Did you know that being a “puppy petter” is a real thing? Well, it is!
I’ve had quite the experience in puppy petting in my life. Let me count… Amor, Rosie, Muffy, Maggie, Oreo, Ewelina, Natalia… Oh wait… the last two are my kids… However, all of my pups came with other (dirtier) responsibilities. The puppy petting I’m talking about today is different. Plus it serves an amazing purpose.
Paws for Purple Hearts, Canine-Assisted Warrior Therapy
I recently connected with a non-profit organization which trains and provides service dogs for veterans.
Let’s travel in time to 2006. In that year Bergin University Of Canine Studies (located in Penngrove, California) with the partnership of The Menlo Park Veterans Administration Medical Center started a research program.
Why this program is so important? Because today that program is an amazing non-profit organization with 5 locations nationwide. That organization is called Paws for Purple Hearts.
A few months ago I traveled to Penngrove where PPH’s national office is located. There I met with the founder of the University, the creator of PPH, Dr. Bonnie Bergin, and the team. That was a great experience.
PPH connects veterans with highly trained service dogs. They call them champ service dogs. The organization believes golden retrievers and labradors (or a mix of those two) are the best breeds for the purpose of becoming the champ service dog.
The most amazing thing about their training program is that it involves between 40 to 60 veterans per dog. One pup can have a therapeutic impact on so many people who need it. WOW!
The puppies are born and spend most of their early puppyhood in Penngrove. After they reach a certain age, a volunteer drives them once a week to the Menlo Park location (and back) for a puppy petting event and to start their training with veterans. Now, the best part is that everybody (age 14+) can sign up to become a puppy petter. Yes, you read that right. You come and pet puppies for an entire hour, once a week. I can assure you, just that itself has therapeutic powers! Puppy petting is designed to introduce the pups to all kinds of positive stimulation around people and they need as many of us as possible. 🙂
It costs PPH $35k to fully train ONE service dog! Can you imagine that?
Bergin University programs are growing. PPH is only one of them. When I visited Penngrove’s team they seemed really busy with 3 different litters. One of the litters will go to PPH. It’s the one you can see in the video. The two remaining litters will go to different programs. However, with the growth, they need to increase manpower and raise money.
Simply speaking, they need as much help as they can get.
Volunteers are always needed! Same with donations. PPH’s website has detailed information about getting involved with them, so please visit and see if you can!
Maybe I’ll see you there next time.
Creativity is what helps me escape a lot of my inner demons.
I strongly believe that creativity is not a talent. I believe creativity is like a muscle. We have to exercise it in order to grow it.
We are all born with the same amount of creative potential. However, when we go through life we learn different ways of dealing with problems. In the process, we develop our creativity or we decrease it.
I believe some people are prone to be more creative than others. In other words, some people are born with specific talents and can use them without having to spend countless hours on practice. Still, talent without creativity and vision won’t take you far.
Not everybody is exposed to arts and creative ways of expressing themselves as they go through life.
I prefer when my kids spend their time painting with me than doing their homework, for example. However, I know many parents who rather send their kids to after school math classes.
I’d also prefer if there were more art in schools and less testing and scoring and chasing some kind of invisible standard or more defined ways of success in life – like being a doctor, a lawyer, a broker, or IT person.
I believe art is powerful. Participating in art making in particular. With today’s technology and easy access to art supplies, creativity is one of the best ways to invest in yourself and your potential.
This year, I’ll be investing a lot of time and effort into spreading the art. I’ll try to show you how to see this world around us in a more artistic way. I’ll give you some ideas how to express the heck out of yourself via photography, creative editing, and some mixed media techniques.
I tend to express myself a lot with self-portraits. Therefore, I’ll be using a lot of them in my tutorials and workshops. You can translate this knowledge into whatever you’re interested in. It could be nature or your kids or your pets or even architecture. Or all of it.
To create material that interests you I’d like your help. Please take a few minutes and let me know by filling out this survey. If you had the opportunity, what would you want to learn about photography wise?
Otherwise, I hope you stick around and help me develop the vision I have for using creativity in our lives. Because I have a big vision and I want to invite you to be a part of it.
To stay on top of all the events and specials I run through the year sign up for my newsletter. Some of them do not go public so it’s always great to be on that list and get all the exclusive offers. Plus I’m planning to release lots of tutorials and educational materials this year. If you on my list you’re going to be one of the very first ones to hear about them. Test them. Benefit from them and be inspired by them if you on that list!
