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First harvest host

The windows are open in our rv tonight. I hear the Pitter patter of rain drops as evenings cool air brushes up against my skin. It’s been hot and humid most of the evening so this is a welcome breeze. Its later now. The rain fall has lulled our girls to sleep. I’m looking out the window, seeing fire flies for the first time in years. They are putting on a show. One flies close intensely, only to fade as another lights up in the distance. It’s a dance, one they most likely have been doing in this beautiful field for ever.

Tonight is our first night staying with a harvest host. We have an open pasture beside us with about 6 or 7 cows and beautiful rolling hills. No one else is here except us. Essentially we are boon docking. No electric. No water. No sewer. And you know what? No one cares. 🙂 Its a welcome unplugging yo really be in nature more intently.

We are at a maple farm in vermont just outside montpellier. Earlier tonight we all had maple icecream and treats from the store & picked up a huge pint of maple syrup to take with us on the road for our pancakes.

The girls and I rode bikes and swung on the huge swings they have on the property before heading inside to take cold baths and showers. It was so hot and humid earlier. I’m sure this storm had something to do with it.

Andrew had wanted to run the generator, but weather decided against it for us. Just as well. The night air is cool and fresh.

The rain has been off and on, taking turns with the fireflies for the first part of the evening but its officially settling into a steady pitter patter across the roof. It’s so nice to have our windows open and feel the breeze of the night.

In the morning our neighbors came around to say hello before we left! 😉

National Parks, Uncategorized

Our National Adventure at the Dry Tortugas!

The Dry Tortugas is the southern-most National Park off the continental US just a 2 1/2 hour ferry ride from Key West! We were so excited to finally visit after months of anticipation.

Camping: although you can pitch a tent outside Fort Jefferson on the main island in the national park, we opted for a day trip. In fact, we left our 5th wheel at the Miami-Everglades Thousand Trails / Encore Park ($20 per night with camping / zone pass). There are many other options closer to Key West, but still almost an hours’ drive to the harbor. With a 7am arrival time, we opted for a hotel and a 5 minute drive. Although difficult to find spots in most places around Key West, we were able to park our Ram 3500 long bed dually in the city parking garage across from the Harbor for a small day fee charge.

Yankee Freedom Ferry Fees: You must make reservations to take the Ferry to the Dry Tortugas by booking a trip on the Yankee Freedom here. The cost is $180 per adult and $125 per child over 4. If you have a National Parks Pass, be sure to bring it along because they will reimburse you $15 per adult when you checkin before boarding.

The Ride over: You board the Ferry in groups. If you are prone to being sea sick, I suggest purchasing the dramamine. The tour guides suggested one pill for kids and two for adults. I opted out and regretted it about half way through the ride!! Also, find seating on the lower deck towards the back… way less bumpy!

They do provide a nice small breakfast buffet once the boat gets rolling. No need to pack food unless you want to snack during the day, but I suggest bringing plenty of water. The main guide was very knowledgeable in his presentation during the first part of the ride. We did all get sea sick about 1/2 way through and ended up with our doggie bags sitting in the way back of the boat. The waves were about 5-6 feet and they advised it would be pretty choppy for most of the ride. It smoothed out as we got close to the park.

As you can see from our YouTube Channel video above, the experience was wonderful for adults and kids. The kids were provided snorkeling gear and spent a good hour out in the water looking at the fish. Hiking around the roof was manageable, even for someone like me who fears heights. There is plenty of history to be learned and interesting rooms to visit!

If we ever go back, we would plan to pitch a tent!

Alison’s thoughts:

The island is beautiful and so relaxing! Garden Key was amazing! The conch shells, beach and marine life are just out of this world incredible! We had fish literally swimming next to us in clear blue water and saw conch shells everywhere along the shore. Birds flew above us and out on the seaside like I’ve never seen before. Truly, this entire area is beautiful and I hope one day to come back.

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Bennett’s Fresh Roast in Fort Myers, Florida

Bennett’s Fresh Roast has to be one of our all-time fave coffee places. From 2011-14, Alison and I use to live in beautiful Fort Myers just off the Palm Tree lined McGregor Boulevard. I had graduated law school and we found a beautiful fixer-upper amongst the rows of mansions in what seems to be a hybrid of mid-1900s and Art Deco inspiration.

