Cake and Apple Cup

Ryker and Emerson worked hard to prepare for Ryan's Birthday by wrapping gifts, making cards and decorating a cake with 33 candles. When Ryan interrupted the wrapping process, Em informed him that her gift (a Cougar jacket) was a secret. "It is NOT a coat!" she added for emphasis. Unfortunately our Cougs were not able to eek out a victory over those dawgs but they did make a pretty good game out of it. And we didn't need another reason to celebrate anyway. Happy Birthday, Love!




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So very thankful!

We spent a memorable Thanksgiving in Mt.Vernon with the entire VanBatavia Family. Why didn't I think to take a complete family picture??? Arg!!! I always enjoy our kids' conversation after holidays and vacations. Ryker's favorite parts of Thanksgiving included playing Balderdash with the grownups and decorating Auntie Sue's Christmas tree (Thanks Cousin Ricky and Sara, for your patience!). Em's "best" parts were petting Tilly and playing with Cousin Amy. Cousin Amy wears purple tennis shoes and won Em's heart immediately for that and many other reasons. We are thankful for Uncle Mike and Aunt Sue, who opened their home to the whole rowdy bunch. We're thankful for our country, warts and all. We're thankful for fellowship, family, friends, love, babies...

We hope yours was happy!

Celebrating Dad's 60TH

In preparation for Dad's birthday celebration, Joe and Michelle spent the afternoon making the largest quantity of spaghetti I've ever seen. It was amazing! The grand kids provided tremendous help opening gifts. Dad was deeply moved by the compassion and generosity of his family, many of whom contributed money in order to donate a heifer and chickens to third world families in his honor. If you haven't already checked out Heifer International, do it now! We also enjoyed a home video in celebration of Dad's 60 years before engaging in a rowdy game of Fear Factor/Minute to Win It. Happy Meal puree and caramel onions anyone??? If laughter is an indication, everyone had a great time. Happy Birthday, Dad!


the naming game

Naming baby number three is proving difficult but oh-so-much FUN. Ryker and Emerson have all kinds of suggestions. Ryker is rooting for Raptor (my personal favorite) but he also likes Ryder, Ripper, Rocker and Biker. All coordinate so nicely with his name and no, the possibility of a girl baby doesn't occur to him often. Emerson is much more pragmatic. For a girl it is Sophie and for a boy? Sophie-Boy. What else?

Because we're struggling, we've also appreciated suggestions from family and friends. Unfortunately, Ryan and I are still worlds apart but please keep them coming! And meanwhile, I've had fun passing on my favorites (Ryan's rejects) to the passel of pregnant women we know at this time. Sincerely hope everyone is enjoying the season. We are!



Once again, Teresa worked like a crazy woman, preparing for a harvest party. She is the most energetic, hardworking Momma I know and I love her! Getting all the kiddos together in one place for a photo was a challenge. If they look disgusted it's because they were. We enjoyed dinner, games, storytime, pumpkin carving and trunk-or-treating. A big thanks to everyone who helped and most of all to Tee. She makes things happen!

There was more trunk-or-treating at Ryker's school carnival. I couldn't get Ryker and Brian to slow down long enough for a decent photo but caught this one as they climbed out of the cardboard maze for the 100th time. Thanks again to Grandma Marlene, for cute kid costumes. Princess Emerson was pleased as punch and though I didn't get a picture of Ryker with his "face" on, he was pretty proud of his Batman costume.

After all that Halloween, we felt a lot like this Jack-o-Lantern and it wasn't hard to convince the kids to pass up trick-or-treating. Instead we made milkshakes and popcorn, turned off all the lights and watched How To Train Your Dragon. It's a good thing because this pregnant Mama didn't need more chocolate!


Congratulations to Cousin Christi who recently wrapped up her reign as Queen of the Lewiston Roundup. She did great and we really enjoyed getting to be there! Another congratulations to Grandpa and Grandma Tippett who were selected as Grand Marshalls of the Roundup. I have many blurred photos of Christi busting out and racing around the arena and more of Jack and Blanche in their carriage. If you look really close at the picture of the screen, you may see royalty on their way out. I definitely need to work on my skills. And once again, a shout out to Cousin Jenna, who takes such great care of the kids. Em loves you and so do I! :)




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Happy Harvest!


The man of this house carves the very best jack-o-lanterns ever! And because they are quickly rotting with our warm fall weather, he'll probably get another opportunity this year. Ryker and I have already finished off the roasted seeds and we're not shedding any tears over rotting pumpkins. Hope your harvest season is full.
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Scotty and Tiffany


Our hiring a babysitter is a rare occasion and our kids get pretty excited at the prospect. However, when Ryker learned we were attending a book launch, he felt abandoned. "Why can't I go with you?" he asked. "Launching books sounds fun to me!" Once we explained that we would not be slinging books at targets, staying with the sitter suited him fine. If you haven't bought Captain Scotty Smiley's book, Hope Unseen, you should. It is the story of the U.S. Army's first blind active-duty officer and his Spartan Wife. Remember, Spartan soldiers were chosen for battle based on the strength of their wives as much as their own...


Appropriate, no?




Stevenson, WA

We had a great time celebrating our 10 year with Brady and Shannon, also married 10 years. In fact, they were honeymooning in Hawaii and missed our wedding entirely. Inconsiderate of them, don't you think? ;) We love exploring the Columbia Gorge and have determined there is no end to it. Can't wait to hike some of the hills surrounding this area next summer with Baby in a front pack. Skamania Lodge was nice but a little proud, if you ask me. We've decided we're going to encourage our kids in kite boarding because it is so much fun to watch and must be safer than football. Right? And while Natalie Merchant's concert was just okay, it would be impossible not to love this venue. We'll be attending more concerts at Maryhill! Thanks, Love!