I am State Examinations Mum

exam2Exam season is upon us again.

It seems to come around faster and faster each year, doesn’t it?

If your little darlings are about to do their Junior or Leaving Certificate Examinations, here are some ideas on how you can help them.

  1. Sleep:  Seems obvious and it’s easier said than done to get teenagers to go to bed at the best of times, and yet sleep is the one thing that we need in order to function properly.  Talk to your child and agree a consistent bedtime for the next 3 weeks. Agree on a cut off time for studying, no matter how much they insist that they need to do more.  Agree on a cut off time for screens and insist that until the exams are over, screens should not be in bedrooms.  Even the simple absence of the phone from the bedroom can do wonders for the sleep that we get.
  2. Hydrate:  Yeah yeah Yadda yadda… but again, vital. Challenge them to drink 2 litres a day.  There are loads of cool bottles that help to motivate water intake now. And they all have apps on phones that can help remind them to drink water too. Dehydration leads to headaches and sluggishness; all of the things that they DON’T need at the minute.
  3. Nutrition: The State Exams can last for up to 2 weeks for some students. If an athlete were going into  a 2 week event, they’d be fuelling up their bodies in preparation for months. If your child has a balanced and varied diet already, great. Keep it up. If not, try to introduce more whole foods and more fruit and veg.  Convenience  snacking is a massive issue when stress and tiredness kick in. Try to have dinners pre-cooked and healthier snacks in the fridge for when they appear from their pit “staaaaaarving”.  In fairness to them, the last thing they are thinking about is their food right now. But don’t make a big deal about it. Remember when they were toddlers and you conveniently had lots of healthy snacks and precooked meals in the kitchen?  For the next 3 weeks, go back to that! Just maybe ease up on the purees!      (AND BREAKFAST is a must. They might not be hungry, but they can’t sit a 2-3 hour exam on an empty tummy. Bananas are great for calming butterflies in the tummy.)  exam4
  4. Exercise:  If your child has a hobby, or goes to a class each week, let them continue with it.  As a teacher, I hear parents saying “Oh they’ve stopped that until after the exams”.  And while yes, many need to cut back on some activities in order to study, cutting out EVERYTHING is a bad idea.  Try to encourage them to do something every day, even if it is simply going for a ten minute walk. Send them to the shop.   Throw them a basketball. Dust off the punchbag in the garage. Anything to get them moving for even a few minutes.  Times of high stress are the times when we NEED to be able to release, may it be dancing, kicking, running or a gym class.  It helps keep energy levels up.  exam
  5.  Keep the stress levels down:  And I’m not just talking about THEIRS. State Exams have a way of reducing Mums and Dads to tears. Yes, this is a big deal. Yes, the exams are important, but what is more important is that your child is alive and well and able to do the exams.  Don’t dismiss the significance of these exams, but equally, don’t paint them to be the be all and end all. Their best is all that they can do and regardless of what is in the little brown envelopes at the end of the summer, life will go on and they will be ABSOLUTELY FINE!
  6. Positivity:  Rather than constantly “annoying” or “torturing” them, let them hear praise. (Because no matter what we say, they only hear nagging don’t they?) Let them hear you believe in them.  Let them hear “You will be fine” or “Do your best” or “I’m proud of you.”  Seems silly maybe, but trust me, so many of our teenagers are so skilled at feeling useless and crap all by themselves.  Sometimes all it takes is for them to hear someone tell them they can do it.  exam1
  7. Last minute pages:  SO this is the teacher talking now.  Get them to take an A4 page and for each subject, on which they write down all of the key phrases and ideas and names and keywords, dates etc., all over it, on both sides.  If their teacher has things that he or she CONSTANTLY repeated in class, write those down too. Use different colour pens and make it bright. Laminate it when they’re done if you like. But have it that THAT PAGE is the ONLY thing they look at on the morning of the exam.   I also advise that when they walk into the English paper, before they even read the questions, to jot down as many of the important terms and titles on one of the roughwork boxes or blank pages. That way, they have a go-to wordbank if they get a blank brain AND they won’t forget character names or poem titles in the heat of the exam. (Happens to the best!)
  8. Ditch the Drama:  Warn your kids of the dangers of the Drama Llama on the morning (or afternoon) of the exam.  While they’ll want with their friends, so often it is the worst place they can be. Hearing “Oh I only glanced at Chapter 23 last night” or “I haven’t LOOKED at that book!” or “I am so screwed”can cause panic in an anxious child’s mind. They’re already dealing with their own anxiety and nerves. They don’t need JohnJoe or Nancy’s stresses on top of their own. Tell them to politely stay away from groups until after the exam.  They are much better served by reading over their last-minute page on their own. They can chat about it as much as they want when it’s over, but being focused and quiet before the exam really does work wonders.  exam3
  9. SPACE it out: If space allows, tell them to skip 2-3 lines between each paragraph.  This allows them space to jot down anything that might come to mind as the revise over what they’ve written at the end.  (And it makes life easier for the examiner if sentences aren’t written sideways up a margin!)
  10. Believe:  While the state exams are possibly THE biggest thing in your whole family’s life right now, it is important to remind the kids that every single person who is older than them, has been through and sat through these exams. They can only do their best. Yes, they’re a huge deal, but they’re also just a bump in the road that you have to drive over to get to summer.  They’re well ready and well able.

