Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Constant Reminder

Today was awesome. We stayed overnight in Louisville, KY on our way home from St. Louis. And we attended the ward I grew up in from the ages of 4-10. So why is the first picture one of the Louisville temple? Take a look at that beautiful dogwood on the left side of the picture (next to the really cute kids).

Here's the same dogwood (next to my really beautiful bride and those same adorable kids). This is the church I attended more than 20 years ago. I remember it being built while we lived there. I remember attending church in a rented building (an old school maybe?) while we were waiting for this building to be completed. I was baptized here. Some familiar faces were still around (Denise Hettinger, Koestner's, and many others I didn't see). There are four congregations in the area now and those my family knew best have been shifted around several times. We also saw some extended family! My cousin Jamie has lived there for 5 years now and her parents (my aunt and uncle) were visiting from Denver as well.

As you can tell, I just couldn't get enough of that dogwood. Had I been more professional about it, I would have made sure the temple rose higher than the dogwood in the picture above. :)

There was a special spirit as we arrived to church this morning. We pulled into the parking lot and on one side was the chapel we worship in on Sunday's and on the other side was a temple, The House of the Lord, in which we have an opportunity to worship the other six days of the week. It's a constant reminder. What a special blessing it is for the members in the Louisville area to have a temple adjacent to their meeting house. And what a sight it was for me!
Finally, how can you not fall in love with our baby boy, Luke?!? :) He's 18 months old and traveled very well during our excursion this past week.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Randomness on an Easter Sunday

Seriously, this is totally random. And it has nothing to do with Easter. But we're home as a family enjoying a beautiful Sunday afternoon. And I wanted to catch up on just a few things we've neglected to share...

First, here's a wreath Karen made to welcome Spring. It's made of pussy willow branches. The flowering part of the plant feels like the soft fur of a bunny's tail. She wanted it on our front door but we had no way to secure it. So she settled for a closet door in our family room. I was impressed! :)
Second--a day in the life of Luke. He turned 18 months a week ago. He's quickly learning how to gain some attention in the family. He has a huge smile...

Knows how to give the cutest looks...
And then finishes with a little dance on top of the kitchen table. :)

Third...James lost his first tooth! He was enjoying a lifesaver Popsicle for the Family Home Evening dessert when it popped out. He was very excited.
Fourth: General Conference. We learned a little secret from the most recent Ensign magazine that some candy and a few select words will capture the attention of the young audiences. And it worked like a charm for us. Karen put together a bowl of candy and we came up with about 6 key words the kids could listen for. Whoever heard the word first got a piece of candy.
It kept them well-engaged. We changed the words each session. One of the words for the Sunday afternoon session was service. Dallin H. Oakes was the first speaker. Topic: Unselfish Service. We had to put a limit on the pieces of candy each child could have about 2 minutes into the talk. :)
Here's cute little Peter listening. And can I just insert in here how much I LOVE watching conference at home. I don't know how young families did it prior to satellite and the Internet! Kids stay in their pajamas, they're comfortable, they can take snack breaks or bathroom breaks at anytime, and Mom and Dad can relax. And everyone hears the Prophet's voice in our home. It's wonderful.
With all the trees near our home we can't get a good signal for the satellite so we've learned to live without. But Karen had the brilliant idea of hooking our computer to the TV. This also helped the kids be more involved since we didn't have to crowd around a tiny computer monitor. Plus, the more "lively" hymns gets our kids up and moving.
And finally...contagious laughter among the Christensen kids. Luke knows how to indulge an audience (and the older siblings know if they laugh they'll get a show). It's a win-win situation. I don't recall if this was a late snack or a poor excuse for dinner. But the entertainment was worth capturing.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

James' 6th birthday (a couple weeks late)

It seems that there has been no time to blog lately! There is so much to share...but I don't want to cram it all in to one post. Especially since James turned 6 recently. He deserves a post devoted just to him. :) Here's a pictoral recap of March 30th:

I love how the siblings are just as interested in the gifts as the birthday boy! :)
Peter can't wait to see what else is inside:

James in a genuine state of happiness:

And James with uncontainable super-excitement:
Here's the fabulous cake mom made this year:

James with all his loot:
We love our James. He is a unique personality in this family and life wouldn't be complete without him around.