It’s been raining cats and dogs if you haven’t noticed. I feel like this year, I’ve enjoyed the rain as I haven’t in a long long time. For some reason, it reminds me a lot of Poland (my home country). I’m not sure why, exactly. On some days when it was warmer AND raining, a weird thought went through my mind. I compared the weather to Polish Summer. Warm rain, this fresh scent. Just wonderful.
In addition, all this rain is making the world a beautiful place. Especially within nature. I can’t wait to pack my camera bag and head out the door for some good hike and pictures taking after all the wetness goes away. Well, most of it. I still like shooting in the rain and if you’re up for it, I do have some availability for a family session in the rain.
The rain and the cold did not prevent me and my family from going out to the most beautiful place in Morgan Hill. This place is my oasis, and as one of my friends recently notice: “you must like it because you’re always there”. Well, yes. I like it. And I’m almost always there. Especially with my kiddos or my dog.
These images are from April last year. This year the reservoir has half of the water, but it’s still pretty. And it is soooo green!!! Seeing the wate level I secretly wish for more rain. Please, don’t send hateful thoughts my way for that. Haha. This place needs more rain.
Remember as soon as the rain stops you will have about 2 months if not less to get your session done in the amazingly green and lush nature, where the grass is looking juicy and not hay-like. So, check your calendars and plan ahead.
This year’s winter break was pretty cold. However, I was pretty happy it wasn’t raining. On Monday we packed a lunch and plenty of snacks and we headed to our favorite place ever. I don’t have to ask my kids twice if they want to go to Uvas Reservoir. They just love it. So do I.
We played with the dog, and we chatted with strangers who grilled some sausages right next to us. When they left they left behind hot charcoal. For us, it was an opportunity to play with fire. haha.
We actually made a small fire using leaves and sticks. We grilled leftover sandwiches, and then a pinecone (because why not?) It was very cold but with all that warmth and exploring 5 hours went just like that! We came home smelling like fire.
1st day of the Winter Break, Morgan Hill.
I love having the girls with me. I miss the good old days before they started the school. We would go out to hike and explore without carrying what time it is. I love having the opportunity to hang out with them, explore, and be active.
The next day we had a great walk at the Coyote Creek Trail with friends. I planned for 2h of walk. It ended up after 4 hours. So much fun.
During the walk, a friend told me about the 17-mile drive. I have never done it, so the next day we packed and headed over there. What a great time we had. Thanks, Hailey from Archer Inspired for the idea and for coming along with us!
17 mile drive
This post is a mix of iPhone and big girl camera images. I’ve recently been reaching for my big girl camera only for work. I’m trying to master the possibilities my iPhone can give me. If you’d like, I’m leading iPhone photography workshop at Los Altos library on the May 31st. Stop by if you’d like to learn how to document your trips in an exceptional way using nothing more then the iPhone!
Yesterday’s spontaneous trip to Thorson Ranch in San Martin (but we entered it from the Morgan Hill side. haha!) was a hit of the month. Well, the month just started and I’m already excited for what it can bring with such a start.
I knew where horses are our kids’ happiness will follow. Not to mention my girls’ favorite movie these days is the “Spirit: Stallion of Cimarron”
While passing Thorson Ranch yesterday we saw a crowd of trailers and horses, and we decided to have a look at whatever was happening there. We were heading out for a spontaneous trip anyway, and this was happening right around the corner from where we live.
I had to do an iPhone production from the even as well, it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t, or didn’t try.
Just keep in mind I rode a horse once in my life. And he threw me into the river. I was 7 years old. I wish I had bigger and better experience with horses during my life because I really like them. OH, and once, I spent an entire month as summer camp tutor during horse riding camp. In beautiful Polish mountains. The kids, who otherwise were very high maintenance, were very eager to get up early in the morning to clean the poop (so they can get extra credits for riding). It was amazing to witness their passion for horses.
Anyway, I’ve seen the arena busy on several occasions in the past but never got inside to have a look at what was happening there. Despite the fact they are our neighbors.
Equipped with the best camera possible – the only one I had with me, my iPhone, I tried to document our experience. Here it is!