 

I hope that exam season passes with as little stress as possible in your house. And remember that if your kids see you stressed, they stress. So even if you want to scream and tear your hair out, don’t.  Or at least wait until they’re in bed and then pour yourself a gin and scream in a pillow.

And the very best of luck to your minions.

 

I am Sit on My Knee Mum

On my Knee.”
Today you are poorly,

My precious wee lamb.

Today you need Mammy

And right here I am.
I’ll sit right beside you

I’ll rub your wee toes

I’ll clean up your mess and

I’ll wipe your wee nose.
I’ll kiss all your fingers and

rub your wee face

I’ll not give a damn about

the state of this place.
I’ll cuddle and snuggle you,

I’ll let you complain

You don’t understand

this feeling of pain.
To see you feel poorly

It breaks Mammy’s heart.

I’d take every ounce of it,

every last part,
To make you feel better,

To make you feel fine,

I wish with my essence that

the sickness was mine.
And whether you’re sniffly,

or puking or hot,

You’ll sleep right on top of me,

not in the cot.
And yes this is minor

and yes you’ll be fine

But I am your Mammy

And your pain is mine.
So today, there are so many

things I should do,

But none of those things,

as important as you.
The world won’t stop turning

if I stay here with you,

Some days I’m just “Mammy”

Cos only Mammy will do.
So cuddle your Mammy,

Just sit on my knee,

When you need your Mammy,

right here I will be.
xxx Mammy xxx

I am Saying “Hi” Mum

Well it seems that Mammy has quite a few new readers over the past few weeks and so it’s only polite to say Hi!  Also, some of my lovely FB followers suggested that I not get lost behind the guise of only being Mammy, and so I thought it a good time to say Hi to you all.

Welcome to the madness of my life.

It might be humdrum and ordinary, but it certainly is not quiet or dull.  For those of you who have been following me a while, thank you for still being here!  And to those of you who have just stumbled into my pile of Smumbling, let me introduce myself.

I am Maria, a Donegal Mammy of two minions, one 6 and one 2.  We live in our palace on Smumble Hill.  Our palace is a messy, toy crowded bungalow with an impressive “layer of love” and windows that get washed once a year. We have cows in the field and a bare garden because Mammy could kill a plastic plant.

Mini-Me is 6, is an absolute drama queen (like her Mammy) and has provided me with some of the most wonderful and some of the most challenging moments of my life.  She is Mini-Me for a reason; not only is she my double in looks, she is a walking, talking miniature of myself…probably half the reason she drives me so bananas! She’s a wee legend.

Princess is 2 and she is a Dictator of the world in Training.  Hilarious and full of badness, she is not only keeping us on our toes, she is making us dance. She’s a rascal.

My husband, or The Him, is Mr Rushe Fitness and runs a gym (Jim) here in Letterkenny as well as an online training platform.  He’s quite the handsome oul devil and I still like him a lot. He’s the best Daddy and not bad at the Husband part either!  We have a very busy life and a very noisy house and as knackered as I am, I wouldn’t change a thing.

