12.12.2012

Wordless Wednesday: Crazy Hair Day

This kid needs a haircut...or a dog tag.

12.10.2012

What I Made Monday: Christmas Tree

Last year my mom gave me a tree skirt she found on clearance, which I fell in love with at the time then forgot about as soon as my Christmas decorations were put away for the year. When I pulled my boxes out this year, however, I remembered why I loved it so much. There was just one problem...

The skirt is blue, and all of my ornaments are red and silver, and I didn't really have much of a budget to buy new decorations. Plus, I was feeling a bit grinchy at the beginning of the month and I wasn't really in the decorating groove.

So, I had to get creative. My original plan was to find blue tree lights, but I didn't find any (at the ONE store I went to--obviously it wasn't that important to me). I couldn't find any ornaments that were the right color of blue. What I did manage to find was plenty of wire edged ribbon--75 yards, to be exact. I got a HUGE roll of ribbon from Costco and a smaller roll from Walmart. I then proceeded to tie bows. Lots and lots of bows.

Sparkly ribbon from Costco

Ribbon from Walmart. It's hard to tell here, but this
ribbon is a pale blue.

I think I tied somewhere between 60 and 70 bows. It took me several hours. However, I had a stroke of genius and put twisty ties and string on the back for to attach them to the tree. That way I can re-use them next year. Also, the sparkly ribbon shed probably half of its sparkles all over me as I tied it into bows. It got so bad that I started looking around for Robin Sparkles (since I became Jessica Glitter--HIMYM, anyone?).

SOOOOO...with my overabundance of bows combined with my silver ornaments and tinsel, I had more than enough embellishment for my tree.

Finished tree

Finished tree in the light--note the tree skirt that
inspired the entire project.

I am extremely proud of how it turned out. I love that if we leave our blinds open the tiniest bit you can see our tree sparkling through our big front window. I feel festive and jolly...no more grinchy for me!

12.06.2012

What Do You Get When...

Daddy has a day off from work

+

A HUGE roll of masking tape

+

A new box of scented Mr. Sketch markers

+

Two boys with LOTS of cars and trains

+

Plenty of unadulterated hardwood floor


???????

Answer:



A city complete with multi-lane highway, train lines, and plenty of parking.

This stayed in the living room for at least 2 weeks.

12.03.2012

What I Made Monday: "Tree-O"

For my other Christmas craft I chose a trio of trees. 

To be honest, I'm not really super happy with the way they look. Usually when I finish a craft there's this sense of completion--pleasure, even, that I've created something unique and beautiful. I didn't really get that sense when I finished these trees. I'm not really sure why, though. 

In an attempt to achieve that sense of completion I sponged brown paint around the edges of the trees and roughed up the edges of the blocks after I initially finished the project. It made me feel a little bit better about them, but I'm still not 100% in love with these trees. But, they make my bookcase look a little more festive, so they've earned a place of honor in my living room.

before adding the paint and sanding

after adding the paint and sanding

11.28.2012

Wordless Wednesday: "Percussionist Foster Grant"


(bonus points to anyone who can name that movie--it's a Kenner family favorite!)

11.27.2012

Thanksgiving 2012

We spent Thanksgiving with my side of the family this year. Since my parents weren't able to come from Oregon, we decided to head south to Payson for the holiday. My grandparents reserved their church building and we had a great big dinner with all of my aunts, uncles, and cousins. 

We were assigned to bring the stuffing. Cole's mom has a great recipe that she got from her mother, so we whipped up a batch large enough for 40+ people.

We covered the table with foil to simplify clean-up.

Meanwhile, the two big boys were watching the Thanksgiving Day parade and loving every minute of it. We had played Rock Band with a couple of my siblings the night before and we left the equipment out. When we came downstairs to check on the boys, this is what we saw:


We might have to form an ACTUAL rock band to keep up with those two.

After stopping for fountain drinks (a MUST for road trips, even if it's only to Payson) we headed south. Dinner was fantastic and the company was grand. Kyle and Lucas are absolutely enamored of two of my cousins, Emily and Alyssa, so they were occupied for the entire afternoon. Matthew got passed around as well, which freed me up to play a few rounds of Grump with my cousins and aunt & uncle. We had some fabulous pies (I ate pumpkin, coconut cream, and banana cream--but only slivers of each!), helped clean up, and headed home. We stopped by Cole's parents' house as well to chat for a while and ate MORE pie--Dutch Apple this time. It was quite a satisfying day.

11.26.2012

What I Made Monday: Nativity

I love Christmas, and I was really looking forward to making Christmas crafts this year. The first one I picked out was this block nativity:


I love the simplicity, because it helps me remember just how humble the circumstances of the Savior's birth were. It also reminds me that the true meaning of Christmas lies not in the decorations or the elaborate gifts or the festive parties but in the wondrous birth and life of Jesus Christ. 

