Because...that's the way it is.

We were practicing our catechism the car the other day and it went a little something like this around questions 4 and 5:

Catechism: How ought you to glorify God?

Olivia: By loving him and doing what he commands.

Catechism: Why ought you to glorify God?

Olivia: Becaaaauuuse....that's the way it is.

Might ought to work on filling that one in for her a little bit.

Birthday Serenade

There is nothing shy about Olivia when it comes to Ms. Jackie, though she looks shy in this picture. And there is nothing shy about Ms. Jackies' singin' - Olivia loved being serenaded. Jackie came over to share some birthday treats with us (we missed Mr. Warren because he is recovering from neck surgery). I will have to post Olivia in the sassy outfit they gave her. Jackie has quite a sense of style - for herself and 3-year-olds!

Birthday Crown

I am frustrated because my pictures are not posting in the ordering I am choosing them...I guess I will have to choose them backwards.

Anway, so here is the little craft project - it was a birthday crown. It is pretty simple. I sewed on three buttons for "jewels" and ideally we will add a jewel every year - until she is twenty or so and refuses to wear it anymore. We laid it by Olivia the night before her birthday, hoping she would put it on first thing. Sure enough she did (which made me so happy) - but of course, in true Olivia fashion, it was upside down and backwards - see bottom pictures. Lauren was over to play the morning of O's birthday. Lauren just also happens to have a birthday the day after Olivia's - we were pleased that Olivia was willing to share her crown. I'm not sure why Olivia seems to have her hands around Lauren's neck in every picture???

Camp in

These pictures posted out of order and I am too tired to figure out how to change it. It has been a very full and fulfilling week around here and I am pooped. At supper tonight Mike asked Olivia what her favorite part of her birthday was and she just started listing people - people who have stopped by and spent time with her the past few case we weren't sure that she is a social being. I have a few posts worth of pictures, but I'll have to do it over a few days because in about ten minutes I am going to start misspelling words.

About a month ago we floated the idea to Olivia of having a campout for her birthday. We have had perfect weather here lately and we thought...I guess I thought it was a good idea. I did meet with occassional, nonadventurous skepticism from a few unmentioned parties, but in the end it was a go...until it rained for a day and a half before and then then temperature dropped to low 40's for the night of the campout. We punted and grilled out hotdogs and had smores around a fire pit (for several hours - it was great!) and then set the tent up in the family room. Annika and Olivia actual slept the whole night in the tent.

Amazingly enough, the dogs were the only ones we had to constantly herd away from the fire pit - the exception of the one time Olivia nearly face planted out of her chair into it - thankfully Jonathan had quick reflexes. (It wasn't that close of a call so the grandparents can relax.)

Not sure what Olivia is saying here, but she has everyone's attention.

We love our sweet friends - thank you for celebrating with us. I wish I had more pictures, but our camera just won't do much in the dark unless everyone sits absolutely still and that doesn't work with 2 3 year olds, a 2 year old, a 1 year old and Sage. I am sad not to have a good picture of Karl and Joseph. Karl and Olivia share a birthday - and Lauren's is the next day.


Just so you don't think we are spending all of our time trying to catch a mouse (or whining about it) - we do have a few projects in the works around here. I drew a tree on a piece of paper and Olivia used her new cookie cutters from Mimi to decorate it. They are great, Mims - thanks! We even used our tree i.d. tags to figure out what the leaf cookie cutters were - such nerds.