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I’ve been writing this blog for over 3 years and have been a finalist in quite a few National Blogger awards.  I’ve had loads of great opportunities and I still love that I never know what will be in my mailbox when I click open in the morning.

As well as blogging here, I am a teacher, I write stuff and I’m Director with our local musical society. I like to be busy.  While I love to get Glammy Mammied, 90% of the time I am either in gym gear or PJs.  I ROCK the badger’s arse look and I like to look windswept and interesting.  I am very good at that.

The S-Mum Blog is my Mammy voice. I like to make people laugh.  I like to show other Mammies that life is not and should not be instaperfect.  I am not one to use #soblessed or #mybestlife.  You’re more likely to see #wtf or #fml…

I do some collaborations with companies that I use and like and sometimes I run giveaways, but that is not the focus of my blog.  It never has been. It’s about writing and sharing and starting conversations…and sometimes making Mammies smile. I also do a bit of chatting at things.  I likes to chat. (No idea where Mini-Me gets it!)

I am a Gym Mammy, I love to train and I like my body to be a certain way.  Not only does it make me feel better physically, if I don’t lift things and hit things, I get a bit hormental. But don’t worry, I tend to keep my gym content over on Instagranny or on the lifestyle section here.

I also like wine and gin and good food. I can eat like a starved gorilla.

So there.  Boring yet busy.  Ordinary yet fun.  I’ll tell it as it is. I don’t accept BS and if you don’t like what I write, feel free to bugger off.  If you do, like and comment and enjoy the fun.

So there.

This is Mammy and Mammy says hi.  Thank you for following my Blog and I hope you enjoy  xx

 

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I am Speed-Clean Queen Mum

Good evening, on this, the 83rd of January, 2018.
 
It is Sunday night once again. Mammy has a list of things she needs to do, but after running around the house for the past 90 minutes finding schoolbags, and lunchboxes and searching for the magical tie and parts of the uniform that get blown to the 4 corners of the earth on a Friday evening, Mammy is fit for NOTHING except parking her posterier on the sofa.
 
Mammy had some lovely friends over for an impromptu dinner last night. Mammy spent 45 minutes speed cleaning the rooms in which her lovely friends would be. It is amazing just how much Mammy can get done when faced with the thought of lovely friends coming to visit. (Not that lovely friends give a continental shite what state Mammy’s Layer of Love is in, but still.) And so Mammy managed to blitz the kitchen, tidy, move, clean bathrooms, mop floors and clean glass, all so that she could apologize for the “state of the place” when the lovely friends arrived.
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How ridonculous eh?
 
“Good evening Lovely Friends, please doooooo come in and look at how homely and coziful Mammy’s practically perfect in every way home is on this fine evening. I must apologize for the layer of love. Please do not judge Mammy for the mess of her candlelt kitchen… Woulds’t one likest some cucumber in one’s gin?
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Ready for catch ups

 
And of course the response from one of the lovely friends was “Yeah yeah. The place looks great. Shut up and start pouring.”
 
The evening was lovely until Princess decided to have her firt EVER nightmare just before 1am. The poor little cretur screamed so loudly that one of Lovely Friends almost spilled her cucumbery gin over herself. And so Mammy had to bid her lovely friends Adieu and take the High-temperatured, sweaty little shaking mess away from the “Bug Bear under me bed” and into our bed.
On the up side, The Him was happily left entertaining lovely friends AND HE did all the cleaning up of Mammy’s showhouse worthy kitchen before he went to bed. And so the remnants of the Heavenly Indian takeaway we had, were gone when I got up.
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Could lick the screen…

 
Fear not however my Mammies. The house is once again a mess and all pretentious notions have left Mammy. Mammy is back in reality, smiling at how quickly Mini-Me and Princess recreated their Layer of Love and glad to have such Lovely friends to speed-clean-for-them-to-not-notice anyway.
I am now ready for bed, hoping and praying that there is no bear or monster under Princess’s bed tonight.
Hope you had a lovely weekend and that you are ready for the last 38 days of January.
The S-Mum

I am Say Shut Up Mum

“I need to put on my lupstuck QUICKLY Mammy!”

Yeah to sit in a dark auditorium for the next 3 hours? Whatever! 5 going on 15.

And yet as grown up as she’s getting, sometimes things remind me of her adorable innocence! 

Like the radio.

