Sunday, June 24, 2012

Summer Lovin'!

My kids and I have been having tons of fun with these sweet cousins who are here visiting us this week.  It's been busy, but all smiles and giggles.  Can't wait to be with them again in July!

For me, it was a rush to get ready for our fun visit with family.  I was in Cleveland last weekend and got to reunite with friends and see my parents, then raced home to celebrate the last half of Father's Day with Steve, then we had our ultrasound on Monday, and I taught a class (four times) at Girl's Camp about avoiding pornography (which I'll write about here...eventually), all before the cousins came on Wednesday.  They are in Palmyra today, and we are due for more big adventures in the coming week.

I hope you guys are all having a wonderful time with family and friends this summer too!
Seize the day!

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Baby News FHE

We've got news about the baby!

(And we're spreading it far and wide during FHE tonight!)

As I mentioned previously, we don't normally "find out."  We love a good surprise, but lately I've been feeling like, for the kids' sake, we might want to go ahead and find out the gender of our baby.  And at the ultrasound today, that's just what we did!

Although Guy in particular was really hoping for a baby brother, he displayed the sweetest, most tender reaction to the news that we are expecting a BABY GIRL!

That is one special kid.  I'll just say that.

It was wonderful to look over at my beautiful brood sitting in the ultrasound room with their feet dangling from the adult-sized chairs, as their little legs still couldn't quite touch the floor!  

We all watched with wonder as the technician measured the baby who we are sure--thanks to 4D technology--is going to look just like her big sister Autumn!

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Not About Nazis

As you guys know, I don't read a ton of books for myself...and when I do, I prefer real-life accounts, nonfiction, self-help, scriptures, that kind of stuff.  There is so much that I don't know, so if I've got my nose in a book, it's mostly because I desperately want to know how to do something.  

One of my best friends in college has read everything ever printed and watched every TV show ever produced.  I don't know how she did it!  She is like a sponge.  I could give a million reasons for why I don't read with a passion like so many others do but I won't.  It's just how I am...or how I have been...always busy "doing" or "writing" or playing a sport...and not prone to sitting still to read a book.

Last week, while I was at the library looking for baby name books (smile) I spotted the book "Treasures From the Attic" on the shelf below the baby names shelf, and I became very curious.  It is a compilation of thousands of letters and family history information from the family of Anne Frank.  This collection was discovered by a family member in the late-80's/90's I believe.  And since I have always been drawn to reading original documents and such, I was drawn to this book.

It was so beautiful.  I loved reading the amazing poetry that members of Anne Frank's family (grandparents' families, cousins, etc.) wrote back and forth to one another.  I have always been a letter-writer, and I have longed to have that kind of interaction with members of my own family to not much avail.  But then again, who even writes letters anymore? (Cheery!)

Anyway, I had just read another memoir prior to reading this book (Angela's Ashes) and there was a stark contrast between the two families described in each book.  One family was poor in every way and ignorant on top of that.  The other family was loving to each other in every way, and had a love of learning and beauty.  It is no surprise that a family heritage like this could produce an "Anne Frank".  (Note to self.)

Halfway through reading "Treasures From the Attic", I realized that I really needed to read The Diary of Anne Frank (finally!) in order to get the full picture.  (Yes, I never read that sweet book either!)  Anyway, I really enjoyed reading the writings of the young Anne Frank.  I have always heard people talking about it, and from that I thought I knew what the book was about.

Surprisingly, the book had very little to do with Nazis.  (And thank goodness, they don't deserve the spotlight anyway!)  Instead, it was a rare look into the heart of a child becoming a young woman...and such a wonderful reminder of what I too felt and wrote about in my many journal entries when I was her age!  

As Eleanor Roosevelt writes in the introduction "These are the thoughts and expression of a young girl living under extraordinary conditions, and for this reason her diary tells us much about ourselves and about our own children.  And for this reason, too, I felt how close we all are to Anne's experience, how very much involved we are in her short life and in the entire world."