I have nervously started my own project. I think I am a closet crafter. I have always wanted to be one, but
1. I was afraid I didn't have what it took to pull it off.
2. I didn't want to be labeled and get the reputation of a crafter because, let's face it - those of you who are true blue crafters have issues (as I clearly do).
3. I was afraid I would get sucked into the crafting vortex and never get anything else accomplished - like when I graduated from seminary and decided to learn two new skills (in case a career as a therapist didn't work out) - I took a few golf lessons and I learned to crochet. Well I couldn't afford to golf and truth is I wasn't that good (too bad for Mike), but the crocheting took over my life. I think I made about 60 baby blankets. Any spare or not so spare moment I had I was doing one more row - just one more row!!!
4. And finally I had two small incidents in high school that sort of tainted crafting for me...actually three now that I think of it. The first, a homemade earring "business" I started with a girlfriend in middle school never got off the ground - failure. The second, I dropped out of home economics in high school because after three weeks we were still running notebook paper through the sewing machines learning to sew in straight lines. I didn't have time for that (I also clearly have pride issues) - failure. And finally, that same year my parents bought me a sewing machine so I could make my prom dress. Don't laugh (and don't think my parents were the kind to buy us any little thing we wanted for hair brained ideas - they weren't). I had it all scetched out - it was going to be a tank type dress of light blue with white sequen daises with yellow centers. Possibly I should have gone into fashion designing and not longed for crafting. Nevertheless, I attempted a "simple" halter shirt before diving into the prom dress. It was supposed to have a zipper in the back, but I got a little antsy to wear it and just sewed up the back thinking, "Is the zipper all that necessary?" Well, apparently it was necessary because once I got it on I couldn't get it off. My mother had to cut it off me - failure. My crafting future was doomed.

But having children has inspired me again. Mike actually got me a sewing machine for my birthday - I couldn't believe my parents sold my old one in a garage sale years ago. I have to admit, though that I have been afraid of my new sewing machine. It sat in the box for a few weeks - while we found a place to put it. Then it sat on the table for a few weeks - while I found time to skim the manual. I finally threaded it last week. Now for the notebook paper! But while I am building my nerve to start sewing again, I started this little project for Olivia's birthday. It is from a fun book that Mike also got me for my birthday.

I'll post the finished project and the birthday girl later today.


Olivia received a package in the mail today for her birthday from her Great Tootsie. One of the books - about mice!!! We LOVE the books Toots! Thank you! Olivia has been singing about Llama Llama ever since we read it.


I should have known it was too good to be true. It was after 9:00 before Mike got home last night, so the mouse escaped - holes in all the bags. We came down this morning to signs that it (or a relative) had returned.

Genius!...sort of

So last night after the "pantry incident," I had an idea about the trash can. I would tie up the bag next time we left the house, but just tight enough so the mouse could wiggle...wiggle, that sounds too cute...squirm its way into the bag. I was hoping he would become disoriented after eating and not be able to find his way back out.

Sure enough today after getting home from the grocery and putting the kids down, I go down to make a bowl of cereal and there it goes - darting all around in top of the bag! My plan had worked! But, I wasn't about to touch the bag or the trash can...or the pantry door or anything else, so I threw a couple of cook books on top of the bag. Actually, that sounds a lot more nonchalant than what really happened. I froze, almost threw up then ran to call Mike. He wasn't answering so I emailed him. He replied he was in class, so I called Karen.

While on the phone with Karen I realized the edges of the bucket weren't sealed, so I put another bag, a few more cook books and a brick on top of the bucket.

Mike finally called at which time I realized that the mouse could chew threw the inside bag and climb out the bucket at the handles. I pushed the trash can - with my foot - to the porch and lifted it into one of Mike's construction strength trash bags...and put it on the picnic table in the back yard.

My only concern is that I never heard it move during all of this. Granted I could have knocked it out with the Williams-Sonoma Festive Occassions cookbook I threw on there first...but maybe it chewed out while I was on the phone and ran back into the walls! Mike will just have to open the bags when we get home to be sure.

I've been violated

I wasn't even going to dignify the mouse with a blog post, but then I decided this is the only way to fairly warn it of its fate - a public announcement - a publishing if you will. We have a stupid mouse in our house. I found "evidence" when we returned from San Diego in a non-food, but close enough to food to make you want to puke, area of the house. I cleaned it up and moved on - grossed out, but hopeful. This weekend I found every package of powdered anything in my pantry open - including about 3 packages of yeast. (I was hoping it had made its way back outside and would just blow up from rising.) Thankfully, because I am slightly anal, I keep most things in our pantry in plastic or glass jars - it is my secret obsession with The Container Store (only I find places to buy the stuff cheaper). There really isn't much a mouse can get into in our pantry.