The kids loved it. Now I can’t get out of my head the idea of signing up my girls for horse riding classes. I think that would be a dream come true for them, and oh, the endless opportunities to get amazing images of horses…
It’s my 11th week of MUSIC THURSDAY… WHAT?!?! Small pieces of my life inspired by music.
Yes, 11 weeks ago I posted first piece of music on my FB.
Out of the blue, probably because I was feeling a little blue myself, I started Music Thursday. I did it planning to share a little bit of me with people. With new followers and those who already follow me. However it’s been a fun to watch experience, since it seems like people feel a little confuse why would I, the photographer, share music on my page, instead pictures.
Music is a big part of ME. Of who I am. What I do. How I think and feel. And I like to work with people I can connect on a deeper level. Not only the client – photographer level. But I also have a feeling that often people don’t want that connection. Or are not aware it’s important. Especially in days when all markets are flooded with the same kind of businesses, offering the same kind of services.
I for example, like to meet for a coffee with my potential clients. Long before they hire me. Sometimes they go home and I never hear back from them (mostly because the husband said NO – it’s sad but true), however many times, we just click. And I LOVE when that happens. And from that moment we know that we will be working together for years.
So for those who want deeper connection, once a week, particularly on THURSDAY I share a piece of music dear to my heart. Sometimes, I can listen to one song over and over and over again for weeks. It guides me through the day, it sits in my head like a butterfly in a cocoon, waiting to break free and fly away. And when that happens I move to another song, or start looking for something new.
I was hoping that if I share mine and then ask people to share theirs I will soon end up with several new artists to listen to, and I will be able to update my Spotify lists. I also feel like sharing your favorite piece of music with someone is opening your heart a little in a attempt of connection. The connection that is often lost in the business of social media.
And I wasn’t mistaken.
My first share was, SIA:
And right under that post I got two new songs I’m now addicted to:
This song is played so often in my house, my kids know the lyrics by heart now.
You can see the whole list of songs I posted and what other shared with me here. I hashtag them #ewasmusicthursday for easy access.
I’m now also addicted to English musician Birdy. I love almost each and every song of hers. When I listen to her it’s so hard to pick which song I want to save the “favorites” album, and which to omit.
Not to overwhelm you with too many pieces to listen at once, I invite you to visit #ewasmusicthursday and browse for anything that sounds interesting.
Or join the fun and share your favorite piece under my today’s post, which is a little bit different that what I have shared so far.
I’d love if you liked my page and came back each week to share your music story. If you have one.
I hope to see / hear you there.
If you’d like to work with me shoot me an email and I’d love to meet for a coffee.
This fun trip to Uesugi Farms Pumpkin Park was very spontaneous. Last week I was in a rush to get one or two images of my kiddos with some pumpkins. Since we live right around the corner from Uesugi Farms Pumpkin Park, and since I watched the huge hill of pumpkins being built over the last 2 weeks, I decided to stop by there to see if they are open. I picked the kids up from school and off we went.
To my big surprise they were not only open, but almost empty… Like seriously empty. Comparing to what’s happening there this week… I just drove by there today at 10am and the park is filled with people. The train… OMG!!! F.U.L.L
Anyway, I got some great tips on when it’s the best time to visit the park from one of the employees, and I’m definitely going to use them from now on.
My kids were in heaven… Having the entire place to themselves. Riding the train with nobody on it but us was the best part.
I love to be able to do that with my kids. Just drop everything and go to scout, play, enjoy the day. I love this freedom my job gives me. Despite the fact that running a photography business can be frustrating. Especially around Holidays when people start calling with mini-sessions requests. It seems like everybody learned that Holidays = Mini-Sessions. However most people don’t even understand the concept of mini-sessions. Especially the photographers.
Anyway, I’ll be talking about mini-sessions tomorrow on my Facebook Group (not the business page). Feel free to join to listen to what I have to say about that. When you’re done listening you will be able to leave to group at any time. No pressure for staying.
Anyway, here is fun video I made of the magical time the kids had at the Pumpkin Park.
And something for those who like to see pictures as well:
If you want to be able to just drop everything and go for a fun photo shoot with me, sign up for the membership to Ewa Samples Photography, so you won’t have to miss on any photo opportunities through the entire year!
or stay on top of all the specials I run through the year by signing up to my newsletter:
This event was in my calendar for a week or so, however I really wasn’t sure if I’m going to attend. This morning I was asking myself, what am I going to talk about with a local police officer? Keep it in mind, I had no previous knowledge about “coffee with a cop” initiative and didn’t know what to expect.
