Poorly documented tradition - year 4

We went to Switzer Canyon again this year for our traditional Pilgrim and Indian picnic.  Our crowd has grown - partially because we keep having babies - but we also gained a few neighbors this year, ours and theirs.  I think there were 13 kids this year. The menu: popcorn, turkey sandwiches, pumpkin cookies and apples.  
 The youngest pilgrim
 That's August and Joe up on the rope swing.
 A couple of Coopers
 A major negotiation...I'm not sure what it was about, but they were both frustrated with each other.

Self sufficient

We have an ER doc friend who says that one of the biggest causes of cut wound seen in the ER is...bagel slicing.  Who knew?

Where's my spoon

Couldn't you just eat him up?

Paying attention

I have really been trying lately to become a student of my daughter.  I have assumed for 7 years that she and I are a lot alike and thus assuming that I understand her.  I don't think I do.  As the oldest you are expected to do a lot without asking questions, to just adjust and roll with it.  She does that well, even when she does not want to.  I have a lot to learn and I am praying for the grace to slow down and pay attention.  She could not have been happier this day...to be left completely alone in her room with sleeping Henry, reading to him.  Note to self: give her more opportunities like this.


It took about a year, but we finally have birds on our feeder.


I don't remember why I took this, but isn't he cute?

Knights and tigers and bees, oh my!

I survived another McBride Halloween costume dash.  I have actually started to look forward to our tradition of putting the kids' costumes together the day of...or the night before this year.  The first year we did it because Olivia asked to be a zebra and we kept thinking that she would surely change her mind and want to be a princess...but she never did, so we found ourselves buying a white leisure suit and black paint at Wal-Mart the day of Halloween.  Each year, Mike becomes more and more the mastermind, which I love because even though I have started to enjoy our tradition, the truth is last minute stuff still stresses me out.

So, this year we had a request for a tiger and a knight.  We didn't give Greta a choice - she was the bumble bee...everyone has been the bumble bee (including her cousin).  The knight began with a youtube tutorial...
Then the tiger began with a body tracing on a pair of old sheets...

Then the sewing machine...yes, the man can sew.  But please don't make a big deal about it, otherwise he may quit and I will have to do it next year.
It is a full family effort...Olivia working on the handle for Joe's shield.
Greta "sharing" her antenae with Henry.
And giving him a push...probably yelling something like, "Fly bumble bee!  Fly!"
The face paint

Ta da!  (Joseph's armor is a sun shield for a car.)

First stop, Irma's!  She always has a special zip-lock bag loaded with candy for the kids on our block.

Desiree and her little fairy princess.
When asked about his costume, August said "I am your worst nightmare."  A knight/devil/worker man.
Posted this for you, Mom - Anthony's.
The other Olivia - a humming bird.
Tiger, tail in hand...kept getting stepped on.
Block bumble bees.

Guess we'll have four costumes to figure out next year...we may need to start a little earlier.  I'm already getting a little stressed out.

The Stop-by

4th Annual - hard to believe.  I still have a lot to learn about making pies.  They are tasting good, but I still need practice with the presentation.  My crusts always seem a little anemic.  I am however, getting more efficient in my baking - this year I made seven: black bottom pumpkin, regular pumpkin, maple buttermilk, chocolate coconut, buttermilk raspberry, coconut cream, and apple.  The apple really turned out the best with a lattice crust, but it was still in the oven for this picture.

But the neighbors are really a better treat than the pies for us.  We probably had our biggest crowd so far and yet it was almost a completely different group than in years past.  Definitely a high light of our year.

The Grands and Doug

I think Henry started smiling around 7 weeks, but he REALLY started smiling when Grandpa visited.  He loved to look at his Grandpa.

We had a great visit...what did we do?  I can't remember! I think we just did a lot of normal.  And it was nice.  Thanks for making the trip out!

This little piggy

And this little piggy...not one of her more intelligent tricks.

Happy Happy

First of all, this post is about Olivia and our celebration of 7 great years with her.  Since all our babies look just alike (a friend once said we had one mold for babies), having Henry around makes me nostalgic for when they were all babies.  We were so naive and young and...well rested when Olivia came along.  I think back on the peace and quiet of our little apartment, napping with her on my chest on the couch.  Toting her around everywhere, our life stayed much the same - we just had this sweet little almond eyed baby with us.  Do I even need to make the contrast to these days?  We are no longer quite so young and certainly not very well rested.  Peace has been replaced by "Stop! You Stop!  No, YOU stop!"...and quiet has been replaced by "One, two, three...NOT IT!" Napping...oh napping.  And now it takes 3 hours of preparations to get out the door...and it's not Mike or me holding up the show.  "Other people" need to make twelve trips back in house for just one more little thing...like shoes...how in the world did he forget shoes?!  Haven't I been saying for the last 3 hours, "Get your shoes on."?

But I wouldn't trade one day of it.  One day I will be laying on the couch in some house, completely quiet and peaceful...and totally unable to sleep because my mind will be raising with all the funny, heart wrenching, odd, and so, so sweet moments of raising these children.

Now, like I said, this post is about Olivia.  But you have to watch Greta through all of this.  Look at her hands and face.  "Oh what did they get us?" she seems to be asking here...
 "A lantern!  They got us a lantern!! "
 "I've always wanted a lantern!"
 "Oh, right.  The got YOU a lantern."
 "Hmm, gum.  I think, if I am really quiet, I might be able to make off with this gum."
Olivia humoring me with the birthday crown.

 Nice of Joe to wear his tie for O's birthday.

 Her favorite part - the cinnamon rolls.
She's offering you a sausage, in case you can't see what is in her non-gloved (sock) hand.
Olivia and I have had our fair share of relational wrestling matches this year.  Like her mother, she is a negotiator.  And like my mother did, I grow exhausted with the negotiating.  In some ways I feel like I am parenting myself and her at the same time...reminding myself about self-control, patience, submission, humility.  I am excited about year 7, though.  Olivia, since she was 3, has been trying to be and do things that it may actually be time now for her to do and be.  It will be a fun year loosing some of the reigns a bit.  Happy Birthday O!  You are a great big sister and a wonderful daughter!

(P.S.  We have decided not to do big parties every year and this was a no party year for Olivia.  She decided she wanted to go to Chick-fil-A and invite her friend Olivia along.  That was a lot of fun, especially with Granpa, Grandma, and Uncle Doug here.  We also let her pick out a fish at Petco.  Maybe one day you can meet Rainbow the Beta fish.  No pictures of any of this of course...we've just had a baby...and, well she was the first child and got all the baby pictures mounted in baby books.  Henry will get none of that, so what's a few missed shots at her 7th birthday, right?)