Our 16th anniversary was on Thursday—as my mom's cousin Lori pointed out it was our 16th anniversary on the 16th! We spent the evening getting our temple recommends interviewed. The stake center is a 45 minute drive from our house so it was quite the excursion. We took Phoebe with us and left the kids at home to fend for themselves; Rachel made pancakes (some with chocolate chips, some with blueberries) for dinner and then they settled in to watch Rudolph.
It's so nice to have older children!
We ordered Mexican food for ourselves, which arrived home just five minutes after we did.
And that's about all the celebrating we could muster this year.
We also decided when we'd take our family pictures.
"Saturday," Andrew said decisively, and I just went along with his plan until I woke up on Friday morning and looked at the forecast.
"It's supposed to rain all weekend," I said. "We can't take pictures on Saturday. But if we don't take them on Saturday I don't know when we'll take them. The forecast doesn't look very encouraging next week."
And so we decided we'd take pictures that very afternoon. We scrambled to get picture-worthy outfits together (we haven't gone back-to-school shopping in literally years, so the kids are running out of nice-looking outfits) and then headed to the park.
Did I already mention that it's nice to have older children? It is.
The kids were surprisingly cooperative. They willingly posed. They smiled nicely. They kept their eyes open. It's was so much easier to take pictures of six kids 14 and under than I remember it being taking pictures of three kids six and under.
We even still have three kids six and under...but some how Zoë (6), Alex (4) and Phoebe (baby) is an easier combination than Rachel (6), Miriam (4), and Benjamin (1) were. Or maybe it's that we have more patience. Or maybe it's that Rachel, Miriam, and Benjamin have become useful child-herders and stuff-haulers. Or maybe it's a combination of factors.
Anyway, the only child we really had trouble with was Phoebe. We tried having her be un-swaddled for a few pictures but as you can see, she didn't enjoy that very much.
She's still not sure what to do with her limbs and hates feeling so exposed. Whenever we put her down she acts like she's eternally falling, as you can see from this shot I took after we'd finished family pictures and she'd "ruined" her outfit and needed a full change (it was nearly 70°F, so not very chilly; don't worry).
You can see in the shots where Rachel is holding her that she often didn't know what to do with her arms, which...I mean...I still feel that way sometimes so I understand where she's coming from...but let's just say that she did much better when she was swaddled.
(And actually, Phoebe's not even wearing the outfit I wanted her to wear because she "ruined" that one before we left the house...but we found another outfit that would work with our thrown-together colour scheme).
Here are a few pictures of our sweet Phoebe:
And here's Alexander (whatever you do, don't compare this year's pictures to last year's pictures—somehow Alexander morphed from baby-boy to big-boy and I'm not quite sure when that happened):
Here's Zoë, looking so glamorous:
Here's Benjamin, who's also done a lot of maturing this year:
Our lovely—newly bespectacled—Miriam:
And Rachel, our lovely babysitter and baker:
We also took a few group shots of sisters:
And then we remembered that there are four sisters now, so we handed Rachel the baby:
Zoë thought she should have been the one to hold her (but she smiled for the camera anyway).
Here are the brothers:
And the what-if-parents-were-on-an-album-cover parents:
Here I am with Phoebe: