Many, many moons ago I lived with their family. When I was in college, I had a room at their house and was part of their family for about three years. I helped out with a bit of housecleaning and nannied the kids on days that I didn't have classes. It was fun for me in my early 20's to get my "playing house" fix and then go out and study and have my college life going on. They really became an extension of MY family and many of my conversations with Peter and Mary were pivotal in stretching, challenging, and encouraging me. I loved mucking around with little Sarah, chubby Joshie and then later, baby Hannah.

When Peter called and asked if the whole gang could come for a visit from Texas I whooped and hollered and blocked in those days in July. Little Sarah is now heading off to college. Squishy Joshie is now six foot two and a lean athlete (and nut). Baby Hannah is taller than her mother. John William is their last and about Ruby's age. They also brought along a great friend, Ben...the more the merrier.

Thirteen of us in the house. It was a noisy, happy, food filled week. My baby got passed around. All my kids stomped around in their new cowboy boots that Auntie Mary generously brought from Texas. Mary and I went through some old photo albums and laughed until we cried. We told stories. We caught up. It was the best kind of week.

We did Seattle....and the beach...and the aquarium. They climbed Rainier (while I and my camera remained behind with my boys). We went to Tacoma to putz around.

Here is Uncle Peter who bought "pinchers" for the boys. They ran around like crazy in Pioneer Square trying to get the pidgeons.

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Pike Street Market. Hannah kindly humored me and blew a bubble on the Seattle iconic "Gum Wall" which I had never found but was delighted to finally see. Chocolate filled croissants at Le Panier. Amazing peaches and cherries.

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We paused at the Pike Street pig. JDubs picked his nose with a plastic knife.

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Lowells for lunch. Art. Josh debates buying a knife (which would have been lovely to take home as a carryon).

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Like good Seattlites, they carried their joe around with them.

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Ah, Pe-tah. Perfect!

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To the beach.

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I wanted to do some family portraits but because of the pace of the week we ended up down to the wire. Between Mongolian food for lunch and Peter needing to to leave for the airport an hour later, we squeezed in the fastest family session e-vah! That hour also included driving time and a bathroom stop. Peter bravely trespassed the mini van to a barn when I yelled, "There!!" We hopped out and did some quick shots. It was fun and loud because that's how they roll. They are a hilarious crew and even with the time crunch they were messing around.

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No serious couple shot with the kids surrounding them....

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Love this brother sister shot.

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The day after, I had the morning to run around with "the big kids" and leave my kidlets to be spoiled by Auntie Mary. We mucked around the Port of Tacoma and I pestered them into a few pictures.

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John William sure does love to pal around with his big, cool brother.

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"The Rescue".

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Oh, it was a wonderful time. I love them. I think Mary is my only friend that would ever try to lift me up...but there you have it.

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Here we are plus Peter who was on the plane at this time, Ben behind the camera, the baby who was sleeping, Ruby who had gone to Oma's. My house seemed rather serene with only six of us after this.

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Love you all!