We’re driving home after the panto and I’m not really paying much attention to the radio. That is, until I find myself humming along to “I wanna sex you up!” and realise what’s is playing! 

Christ alive!

 Just as I turn it down, oh so subtly, to save the ears of my little one, she tuts.

“What a Very wude song Mammy” she scolds.

Holy shit methinks.  She knows the word sex. She knows that sex is a rude Word. (For the radio!) Hang on. Where has she heard That? How does she know? What’s haaaaappening?

“It is indeed” Mammy agrees. 

“Did you HEAR what that man was singing?” 

“Erm yeah…”

“What Silly words. Why would you sing a song Saying ‘I wanna say SHUT UP!’ So weird like!” 

“I wanna say shut up?”

“Yeah Mammy. Dat’s what he was singing!” 

Sing it wuf me Mammies! 

“I wanna say SHUT up!” 😂😂😂 

Happy Sauvignon…sorry, Saturday! 🍷

By the way, are you following me on Facebook? You should. The craic is mighty! 

I am Some New Year Mam-tras Mum

Happy New Year my Lovely Ladybelles.paper-3042645_960_720

By now, the trees are down and the house looks alarmingly bare.  It’s back to uniforms and routine and lunches and gymbags…and after 2 weeks of dreadful flus, no heating and general Cabin Fever, I for one am ready for normality.

I took my tree down on Saturday morning and very quickly realised just how DIRTY my house is.

There is a layer of dust, of handprints and of pawprints and of glitter on every surface in my home and I have decided to give it a new name:  it is my “Layer of Love”.

Giving it a nice name like that makes it easier to tolerate.  Clever eh?  I don’t feel so bad about the dirt now, when I consider that it was my own little munchkins who happily caused it.

happy

In the midst of the New Year’s Resolution BS of January, here are a few precepts or mantras that I intend to try harder to follow this year.  I’m not changing anything. I simply try to employ these in order to try to keep my sh*t together.

These would the Rules of Mammying if I were Queen of the World.

  1.  Embrace the Layer of Love.  Yes, our houses must be safe and generally clean, but handprints on the glass or dust on the TV aren’t really good reason to stress, are they?
  2. Let it go. The things that bother you? The people who annoy you? Are they really worth being bothered about?  If it’s outside of your own 4 walls, it’s not important.
  3. What people think of you, is none of your business.  If people don’t like you, it’s THEM who has the problem, not you.  Work on YOU liking you. Most important.
  4. Believe that you can.  Who says that you can’t?  Tell that committee of negative thoughts in your head to sit down and shut up.
  5. Stop Comparenting.  Comparenting is my new word.  It’s clever isn’t it? It’s when we compare our parenting to others.  And it’s never positive or productive, so stop it!

I’m not going to change in 2018.  I’m quite happy with who and how I am already thank you.  I manage (just about!) to keep it all between the ditches just fine as I am and I will simply try to keep implementing these ideas in my daily life.

Especially the Comparenting one.  I don’t care if Shaniqua’s Mum lets her sit in the front seat.  I don’t care if Tarquin’s Mum gives him Football Special in his lunch.  I don’t care if Jezzabell’s Dad brings her to every dance class going.  Good for them.

Parent for your kids, in your home.

I hope your layer of love is only beautiful after the holidays.

mum

 

I am Scheme of Things Mum

Well it’s all done and dusted.

This year was pretty disastrous to be fair. At one point on Christmas Eve it felt like anything that could go wrong, was going to! 

And it did…

😐Our heating system broke a few days before Christmas and can’t be fixed until January. 

😐The Christmas tree lights broke on Christmas Eve.

😐My hoover broke. 

😐Princess has been sick ALL over Christmas.

We didn’t get all of the wee cousins together for even ONE photograph. She was having NONE of ANYTHING and has spent the past 4 days sitting ON Mammy. How I cooked dinner, feck knows.

She is literally only looking at what Santa left this morning…wee pet.

We’ve been to the doctors today and hopefully now she’ll be on the mend, but Christ having a poorly Babby in the house over Christmas just dampens it all, doesn’t it?

Lookit.

In the scheme of things, “whatever”.

And of course, in the scheme of things, I have NOTHING to complain about.