Because the book "tells us much about ourselves and about our children," I found it to be a very useful gift to me as a mother and as I work with the young women at church.  And I am thankful for it.  Oh, to someday meet the sweet Anne Frank!  What a gift she gives to the world.

Anyway, "Dear Kitties" of the world, as you have probably noticed, I have very little time for writing these days...and even less time to polish the thoughts that I do write!  Even now, the kids are starting to tear the house apart, and we haven't tackled any chores this morning.  Such is the life of a summer vacation mom!  Have a great day!  And thanks for reading!  

PS - I am by no means recommending the book "Angela's Ashes"...just so you know.  Although it was mostly enjoyable and heart-wrenching, the ending was especially degenerate  and proved why I don't waste time reading stuff that is so unenlightening...although at times it is hard to figure out which books are best until you've invested so much time into them!!
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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Family Prayer FHE

Steve taught us about the purpose of family prayer last night during FHE.

He told a story he found in lesson #18 of the FHERB about how family prayer helped some children think of ways they could help another child who was having a lot of anxiety about riding the school bus.  Then we put together a little puzzled to build a bridge.  But one piece was missing.  It was the keystone of the arch on the bridge.

Steve explained that the keystone of family unity is family prayer...It is important to the success of the entire structure and it is important to pray for each other, because it helps us to know how we can serve one another.

Read all about That Good Part's FHE from last night here.

In other news: Man! It's tough to keep up a good schedule!  It is just so easy to get behind on right now, I really should be directing the cleaning going on in the playroom, and get ready for the day, so I must run!  Have a great day, everyone!

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Monday, June 11, 2012

The Help

I am really enjoying having my kids home with me!  Ok, fine, it's only been a week, and I did have to break down and purchase a pool pass to keep everyone happy, however, they have been so helpful...doing chores and stuff.  My husband actually thanked me for keeping the house clean last week...there has been a noticeable difference.  I love having so much help around the house.   They love to do their "jobs" and it helps to be able to say, "We can't go to the pool unless you do X, Y, and Z."  The house gets clean really quickly that way.

I love this photo of Autumn (age 3) vacuuming the living room in her swimsuit.  I was impressed that she could vacuum the rug completely, wrap up the cord, and put it away in the closet pretty much all by herself.  I had to show her how to wrap the cord.

This same day, Scarlett's morning job was to cut off the dead iris stems and throw them away.  I often give them the little odd jobs that I can't seem to find time to complete, but I also expect them to come up with jobs by themselves.  (INITIATIVE, people!)

Guy and Scarlett are pretty proficient at making lunch for all of us.  And I am happy when we waltz off to the pool with dinner in the crockpot and a clean house to come home to.

We have so  much to do to get ready for our much-anticipated visit from Steve's brother Evan and my SIL Somer (who we just love!) and then we're off for my family's reunion at my sister Cara's house in Indiana, which Scarlett has been talking about (non-stop) for months.

The kids have another added incentive for doing their chores.  They will eventually get spending money for our family vacations based on how well they fulfill their jobs at home, and we are keeping track by putting stickers on a chore chart.  Their jobs are pretty similar to last year with a few additions.  The "jobs" are:  get ready in the morning (which includes making beds, getting dressed, grooming and tidying up their rooms), do their AM chore, kid writing (with me), exercise (of some kind, usually the pool or ride bikes), quiet time (for mommy's sake!), PM chore, one EXTRA chore of their choice, and go to bed (without a fuss!)

I love how much fun we can have together when everyone is "happy in their work."  (from the Best Movie Ever.)  Hopefully I'm more of a Lt. Colonel Nicholson than a Colonel Saito, because our home certainly feels like paradise right now and not a work camp!

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Friday, June 8, 2012

Summer Countdown Paper Chain

We created our "Countdown to Kindergarten" paper chains today!

We did this for the first time last year, when Guy was gearing up for Kindergarten, and it was so much fun!  Each day we remove a link from the chain until we reach the first day of school.  That way the kids know how many days until school starts, and I am reminded to make the most of each moment with my kids!