One of Fort Myers’ flagship MUST-DOs is also just off McGregor Blvd and close to the eclectic Main Street that is captured and revived so neatly by the city – Bennett’s Fresh Roast. Founded in part by former radio personality C. David Bennett, the coffee shop roasts over 800lbs of coffee a month and makes all their donuts in-house in an array of decadent flavors. Watch us give’em the good old taste test along with our experience at the Ford and Edison Winter Estates below. For those of you who don’t drink coffee (like me sometimes and the kids), they also have freshly-squeezed juices!

They also serve-up a friendly and relaxed atmosphere of a mom and pop shop and treat you like you’re neighbors you’ve known for years!

So, if you just happen to be staying or wintering at one of Fort Myers’ many campgrounds, rv resorts, or hotels, plan a half day to go and get yourself a treat and then take a step further back in time to wander through the grounds and architecture that make-up the Ford and Edison Winter Estates. General admission per adult is $25 and kids are free.

Don’t miss the 2nd largest Banyan Tree in the world!! It is definitely a sight to see and the K girls wanted to just climb all over it!

Also, be sure to subscribe to our feed and http://www.youtube.com/ournationaladventure for more weekly fun. We hope to continue to help you on Your national adventure and thank you for reading.

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Northern Florida

We drove from Texas into Florida during a rain storm. The roads were blanketed in a thick fog and rain was pouring down steadily. We had forfeited campgrounds in order to get to our destination, thinking that the rain would disappear as we got closer to Florida. Little did we know that rain extended the entire way.

The first days in Florida were amazing. We stayed at a jellystone in preparation for a family camp, and weather was beautiful. We enjoyed swimming, bounce house jumping and exploring the areas blue springs.

blue springs:

Two days into our stay however, a tornado watch was issued for the area. This tornado had already torn through northern states, claiming lives, so we took precautions.

Here is a video on this tornado:

The days that followed were cold, we had to break our jackets and gloves back out! Despite this, the girls made some great friendships and we had some amazing times! Kiara and Andrew went out on the river for a daddy/daughter date and the kids got to enjoy the area. It was our first time visiting this part of Florida.

Here is a video on our family camp:

Because we spent time in Madison, we put together our top places to explore while there.

A small coffee shop on the main street featured us on their page while we were there also!

How cool!!

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Texas

The last weeks have been exciting. We had spent some time in Arizona with family, so it was nice to get back on the road doing what refuels and excites us as a family – exploring.

Andrew and I have driven through Texas many times and often gritted our teeth at how it took forever and was just super flat….miles and miles of flat nothing is what we’d say. Somehow this visit has been anything but that. We first traveled to big bend national park. It’s spring time and beautiful flowers are everywhere- if you look close enough through the desert brush. The landscape is anything but flat here also! Intense slopes and canyons, mountains and hills all span across the open desert. Big bend specially is a beautiful place.

We loved the hot springs, hiking, kayaking and waterfalls. Such an amazing place and adventure for our family.

We drove to hill country from the park and found ourselves in one of the prettiest little towns, fredricksburg. I’m not sure how we only stayed one night but we had heard good things about San macos and wanted to explore it and larger cities. The rv place we stayed at parked us just overlooking a beautiful river where the girls played hide and seek, made sand creations and sat with me in the big swing.

Kiara also had the opportunity to try fishing for the very first time! We didn’t catch anything- but it was fun to try!

An hour south, in San Antonio, we ventured into the downtown to see the Alamo.

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Moving days =design days

Anyone who truly knows me, knows that I love to decorate and redefine and design my home. It’s something that’s in constant motion- even in a stationary “normal ” home. But here on the road I’m finding that it’s something that’s quite normal! Most moving days are seen as hectic, rough and stressful. After all you are taking down your home and then traveling all day- just in time to put it all back together again.

We have found a rhythm that works for us. We take our time. We don’t travel more than 200 miles, and when it’s time to set back up- I’m ideally aloud a half hour to do so. Granted- most of the time kids are hanging out inside or something is usually happening – so it’s really only about five minutes. But it’s time that I use to move furniture and set us up. I’ve found that each location lends to some small change. Although I will say that the longer we travel full time, the less those changes have been. It’s been nice to have a consistent place inside to call home.

