Apple Picking 2010

So, I know what you're thinking. "Apple picking? It's barely September and the weather hasn't been below 80 in months." Sure, it's not ideal weather, and there was no hot apple cider and homemade donuts while sitting in the barn cozied up around the wood stove, but the apples are still really tasty. Even tastier when you take your children and nieces and make a family outing of it.

Truth is, we haven't got time any other weekend. We're under contract on a house. Yes, we took the plunge, and for a mere $300 more mortgage per month we're getting 3 1/2 times the house. We're psyched, but there's so much to do Sam and I giggle (we don't want to panic) anytime we think about it. How in the world is all of this going to get done? (We're keeping our current house and turning it into a rental...lots of little projects to finish up...Sam's already started). Thankfully, we have lovely friends and family who have already offered to do whatever it takes...like taking our kids for an hour so that we can pack without interruptions, or bringing us food, or making sure we get all our stuff from this house to the new house. All this to say, it was either pick apples now or perhaps, don't pick apples this season. If you know me, the latter was not an option. (Although I did give up making applesauce this season, as Sam kindly pointed out...something's gotta give).

The house is in a neighborhood called Bent Creek about 10 minutes from West Asheville. While we're sad about leaving our little community, we're excited about the opportunity of a new one. We have great friends who just moved there and we're excited about being next to them again.

Without further ado, here are some adorable pictures of our family...my heart swells when we all do things together. What lovely times.

It was a good weekend.


3 plus 1

Six days into his life:

Six days into her life:

Elsa Dorothy was born just short of August 12. While there may be a resemblance  to her older brother as a newborn (excepting her olive skin and absence of the trademark Rule 7-head) her arrival was all together different. Planning on a multi-day marathon session similar to Kedzie's labor, Nicole skillfully managed a Wednesday of on-again/off-again contractions, resting, eating, preparing. The storm mounted through the evening, until it took a dramatic turn after she felt a pop deep down inside. Looking back, I wish my response had been something, anything other than: "Are you sure you didn't just pee?" With intense contractions lining up on top of each other, we somehow coordinated our late-night babysitter for Kedzie, our midwives on call, and the 3-mile drive to the hospital. "Love," she told me through gritted teeth, "the bumps are really, really awful." 

After wrangling a wheelchair at the emergency room and cajoling a hospital employee to help Nicole get to Labor and Delivery, I raced to park the car and make it up to the fourth floor. Armed with her ancient wisdom and sensitive intuition, Kirstin, our sister-in-law and midwife, had made it to the hospital in time to prepare a room and the nursing staff. Six minutes after arriving on the ward, with one intense push, Nicole delivered Elsa into the arms of her aunt. I am still speechless. 

The past 10 days have been similarly intense. It is, as they say, different with two. Gone are the hours of sitting beside my bride staring into the eyes of a newborn as she nurses.  Instead, we are tag-team wrestlers bouncing between a toddler and his new partner. More than time management, though, we are learning how to love our children fully and freely. It is not a question of having enough love, it is only a process of learning how to express it. It is a good lesson to be learning.

Things will change, I'm sure, when I return to work at the end of the month. But, for now, and I'm trying really, really hard to live right now, these are the greatest days of my life. I am grateful.