Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Festivities

Anya got a kick out of squishing the pumpkin guts in between her fingers! The boys were a little more hesitant!
But in the end, they all did their part and were able to show off their creations.

James especially liked his bat. They chose the design, mommy and daddy did the carving.

Can you guess what they are? I already gave the bat away.

The day of Halloween, Karen has a tradition with plenty of games. The most popular is hanging a donut by a string and having the kids eat them without using their hands. Peter, Anya, and Mark are still getting used to the rules. James is a master no hands donut eater.

And the costumes. Karen continues to outdo herself. We had the entire court. The jester:

The king:

The knight:

The princess:

And the prince:

Watch out for Peter. He distracts you with his smile as he pulls out his sword! :) They cashed in pretty well with the candy tonight (so did mommy and daddy). They were only allowed 3 peices each tonight so hopefully they'll sleep well. Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

It's certainly not Church doctrine, but...

I want to share something with you.

I have another blog, more private, where I share religious, political, and/or controversial topics. I created it so this blog could be devoted to family...nothing too serious. But because this is more public and has a few more readers, I would like to share something a bit more serious tonight. I'll save the pumpkin carving photos for Halloween.

First, you HAVE to read my sister's post in her blog: Guilty, Your Honor. her post and then come back...otherwise my comments won't make as much sense.

Did you read it? Ok.

Here's what I want to share. When we're standing before the Holy One of Israel at the Judgment Bar, I don't think you or I will be alone. Sure~we'll answer for what we did here in this life. But when you fall down on your knees and sincerely apologize for the pain you've caused, I'll come help you back up and speak on your behalf. I will defend you for the countless good acts you performed. And I will praise your name before the Righteous Judge. I hope you'll do the same for me.

I think we can be pretty hard on ourselves. We make mistakes, yes. But God is merciful. More so than we may give Him credit. And I don't think we'll stand alone on the day of Judgment. I think we'll be surrounded by family and friends who will lift us up. And ultimately, the Savior's love will lift us to Him.

Just a personal thought I felt impressed to share after reading my sister's blog. Thanks, sis! :)

Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God: Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth truth for ever: Which executeth judgment for the oppressed: which giveth food to the hungry. The Lord looseth the prisoners: The Lord openeth the eyes of the blind: the Lord raiseth them that are bowed down: the Lord loveth the righteous... Psalm 146:5-8

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Come join our family part 2

The weather today was begging us to take a leisurely stroll through the neighborhood. Yesterday at the pumpkin patch and today's walk were two of those moments when you wish everyone you care about could be together enjoying the beauty of God's creations.

They were trying to convince me to take a right. James was just being James.This is their vicious stomping to "kill the leaves." Should I be worried about their violent outbreaks?!?But then I watch them as they walk as brother and sister and listen to them talk...about anything and everything...I love these moments. Then we came across a cute little cottage that would be GREAT for grandparents to purchase. I know you're all tempted to be this close to your grandkids. And it's a cute cottage...with lakefront property.
And then we headed back home. We wish you could have joined us!

Come join our family part 1

So we went to the pumpkin patch on Saturday to choose pumpkins for carving. I was thinking we could get a few 10 pound pumpkins. The smallest we could find was 22 pounds...1 pound heavier than Luke. And guess who gets to do all the carving?
The place is called Carter Mountain and it provides a beautiful view of Charlottesville.
This is the Charlottesville I fell in love with. Here's one view of the Blue Ridge mountains. In the very center you can see a portion of the highway the meanders through the trees.
Everyone got a turn pulling the wagon. Did I mention this is a total of 72 pounds of pumpkin?!?
A storm had just passed through the area. The red was striking against dark clouds, blue skies, and lush greenery.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Happy Birthday Peter!!!

Technically, he turned 3 yesterday.

The fact that he's 3 means it didn't really bother him that we celebrated a day later.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Woody Woodpecker

his is a test!
Ok...not really. But if I see him, this woodpecker is dead. :)

This happened over a week ago and we haven't seen him (I guess it could be a "her") again. So I hope that means he or she realized our post wasn't a tree. It doesn't help our home value...but it makes for a quick post on the blog. Had Karen not heard the obnoxious pecking and opened the door to see what was going on, our little feathered friend may have become a permanent tenant.

For those do-it-yourselfer's out there, do we need to fill it and paint it to avoid serious damage? I kind of want to keep it just as a conversation piece.

We live in Virgnia, there's NOTHING but trees everywhere...and Woody chooses the post on our front porch. Classic!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Salt of the bed

Yes you read that right I wrote bed, not earth.
Why, you ask?

Well, I would like to tell you a little story.