Yes, for now our rv truly is “home”

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Diary: first month on the road in our RV fulltime

Diary posts from Instagram

September 30, 2018

First night down. We were lucky to be by expert rv campers last night as they helped us with setting up and breaking down for the first time. The girls played on the playground last night and wandered the trails by the lake this morning in the mist. We are encountering the cold front and definitely going to have to assess our path.

October 2, 2018

Windy southern Wyoming had us stomping through the desert and feeling like we had driven south, not north. First time in Wyoming and it’s amazing to see the landscape change the way it did from Colorado.

So far, Idaho is beautiful! We found a spot to stop and explore for a bit. The weather is still in the 70s, calm winds and just beautiful in the full glory of fall. .

The girls and I found an apple orchard while walking and enjoyed the calming music of being by the water. .

We are tired from traveling so far, so fast and are happy to settle in and start exploring at a slower pace.

October 3, 2018

Today we explored Crater of the Moon.

The volcanoes that erupted here did so only 2,000 years ago and are likely to erupt again someday. It’s one of the best places to study geology and see the stars. Astronauts use to prepare here for geological studies they would do on the moon starting with the second lunar landing.

October 6, 2018

The countryside and the landscape are beautiful here in Kalispell this time of year. The air is crisp and the sound of the breeze slowly making its way through the trees is ever so calming.

Fall is in full motion and we are soaking up our days biking and hiking, playing and laughing.

October 7, 2018

Glacier national park is very big and beautiful. We saw two lakes and waterfalls on our hikes… you literally could hike for a year and still have more to see. I wish we could hike to the actual glaciers but after today I just don’t see that happening

We hiked ALOT today! Probably the girls longest hike ever actually…which ended up being our longest hike ever carrying 1-2 kids at a time.

Kiara was a trooper and hiked about 3.5 miles before actively begging for her younger sister to get out of the backpack…which only opened Karolina up for riding piggyback while I had baby in front pack. 🤣

We are going to be sore tomorrow! Total of 5 miles.

October 8, 2018

We had our first day of homeschool! Or maybe it’s road schooling since we are officially full time on the road? All new things for us, but I think we are all settling in well. Who can beat a morning of forts, school work and outside play? I love it! Especially since I can sneak inside and sit with baby for a nap time rest while Andrew gets some fresh air playing with the girls. 💕

October 14, 2018

At the beach, my oldest insisted on making a seaweed castle for the mermaids who live in this beautiful town.

We stopped off for ice cream in a really cool little shop that was decorated very cute for Halloween. Karolina is all about the decorations that are not scary! This time of year the girls start talking about what they want to dress up as for Halloween and all the fun they are going to have. I have to admit- I’m not quite sure how we are going to approach Halloween this year. In the past we have had local events that the kids have gone to all week in their costumes. Now that we are on the road I’m going to have to do some research for the best kid friendly places….in the meantime…this place was such a wonderful find for an afternoon treat.

October 15, 2018

We had a great time exploring our new camp site trails, riding bikes and making forts today. The weather is just beautiful and fall is displaying all its colors in full.

. “Passion is lifted from the earth itself by the muddy hands of the young; it travels along grass-stained sleeves to the heart. If we are going to save environmentalism and the environment, we must also save an endangered indicator species: the child in nature.”

October 17, 2018

Part of exploring on this adventure had to include small towns and main streets of America. For me, I have always loved downtowns, they are the heart, soul and contain so much history. They are such an incredible place to start when visiting any new place.

We found a pavilion that the girls decided to use as their personal stage- we spent about an hour just watching the two girls dancing and performing for the pumpkins

We spent the day playing in Leavenworth and enjoying its town & playground. The weather is amazing right now. We missed the cold front and have been basking in some beautiful fall weather with colorful trees and blue skies.

Most of our days have been spent running about in the woods and playing with new friends where we stay, but on the days we venture out to “town” it’s just as fun.

October 19, 2018

At the original Cascadian Farm farm in Skagit County! The blueberry bushes are beautiful and fresh ice cream delicious! We stumbled across it by accident and what an amazing accident it was!

