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  Peace has been replaced by "Stop!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  No, YOU stop!"...and quiet has been replaced by "One, two, three...NOT IT!"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 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?)

Still here, still growing

One day I will get back to taking the time to edit these pictures a little bit...sorry about the red eye.  But isn't he handsome?!  You should have seen him Sunday in this shirt AND a sweater vest.  I am a sucker for a boy in a sweater vest.  And, by the way, we do let him out of that swing...on occasion.

What it will be Cuz

I have about 8 of this same shot.  In every one Camille and Rachel look exactly the same, lovely.  The McBrides, on the other hand...we'll just say this one was pretty good.
 Checking out The Cove waters...chilly...getting up their nerve...

 Those two heads out there are Mark (our Dutch buddy) and Mike.  Those white buoys way out there are the mile and half mile markers Mike will often swim to with some friends.  There is a bit of a swim club forming in our church and this is a favorite spot.

 These two were peas in a pod.  Joe needs to lose the goggles on land; they're slowing him down.

 Busy, busy.

 Busy, busy.
 The negotiations - who's in front on the boogey board, etc.
 The ride.
 Blow this up and check out Joe's face...he's super impressed by Rachel's ride.
 Waiting for the next wave.

What a great time!  Thanks for including us in your West Coast trip.

Getting to know each other

It never fails...I think I am slipping into my bedroom for some quiet nursing time and within minutes everyone is in there.  My space invaded.  My thoughts come to a screeching halt.  My quiet vanishes.  To be honest, I have a hard time not resenting these moments.  I know many say to treasure them..."they pass so quickly."  And really, deep down I do...or at least I anticipate doing in the future...appreciating the moments that is.  But in this moment, I just need a remember what I had planned for finish praying for that person that I think I started to pray for two days ago and I am pretty sure the thing I was praying about is already decide...after this fleeting moment is over, am I going to start that dinner, change the 2-year-old, take a shower, or return that phone call from 3 days ago.  Last Friday the 2 y.o. was dressed by dinner time, but there was no dinner to be found.  On Saturday dinner was served, but Greta, I am afraid to say was still in her pajamas.  How does this happen?  The moments aren't fleeting, they're magic.  They completely disappear - without even a memory.
Just before this photographed moment, Greta had tripped over my shoes and disappeared behind the end of the bed and we all got a good laugh.  Then the big kids taught her how to say "bubbyricious" - which is what we used to call Joseph.  She still prefers Baby Henry, but occasionally when the bubbyricious comes out, I think to myself that the lost moment of solitude was worth the laugh it brought.  Resentment 0, Joy 1.  Game on.

It's that time!

Well, now I've carried two sweaty babies in that sling to this apple orchard.  Now Greta does not get carried, but carries her own bag.  Around here it is certainly cheaper to buy your apples at the grocery, but we really do enjoy the orchard tradition and so we keep going, and just keep the picking minimal-ish.
 Speaking of picking...she's in training...

 It's the hat family.
 Monkey see...
 Fixing shoe

 Tearin' it up
 Pumpkin guarding
 Sleepy spectator
 The choosing
And no picture of the final choice.  Oh well.  You can't get everything.