Wednesday, December 28, 2011


The closer Christmas gets, the more I think about the New Year.  And what a new year means to me.  We have had a rough last few years.  But, as usual, I am looking forward to 2012, and the new year.  I wonder what it will bring for us.

I love that the beginning of a new year is always such a clean slate for all of us.  A time to move on from the good, the bad, and the ugly.  We have had a lot of ugly this year it seems.  And when a new year comes, those "slings and arrows" are officially behind us.  Oh, how grateful I am for new beginnings.

As most people do, I have already started thinking about my New Year's Resolutions.  I make them every year, and like most people I find that come February 1st they have all been tossed away.  Mostly because I set some pretty lofty goals ~ goals that seem so daunting and unrealistic.  Last year, I said that I wanted to lose over 50 pounds ~ well, that just seemed so unreachable.  BUT this year, I decided it was more do-able to say that I would like to lose 1 pound a week.  That sounds more reasonable.

I also have other resolutions ~ some are personal.  Others I'm gonna share. 

I have the weightloss thing.  I also want to learn a new hobby ~ I'm thinking I would like to learn how to knit.  Or maybe just do counted cross stitch.  I don't know.  I would also love to learn how to sew, but one needs a machine for that one.  So maybe in the future. 

Another thing I want to do is organize and clean out stuff.  I have already cleared out Christmas stuff ~ I got rid of almost 2 full rubbermaid containers of Christmas stuff for donating.  And I am going through my closet and drawers and getting rid of clothes that haven't worn, won't wear, or can't fit into.  I'm really just getting in the "use it or lose it" mindset right now.  I'm loving it. 

I also have goals for the homeschooling side of things.  I want to be more scheduled with our day to day tasks.  And I need to work more with my Tucker on his reading blocks that he has.   And I want to help Xavier learn how to do research, so we are trying to think about some good science projects and history research he can do. 

For our family, our resolutions are to pay off our truck and fix it (it's been needing some work done, and come income tax time it WILL get done ;) ) and we are wanting to pay down our credit card bill and get a new tv and couch.  Those are some lofty goals, but achievable, I think.  I also want to find a family that we can help financially next Christmas ~ food and gifts.  So, I am excited with the possibilities of the new year. 

How about you?!

Monday, December 26, 2011


We had a very wonderful Christmas.  It was just the 5 of us.  On Christmas Eve, thanks to the urging of my husband, we got our presents wrapped early in the day, so while we were waiting for the little ones to fall asleep, which with the anticipation of a soon visiting Santa Claus it took AWHILE!  So, Jesse and I were able to clean up a little and then we watched movies and drank hot chocolate.  
It was wonderful and relaxing.  I'm thinking that is how it needs to be every year.  ;)

After Xavier finally went to sleep, we made our way up to bed and next thing I know all 3 guys are up and asking to go downstairs.  That's the rule around here.  I want to be the first one downstairs so I can see their faces when they see the stash :D.  It wasn't as early as I figured.  They woke us up at 7:30.  So, as usual, by about 8:15-ish all presents were unwrapped and we were getting pestered to open every gift.  The boys LOVED everything (I hope so ;) ) .  But new rules are going to have to be put in place for their new Nintendo 3Ds's.  I've already had to confiscate a them a couple of times.

I did NOT leave my pajamas once yesterday.  It was SO nice!  We had went to church on Christmas eve.  With Jesse working on Christmas day, it was just easier to do that!  And it was an awesome service!  Beautiful singing and a great message!
So, I stayed warm and cozy all day long!  I hadn't done that in so long!  We had a simple pork roast, mashed potatoes and gravy, and green bean casserole.  Nothing special, except that I was sharing it with the most special people in the world to me.  It was just the 5 of us.  First time in so long since that happened.   Not that we had anywhere to go.  But we are best just the 5 of us!  I am so thankful for the 4 guys I have in my life! 

I have some friends who are divorced or separated from their children's father and they didn't have their kids for Christmas break and that just broke my heart.  I am so very thankful for our cohesive family unit.  We may not have perfect relationships with our extended families, but our family of 5 is truly all I NEED.  We miss our families but are so grateful we have each other.  Oh, how I love my 4 guys!

How was your Christmas?  Were you blessed beyond measure like I was?  

