 appointment (Ok, well, if I’m going to be real, we left at 7:10 and got there at 7:20). This would be the longest amount of time that David and Audrey have ever been separated. I was actually more worried about that than the testing itself.

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Once we got there and got David’s height (33 inches) and weight (26 lbs), we met with the allergist, a sweet woman who used to be a pediatrician (great bedside manner). Side note: David fell in love and cried when she left the room. In talking to her, we came up with the list of what we would test (55 different possibilities). We gathered our gear and went to the testing room, where I took his shirt off and put on a baby gown with the Looney Toon characters.


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David was not a fan, and we ended up letting him go shirtless.

Once they had prepped the test, they came in and drew on his back. I had the iPad going with The Muppets, so he only squirmed from the tickle of the pen once.

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Then, when we were ready to begin, I sat on the table, he sat in my lap facing me, and we had two helpers: 1 on each side holding an arm and leg each. I have never seen someone poke someone so fast. Over 55 “scratches” on the back in under 2 minutes.

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David cried, but he didn’t thrash his head around or move at all. He was such a trooper. And when it was over, we had to wait for 20 minutes. My instructions were to make sure he didn’t touch or scratch his back.

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So we watched The Muppets. And then the nurse brought in a popsicle for David (his first since all the many I had while I was pregnant with him). He LOVED it, and we quickly got the second half. Even if it was loaded with sugar, he deserved such a treat.

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He scratched his chest constantly, but I figured it was better that he do that than try to scratch his back.

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After 5 minutes

 

Then after 20 minutes, we got the results. The baseline was a good strong measurement, so they were happy that the results would be accurate.

David is allergic to watermelon and mushroom (two plusses on the sheet).

He also shows signs of being allergic to coconut, turkey, peanuts, soybeans, grass mix, and weed mix.

When we finally were able to meet with the doctor again, she said, “Well I hope that this gives you some answers.” But it didn’t. I felt just as stuck. I mean, out of that list, he hasn’t eaten any of that in the past couple weeks. At least, not that I thought. I was convinced that it would be milk (he has really upped his milk and yogurt intake in the last month).

Then, as we talked, she explained that soy is in so much food. Even just a slight irritation to it could trigger something like what we are seeing with David. So it’s entirely possible that the soy did the trick. Also, the grass and weed mixes could come into play (we didn’t test all of the environmental allergens, as we wanted to focus on the food and dog/cat). Then, I had been using a homemade lotion with coconut oil in it. Typically, we should be able to use something topically if he is allergic to it (since these showed up as minor allergies), but with that on top of a reaction already, it probably did worsen everything.

So now comes the elimination. For the next 10 days, we don’t eat any of those. We have a special lotion and cream. He will have a steroid for the worst skin spots. He will be on an allergy medication. Honestly, it’s everything my crunchy and natural-mindedness is against. But I also know that we need to figure this out. So we will follow this advice, try it out, and then we can go from there once we see if this helps. After 10 days of elimination, we will have 4 days of a binge (or as much as we can have a picky toddler binge on certain foods).

After I got home, we looked through the pantry. We had armful after armful of food that contained soy. The bread that he eats every day (and has recently started craving) has soy in it. Two brands of his favorite crackers. The mac and cheese that he gobbles up. It started making sense. FINALLY I felt like we have figured it out.

So now we just wait and see. And thankfully Cheerios are still on the “can have” list.

Thank you so much to ALL of our friends and family who have offered supports and love and thoughts. I can’t tell you how much it means to us. We have been so blessed to have such healthy children, and this is truly the first “big” thing that we’ve had to go through. Thankfully, I’ve been through allergy testing, so I knew what to expect, and David handled it like a champ. He was so happy and cute and talkative and easy-going. He loved his mommy-David morning, despite the 2 minutes of pain. I was so proud of my big “baby boy.”

And just to see how quickly he bounced back, here is a video of him after we got back home.

How to Have a Successful Yard Sale

YARD SALE Tips and Tricks - DoyleDispatch.com

 

Spring and summer is the prime time in our family to clean our our closets, shelves, and garage. And that means YARD SALE! Normally, our neighborhood will have a multi-family sale which usually brings in lots of traffic. We weren’t able to participate this year, but we still decided to hold our own sale. Here are some tips that we have learned from years of organizing and selling at yard sales:

Family Yard Sale No Address

1. Advertisement: Make sure to advertise far and wide. Take out an ad in your paper, put a notice up on Craigslist, talk it up on your local buy/sell groups, and plaster it on Facebook. Then, put up a sign (or a few, depending on where you live) in front of your neighborhood at least 4 days prior to the yard sale, but no more than 6 days (you don’t want them to think that it is a leftover sign from last week’s sales). We created this little ad to post on social media outlets without our address (people sent a message if they needed it), and then we had one with our address for a few select places.

2. Start cleaning out early: Don’t wait until the last minute to get and sort through your things. Sure there will be a lot of piles and boxes for a couple of weeks, but it will make for a successful and much less hectic yard sale. As a rule, anything that isn’t set out in our garage the night before the yard sale (at the latest) doesn’t go into the sale.