I cleaned up the mess and moved on again. No signs for a couple of days. Then "evidence" on the pantry shelf, but nothing eaten. Then nothing for a couple of days - then a hole in our bread bag. I almost had Mike convinced that the hole in the bread was just an air bubble in the loaf until we found the hole in the bag as well. In the process of eating our bread it also pooped on my Cooking Light magazines...I am getting a little hot about the matter. Isn't this why we have a dog!? Maybe we should have gotten a cat.

Then, tonight during supper it has the nerve to run across the kitchen floor from the pantry to the oven. If only our broiler was in the bottom of the oven... I think it must be getting desperate because it is venturing out into a room full of people with all the lights on. But it gets worse. Thinking the little varmit is under the stove, I get up to clean the kitchen, swing the pantry door open to toss something the trash and the nasty thing jumps on my face! No, just kidding. But we did come eye to stinkin' eye! Sort was on the bottom shelf in the pantry, dangling its fat little self over our trash can. I just told Mike the other day as I was putting raw chicken scraps in there, "maybe that mouse will get in here and get salmonella."

Well I screamed and it jerked its head up as if I had just pulled back the shower curtain on its shower and ran...somewhere - I don't know where because I slammed the door closed. Of course Joseph is freaked out by all the commotion and starts crying and Mike thinks this is the funniest thing he has ever seen (since a couple of weeks ago when he put a rubber salamander on my shoulder that stuck to my shirt and I couldn't shake it off and started screaming because I thought it was a real bug - he really has a sick sense of humor and I AM NOT that girly - these are both very serious cases). Olivia on the other hand is thoroughly confused at my drama because we read If You Give a Mouse a Cookie about once a week and we just recently started reading Stuart Little. I told her mice CANNOT live in houses. They are dirty and carry diseases. She still seems a little more sympathetic than I am comfortable with. And Mike insists on calling it "she" which totally humanizes it!

Some dear friends of ours had a mouse recently. They tried effort after effort and finally ended up with their entire pantry in a plastic tub in their dining room. Let this mouse be warned: I will sit in the corner in the dark with a shot gun all night long before I will empty out my entire pantry into a tub in the kitchen. I am a Republican and I am from the South - I will shoot.

Jesus - A Good Idea

On the way home from small group the other night, Mike and I were talking about the study and how things had gone. Olivia asks,
"Daddy, what are you talking about?"
Mike: "We are talking about God's salvation."
O: "What about God's salvation?"
M: "That it was accomplished by Jesus."
O: "All right...that's a good idea."

If only we all believed that easily.

On another note - while Olivia has been displaying her thoughtfullness about the deeper matters of life, Joseph, at breakfast yesterday morning, was answering his cinnamon toast...I didn't even hear it ring???

Starting Early

I've always thought you should celebrate your birthday all month - and so since we had family in town this weekend we started Olivia's birthday celebrating. The birthday cake? Apple crisp of course - since no one is sick of apples yet around here. Thanks to Grandma and Grandpa McBride and Uncle Doug for getting the party started.


I forgot to mention that we have a half off admission to Eckert's Farm for up to four people. That means you could get in for about 3 bucks vs. the pricey 7. As much as I would like to go back every weekend until the apples and pumpkins are gone, Mike says no. We also have a $3 off a 20lb bag of apples. We will sell them, I mean give them to the first interested party. I can bring them to church on Sunday...unless you don't go to our church in which case you will need to pay A LOT for shipping.


They said we could eat apples in the orchard...I'm not sure if they meant as many as we did. We certainly got our monies worth though. Somehow I ended up on a wagon by myself in the middle of the orchard - could have been because none of us knew how hot it was supposed to be and everyone was over dressed and having a heat stroke. But I didn't care...and so they left me in the orchard.

Keep 'em coming!

This weekend it was Eckert's for the McBride Family Fall Mania activity. And it was meant to be apparently because the pumpkin carver had already carved our kids names on his display pumpkins. In true cheap fashion we didn't bother to actually purchase the pumpkins - we just took a picture of them.