Thursday, December 22, 2011

December 21

I am just sitting here breathing deeply.  Sitting by light of the Christmas tree and other Christmas lights in the house.  Just contemplating making my way up stairs to start clearing my bed off and climbing into it. 
I'm trying to psych myself up for my busy day tomorrow and the next few days. 

I have gotten quite a few presents wrapped.  I've decided this year to put all the clothes in gift bags.  Which truly does take alot off of the wrapping jobs off my hands.  Today, I took Tucker out to buy presents for his brothers.  He was so cute!  It's so funny to watch a kid with his pocket full of cash.  He has great schemes in his head.  But the cost sort of curbed his enthusiasm.  And with mom reminding him that he needed to buy for his brothers, not himself, kind of hurt his enthusiasm too!  But it was fun! 
Tomorrow morning, I am taking Xavier out too.  I'm hoping he has what he wants to get already in mind, cause it's gonna be CA-RAZY out there tomorrow.  Then, I have to bring him home, help him ;) wrap the presents, then I'm taking all 3 of them out to finish what I am planning on getting for them for their dad.  Then we are hitting up the dreaded grocery store (which, shouldn't be SO dreaded.  Not like it is before thanksgiving).  Then we need to get everything in the house, wrap Jesse's gifts all before he gets up.  OY VEY. 

Then tomorrow, Jesse will get up, go finish up his shopping and I will be here wrapping presents and putting together my food for our family get together on Friday.  And the hope is that there won't be any running around on the 23 or 24th except for the run to Utica on Friday evening!  I'm hoping to be SO ready for Christmas that we can just watch movies and play games and drink hot cocoa all day Christmas Eve! 

I'm finally getting stoked about Christmas.  But, I'm kinda stoked about starting to take the ornaments off the tree and start getting it put away.  I'm ready.  Although it does make for some beautiful soft lighting!  That part I will miss!  I'm also SUPER DUPER stoked about seeing the boys open their presents!  I can't wait. 

So are you guys ready for Christmas yet?! 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas shopping

Well, today I went Christmas shopping.  Oh, I'm so glad that Jesse let me do it a little now!  We don't get paid till Thursday, then we have to coordinate shopping trip with the boys, for the boys and separately with each boy for each other ~ plus all the other people ~ each other, extended family.   PHEW.  That just makes me tired just thinking about it.
So today, I went to Kohl's (yes, I used my credit card, but we are going to pay it off when we get paid).  Found lot's of great deals.  Got an extra 20% off.  Plus got back some pretty significant Kohl's cash!  So, all in all a good deal!  Anytime I shop at Kohl's I usually use my card and get the extra off anyway!  Saves me money and that is always a good thing!
I just hate trying to shop for anybody but my 4 guys.  It's so hard to know what to get them!  I have some friends that I can easily buy for, but family is always difficult for me.  So, I hope they like what they get.  If not, I'm never offended by them using it as a regift or taking it back (only, I forgot gift receipts.... :/)  So sorry!
But I told Jesse when I got home that UGH, I was so glad he suggested doing it this way because I probably would just collapse in a heap of tears in the middle of some crazy hectic store full of last minute shoppers.  Oh, how I used to love to shop.  I just don't have the energy to do it anymore.  I have to take it in small increments.  It does nothing for my anger issues.   It usually just annoys me.
So I am so closer to being done than I was yesterday!  And ALOT  less stressed!  Yay!!!!!!

Tomorrow, I am getting up early and starting to bake 4 dozen cookies!!  I have a cookie swap tomorrow evening and I am SO very excited!  It's a group of ladies from my MOPS group.  I had been wanting to try MOPS out, but I guess hadn't been brave enough to try it.  So when my pastor's wife had a Christmas party for the church ladies, there was a ministry expo ~ little tables set up to see all the different ladies ministries available and I got a chance to ask about MOPS.  I went the next day and I had SO MUCH FUN!   And I ended up getting in a small group that is having a cookie swap.  So I lucked out!  I'm looking forward to it.  It's been so long since I have had some "girl time"!!!!!!!  Yay!

So, I better sign off!  Lots to do around here!  Blessings to you for this Christmas season!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Season of Giving

Or is it more aptly named the "season of constantly getting hounded by things your kids want, and the focus on getting more than giving"?  And I will be more than ashamed to admit, that I know where my kids get it from.   My parents were talking the other day, and my mom reminded me that for quite a while before every Christmas, I browsed all the toy catalogs, commercials and newspaper inserts and made an equally large Christmas wish list that I am pretty sure I handed to all that I met.  I know Santa got his fair share of my "wish list" every year.
And I am also pretty ashamed to admit, that even still, I have no difficulty making a list of things I want.  But I get so tired when with EVERY commercial they see, and EVERY store we go into it's "I want this, I want that" and it drives me insane.  I finally banned that kind of talk.  They are not allowed to ask for anything else.  I want to instill in my guys the desire to be generous, to give to others, and it just seems that it isn't getting through.  Sometimes it annoys me to no end that they just seem (at times, I'm not saying all the time) to just be so selfish and stingy.  And then, I remember.  That's because their mom is.  Not that I do it intentionally.  But when things like Christmas, birthdays, Mother's Day rolls around I can be counted on for saying "oh, this would be a great gift" or other, apparently not so subtle hints.  I say not so subtle because it's obvious now that they get it.  ALWAYS ASK FOR STUFF.  They are picking up the notion that it really is an "all about me" mentality.  And that is SO my fault.  And that sickens me.  {Now, this doesn't mean asking for what you want isn't terrible.  I just need to figure out where to draw the line!  Know what I mean?}
So, now, I'm faced with how do I teach my little men to be generous and giving?!  Better yet, how do I model that, because I am apparently not pulling it off so well.  So, this is what I have seen that I need to work on with my kids!  And hopefully, this time next year, I won't be as concerned about it because it will have gotten better!

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Maybe I need to publicly express my desire for snow more often ~ late last night it started to snow and we got about an inch or 2!  Enough to cover the ground and let the guys play in the snow!  It was pretty!  But, it isn't going to stay.  It will be in the 40's next week.  And plus, very little survived the 'heat' of the day today.  But, it was snow! 

And today was a Rankin Bass marathon on tv ~ you know, they were the ones who did all the claymations, rudolph, the year without a santa claus and all those classics!  And now, we are watching a Star Wars marathon!   All 3 of my boys are all feeling a little under the weather.  Xavier is the worst.  I'm not sure if we will  be able to make it to church tomorrow at this rate.  We'll see.  I'm hoping to.  I am enjoying our church!  Love the praise and worship.  Love hearing our pastor preach.  It's been refreshing for me. 

I have lots going on (who doesn't) this next week.  A girl in our MOPS group is hosting a cookie swap.  So, I have 4 dozen cookies to make for that.  Then, we get paid (Yippee!) on Thursday, and it's going to be a task to get all the shopping done that needs to be done.  I was sitting after dinner talking to the boys trying to figure it all out.  OY VEY!  But it will be fun.  What I'm having a difficult time doing is coordinating taking them each out by themselves to buy presents for their brothers.  They want to do it separately so that just adds a little twist to the plans!  But I'm sure it will be all figured out soon.  I've learned my lesson finally {or so I hope} that I need to start saving my money throughout the year for Christmas shopping OR just shop throughout the year.  Now THAT would just solve my entire problem!  ;)

Friday, December 16, 2011

That time of year

You know, living in central New York, aka the frozen tundra, one would think that there would be absolutely no issue about snow for Christmas.  Well, let me tell ya, so far, we haven't even accumulated a full inch yet.  You can still see the dead leaves on the ground and the still green grass.  WHAT'S UP WITH THAT?!?!?!   I mean, I am so not a snow girl EXCEPT at Christmas.  And you better believe my philosophy is, if it isn't going to be a white Christmas, we better be in Florida.  But, it's not looking like it is going to be a white Christmas.  And I am not going to be in Florida.  So, it feels really weird.  We have our house all decked out, heater on (well, as on as our heater gets ;)  We never go over 68*) and no snow. 
So this year, I'm kinda not feeling Christmasy.  And it's the first year I have ever said, I can't wait to take it all down.   I guess it kind of doesn't help knowing Jesse is having to work on Christmas day.   But, I'm glad he has his job!  And I really don't mind him working, he'll be here in the morning for presents,  and dinner before work.  So.  I'm grateful, just not grooving on the whole Christmas thing this year. 

My guys have been dying to see Santa.  But I doubt that is going to be able to happen before Christmas.  So they sent him an email and they got an email and personalized video back.  They loved it!!!.  So fun for them!  I'm hoping my sour spirit doesn't diminish the magic that they should be feeling at this time of year.  I'm really trying to keep it from them.  And I hope I'm doing a good enough job! 

I am not yet done Christmas shopping.  Are you?!  I have so much left to get.  I have 2 sisters in law to buy for, cash to get for older nephews, presents for the younger nieces and nephews, finish up Jesse, and my boys.  We decided to wait until Jesse gets his bonus.  But oy vey, that is putting such a time crunch on me!   That is one thing I LOATHE doing a few days before Christmas.  But, it will get done.  And if it doesn't, then, I'm gonna have to just say que' sera sera! 

We are looking forward to going to Aunt Terry's on the 23rd for a family dinner!  That has been one of my most favorite things at Christmas!   Other than that we don't really have any other traditions ~ besides EARLY Christmas present opening!  The boys and I made cookies the other day and decorated them and they had a great time!   I'll post those pictures soon. 

Hoping you all are having a blessed Christmas season!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Mommy Guilt

Do you ever just come to the end of the day tired utterly exhausted?  And in the utter exhaustion, you just go off on those around you?!
Ugh.  Well, tonight that was me.  I was up WAY too early today.  My husband came home from work and for some reason was a chatty cathy, and I interacted and couldn't fall back to sleep.  So, I got up early and got ready and it just seemed like I was go go going.  Had to go do some Christmas shopping.  And one would think that would be fun, but yeah, not so much today because I was just in a hurry.  Then when I got home, the house was torn up from leaving the children home ~ not by themselves, my hubby was home, although in bed.  So, I came home and rushed them around tried to straighten up and then bundled them all in the truck to go to the library.  Every 3 weeks or so, we go to the library for computer/library skills.  Otherwise known as a nice "field trip" for mom!
Today has just been one of those days.  For all the running and then coming home cleaning, cooking, and such I was exhausted by the end of the night.  And as a mom, I failed tonight.  I totally UGH.  I messed up.  Before bedtime I sent the boys to their rooms to clean them ~ and I threatened no Christmas presents if it didn't get clean enough.  And, they heard in a very exhausted mommy voice ~ I'm tired of their pig sty's, I'm sick of always telling them and telling them.  How disappointed it made me at their lack of assistance when it came to toys everywhere in the house.  You know the drill.  Well, maybe you don't.  And if you don't ~ Do you have kids, and if so WHAT'S YOUR SECRET?!?!?!?!

And so tonight, I put the guys to bed after this confrontation and I fairly collapsed ~ after picking up a little downstairs ~ in bed, fully expecting to fall asleep fast.  Nope, I have a horrible case of mommy guilt.  I know I handled everything poorly.  I know I was wrong.  I know I wasn't a good, let alone a half way decent example of Jesus.  And so, I blew it.  I made empty threats that I won't follow through on.  I raised my voice when I could've spoken with way more love than frustration.  And in the process, I made my guys cry.  I didn't show love the way I should've or could've.
And so here I sit, blogging my failures.  And full of mommy guilt.  Debating if I am actually going to post this.  But I think I will.  So it can remind me that I need to work on this more.  That I need to become more kind and loving ~ even through exhaustion, which is NOT an excuse to get away with being thoughtless and harsh.
And I'm thankful that tomorrow, we can start with a new fresh clean slate.  And I pray that I will be able to do things differently tomorrow!

Sunday, December 4, 2011


During the Christmas season is about the only time you ever hear about Jesus earthly stepfather.  I have always wondered about him.  He really isn't spoken about in the Bible much.  By design ~ obviously ;). 

But have you ever sat and just pondered him.  In school we are going over Christmas stuff.  But in the guide I'm using, there's really not a lot about him.   BUT, in my favorite book series by my favorite authors ~ The A.D. Chronicles by Brock and Bodie Thoene ~ they fictionalize the advent of Israel's Messiah and our Saviour.  And they write about Joseph.  It is SO worth the read ~ the nativity/advent stories are books 4, 5, and 6.  Their books always make me think and make me see the stories in the Gospels a new way.  Oh, I can't get enough of their books.  Awesome, spirit filled writers!  Love them.

