Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween 2010

We don't have much in the way of Halloween decorations. Usually it consists only of the carved pumpkins at the front door. We mixed it up a bit by getting a white pumpkin. It made an especially cute ghost.Karen and I are becoming a little better with experience each year. She still does the harder carvings. This year, the wolf was a new addition so she tackled that one with ease. James asked for the spider in the moon. He was very complimentary the whole time Karen and I were carving. I think he recognized how hard it was to carve and it was cute that he was doing his best to be supportive.
Karen went to the attic and dug up this spider to spice things up a little more.
We hosted our first-ever Halloween party. We let the three older kids invite a family of their choice. Karen did a great job at planning the whole event. Lots of games and lots of good food. The donut eating contest always brings a few laughs. No hands allowed as you try to eat a donut tied to a string.
Steven (the baseball player) was a pro and had clean techniques. Ethan (the pirate) thought he could just intimidate the donut into non-existence. Aargh!!!
Luke (Raggedy Andy) decided not to play by the rules and enjoyed his donut like any normal 3-year old would.
This was a family event, so the teenagers and adults who were brave enough took a stab at it. It couldn't be that hard, right?!?!? Hehehe
Another game was a walnut boat race. We stuck little candles in half of an empty walnut shell. The objective was to blow your boat to the other side without blowing out the candle. James (Dracula) won in the kids round.
The Ashby's are a competitive bunch. They almost started a water fight. :)
And Tim (the engineer) knew exactly how do get the job done right.
This year, we decided to recycle through the years of accumulated costumes. So no theme. But the kids didn't care. Anya chose to be a witch (same costume she wore when Luke was born 3 years ago). It still fit...but the dress was now a knee-length skirt. It showed off her black, orange and purple striped socks very well.
Eliza was Raggedy Ann. This was Anya's costume when she was Eliza's age.
And what's Raggedy Ann without Raggedy Andy? Luke was super cute. This is what Mark wore 6 years ago.
This was the only new and original costume this year. Mark was....can you guess? It's a capital E with the universal sign for male. Mark was E male....e-mail. :) He loved it!
James was Dracula. I think this was Mark's costume from a couple years ago. (The teeth were not recycled.)
And Woody! Peter was excited to be Woody this year. This was James' costume from several years ago.

No group shot this year. Just a bunch of mismatched characters who look really cute dressed up. From the pumpkin carving to the party to the dressing up...we had a fun Halloween this year.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Peter Pumpkin Eater Pan Michael Christensen

Peter is a funny man. Here he is wearing an origami hat that was a gift from James, our resident Origami Master. It's hard to believe that this boy is five now.
Love, love, love this shot. It was so random, I think he was laughing at his Dad's silly singing, or maybe at his own very cute struggle to blow out the candles. Either way it showcases the heart of this very sweet and happy little guy.
He was very excited about his Diego cake, and Mark was trying really hard to duck out of the shot, to bad buddy, you didn't make it:)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Wendy the Bunny

We ask that Mark and Anya each produce one original piece of writing a week. Anya got an idea from her cousin Alyssa to write about Wendy the Bunny, whose life is a startling mirror image of hers. Wendy even has four brothers just like Anya . . .

Here are two of Anya's, I mean Wendy's adventures:

Friday, October 15, 2010

How Much Fun Can Be Packed Into One Week?

48 pictures is how much fun...and that's after being very selective and cutting out many others.

The 2010 Christensen family reunion was held at the Outer Banks of North Carolina. And this was the view we enjoyed from our house each day:
There really are 48 pictures in this post. After seeing the Sunday morning sunrise above, you're now down to 47. :) But I think it will go by fast (as fast as our week of fun went by for us). If you want to break this out into segments, this post is broken down by day. So here we go...

We drove in on a beautiful, sunny Saturday. (We did not see the sun again until we drove away the following Saturday.) Sunday morning, we headed to church. After church, we let the kids explore on the beach. But most of the day was spent exploring the house and enjoying each other's company.
The kids created a "cousin's club" on the top deck and enjoyed their ice cream.
Then we had a family devotional Sunday night. Aunt Laurel kicked it off in classic Christensen style...with the giggles. Anya and Peter were very supportive and encouraging.
Grandpa gave the lesson. The grandkids love to gather around Grandpa and listen to every word he says.
Thanks to Laurel, we had a devotional every day. Each family was given an opportunity to share a spiritual thought. It was a nice close to each day and gave us a chance to relax from the daily activities and just be with each other. I liked it.
Monday, we headed north up to Corolla - almost to where the public road access ends and the wild horses roam free. But we didn't go that far during this trip. We stopped at the Currituck lighthouse. It's privately owned so there were no height restrictions...which meant that all of our kids could climb up. Grandpa "held down the fort" below for good measure.
Once we reached the top, the wind was ferocious! Poor Eliza couldn't breathe and the kids held on to the railing. There wasn't much room to move around so Karen and I were a little worried as well. :) But we enjoyed the view before heading back down the 214 steps.