One of Jacob's four horned sheep.

Cheese balls. (There was also a picture of me and Joseph on the tractor ride through the orchard, but I had entirely too many chins to post it. Joe looked cute, but you will just have to imagine it.)

George and Doug riding shot gun.


We actually got together with Mark and Cora last week, but I haven't had time to post these. Mom, I don't think you have ever seen Isak. He is 4 months (or so) younger than Joseph - I think he started walking at like 4 months (obvious exaggeration).

Joseph checking for the "po po" - he was screaming around those curves!

I don't think he could smile any bigger.

More Missouri Market

Joseph worked up an appetite watching Olivia build the bird house. They gave free pizza to kids!

Madagascar cockroach races. Olivia touched it. I don't think she is my kid.

There was an agriculture tent that displayed the processes by which our great, natural crops become the over processed foods that we consume by the truck loads that are so bad for us. But it was fun for Olivia since it was all sensory. This guy couldn't believe her attention span. He didn't know she is a big sorter and bins of corn and cotton and wheat really rev her up.

You can see the bird house/lap desk in this picture.

Under Construction

We went to Missouri Market Place at the Botanical Garden last weekend. It has a great area all for kids and then a (pricey) adult crafts and gourmet foods market. Home Depot sponsers a tent where the kids can build something like a bird house or race car or tool box. Olivia and Mike built a bird house. I'll get a picture of the finished product soon.


Olivia's self-named creation. It is a play dough salad. This is what she and Mike did while I was at jury duty. What about this picture suggests that Mike is not nearly as uptight as me?

Alternate Juror #2 - Buzzer Supervisor

You would think being the second of two of the only alternates on a jury would be discouraging. What's the point, right? 9-5 for at least 4 days for $18 a day. I sit and listen and sit and sit and go for a snack and sit. I form profound opinions about the case and proudly think they need to know them, but unless two people get sick no one will hear them. No one will care. EXCEPT, I got appointed by the sheriff's deputy "buzzer girl." When all the jurors are present after breaks, it is my job to count them and press the buzzer. That makes it all worth it. Alternate Juror #2 - Buzzer Supervisor - I look like one, don't you think?


Maybe one day I will take more pictures of food and cooking - like after I have taken a cooking class and a photography class. I love reading cooking blogs. I love watching the creation of a great dish unfold in the pictures. Pioneer Woman does a great job with this - you can google her. I always forget how to put links in. I know our blog is supposed to be mostly about the kids for the grandparents, but because I know there is at least one person reading this (Veerman) whose mouth will water over bad pictures of good food I wanted to post these. It is a lasagna recipe I got from Gluten Free Girl (another great food blog - though we aren't gluten free).

I don't know if I have ever made lasagna from scratch - sauce and everything. I always thought it was too much work - and it is too much work, but this was so worth it. It called for ground pork or veal and ground beef. TJ's didn't have the first so I had to get ground turkey. Turkey is a bird
that is not meant to be ground - it is gross. I think next time I will use sausage - that will be great!

Obviously, these pictures are the making of the sauce. You do use one can of crushed tomatoes, but the rest is all fresh - onion, garlic, herbs from our garden, tomatoes. It isn't even really that complicated, but I think it is how you layer all the ingredients as you cook that makes the flavors so rich and smell so great!

When you layer it you use fresh mozzerella and fresh grated parmesean. I splurged for those knowing we would get several meals out of this and feed some company too. It was done at 4:00 in the afternoon and I nearly sat down and ate it right then. Sorry I didn't take a picture of the finished product - I was really distracted by how hungry I was and how good it looked and smelled.

I am somewhat annoyed to say that Ridley liked it too. After Mike and Joseph ate lunch yesterday, Mike went to put Joe down and came back to a large lasagna noodle on the kitchen floor and a very subsurvient dog. That was the only evidence that she was actually in the dish - she must have used her claws and gingerly picked the noodle out. Mike said he will still eat the last piece of lasagna today for lunch. I said, "You're darn right! That was a lot of work and we (the humans) are eating every bite of it!"