Anyhow ~ they write about Joseph.  And I love that because he is a very important puzzle piece in Messiah's birth.  And he is in the Holy Word for a reason.  Just think about it.  Everything means something.  Every jot and tittle of the Bible is there for a reason, not just to fill up space.  God could've stopped at "In the Beginning ~ I AM."  And that could've been enough for all eternity, and it is.  But God decided to give us more of HIM.  He gave us a portion of HIS wisdom, knowledge, power and the desires HE has for us.  God is SO awesome. 

Anyway ~ I'm always off on trails, sorry!

Back to Joseph.  We won't know until we get to heaven how old he was or what he looked like.  But we know what kind of a man he was.  And I love this next thought.  God chose Mary to be the mother of HIS SON.  But, had she not been betrothed to Joseph, would he have still chosen her, or would he have chosen someone else?  Did you know that Joseph was also chosen by God in HIS plan?!  I think that is awesome.  We are told in the Holy Word that Mary was chosen, but I happen to believe that it wasn't just her ~ but Joseph too! 

How totally awesome is that.  The angel appeared to Mary and explained to her.  She became pregnant.  She was a virgin ~ as predicted ~ she was engaged to Joseph.  I think it had to work out that way.  She would need the protection of marriage.  She would need a protector and so would the Babe she carried.  God used Joseph in mighty ways.  But can you imagine finding out your betrothed was pregnant.  What Love Joseph possessed.  He had decided ~ after what I am sure was MANY heartbreaking sleepless nights  ~ to not cast her out of the city, not to condemn her publicly.  Why?!  Oh the great true love he had for her because as he thought even though she broke his heart (because he only had her word that it was as the angel told her) he still loved her enough to protect her life.  He was just going to quietly end the marriage, but he wanted her to live.  Oh how he loved her. 

Not only that but after the angel appeared to him in a dream and confirmed that she truly did carry the SON of God, he gladly married the love of his life.  But he married her knowing full well that they would not be able to consummate their wedding vows for several months.  Oh, how much he loved not only Mary, but oh how he loved his heavenly Father and trusted HIM.  That would be so difficult for any man ~ to be married to a woman and not be able to "know" her as a husband should.  But he was strong and selfless for the souls of the world.  And can you imagine the threat that was around Mary and the Babe?!  Think about it, they lived under threat of crucifixion at mere thought of rebellion and for Mary to be carrying the King of Kings.  The stars in the sky told of the coming Messiah.  The heavens shouted that the PROMISE was coming true.  And it wasn't just the wise men who could interpret the signs.   And, he protected Mary.  He was a shield for her.  I doubt it was easy to conceal that she was further along in her pregnancy than their marriage.  Joseph had to protect Mary's hearts from the slings and arrows of cruel people around her.  Oh what a wonderful man Joseph was.  Such love.  Their marriage is a beautiful example that I want to follow in my marriage ~ I believe Joseph and Mary were knit together, closer than best friends.  They bore a secret that not everyone knew or understood.  He understood the gravity of what Mary was carrying.  Such a couple they were.

But just think.  What if Mary had been betrothed to some self righteous, pompous Pharisee who when he found out she was with child, took her to the city and threw the first stones at her?!  Granted that wouldn't have stopped God's plan.  But it would've been a small hiccup.  I am so thankful for Joseph.  I think he is my favorite Christmas story character.  He was such an honorable man who was so in love with his betrothed and with his God.   And he earned a mention in the Scriptures.  But he didn't do it for that.  He did it for his God. 

And as I read the Christmas story, I ask myself ~ would I befriend Joseph and Mary, scandal and all, or would I be one to call for stones to be thrown?  Such thoughts. 

I am grateful that God chose not only Mary, but Joseph to work his plan through, also!!!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Christmas movies

What are your favorites? 

Currently right now, we are watching The Santa Clause 2: The Mrs. Clause!  I just love this trilogy of movies!  It's awesome!  Tomorrow, we will probably break out Santa Clause 3: the Escape Clause.  These are must's in our house!

Around here, we have a few must watch movies during the season:
Elf {of course}
White Christmas ~ a friend of mine used to live with us and we watched this movie all year long and we would sing Sisters, sisters, there were never such devoted sisters!  So many good memories with this movie!
It's a wonderful life ~ and it is, and that movie just tends to put things back in perspective for me. 
Scrooge ~ the musical with Albert Finney.  LOVE that movie.  I have to watch it a few times during the Christmas season. And DEFINITELY on Christmas Eve.  Some days, I feel much like ole' Scrooge ~ I hate people, I HATE PEOPLE.  And I love how at the end he LOVES LIFE.  Such an AWESOME movie!  LOVE it! 

What movies must you see during this season?

Friday, December 2, 2011

It isn't the same

Jesse and I were talking about Christmas time.  And I was kind of griping to him that I am just not feeling excited and just feeling blah about it.  Yesterday my guys were just literally running around screaming "I'M SO EXCITED IT'S ALMOST CHRISTMAS".  Oy vey, settle down little ones, I kept saying.  Occasionally having to raise my voice to tell them to settle down.  Sheesh. 
But I can recall so much being like that.  Oh, how I loved Christmas.  I loved everything about it.  Counting down the days.  I spent months looking at toy catalogs and meticulously crafting my Christmas wish list.  I wrote SO MANY letters to Santa.  {I wrote my last letter to Santa the Christmas before I got married, so I was 20}.  I loved making sugar cookies and cutting them out, then baking them and painting them.  I loved going to the mall and waiting in line to sit on Santa's lap.  I remember begging my mom and dad to let me stay in HUGE lines while my parents shopped.  They never let me, but I was willing to wait hours for an audience with the big guy.  I loved driving around looking at Christmas lights, Christmas caroling, and definitely decorating the tree.  Oh, I begged God every night for feet (not inches, feet) of snow for Christmas.  I loved getting Christmas dresses and wearing them to church.  Oh, I just LOVED Christmas. 

But, I've been feeling kind of glum because I just don't feel that excitement anymore.  And that totally bums me out.  Jesse actually did a good job of pointing out to me that kids feel the magic so much more than adults.  And that it's our job as adults to promote the excitement, to provide the most exciting experience for them.  And you know, that TOTALLY makes sense to me.  And it makes me feel so much better.  I never thought I would lose that "magic" of the season, but I feel jaded about it.  Maybe it's because now, I'm the one wrapping the presents, eating the cookies and drinking the milk.  The magic is just naturally not the same. 

So, with all those thoughts in mind, I decided that instead of trying to settle my guys excitement, I'm going to try to make the most out of their excitement.  I want my guys to feel the magic so that maybe I can feel it too through them.   I want them not to remember that during the Christmas season, mom was always depressed, suppressing their excitement.  I want them to know how to make Christmas magical for their kids that they swear they will not have {THEN, I will be disappointed if they don't}.  I want them to just be completely immersed in the excitement of the season.  I also want to teach them to be giving even if they don't feel it all the time. 

It may not be the same for me as it once was, but I want it to be better.  And I'm working on it being that way!!!!!!!! 

May you all have a very blessed Christmas!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

It's beginning......................

to look alot like Christmas around here.  :D  We got our tree up today, decorated, and I'm pretty much done doing the rest of the house.   I think I'm done.  I tend to over do it, but I'm really not feeling it this year!   It may look like Christmas, but it doesn't feel it.  I just feel kinda blah about the whole thing.  Which is so unusual for me, sorta.  I usually get in a funk right after Thanksgiving, then get out of it by December 1st, but not this time.  I think it has to do with the snow. 
What snow, you say?!  EXACTLY.  There is no snow.  I think that may be the exact problem!  I'm not really a snow kind of gal, but at Christmas time, from Thanksgiving til January 2nd there needs to be LOTS of pretty, glistening snow.  But come January 2nd it needs to melt and be a balmy 75* around here.  I seriously dream of a white Christmas.  I'm still keeping my fingers crossed.  It's supposed to snow a whopping inch tomorrow. 

But, I'm feeling better right now.  I just got off the phone with a couple of friends.  I love them.  They are so awesome!  It is wonderful to have someone to just pour your heart out to.  To share your heart and know that you are heard.  It is a blessing to have people to share your "triumphs and tragedies" with.  I double blessed because I have 2 friends like that!  We try to touch base every few weeks.  And I just love them!

So, anyway, I'll post pictures of the tree soon!  Hope you all are having a wonderful Christmas season! 

Merry CHRISTmas!