11.21.2012

Wordless Wednesday: Free Rein

Taking advantage of brothers' naptime

11.19.2012

What I Made Monday: Thanksgiving

There's a good chance I have more Thanksgiving decorations than any other holiday--color me surprised. Fortunately, I still needed a door hanger for November, and this cute guy fit the bill perfectly.

Turkey door hanger. I still need to rig up something to hang him by.
And, back before I found out my cornucopia o' Thanksgiving decorations runneth o'er, I bought this cute block. I picked it because, unlike, most decorations for this holiday, it didn't say "give thanks." Not that there's anything wrong with that phrase, it's just...ubiquitous. I have no fewer than 3 items in my living room with that saying.


11.14.2012

11.13.2012

Job Perks

So, Cole has the awesomest job ever. He's the Revenue Manager for a new hotel THAT ISN'T OPEN YET. Guys, this is a big deal. He was the 4th employee hired. He's in charge of training all of the new employees (and their managers) at the front desk. He gets to decide from the get-go what the rates are, what the selling strategy is, and all of that important stuff. BIG DEAL.

He's the bomb dizzle.

Also, this hotel is a big deal in West Valley. The city is trying to re-vamp its image and is pouring tons of money into revitalizing Valley Fair Mall and the areas just to the west along 3500 S. This new hotel is being built right in that area and is an integral part of the project. Because of this, the hotel has a suite at the Maverik Center and rinkside tickets at all of the Grizzlies games.

AAAAAAANNNDDDD....

Since there are currently 5 employees of the hotel, we get to make use of these perks quite frequently. Cole and I went to see Cirque du Soleil in the suite a couple of weeks ago, which was A-MAZING. We definitely wouldn't have gotten the opportunity if it weren't for Cole's job. We've also been to a Grizzlies game in the suite, which was pretty cool. And, Monday night, Lucas and I sat rinkside with my sister, brother, and his date at the game.


Grizzlies player skating mere feet from me. FEET!

My cute date for the game

Hockey is pretty awesome anyway, but when there's less than an inch of "glass" between you and 12 burly, ultra-padded smashing machines with big wooden clubs, it's awesome and frightening. A player got smashed into the boards a few feet away from us and it STILL left us shaking and laughing uncontrollably. SO.COOL. A player got walloped and started bleeding and we could SEE THE BLOOD ON THE ICE, up close and personal. Gross, yes, but AWESOME. One downside? My toes were freezing by the end of the game.

I'm a hockey snob now. I won't be able to sit anywhere else. Now, if I could just understand all of the rules...

11.06.2012

Halloween 2012

I never thought I'd say this, but I love having my kids dress up in coordinating costumes on Halloween (see here and here). Since they're still relatively young I can get away with brainwashing encouraging them to choose a specific theme. I'm enjoying it, because I'm not sure how much longer I can get away with it.

Anywho, as I was pulling out my Halloween decorations I discovered that we have a Buzz Lightyear costume that Kyle wore 3 years ago and is just about Lucas' size. My mom made it and did such a fantastic job that I decided it could--nay, definitely SHOULD--be used again. So, "Toy Story" became our theme for the year. It was easy enough to talk Kyle into being Woody. But what could Matthew be? My mother is the genius of all costume geniuses, and whipped up the cutest Rex costume for the beeb.

Kyle as Sheriff Woody
Lucas as Buzz Lightyear
Matthew as Rex the dinosaur
In case you can't see how awesome Matthew's costume is, here are a few close-ups:

Dinosaur head. I'm told my fantastic mother made this up
on the fly--no pattern whatsoever.
Dino tail
Curly dino toes (Did dinosaurs have curved toes?
Well, this one did)
We spent the evening in Sandy in our old neighborhood. There is a gentleman there who throws a huge barbecue on Halloween every year, so my sister, brother, and I took Buzz and Woody to eat dinner. Then, we met up with Cole, Matthew, and two of Cole's brothers' families to go trick-or-treating. Kyle was so excited to hang out with his best buddy Riker. We took a quick turn around the neighborhood, and the kids tired out way before the adults did (not sure how much longer that will last). We headed back to Bumpy & Gammy's to check out the spoils, and Cole and I "inspected" the boys' candy. I must have been feeling benevolent, because we actually left quite a bit of good candy for them! :)

"You've got a friend in me..."
Oh, and you see how Lucas has a gun, too? There were two in the package that came with Kyle's belt and holster, and Lucas insisted on carrying his revolver around with him everywhere.

