Phone cameras will never be as good as actual cameras at taking pictures. That's just a fact. But, as they get better at the job, I've found myself taking more and more pictures with my phone because I happen to have it on me most of the time. Besides the lessened quality of pictures, the other major downside is that the shots I take don't automatically get integrated into our family's collection like things I take on the DSLR or my point and shoot.
So tonight, after much supplication from my sweet husband (because pretty much any task from me for anyone needs repeated requesting--I'm kind of at a point in my life where at any given moment I've got several balls in the air that I'm trying to juggle so I get distracted pretty easily, heck even at this moment I'm rocking a baby with my foot while I type) I finally made the past 9 months worth of photos available to him to get into our collection. It turned out to be hundreds of pictures.
However, even with hundreds of pictures, we noticed that we have a LOT of shots of Bridget that are pretty similar...
This baby girl has one CHEESY grin! And man, does it light up all of our lives! Bridget arrived in the world just a darling little thing and these pictures really let that shine through. She has also turned out to be our most expressive child by a wide margin as well. We are constantly cracking up at the faces she's making at us or others (because while she's delightful towards us, she gives MAJOR shade and stinkface to any stranger who has the audacity to look her in the eye). And she's also the most verbally advanced of our children--just today when she handed Grant something she wasn't supposed to have and he tossed it aside she exclaimed, "That's not nice!" It was awesome.
We use that word quite often when talking about any one of our children. They're really such fantastic little people whom we happen to have the privilege of raising and calling our own.
My parents bought us a wonderful and thoughtful Christmas present this year: a membership to the Fort Worth zoo. We immediately took advantage of these delightful Texas winters to go check it out.
It was just about the perfect zoo: lots of great animals and scenery but not so big that the walk from one place to another makes us want to go home early. We had several really interesting close encounters.
Birds (not very visible in the picture but very personal in real life)
There was actually one big eagle that looked like it thought Bridget might make a good treat. And Bridget figured that out pretty fast. Didn't get a picture, though. What we did get a picture of was the sea creature petting area
Probably the most significant, though, was the up close encounter with the train
In fact, the train was so exciting, poor Paxton thought it was serious child abuse to force him to get off at the end of the ride. Kid just wants to ride a train all day and can't see why anyone would want to take that from him.
We spent about 4 delightful hours there, which is a good amount of time when you have kids of this age. It's really close (and just a few blocks from my work) so we will definitely be going back often. So exciting!
I didn't get any zoo pictures of Seth, but he's growing very well. His baby acne is gone and he's lovely, well-behaved, and a reasonable sleeper. You can't ask much more from a kid that age.
He's even cuter than that now, if you can believe it.
By the way, you know who else is at a super cute age? Bridget
Actually all the kids are at delightful and super cute ages at the moment. We are really loving this full quiver of children we have. Raising children is a challenge but it has moments that are more rewarding than others. It seems like those have been coming in droves lately.
Seth and I got home from the hospital yesterday and now that we've spent some time seeing his face, we noticed something interesting.
I've mentioned before that among Grant and his siblings, there is a Small, Medium, and Large version of the same brother. Grant is the Large.
Among our own family, we've had a trend of our children either looking like me or looking like Grant. We call it "Lady Puppies" and "Tramp Puppies" because at the end of Lady and the Tramp, you see them together with their puppies and instead of being mixed, which is what typically happens when dogs breed, there are several puppies who look just like Lady and one that looks just like the Tramp. And I couldn't quite tell whether Seth is a Lady Puppy or a Tramp Puppy because while I definitely saw traits that are one or the other, it was difficult to say if he favors one.
Until we got home and feeling so sentimental, I started looking at newborn pictures of his older siblings. We definitely have a matched set here:
The top picture is Elliot, an hour or so after his birth. The bottom is Seth, not more than 10 minutes after his own. They look pretty dang similar to me, especially when compared to the brother between them:
Though we figure that for now, our set is more of a "Large" and "Extra Large" one...two pounds makes quite a big difference in the size of a brand new baby...
This morning Ashley woke me up a little early to give me some great news: she had been laboring through much of the night and was pretty much ready to be taken to the hospital. We arranged for someone to watch the kids and headed straight down. On arrival the nurses skeptically asked how we know we are in labor. Are you kidding? We are professionals at this. Well, Ashley is.
We proceeded to the room where Ashley got down to the business of laboring.
Such a good sport!
Labor was a few hours...three or so. Then it came time to push. I expected this to be our easiest birth (Ashley isn't sick, she went in with a great attitude, and she has four babies worth of experience under her belt) but the delivery part was unexpectedly hard. Like real hard, even if it was a relatively short 12 minutes. I was a little confused by how much trouble she was having, actually. As our baby came out we learned why...he's a monster. (Yes, that's right, HE...none of us knew the gender until today).
Welcome to Seth Verdell Farnsworth, born today around noon
He's a wonderful, healthy baby. We are both gaga about him. Really, he seems more like a several month old baby, and has the sweetest disposition.
You can see that he's a little large in my arms. That's because he arrived weighing a whopping 11 pounds 3 ounces. Yes, you read that right. He's the biggest newborn you will ever run into. 23 inches tall. The nurse said she could easily imagine him crawling as he is. She also said the placenta was absolutely enormous. What a weight off Ashley's back, so to speak!