We found an amazing little bakery in the middle of this super small town called concrete. The area we were sitting had an enormous map above the seating with this little sticker that said “we are not lost” and I had to laugh. Part of this trip my girls have been randomly looking out the window and then saying- “are we lost? Do you know where we are going?”

.https://youtu.be/eYt-23B2dj8

It’s made me think on a few things. What kind of person are you? Do you plan it all out detail by detail or are you a go with the flow, see what may come person? My husband and I are total opposites. I think this adventure is helping my husband go with the flow a bit more and me plan out a bit more. And by planning- I mean booking our campsites earlier than an hour or two before we roll up into town. 🤣

October 20, 2018

Today we explored the Cascades and ran about the watersides emerald green blue water. It is just stunning here. So far this is my favorite place we have visited 💕

October 22, 2018

Sitting on the park bench, looking into my babes eyes and chatting about our day in the fresh air as her sisters and daddy play at the park by the big train.

Fall has always been my favorite time of year, hands down. I was sad that I’d miss some of its magic by taking this leap and traveling…turns out ! We are chasing fall! And there is just so much beauty and wonderment in our days that I can’t help but feel overwhelming grateful and blessed for this time.

October 23, 2018

We wandered by some of the sweetest cows today. How are cows so friendly? I feel like every cow I’ve been close to has always had the most gentle & sweet soul! .

Today Kiara made friends with one, and even though Karolina was hesitant, her big sister helped her be brave and pet them. .

Its actually really pretty here. Have I said that enough in previous posts? 😂 but truly, I’m wondering if people ever get numb to the beauty and stop seeing it here? Either way, on my list for what makes a place great, I have learned that I think I need to have green grass, mountains and a cow in my life.

October 23, 2018

Walked down the road to a winery! Andrew and I tasted all their wines for $5 and the girls picked out an ice cream and cheese to take back to the rv and enjoy later. Such a fun treat!

We have been staying at a campground that has these incredible bike/walking paths. In the morning my girls are bundled up with hats and sometimes even gloves (!) and by afternoon they are running about in short sleeves 🤣 I suppose this is just fall and the weather transition. But it might be the area.

One amazing thing about this area is that they have animals!! There’s a white horse, some goats, chickens, wild rabbits and pigs. And the pigs just gave birth to babies while we were here. Very cool!

October 25, 2018

It’s always amazing to me when we all fit in the camera lens together, but now that there are three kids!! I’m so excited to have them all be looking my way and bonus if they happen to even be smiling or semi smiling! I love this first photo for that reason alone. That, and Kiaras pride in holding her sister and that I trusted her to do it. 💕

The small hike to the falls by the waterfalls was fun. A huge Electricity power station is set up just outside these falls- the energy the water creates is incredible!

Our rv got an upgrade today 🙂 our fireplace arrived and we took off the doors below the tv and cut the shelf out to install. We were lucky to find one to fit so perfect! 💕

October 26, 2018

It has been wet and rainy! I’m so not used to this kind of weather. The green grass and trees are beautiful but the rain(!). The kids each picked out a pumpkin for Halloween 🎃

October 27, 2018

The natural elements are getting ready for Halloween. We woke up to huge spider webs in the trees by our r v (not sure how I really feel about that). The fog and trees are also very busy showing off here in Seattle area.

We were excited to take advantage of some weather without rain and jumped to Seattle’s space needle. The girls rode to the top and explored the grounds below. On the moving floor karolina held her daddy’s hand and screamed that the floor was moving! So cute!

Such a blast exploring the park grounds at the space needle. What an incredible park!! I swear we could have stayed all day! As it was the girls spent almost 3 hours climbing, sliding and riding the “spinning thing” lol I love good parks!

October 28, 2018

Bloedel reserve on Bainbridge Island was such a treat. We walked through woods and manicured lawns to find a beautiful home sitting on the other side of a reflection pond along the cliffs of the ocean. Just beautiful!

Pike place market place was fun. Kiara made us some really great apple cider and the girls drew pictures. We found a local man who made them each a bracelet with their name and birth stone color beaded had ice cream by the first Starbucks. I’m sure it does not count, but I had coffee ice cream.

October 29, 2018

We had the chance to see the Snoqualmie Falls through rain and sunshine today! The girls and I ventured out while Andrew finished up on some work. We made the hike all the way to the base of the falls and all the way back up!

When hiking yesterday, the girls were super tired and stopped with me while I fed their baby sister Khloe. It was humid from all the water in the air, but still very cool, so I made them keep jackets on. Karolina kept asking to be held and Kiara, playing, picked her up and started walking up the mountainside. .

Days with a five year old are full blown moment to moment with emotions being expressed and limits being tested…but when she’s sweet, caring, funny I grab onto those moments.

They were amazing troopers on such a wet drizzly steep walk.

October 30, 2018

We decided to explore a new area this week and were really surprised to see this river view. We set up our “front porch” 🤣 with two pumpkins and the girls had a blast playing with new friends.

We recently watched the movie small foot. My girls loved watching the fog rise up and finding an amazing world and creatures hiding there.

So, when we started up mnt Rainier and a huge fog/mist cloud surrounded the car the girls screamed with delight that we were headed towards the yeti! (Lol) have to admit, kind of cute. And we were all shocked by the new world that greeted us – piles and piles of snow!! We were definitely under prepared 🤣

We hiked to a waterfall today. A snow covered, frozen pathway lead us down to where a beautiful waterfall was. I can only imagine it’s glory in the summer, but here in October it was borderline dangerous as the last pathway down had packed snow that was beginning to get icy. Lots of hikers and people had made the walk, but we decided to stomp in the fresh snow beside the stairs to be safe. Afterwards we had hot cocoa treats! Our girls are becoming quite the little trekkers.

October 31, 2018

Halloween fun! Andrew found an awesome town that did trick or treating on main street! So fun and safe- girls had such a blast. Bonus? We were done by 6p and they got to play at an awesome park and have pizza for dinner at a local place.

November 1, 2018

Have I mentioned that it’s raining in Washington? Like ALOT! I can’t get over how much rain! I honestly think we may be chasing it with each move as it just seems to be getting more and more intense.

we head to Oregon and I’m laughing because it’s raining there also! 😂 (big sigh) we are hoping to get to dryer days as fast as possible!

We are on the move! 🙂 A beautiful deer outside our campsite came to say goodbye to us this morning and massive fog waved its goodbyes as it rose from the earth and hovered amongst the tree tops.

Washington was a beautiful state to visit! I think when we come back, it will be in the dry season. 😉

November 6, 2018

We are in the land of waterfalls…so many waterfalls that there is even a bride of waterfalls…the bridal veil. The Colombia Gorge is stuffed with waterfalls, and it seems that almost all hiking paths lead to a hidden waterfall.

Multnomah Falls in Oregon is incredible! We expected a hike, but the actual falls are feet from where you park, so as you walk in, you literally are just at the falls as they crash down from the rock. It’s the second biggest waterfall in the USA, which might be why standing by it was such a rush!

November 7, 2018

These past days in the gorge I have found myself taking our days much slower than we typically do. Even though there is so much to explore, these last days have asked to be taken slower, to take it all in and regroup. I’m so grateful for days the girls spend hours just playing with some toys at a table while I get our place back in order. It’s been really great to be able to just bike ride into a town so close and get ice cream and window shop also! And baby Khloe got her very first stroller ride! .

It’s the little things in our everyday moments that make me happiest.

November 8, 2018

Oregon landscape changed so fast on our drive today between the gorge and bend! We went from a very wet ground to a very dusty ground. The trees became less tall, skinny, tropical and more scarce, plump, juniper looking. The sunshine glared into the windows hard! At one point my daughter said she was going blind from the amazing sunshine that’s been hiding from her. 😆 I doubt that’s happening, but it’s so different to feel drier air again. The humidity has definitely gone way down. .

The scent of wood fire filled the brisk evening air tonight. It was nice to cuddle up by our fireplace and watch a family movie.