In the scheme of things, there are so many others who would kill for my little disasters. 

But when you’re in the midst of things, “the scheme of things” means Jack Shit.

And sometimes, if Mammy wants to roll her eyes to Heaven, stamp her foot and declare “fuck this for a bag of parsnips” or “Christmas spirit my arse”, then she shall. Because in MY scheme of things, things could have been better!  

And I Shouldn’t feel guilty for grumbling a bit. When it’s Mammy’s job to keep everyone else smiling, if she wants to feel a bit sorry for her sorry wee self when things break or go wrong, that’s allowed too. As usual however, after swearing a bit and cursing everything,  Mammy pulled up her big girl knickers and sucked it up.

In the scheme of things, wee buns.

We did have a lovely Christmas. 👨‍👩‍👧‍👧

Mini-me has had the time of her Wee life and isn’t that what really matters?

The lights got replaced at 10pm on Christmas Eve.

The Gillespie Mafia had 8 heaters on my doorstep within an hour of my Daddy sending the S.O.S to my aunts and Uncles. 

The hoover magically came to life again IN the shop when I took it in to complain, making me look all levels of psychobitch to the 4 snuggling Salesmen behind the counter on Christmas Eve.

And the Princess simply has a yucky old flu that will eventually pass,  so really, Mammy shouldn’t complain.

In the scheme of things, it was fab.  

I did get a few nice snaps, but Trust me, for each if the nice ones, there are 8 real-lifers. 

And everyone has them. So remember as you’re looking at all the picture perfect Instafeeds, behind all of those picture perfect moments, there might be a broken fridge, or a Puking baby, or broken heating, or a wobbly marriage, or a Screaming toddler, or a nasty illness, or a broken heart or an empty chair…

Real Life usually happens off camera,  (but when we DO capture it, it can be so funny that it reminds us that “in the scheme of things”, real life rocks! 👇👇👇)

How was your Christmas Mammies? Any clangers for me?

I am Santa Letter Mum

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Dear Santa…

Dear Santa,

I hope that you and Mrs. Claus are well.  I have been the bestest Mammy I could be, (most of the time), this year.

For Christmas, Mammy would like diamonds around my neck, a spa break and a big hug from a Fablis Chanel coat.  Mammy would also like:

  • an uninterrupted shower
  • to experience the joy of independent excretion on the porcelain throne…alone
  • for the children to recognise Daddy as the other perfectly capable adult who can do things for them in our home
  • for some, even only a few, sentences to start with “Daddy” rather than “Mammy”, just for one day.
  • for all of the seasonal bugs and sniffles to bugger off for a week!
  • for a laundry fairy to magic away the pile, just for a few hours

But, while all of these things would indeed be wonderful, Mammy must say Santa, that really, I need nothing.

As cliched and silly as it might sound, I have everything I want right in front of me. As much as I give out about the daily pains of being a “fulltime-everything-to-everyone”, I would’t have it any other way.

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My world 

These two little minions are mine. They are my carbon copies; a perfect little mixture of myself and my Him. For all their tantrums and chaos, they are my world.  They give their Daddy and I so much fun every day.  I’m glad I have their mucky little faces slabbering biscuits all over me, and their snottery noses to wipe. With each tantrum, I see two headstrong little girls who will change the world one smile at a time, and I know that they will be fine. Their arms around my neck are my diamonds.

And as for My Him?  Yes I might give out that he spends too much time with our Jim, but that’s OK too. He’s the hardest working man I know, just like my own Daddy. I wouldn’t have him any other way. We lead crazy busy lives, but at the end of every hectic day, we come home to each other. He’s my big bad handsome man. He’s the only person in the world who knows me better than I know myself. He’s my Him and he’s the only hug I need this Christmas.

Uninterrupted showers are overrated. Soon enough, I shall have privacy in the bathroom once more.  I will eventually find myself missing the fat little fingers against the glass. The snots and sniffles and puking, thankfully, come and go.  How blessed I am that they do.  The tears and tantrums might be plentiful, but they are outweighed by smiles and giggles that make the world chuckle in unison.

And they can “Mammy” me as much as the want.  That’s what I’m here for.  That’s what I am.