Mother and son are doing great. This was a natural birth with no epidural or anything and with no complications other than some unexpected frustration with how difficult he was to bring into the world. All things considered, Ashley is due some serious congratulations and respect.
The first few pictures out of the box that include mommy aren't 100% fit for the internet, but if you have ever wondered what an 11 pound, 3 ounce baby looks like moments after birth, take a glance:
The doctor said he was just a hair off of setting the record. I'm not sure whether that means the hospital record or more likely her own delivery record, but he is quite the special baby any way you look at it, and in so many respects. We are super delighted to welcome him to the family.
I knew I hadn't posted in a while, but wow. I didn't realize I'd gone multiple months without any action. There were a few technical difficulties with uploading new pictures but mostly...it's just been a pretty crazy Summer and Fall, y'all. Like, moving a family of 6 halfway across the country, getting settled into a new house that's while spacious and in good repair is a long way from our ideal home so there's always something we're working on, and preparing for a 5th baby in 6 years in a brand new location with no built-up support system is just no joke. It doesn't help that the elementary school bell rings at 7:35am, which is more than a full hour earlier than it did at the old school, and I most often blog in the evenings. Evenings are really, really short when you have to get up before 6am.
Which are all, of course, very much First World Problems. But blogging and other non-essential tasks have been very much put aside. Actually...plenty of essential tasks have not gotten necessary attention as well..but, I'd rather be up to my eyeballs with busy in this blessed life I lead with my wonderful husband, our amazing children that we just can't stop multiplying, and all in our sturdy, safe home that we're all building together than on my own with heaps of time to do whatever I pleased.
But. On with the show.
I had been hoping to complete the record of our visits with people in Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma before backtracking, but those stories will have to wait.
Of course, before we had those visits, and after our long, hard winter, we had one last Spring in Pennsylvania. It was a pretty fun time. A SUPER cool thing about having a lot of kids really quickly is how fast your family turns into a big group of PEOPLE who hang out and interact and do stuff together. Awesome!
It's always fun to see them be friends. Kendra has been reading books to her siblings for almost a year now, and it's really, really cool to watch.
Such beautiful matching girls!!
The Farnsworths' very first Pinewood Derby!
Epic bed head.
Bridget is just the most delightful person! Though she's also very wary of strangers so we'll often tell people how friendly and happy she is only to present her and she gives the newbie the stinkiest resting stink face you've ever seen.
She is also 100% DADDY's girl. Like, sometimes it hurts my feelings a little bit to see how much she prefers him and reflect on how she always has. But then again, one of the sweetest images in my memory is always going to be one of my husband loving on our children. It just makes my heart swell up so much it seems like I can feel.
Three of the brother's in Grant's family have such a striking physical resemblance that it has many times been said that they're all the same, just in Small, Medium, and Large. Here are Medium and Large as a matched set on Easter.
Their sister is in there, and they're not very patient. I taught her to lock the door for privacy. I know about needing privacy when using the toilet. I've been on the other side of this door many times myself.
Elliot finally upgraded out of the same model of cable-temple glasses that he'd been wearing since he was less than a year old into big boy glasses!
We were able to make one last trip out Dayton to visit Grant's brother and his family, which was SUPER nice to do--we loved living driving distance from them and while now we're a good driving distance from other people, we definitely miss the access to these awesome Farnsworths. Bridget is quite a bit younger and smaller than the cousin closest in age to her, and it was really cute watching him assert himself as NOT the baby in the group.
Baby Selfies! They never get old.
We were able to hit Chuck E Cheese with some friends just after school finished, it was pretty fun.
One story that is not photo documented was our saga in house-buying. In mid-April, I took a trip out to Texas and scouted out a bunch of houses in a number of different areas. We went under contract with one that felt like a pretty great fit for us--it was in a decent location to be a not-horrible commute, it was a large upgrade, but not among the largest we'd seen, it was nice but not so nice that we'd get mad at our kids for being kids and wrecking things from time to time, it was in a culdesaq that was on no-outlet street so VERY little traffic, and also right on a trail that lead to a big running path, and the price was significantly lower than comparable larger houses.
Long story short, the seller had legal issues that prevented him from selling the house so our closing date came and went with no house becoming ours.
We tried not to panic, but it was CRAZY stressful.
So, we sent Grant down this time to go out with our realtor and get a different house the first weekend of June. Unfortunately, almost all of the houses that I'd seen were gone. And several great options were bank owned, which were out because we wouldn't be able to wait (bank owned properties are optimal for people who already live in the area, not people on a timeline and a short one at that). And in a whirlwind of a trip, he found us another house that was significantly bigger and nicer than the first one--and as fate would have it, we met a previous tenant of the first house who gave us some insider information about it that made us grateful to have dodged a couple of bullets.
We did our closing remotely, and to GREAT relief had no problems with the transaction. We even got to keep our moving date.
And here we have some VERY celebrated signed papers for our very first house! Seven years of marriage, a fifth baby well on the way, and pretty weird to be adult enough to be home owners.
The very next day, I loaded the kids up while Grant stayed behind and handled the move.
And thus ends the pictures of our time in Pennsylvania. Our family grew and changed so much in our time in that town and apartment...while we look forward to new growth and adventures down here in Texas, that place will always be significant to us.