Right before I left this morning, I mentioned it to Hailey from Archer Inspired. She’s s local photog who I like to hang out with, and who is the only person (except my husband) who shamelessly makes fun of my English. Even in front of the police officers.
She’s the adventurous one who I knew will probably say “I’ll be there”, and I was not mistaken. Haha
The “coffee with a cop” happened at our local coffee shop, Coffee Guys.
While more and more officers were showing on, Hailey and I debated how to approach them. Hailey came up with an idea to put more of “a real human face” into those uniforms. When times get rough people often tend to look for things that divers them from each other. Instead they should do more of an effort to find the similarities.
So we went out and asked about the “one personal thing” they would want to share with us about themselves.
And here is what we got:
Detective S. Woodland
She has three furry kiddos,
Does a lot of gardening and canning, and she said, she might share with us a recipe for her fig-pomegranate preserves. So, keep your fingers crossed… 😀
Officer M. Zen
Loves French bulldogs. (and in my opinion has a killer smile!)
MSO V. Benitez
He love sports, especially football.
School Resource Officer J. Brandon
My and Hailey’s competitor, really. 😜
Own Photography business. He takes care of all the department portraits and forensic CSI team.
Chief D. Swing
An outstanding soccer goalie. Die hard NASCAR fan.
Sergeant B. Norman
He likes high school football mostly because his son plays in it right now.
However he’s hopelessly addicted to golf.
Captain S. Palsgrove
Was very concerned about me getting his “right profile”. I hope I did… LOL
He played soccer at San Jose State as left halfback defense.
Officer Ch. Woodrow
Here we had a hard case of European blood.
He’s from Ireland and I forgot to ask if he drinks like, well, Irish.
Somebody also mentioned that he’s a seamstress. Oh shut… a tailor… sorry… darn my English. If that’s not enough he also has a degree in theater.
Corporal J. Broyer
Used to race in motor cross. And officer Woodrow didn’t like the fact that while officer Broyer got to be the motor cross races, he will be remembered as the seamstress… sorry, tailor.
Corporal S. Silva
Children are his priority. He tries to be a normal person in society when he’s not working.
Community Prosecutor with DA. Came from Guam. Born in my neighborhood, Germany, in American hospital.
Don’t forget to head over to Hailey’s blog.
And don’t forget to see through your biases when you look at a police officer next time.
Thank you for your services, hard work, and the time to be available for the community today.
With the time during which I’ve been pursuing my passion in photography and the values I offer in the communities around me, I’ve discovered another passion. If you look around my website, you’ll see quite a few videos. So, you can probably guess.
Videography while doing family, or any other kind of photography session.
I’ve been providing video clips from family session since 2015 (if I’m not mistaken, haha), however I never really took the time to talk about it and to introduce it the proper way.
Videography services for families who care about documenting the precious & too fast fleeting moments in a medium that captures movement and sound…
Can you imagine to be able access the sweet voice of your little one laughing, and jumping and making silly faces in 10 or 20 years!
All of that while YOU are in the video, as well!?!? This is something, that’s a little different that the still photographs. And I know you might not feel like you want to be in a video. I know you might even think, being a part of a photo session is a stretch already.
As scary as it might sound, it actually is super fun. You don’t even feel like the video is being done. I do at the same time as I take pictures. Often I mix the images, the video, and carefully picked piece of music to create piece of memory you will LOVE.
The video is happening at the same time as the regular photo session, so there’s no need to panic, fake it, run away!
You will LOVE it and CHERISH it for the rest of your life. Not to mention the amazing memories your kids are going to be able to share with their kids and your grandchildren.
One of my very favorite videos I made is the breastfeeding one.
You should see my daughter reacting to the video I made for her during our mom-daughter photo shoot. My private Pippi Longstocking…
For more examples of my videography work you can jump to:
For more information about pricing head over to the Investment / Photography page.
Even better, sign up for the membership to Ewa Samples Photography, so you won’t have to miss on any photo opportunities through the entire year!
Whether you’re a mom trying to land a part-time job or full-time job.
Whether you’re an Etsy shop owner or a mom/dad owned local business.
Maybe you’re totally based on the digital era, and everything you sell is purely digital.
Or maybe you just a stay-at-home mom who is thinking about starting something that brings you extra pocket money, or helps you to become self-sufficient or to travel the world.
The truth is you need to land a new client. Client after client, project after project. No matter what you do, you want people to work with you. You want them to hire YOU!
So you have a website, Facebook page, Instagram. You do the twitter thing, and you Snapchat. If all that works for you, that’s awesome! In my case, I’ve started looking around for people I’d like to work with. I reach out, and I try to connect.
The other day, I decided to reach out to Ash Ambirge aka The Middle Finger Project. Apparently, I didn’t read her “This bastard was getting paid $10,000 dollars a month.” before I did it. Apparently, I just lost my femur when it came to writing that message. The whole realization that I am writing to Ash Ambirge sucked the air out of my lungs, and I went limp.
And I went all emotional, instead of professional.
I’ve been a big fan of hers for quite a long time. At one point I joined her group of Unf*ckwithable Girlfriends. Group based on monthly subscription. I stayed there for 2 months and then unsubscribed. No hurt feelings. I just felt like it wasn’t the perfect match for me. I wasn’t quite sure about the group. And when you have to pay $25 per month for something you are not quite sure about, well, I think that would be stupid. The real stupid vs. the stupid I’m going to mention later (so, read on).
I love her emails, and I open ALMOST every single one I get from her. They make me think, and re-think the nuances of running a business, finding your own voice in the Farmer’s Markets of photography market.
Anyway, the other day I sent her a box with a gift inside and a short message. I wanted her to hire me as a freelancer, not as an employee.
I decided to wait for any smoke signals back from her for a week from the date she receives the whole thing. After that, I was planning to shake the sand off my pants and pretend like I didn’t send it at all. Life goes on.
Honestly, I was hoping for a phone call. But as one Polish proverb says: „hope is the mother of stupid”.
Luckily, I’m not afraid to admit that I am stupid on occasions. Aren’t we all?
I didn’t even have to wait the whole week to get my response. It wasn’t the ideal one. Not the ideal one I was hoping for
but as one of my favorite songs says it:
“You can’t always get what you want,
But if you try sometime,
You’ll find you get what you need!”
The answer came to me via email. Not even personalized email, but general and short newsletter form. Short, at on point business advice she’s been doing for some time now. The subject of the email: “Hire Me” versus “Listen to Me”. I didn’t open it right away. I knew this is the phone call I was waiting for, and I already knew that the actual phone call is not going to happen.
After I read it, I got so mad.
I thought, “you… &*&^% $*^#*” (believe me I swear like a sailor, so use your imagination here).
😡👺💀😲 I was ready to hit the unsubscribe button and throw my computer at the wall, and get out there and scream from the bottom of my lungs.
I didn’t get what I wanted. I got way more than that. I got what I needed! A lesson. A private lesson from Ash Ambirge aka The Middle Finger Project that cost me only $16.50.
And the truth is, her advice was on point. It was raw and it hurt. But this is business, people. And it was my decision to take it personally or learn something from it. She didn’t write me a personal note, saying she’s not interested. She didn’t ignore me, but she could. She decided to make it a lesson. Lesson to all who are willing to listen.
My advice is: don’t write a pitch if you’re feeling down, broken, vulnerable. Keep your emotion to yourself. You’re not trying to get a new friend, you’re trying to build your business!
And I really hope, Ash enjoyed the champagne filled gummies. As of today, I might not have the balls big enough to play in her team. I give too many f***s to things that shouldn’t matter in my business and in my private life. I am a work in progress. My business is, too. I’m glad to be able to say, I’m evolving and learning, and I’m not afraid to fail.
Ash’s business is all based on a bitchy attitude. The “lady with big balls”. That’s cool. There are many women out there wanting to grow some balls, and she’s right for them. I like her sarcasm and her raw honesty. However, I don’t aim to change my female parts for anything else, and I feel like I don’t have to do that in order to be successful. I do believe I can connect with people (business or not) on more emotional level. And if she’s not one of them, then no-biggie. This whole experience made me feel like there are things shifting in my head right now. I see what I didn’t see before. I needed her to respond the way she did to grow. It would be totally different if she said: “oh, yes, Dear! I hear you! come work with me!” . It also shows that people we glorify knowing them via Internet are only human, and they are not perfect.