So yes Santa, “things” would of course be nice, but as for getting me what I need?  Don’t worry.  I don’t need anything. In the midst of the mess and laundry and chaos and tears and noise and stresses, it turns out that when I think about it, I have everything I could ever want right here already.

Have a wonderful Christmas Santa.

Lots of love,

Mammy xx

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I am Special Fundraiser Mum

Well what can we say?

Today, we had the most festive few hours with the most wonderful people and raised lots of money for two very worthy charities.  The Jack and Jill Foundation and The Victoria Thompson Scholarship do such incredible work for so many families and children all over the country.  What better cause to do a fundraiser for before Christmas, than Children and their parents?

 

A few months ago, I commented to The Him that it’d be lovely to watch the Polar Express on the big screen again.  “Make it happen then” he said.  So I did.

 

Today, 220 smiling faces watched the Christmas Classic on the Biggest screen in Century Cinemas.

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The queues began to form at the cinema from before 11am, with the excited crowd clutching their golden tickets.

 

Tickets were punched by the Polar Express Conductor, (The Him does have a fun side outside of Jim!) and everyone, EVERYONE, received a little Jingle Bell, just like the bell in the movie, as they entered.  No one has any excuse not to believe now…

 

We thanked everone for coming and for supporting, before presenting a cheque to Sharon Thompson from the Victoria Thomspson Scholarship.

 

(We’re meeting a representative from Jack & Jill next week!) Then we told the girls and boys that the train needed some Christmas magic to get started, and so the crowd sang Jingle Bells before the much awaited feature.

 

And, just as we’d hoped, it was WONDERFUL!  It’s a beautiful movie and the runaway train scene was just as spectacular on the big screen as it was the first time we saw it.  The most magical part for me was when everyone started to jingle their little bells as Santa arrived.  It was AMAZING!

And this evening, I’m smiling from ear to ear at the photographs of families at the event, and of the kids hanging the bells on their trees at home.

Thanks to our followers and friends, we were able to present over €900 to EACH of our chosen charities; The Jack and Jill Foundation and The Victoria Thompson Scholarship.  But tonight, I can happily announce that the final total for each charity is a whopping €1000!  

The event was sponsored by Rushe Fitness and wouldn’t have happened without Anne-Marie, Pete and Mark in Century Cinemas.  Thank you all so much for supporting yet another one of my random ideas.

So that’s that… for now! It might just need to be an annual event apparently, but I’ll get tonight over me before I start planning anything else!

 

We do hope that everyone who joined us today had a wonderful time and once again, thank you to you all.

The S-Mum & The Conductor…

 

 

I am Slight Change of Plans Mum

Mammy is rather chuffed to see Friday evening.

Mammy doos LOVE Friday evenings.

I tried to be a very good Mammy this evening, ignoring Jim in favour of lifting my girls early, with plans to do some festively frolicky arts and crafts with a lovely Christmas-Card-making-set that I procured in the Aldi-everything last week, to drink hot chocolate and have a Hallmark worthy Mary-of-the-poppins type evening, where they’d play happily while Mammy magically transformed the vegetables in the fridge into wholesome homemade soup for my minions.

How mammiful of me, eh?

In reality, I had an extra hour of them screaming “NO WAY”, “She HUT meeeee!” and “STOP iiiiiit!” at each other and at me, while I delivered a Freezer Friday Special of oven baked cardboard for them to smear all over the floors. Then we watched 65 Cartoons, Princess fell asleep standing up 👇👇👇and we had a generally riotous bedtime chaos…

I didn’t shout as much as usual however and both have gone to bed reasonably content 💞and (finally) temperature free… (Is it bad that I now get more upset if we run out of Cal-of-the-pol, than I do if the graperack runs out? 😂😂)

The arts and crafts stuff remains in the car. It’ll probably still be there on January 1st as I’ll have given in to the cheap, cheerful and mess-free joy that is 30 cards for a penny in the pound shops! 😆😣😅

I HAD indulged in my usual Thursday night Domestic Goddess cleaning splurge last night, in the hope of doing feck all tonight. Right now, it looks like a creche puked its contents onto my living room floor.

There is however a shiny new grape glass from TK-Maxyourcard sitting beside the bottle of grapejuice that needs a snog…

How was your Friday Ladybelle?
Hit me with a gif to sum it up! 😚😚😚