It is a beautiful lighthouse!
Tuesday we learned how to make paper airplanes. Yep, no joke! At the Wright Brothers Museum in Kitty Hawk, you learn how to make 3 kinds of airplanes. And boy was it fun! And the instructor was very serious! The adults definitely had as much fun as the kids.
After the Wright Brothers museum, we spent the afternoon on the beach. Eliza didn't last long. She wasn't a fan of the sand.
If Peter knew a picture was being taken, he made a random pose.
Peter took full advantage of his two older brothers buried in sand. And he didn't think they were buried he started dumping a little more on James' head. What little brother wouldn't take advantage? :)
Wednesday was a lazy day. No planned activities. Just a day to lounge around. We played games, read books, went to the beach, and played some more. The adult kids got to go out to dinner that night without any of their kids. When we got back, we snuck down to the beach to enjoy a few more minutes of freedom. While we were down there, we saw a family with flashlights chasing after something. So we grabbed our own flashlights to see what was out there. We had so much fun, we had to get everyone else involved.
So Laurel and I ran to the store to get enough flashlights and glow sticks to keep track of the kids. Then we came home and got everyone to the beach.
And this is what we were chasing. These little crabs were ALL OVER. And they were all different sizes. And did I mention that they were everywhere?!?!? It was so much fun.
Everyone grouped around someone with a flashlight and chased after the crabs. It was an activity I will never forget.
Thursday was a very full day. We headed to Manteo Island. This is where the "Lost Colony" of Roanoke was. There was lots to do and see and explore.
James got to try out some armor. He could hardly keep his balance with it all on.
Anya made friends with the local blacksmith and watched him make penny nails.
Mark made instant friends with a man with a hook. The kind man assured Mark that he was not a pirate. I think Mark would have made friends with him either way.
Peter and Luke found the games.
And we were told that this tree was over 500 years old.
There was a museum that was all hands-on. There was a dress up area. So Mark and Anya had some fun with that.
And we couldn't resist dressing up Eliza. I think she looks cute in anything, though. :)
We had never seen such an aggressive side to Peter before! But if you give him a sword, a hook, and a pirate hat--watch out!!! Good thing Grandma knew how to defend herself.
Then Peter got out a little more aggression with a shotgun. I think he's smiling. Does that mean anything?!? :) Luke did a good job with collecting all of the ducks and geese.
Also on the island was an aquarium. Peter's bravery continued as he cautiously placed his hand in the alligator's mouth. I'm pretty sure there was a part of Peter that believed it might actually be real. So he tested it before inserting all of his hand in the mouth.
Luke become best friends with Uncle Harvey.
And Eliza was practicing new sounds with Aunt Laurel.
There was a petting area. I had no idea how soft and velvety sting rays were.
Luke was not afraid to stick his hand in the water. I think he really liked how sting rays felt, too. Each time he touched one, he would cackle with laughter!
Luke's bravery encouraged Aunt Laurel to be brave. But she could never reach down far enough to actually touch one. But she gets props for trying.
There were starfish, too. They were rough...just like I thought. But it was cool to touch one.
The picture below was not part of the petting area. But the glass made everyone feel very safe. It was incredible to see these sharks swim past the kids. They were HUGE!!! And they were just as scary as they are in the movies.
Even after a full day, the neices and nephews begged for a story from Aunt Laurel.
Some of the family went home on Friday...which was sad. We live so far apart that it would be nice for time to stand still during these reunions. I guess that's why we take pictures. We took a picture of all the cousins first.
Then we got a family shot. With the number of little kids, I'm amazed it turned out as good as it did.
After breakfast, we had one last family gathering before two of the families headed home.
That afternoon, those of us who stayed headed to the beach one last time.
I don't think it's possible to get enough of the beach. Now that we've done all the sightseeing, the next time we go to the Outer Banks, we'll be able to just enjoy the beach. And next time, hopefully we'll see the sun more than the first and last day!
On Saturday, we knew the sky was clear so we got up early enough to watch the sun rise. It was so worth it!
Then on our way out of town, we stopped at the Wright Brother's museum again. The first day we went, it was we didn't get to see the Memorial outside. And it's a beautiful memorial. The kids enjoyed playing on the plane.
Boys will be boys.
We hiked up to the monument on the hill. It was a beautiful view from up there. And this shot below really sums up the whole experience for the Wright Brothers. This memorial expresses well the triumph and accomplishment these men made. And the monument in the background is a nice tribute to their persistence and never-give-up attitude.

Then we drove home and left the Outer Banks behind us. It was hard to leave. Which means it was a great trip and a wonderful family reunion! :) Can't wait to do it again.