We had our first den meeting last night. For most new Cub Scouters, that means mom or dad hangs out at the building or drops them off. For us it's family affair. David goes directly to the building on Thursday nights without even coming home because of timing and driving distance. I loaded up the van with all five little munchkins and we got on our way. David met us outside and helped get Mark and me to our meeting and the other four into the nursery. Things went well and as expected the kids and I got home by about 9:15, completely exhausted. I transported the sleeping Luke to his bed while the others starting changing into pjs. I went next to Peter to help him change and get into bed and that was where we hit the snag.

I almost tossed the kid right in the middle of his salty bed. Yes, salty. Sometime earlier in the day, unbeknownst to me, our darling 2-almost-3 year old took the salt shaker from the kitchen and poured about 1/8 of a cup worth of salt on his pillow, sheets, blankets, stuffed bear. . . it was everywhere. So I quickly retrieved my handvac(I don't know how anyone can live without a handvac) and attempted to remove most of the mess. Have you ever tried to vacuum salt off of a surface with soft squishy dips and grooves. The salt annoyingly pops and flies as you vacuum from one place to the next. Eventually I decided that I had retrieved the vast majority of the mess and put him to bed.

I just kept thinking, salt? really? why on earth would you put salt on your bed?

We may never know.

Salt now makes my list of the things that are hardest to clean up, but has yet to surpass soap. That still reigns supreme as the most difficult thing to clean up that I have ever dealt with.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Luke Preston

This was our family one year ago today:

It's tradition on the one year birthday to make a classic yellow cake with chocolate frosting and give a good portion of it to the birthday kid with a scoop of ice cream. We take a before and after shot. Usually, it makes for a good scrapbook page with chocolate frosting covering the face and plastered in the hair. But Luke wanted nothing to do with either the cake or ice cream. He just looked at both...touched the chocolate frosting a couple of times...and was content to wait for us to get him down. Just to give you an idea of how far we've come as parents ~ Mark (our first born) was pretty much the same way. But Karen and I were not satisfied so we put cake all over his face and hair to make a good photo op. We did a lot of things to Mark that we have learned from! I won't go into details for fear of child services coming across our blog. :)

It was a great Sunday! We watched General Conference, took a family walk to enjoy the Fall weather, and celebrated a wonderful year of Luke's life on this earth. We're so glad you joined our family, Luke!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Aunt Laurel

Never mind it was late at night and the kids were over-tired. Anya and James bawled Tuesday night when I announced it was time to say goodbye to Aunt Laurel (and Grandma and Grandpa Christensen...but this post is about Aunt Laurel).

Anya quickly bonds with female adults. Maybe it's because she's surrounded by four brothers. But I've seen her bond with Grandma's Knutti and Christensen in a way that only girls can. And she has a special love for her Aunt Laurel. They are kindred spirits.

Aunt Laurel plays the BEST games. And it's tough for mom and dad to follow her act once she leaves. The restaurant game...she talks with this British accent and waits on the kids hand and foot and teaches them to be proper, speak politely, and use good etiquette. The kids love it at
meal times. They didn't get to play it this visit...and the kids won't let it go!

The wide-mouth frog. That's a classic story. If you haven't heard it, you'll need to request a story time with Aunt Laurel. It's always a favorite way to end days of festivities. A visit from Aunt Laurel just wouldn't be complete without her rendition of the wide-mouth frog.

Horsie rides on the knees. It goes through how a lady, a gentleman, and a farmer ride a horse. Then it's the way Mark or James or Luke, etc ride the horse. The kids giggle uncontrollably all the way through it.

Speaking of giggling, our four oldest ganged up on Aunt Laurel while the rest of the family was in the backyard. She was casually resting on the couch in the family room when Mark, Anya, James, and Peter began tickling Aunt Laurel. need to understand that Laurel isn't just ticklish. It is almost to the point where it could be considered a phobia. As a brother, I'm well-versed in the art of sibling torture and I am well aware of her weaknesses. Boy, are there stories I could share! Fortunately for Laurel, Anya stepped up and pulled everybody off when Aunt Laurel approached the panicked "I can't breath" phase. Laurel knew she could just swing her arms and throw all four of them across the room. But she showed good restraint and Anya picked up on the fact that Aunt Laurel was no longer enjoying the tickling fest. She survived to add it to her collection of stories.

Aunt Laurel does just about everything...except change stinky diapers. Apparently, that is off limits for her aunt status. But she adores her nieces (yes, that includes you Hannah) and nephews (yes, that includes you Isaac and Kyle). And she works hard to keep the "favorite aunt" status on the Christensen side. (Cheryl--you still hold that spot on the Knutti side...James LOVES apples now because of THANKS!)

Moms love Aunt Laurel, too! Karen enjoys a little time off when Aunt Laurel is in town. So everyone is happy. And we look forward to the next visit!

Aunt Laurel ~ your little brother loves you, too! Thanks for being such a great sister! I mean that.

Our assignment for this photo op was to do funny/scary faces. Isn't Anya scary with her missing teeth?!? :)