In Passing.

Nearly a month's march later, I return to blogdom with a slew of snapshots. (Marches of much, in truth.)

Fall has swept in and out again, leaving us with a sharp and lively memory.

Sharper yet is the wind that now rushes at our windows. The Nixie has discovered the bite of handheld snow in bare palm, and--the glee!--Millie has renewed her acquaintance with snow-stomping. Both gladly share their wonder in the newness of it all, and our receiving of the same tempers the bleak gray and early morning slushiness.

John continues his steady whittling away of school tasks; only three weeks 'til the mountain crumbles! The road to prison comes ever closer...

Baby Berry is a contained jig, a constant note of life in this season of sleep. I welcome the jut of hand and foot and, grinning, watch my belly jump in rhythm. God is good, and we delight in the burst of life curled close within.

Our rear downstairs neighbor is moving to a new home tomorrow. We will miss her generous spirit and monotony-breaking visits. She takes with her Mr. Washer and Mrs. Dryer, so be awatch for snapshots of the local laundromat to attend the rest. This morning I wistfully placed the final two loads inside those magical machines... I am grateful that, because of her generosity, we haven't had to set foot in the laundromat for the past year and a half--something I should remember as I grumble my laundry-laden way in ice and snow. Oh, and she also gave us her table and chairs! No longer do the four of us have to squeeze ourselves, food, and condiments on a two-and-a-half by two-and-a-half foot table! Hurrah!

More bright spots--
Dude, Dudette, and Sarah Owen visited a few weeks ago. It was so good to visit and laugh with them again, and to enjoy the company of long-distant loved ones we see too rarely. Dude replaced the starter on our comatose car while John finished some schoolwork, and we're grateful to have extra wheels again. They showered us with gifts, goods, and a hearty helping of love, and I blame Dudette and a certain Honey-baked Ham (not my lack of self-control) for adding more weight to my ponderous frame.

We leave today to visit the Johnson clan in Nanticoke (not the whole clan, as all the other married siblings celebrate elsewhere this year). John plans to deliver three girls before driving back to Buffalo to finish up the Big Papers he has yet to write. It seems awfully unfair that he has to toil for a week and a half while we girls play and visit and (hopefully) go sledding, but when he comes to pick us up, he'll be ours in earnest! When we meet again, he'll be finished with school, and he can rest from the juggling act of the last year-and-a-half.

I'm off to take Cran-Orange Bread and Pumpkin-Raisin Nut Bread out of the oven. Our entire apartment smells edible.

P.S. One last oddly-placed joint for this disjointed post.
I've posted the recipes of last week's culinary adventure on buildabelly, so if you're the baking kind, take a peek.

I'd never imagined or heard of such a thing until we moved to town. A giant vacuum cleaner on wheels!

Gone, all gone.

There's a house down the street from us called "Frank's Place." Every holiday, or even the tiniest whisper of a holiday or season change, transforms the house, its alleyway, and the trees in front in a splendid display of tacky plastic and day-glo color. We like to walk by from time to time to marvel over it.

The windows aren't for looking out of, of course, they're just clear walls on which to hang things.

Ah, let's see you step up those front steps, eh?

She loved the color while it lasted.

We like to duck-watch on the busy bridge. The big-wheelers make the bridge shiver under us.

The river...alas, no ducks here.

The way home. (But still 10 minutes from our crowded street...)

A bathroom break for Mildred means a snapshot of Annika and I. (This outdated photo doesn't reveal the truth of my growing double chin, which now weighs about as much as Baby Berry, estimated at around 2 pounds.)

Millie got a bike for 2 dollars, and she's a speed demon. (On a side note, she picked out outfits for herself and Annika this day.)

Ah, those good ol', balmy days when we could wear hats with skirts over pants...

John's sister Sarah brought home the girls some beautiful dresses from her last missions trip. Millie calls them "dancing dresses," and she and Annie wear them several times a week to dance to Mother Goose Melodies.

Getting prepared to...

dance, of course!

Annika, especially, was bewildered by this white stuff.

The first snowfall had both girls glued to the windowpanes.

John's dad shaved off his beard for the first time in THIRTY years, and I've posted a picture here for the sake of posterity. He had a handlebar moustache for a few days, and then trimmed it to a regular moustache before startling us all by coming out of the bathroom one morning completely clean-shaven. (He says that now that his children have seen his face, he plans to remain bearded for life. May the Lord grant him a half-century more of bearded splendor.) P.S. One week later, John shaved his chin and neck to create a bonafide Burnside look. I think this is due to shock from seeing Dude's uncovered face.

Dude with his youngest sweethearts (he has two more in Long Island).

John's homecoming--met with much rejoicing.

The second day it snowed, she again stayed on the windowsill for ages.

More snow.

Kristen, our no-longer-neighbor, reading to the girls a few days ago. (I wouldn't be a bit surprised if she tried to babynap the Nixie.)

A tasteful bathtub shot. I took this immediately after she threw a washcloth at me.

I love baby eyes.

I love baby profiles.