And today I want to take the time and say THANK YOU, to all who in any way became a part of this journey of mine.
First note before you go any further: the basic yoga stretching short video below is not a tutorial. I do not teach yoga. I’m mostly self-taughed. I’ve been practicing yoga as my main exercising routine since I was in my early 20ties. I have learned most of what I know and can do from books, and basic yoga classes.
This stretching routine has been a base for my daily exercising for years. Sometimes I add more poses to it, or stay in the positions for longer to build strength. Sometimes I just want a quick stretch to wake up and be ready to tackle what the day has ready for me.
Yoga has been a huge part of my life. And I’m not sure why I didn’t mention yoga in my previous post. But because I didn’t, now is the perfect time to make up for it.
I know I’m not perfect in it. It doesn’t matter, though. The beauty in yoga is that it grows with you, and it adjusts to your level of flexibility and strengths.
First of all, I think (and it’s really only my opinion), yoga had saved my life. (bicycle accident with many, many cracked vertebrae).
I also do this basic yoga stretch when my back is feeling sore from hours of sitting in front of the computer. As much as I love editing pictures, my back really dislikes it. Especially while having some issues from the past.
This basic yoga stretching routine is easy to adjust to your own skills and the level of your flexibility. Believe me when I tell you that years and years ago I was not able to stretch to the level I can today. It takes time and practice.
How about you?
I love hiking with kids. My kids, especially. I say “my kids, especially”, because with my kids I am not afraid of pushing their limits. If you’re one of those parents who like to challenge your kids, well, let’s get together for a hike 😂😋
Most people have something they are very passionate about.
- Something they keep doing even when the kids come along, and this particular activity gets pretty challenging.
- Something they continue doing when the kids grow up and leave the house.
- Something they want to continue doing as long as they are able to.
- Something they wish to teach their kids to enjoy as much as they do.
I have photography, crocheting, music AND hiking.
I EDIT PICTURES when I’m feeling blue. It works like a prozac. Like a happy pill.
I CROCHET to get to a magic world of meditation. Sometimes it feels if I crocheted fast enough I would turn Vic McQueen.
I listen to MUSIC when there’s a particular kind of buzz in my head. I connect with my kids through music. We sing. We dance like nobody is watching.
Once my husband said, it is hard to talk while you HIKE. And my respond was: EXACTLY! That’s why I love hikes.
I took my kids hiking before they could pronounce the word “hike”. We started from such places as Almaden Quicksilver County Park and Stevens Creek County Park (more great locations in the free pdf provided at the end of the post).
The hikes were not hard. Slow walks half a mile one way and half a mile back. Most of the time with many breaks for snacks and TONS, and TONS of pictures. Because in reality I was just location scouting for my sessions.
On some occasions somebody else was hired as a lama:
So, first of all, the hike, stunning and beautiful, is not hard. If you’re afraid of sweating, well, that’s a different story. Haha. We take it easy. However I know my kids’ strengths. I know how much I can push them before it’s just too much.
Hiking with kids is tricky but it shouldn’t stop anybody from trying. Kids are curious. Kids are strong. Kids will follow you if you lead them the right way.
Make if fun and adventurous.
Take plenty of breaks.
Slice the entire hike into smaller chunks / destinations.
IT CAN’T BE BORING for them. It CAN’T BE TOO HARD. Especially in the beginning.
For example, during our first hike in Pinnacles we learned that after the Bear Gulch Cave (our destination) there is a Bear Gulch Reservoir. We didn’t go there on our first trip. Knowing how great my girls did on the first hike, I decided to push them a little more and take them to the Reservoir during our second hike.
And I wasn’t mistaken assuming they will LOVE IT! They did!
They couldn’t wait for our next hike, which we did, of course. During this hike we did close to 6 miles and there were moments where they were loosing the joy of it. Every turn we made they would ask if we’re “almost there“. And we were almost there, of course, for the entire last 2 miles. Haha!
If you’d like me to photograph some of your #summerbreakadventures let me know!!! I’m here to help you create amazing memories. Even Better lets explore Pinnacles National Park together!
Even better, sign up for the membership to Ewa Samples Photography, so you won’t have to miss on any photo opportunities through the entire year!