This has become my new favorite picture - 4 kids, 4 smiles, 4 sets of eyes on the camera - amazing! If you look closely you'll notice Matthew is fully clothed...minor detail.
Oh my, there has been so much growing going on around here this summer. It has been almost 2 months since we left Oregon. We have spent most of it with my parents, as I've mentioned before. The last several summers have found us here for a good stretch of weeks, so it has become very much our comfortable summer norm. I think I can safely say that despite the still formidable pile of boxes waiting to be unpacked at the new house, nearly all the stress I had been carrying since for months about the move has melted away. I am very thankful for that.
Summers at my parents' house are really simple - very few field trips, aside from maybe a mall trip or other "for-fun" shopping. No organized activities, very little visiting. If we are lucky we get invited to the neighbor's pool; mostly we just fill up one in the backyard. There are berries to pick and the garden to tend. Bikes are ridden endlessly. Chalk mermaids are drawn on the driveway. Some tv is watched, then later acted out in the front yard. There are naps and cookies and trips to the park. Two of us visited the urgent care clinic. On Saturdays there is free popcorn at the hardware store. It is just the right formula for reducing stress, and it appears to also be just the recipe for making kids grow like weeds.
When we arrived at the tail end of May, Matthew had been sitting on his own for barely three weeks. He had been riding the tiny end of the percentile curve and was a sorta small, elfy little fellow who was still very much of a carry-me-around baby. He came down with a rough upper respiratory virus when we first got here and that took a few weeks to shake, but he worked right through it and was crawling by seven months. Now at eight months he is almost cruising. He can cross a room faster than I can get trouble out of his way, he pulls up on everything, and would really like to walk. Like, now. Or maybe just go straight to bike riding. He has also put on at least three pounds in the last two months. His current loves are pizza crusts, willow leaves, stroller rides, attempting to eat the cat food, being led around by the hands so he can walk, and watching his siblings. He is eating solid food well now but is starting to be a stinker about sitting still in the high chair. With his blue eyes and blonde hair he is awfully cute and gets to be more fun (and more of a handful) every day.
Aaand he's waking up for a midnight snack right now (the mobility milestones alway mess with the sleep, right?) so I'll publish this much so far and finish up about the other three REALLY soon, I promise. Till then!