Easter photo shoot

Now you see why we don't pay people to take their picture.  (But we'll be practicing, Mimi, for the Great TN Family Foto Shoot.)

Morning hike

Found a great little Audubon affiliated state park last week - Stelzer.  Kids did about 3 miles with some decent hills.  We were really impressed with the place - great educational displays about the flora and the fauna, friendly ranger, good shade for picnic (hard to find hiking out here in the desert).  Lots of birds.  Lots of plants in bloom.  

 Bonkers - hiking buddies

 The Buddha - just taking a minute for quiet reflection of her hike.  Yes, that is a playground.  I'm usually not a big fan of playgrounds at campgrounds/state parks, etc.  They are in nature for crying out loud - find something to do in it!  You don't need a slide!  But we were so impressed by all the rest of the park, I let it 'slide.'

From one extreme to another

Welcome to our life.

The action series post

(Sorry, should have zoomed and cropped some of these.  Maybe you can click on the pic and get a closer look.)

 Pitcher ready
 Toss to third

 Coach Manny and the  boys...and Greta
Still thoroughly enjoying this experience.  It's an hour and a half (or 4 innings, whichever comes first) of slow enough action that you can really enjoy getting to know the other parents.  We have a great team.  Not disappointed that we'll get to do this again in another 5 years.

Here goes nothin'

We have tee tee in the potty...and a little on the bathroom rug...and some by the front door...
But we have tee tee in the potty!!

He's 5!

This kid is so fun.  EMOTIONAL.  But so sweet.  The kind that just tells you he loves you out of the blue.  Always wants a snuggle.  We've kept birthday celebrations simple sort of on purpose accidentally, but I am so thankful it has turned out that way.  The fall seems to be a big time of year for us and so celebrating Olivia's birthday has become more about the people that celebrate with us than her...though I think she fully experiences the love.  We've just used her birthday as an opportunity to meet neighbors and spend time with folks.  And we've been out of town until this year on Joseph's birthday every year.  But I realized that kids don't really start noticing the party/present thing until about 4 or 5 anyway, so we've kept our celebrations in the family until then.  And now, because we don't want everyone to feel like every time they turn around a McBride is having a party and wanting a present, we've decided to do present parties with friends every other year or so.

To be honest, it is a relief.  It gives us the time to just enjoy the kid rather than be caught up in making a party happen.  It makes the parties more anticipated and special.  It helps us live with less stuff.  I have really been struggling lately with how to live more simply with our kids.  They have so much and are given so much and they really have no concept of money or true need/want yet.  It is so hard helping them understand that you really don't need 4 stuffed rabbits.  Truth is, you don't even need one but thank God for his blessings.  Mary and Laura had ONE rag doll for crying out loud!  One! (Little House).  We've been talking about how people are more important than stuff and how can we make more room for people in our lives.  I'll let you know how it goes.  And I'm up for any ideas/advice.

Thanks for all the cards and birthday wishes.  He has thoroughly enjoyed all his treats.  And we thoroughly enjoy him!