3. Organize into categories: We like to organize into the following categories:

  • Men Clothes (and type)
  • Women Clothes (and type)
  • Baby Clothes (and sizes/season)
  • Appliances
  • Electronics
  • Furniture
  • Housewares
  • DIY and crafts
  • Toys and stuffed animals
  • …you get the idea

4. Hang up clothes: While it may be a hassle to get everything hung up, it is the ONLY way to sell clothes. If you put clothes on tables (even if you neatly fold them), the first person that visits the sale will mess up your organization, and no one will touch the clothes from then on. I speak from experience.

5. Get things off the ground: The only things that should be on the ground are furniture. Everything else needs to be on tables (tray tables or fold-up tables work great for yard sales). If it’s on the ground, no one will want to bend down to look closely. Put it on a table, and it’s much more convenient to shop.

6. List prices: Either have a poster board with prices or have everything labeled. Sure, people won’t look and will still ask the price, but that way you can refer to it and they know that you didn’t pick the price out of thin air. It also helps you feel more organized and ready to sell.

7. Be willing to sell for cheap: Make sure to see my welcome phrase in #9, but it’s important that you are willing to sell for cheap. If you won’t, be ok with it not selling.

8. Be ok with negotiating: This is my favorite part of yard sales, both from a buyer and seller’s perspective. This is where the fun comes in, and if you negotiate with a smile on your face, your customer will leave feeling like they got a good deal and you will have a little extra cash in your pocket.

9. Have fun: Whenever someone walked up to our yard sale, I greeted them with a big “Hi!” and followed that with saying, “Everything has to go one way or another! If it doesn’t go home with you, then we will be taking it to Goodwill. It doesn’t come back in the house.” Sometimes I would add, “We love to bundle, and the fun of yard sales is haggling. So let’s have some fun!” I always got smiles, and it let them know that we weren’t too set on any prices.

10. Stand up for your stuff: There will be some potential customers that come and either take things (Seriously, you can’t pay $1 for that Polo shirt?), want to be jerks about offering $2 total for 25 items (and pushy when you try to negotiate), or put their hands on EVERYTHING. Know your limits and where you feel comfortable going with this. Here are some stories from the yard sale trenches:

  • A man came and wanted to purchase 4 things, which we had $1 listed on each of them. He offered us $0.50. One of the items was a new-in-box wrist guard (that he was trying to hide under his other things), so I told him that I would go to $1.50, but that was it. He said, “No, 50 cents.” But I stood firm and told him that he had quite a lot there, including that wrist guard (which I pulled from the bottom of his pile so he knew that I saw his trickery.” I won out, and he got a great deal at $1.50.
  • There was a woman who grabbed about 40items of clothes (I kid you not). We put a flat price of $3 for each item of adult clothes and $5 for each jacket or coat. She had well over $300 of items if they were new. She offered $50, and I told her that according to our prices, it would be $150. We settled on $80. She got a great bargain, and I knew that if I didn’t sell to her, it was late enough in the day that they would go to Goodwill. Win for everyone.
  • Our first customers of the day were 2 mothers and 2 kids. The kids (about 8 years old) ran over to the toys and immediately wanted two things on the table and started playing. We settled on a price, and the daughter ran off to the car with the toy in her hand. I called after her, asking her to bring back the toys until they were paid for. One of the women started flailing her arms and complaining and threw the toy on the table and they stormed off. I was sorry for the woman’s reaction, but how did I know that they wouldn’t just leave without paying? Those toys later sold to a very sweet family.
  • While I was talking to a very kind family about some baby items and toys (who had a slight Spanish accent), a woman came over to us to look at the table. She started talking in a very loud voice about how they probably didn’t know what a dollar was and couldn’t understand me. How absolutely rude and uncalled for. Needless to say, I didn’t sell her anything (I would rather lose a sale than to acknowledge that type of behavior).
  • A young couple arrived at the yard sale about 35 minutes after we opened. They saw our patio set and loved it. We originally had a price of $40 for the table, chairs, and umbrella (what a bargain!). They just stood and stared at it for a good 10 minutes while we helped other customers. When we had a few minutes to chat with them, they told us that they only had $20 on them, but they could run to the bank and get $10 more, but that was as much as they could afford. We knew they wanted it, and we were more than thrilled to give it to them for $30. In fact, we would probably have settled for $10 just because of how much they wanted it (but we didn’t let them know that).
  • And although this happened years ago (at our first yard sale), I still think of this young man fondly, so I must include it in this post. When Tim and I were in college, our first “big purchase” together was a Nintendo NES game system and about 20 games. When we bought our house, we hadn’t used this system for 2 or 3 years, so we decided it was time for it to find a new home. A young man about 18 or 19 came by and just was drooling over this system. He couldn’t afford the price we put on it, but he showed us the money he had in his wallet and asked if he could get it for that. One look between Tim and me, and we knew that he was the right owner for this system. For us, yard sales are a great way of making money, but they are an even better way of connecting to people.

So, did we miss any tips that you think are important for yard sales?