This summer, we have a lot of fun family vacations and reunions to go to and even special visitors coming to see us here in Pennsylvania!  So, we color-coded the weeks that we'll be at reunions or hosting family here...and even put links for special days, like the day we go for our ultrasound and Daddy's birthday.

The kids were in charge of counting how many days were on the calendar and converting the days into "links" of the chain, so there was counting, cutting, writing, figuring, color-coordinating, and stapling going on for this project.

It's a ton of fun...and Guy is now asking me...are we going to do this next year, and the next year, and the next year?  We'll see sweetheart.

My little editor is reading over my shoulder, marveling at how I can type without looking at the keyboard (he wants to learn how) and wondering how the page moves up when I type. 

He wants me to add this photo of him pointing to the chains that hang in our doorway.  He wants me to type "It looks like I'm in Tron."  :)

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

What Will the Baby Look Like?


Summer is in full swing around here.

Proof positive:  Summer Journals are back.

(Actually we do "kid writing" every morning...yesterday we wrote and mailed letters.)

Today, I asked the kids to draw a picture of what they think the baby will look like.

Autumn said the baby will look like a princess.

Scarlett said the baby will have blood on her face when she or he comes out.
(She's seen a few episodes of A Baby Story.)

Guy's picture made me laugh.

Guy is hoping for a boy...a very smiley boy, who says "Aaaaaah" and "Yay" and who occasionally has a "stenke dipr".

We are going in for an ultrasound in about 10 days and the kids are coming with us.

In keeping with tradition, we are not finding out the gender of the baby.
(Guy really wants us to find out though...really wants to!)

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Love at Home FHE

At face value, FHE was a little bit of a disaster last night...but from my kids' perspective, they probably thought it was the best lesson ever! :)

Scarlett was asleep on the couch (and halfway on top of me) before FHE even started, and she slept through the whole thing.

Autumn was standing on top of a table making a large ball of chewed gum while we were trying to get FHE underway.

When she finally did come down, all she and Guy wanted to do was wrestle.

And Steve was wearily trying his best to decipher what I had prepared for him to teach for the lesson.

We tackled lesson #17 in the FHERB "Love at Home" a most ridiculous manner.

But we did it.

We searched the house for a photo of a special visitor (Jesus) and talked about ways that we could make him feel welcome in our home.  We read clues about people in our family who had done things to show love that day, and made a list of ways that we can show love to each other.

In the end, I'm pretty sure that the wrestling match between Autumn and Guy will be the "warm fuzzy" that they take away from last night's FHE...but I guess that's ok.  :)

PS - Remember to swing by That Good Part to check out their FHE experience from last night!  Hmmm...I see she has a post about parenting tips from King Benjamin...I'm going to have to check that out!
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Monday, June 4, 2012

Let the Games Begin

It's the first official day of summer vacation in the Christensen-household, and we are off to an OK start.  The kids are doing their "kid writing", and I'm going to try to stick to a healthy schedule so we can all enjoy our time together!  Wish us luck!

PS - I ripped through the book Playwise last night and gleaned a few ideas that we'll try out this summer as we play together, and I'm hoping to do a few clapping games from this site soon.  Just thought I'd share...Have a great day!
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Friday, June 1, 2012


Well, we made it through Kindergarten...and LOVED IT!

Today is Guy's last day of school, and I am happy to say that he has "stayed sweet" through his first year in school.  He has learned to read, lost a tooth, made friends, and he has had a great teacher to learn from.  So thankful for that!!!

Today, Guy has requested a "Yes Day" (similar to the "No, no Day" that we've done previously.)  So basically, I have to say "Yes" to everything he asks to do...These are my favorite "holidays" of the year...a personal vacation from saying 'No'!!  He has a half-day today, so after noon today, let the yeses begin!  (Actually, they've already started...)

I'll be filling water balloons while he's in school and calling friends to come and play...I've got a stash of firecrackers too that he doesn't know about.  I am sure that'll come up at some point later today!

Have a great day, all...and Happy June!

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