November 11, 2018

Family fun with breakfast out, a movie (the nutcracker was so good!!), and skating…so nice to slow down the sight seeing and act like locals and enjoy some normal fun 💕

The view out our window is pretty unique. Huge ponderosa trees tower over us, western larch, juniper and grand fir trees all fill the air. It’s a pretty special treat. We have been waking up to frosted mornings that warm up by afternoon. It’s November in high desert, and tomorrow our nations capital will have its Christmas tree cut here and driven to Washington.

November 12, 2018

80 ft tall and 35 years old, the first noble fir was celebrated and taken to the White House today for Christmas.The girls signed the truck carrying the tree and had fun watching a helicopter fly Father Christmas in🌲

November 13, 2018

“Sometimes you need to step outside, get some air, and remind yourself who you are”

I woke up tired & when we started this hike, the conversation my girls wanted to have fell to silence from me. I needed to move, to breathe, hear the water in the stream, feel the wind at my face …I needed a moment for myself. I don’t get many moments to myself. Especially living in our small space. So our time outside, is time I need as much as they do. To move and breathe under and amongst trees so large and vast really allows a person to regroup, reevaluate and look at life from new eyes. The walk lead us on a path besides a river. You could hear in the distance the path the water took, from gushing waters to calm streams. As we reached a higher walk, we could hear the water changing in the distance. My oldest and I walked off the path towards the water to find a frozen waterfall, ice formations at the base not far from where it crashed down into the stream reminded us that despite the sun and beautiful weather, it really was November. We had fun talking and unwinding, becoming new again in the woods and I’m forever grateful for our many walks with nature as a family.

November 14, 2018

So THIS is where the sun has been hiding!! It has been weeks of no sun early in the morning. I think once we hit northern Idaho the sun decided to sleep in, or hide behind all the trees…one of the two 🙂 .

Being from Colorado and Arizona, I’m used to seeing the sun first thing in the morning-way too early usually lol. I used to complain that my kids would wake up with the sun, and while there was a huge part that was jumping for joy over the last weeks of their sleeping in, another part missed seeing the sun in the morning.

There is absolutely nothing here, but it’s a great campground…I may never leave this campsite 😂

Crater lake is every bit as beautiful as they said it would be!

7,700 years ago a volcano erupted and made a huge crater in the earth…over time water and snow filled the basin to create this incredible lake. It’s the nations deepest lake and they are still discovering new things about this special place.

November 15, 2018

We are staying at the most beautiful location right now! How wonderful to wake up to this beautiful view and go out on the water. The boats are complimentary and available at the shore for anytime your heart desires to paddle! And the weather has been so wonderful- I honestly can’t get over this location. I’m so glad we stumbled upon it. Such a treat for our entire family.

November 16, 2018

My oldest climbed to the top viewing point at crater lake with me. She was wearing her Halloween outfit over her clothing- claiming that Alice in wonderland also went to new and exciting worlds. Hey, who am I to argue with that? 🙂 Just the two of us hiked up to the top viewing point while everyone else waited below for us. It was nice for just the two of us to go. At the top there was just a huge drop off at the cliffsides. I don’t think I would have felt as comfortable if I had been wearing Khloe or having to hold tight to Karolinas hand. The views were incredible though. Kiara has started taking photos of our journeys- I think I may need to get her her own camera.

November 17, 2?2018

The waves are crashing while the kids play in the mud/sand with sea shells….I can’t believe this is right outside our door this week! I could get used to this.

ghthouse where miss karolina wanted to be pushed in the swing for almost an hour while her older sister ran around playing. I love pushing her in the swing and having her all to myself. When it got colder, she and I went into the car to warm up and talk which I love just as much! These girls of mine are growing so fast and it’s special to spend as many small moments of time with them.

As the sun started to set on the ocean, her older sister wanted to say goodnight to the sun- so she and I ran out to watch it up close by the lighthouse, laughing and giggling at our little secret time together. On our way back toward everyone, a lady with a talking bird was “walking” and we got to say goodnight to it as well. This is honestly the first time I’ve ever seen someone taking their bird out for a walk.

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The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining us!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

Hello. We are the Cruisin’ Cripps. Our family of five sold our home in Colorado and set out to explore this beautiful country. We have been sharing our story & posting to Instagram and creating videos on YouTube @ournationaladventure and look forward to continuing the story in more detail here. Thank you so much for joining us!