11.05.2012

What I Made Monday: Fall Trio

Even though I don't really need any more fall decorations, I fell in love with this set and HAD to do it. Besides, it's something I can keep up from September-November, so it was a good investment. :) I seriously counted down until Sep. 1 so I could display this trio.

Maple leaf

Pumpkin

Sunflower


I think this set is my favorite of everything I've made so far. It's probably because I used a variety of different decorating techniques and I feel like it shows my versatility as a crafter. I look back at some of the first things I made, and I can definitely tell that I've improved.

10.18.2012

Throwback (and Thankful) Thursday: Dear Kyle

I can't believe today is your 5th birthday! It seems like only yesterday that I found out you were joining our family.

Your daddy and I knew it was time to start our family; we just didn't know it would happen so fast! It was barely more than a month before we found out you were in my belly. I didn't want to believe it at first, because if it didn't turn out to be true I would have been devastated. Fortunately, Daddy was confident enough for the both of us, and I took a test. When it was positive, we quietly smiled, cried a little, and hugged.

We wanted to wait before telling people about you (just to make sure you were healthy and strong), but neither your daddy nor I are very good at keeping secrets. It was your uncle Dan who managed to work it out first, and he thought he was pretty awesome. We ended up telling Grandma and Papa just before our first appointment with my doctor. They were so excited to hear about you, because you would be their first grandchild. Telling Gammy and Bumpy was a little harder because they were away, but when they found out you were coming, they were just as excited.

I remember the first time we saw you. It was at our first doctor's appointment. I was so glad he wanted to do an ultrasound, because it still didn't feel real. After all, I couldn't see you or feel you moving yet, so it was hard to believe you were there. I remember thinking you looked like a little jelly bean.

Our very first picture of you
We were so grateful to hear a nice, strong heartbeat and know that everything looked good.

I have to admit, I wasn't always excited to be pregnant with you. There were days that I couldn't really get off the couch because you made me so sick. I was finishing up my last little bit of school, and I'm so grateful I had nice teachers who understood and took it easy on me. :) I graduated from BYU with you still in my belly, and it is still one of my greatest accomplishments.

Me (and you, too!) on my graduation day
Daddy and I counted down the days until we could find out whether you were a girl or a boy. We didn't care one way or the other, honestly, but I knew you were going to be a boy (I knew you would be a boy before I even married Daddy, but that's a different story...). 

When the day finally came, we were so excited to get a chance to see you again! The nurse even gave us a video of the ultrasound so we could show you to our family.

Such a handsome profile!
We hoped you would cooperate and show us whether you were a boy or a girl, and you did not disappoint--you weren't shy in the slightest!

You left no doubt whatsoever...
The nurse gave us a bunch of really great pictures of you. This is one of my favorites, even if it is a little creepy...


We didn't have a hard time figuring out a name for you. We already had our boy names narrowed down to two (funny enough, our other boy name was Lucas...but we got to use that one for your brother later!). We knew we wanted to name you after Bumpy, because you would be the first grandchild to carry on the Christensen name. So, before we even met you we knew your name would be Kyle Steven Christensen.

My belly grew and grew. I started to feel you move the night after we found out you were a boy. After that, it seemed like you never stopped moving! I remember your uncle Dan loved to sit by me and watch you roll and kick, because you were so strong we could see you from the outside!

Sometimes, I might have taken advantage of by big belly...

Yes, I used you as a table for my cereal
 You liked it when I played the piano.


The summer that year seemed to stretch on forever! We couldn't wait until fall because we knew that was when you would make your debut. We wondered (and maybe hoped a little!) that you would come early. But, the days went by, and you stayed put. 

This was about 3 weeks before you were born
I started to worry that you would stay in my belly forever! I loved having you there, but my belly was getting big and awkward and a little uncomfortable and I wanted to see your little face more. We went to the doctor the day you were "supposed" to come, and he gave us the best news: if you didn't come by yourself before then, you would definitely be born in one week! We were so excited. Of course we wanted you to come on your own, but at least we knew we would see you soon!

Well, you didn't come by yourself. I should have known you wouldn't--you're just as stubborn as I've ever been. The night before you were born, my uncle came over and helped your daddy give me a blessing of comfort and safety. Daddy and I went to bed late that night, and I'm not sure either of us really slept much--we were too excited! We woke up bright and early the next morning (which happened to be a Thursday, just like today), got dressed, and headed to the hospital. We got all checked in and ready to go, and by about 7:00 I was all hooked up to the medicine that was going to help you come.

(this next part is more for me to remember)

I remember the contractions starting out pretty painful right off the bat. I didn't think it would hurt so much at the beginning, and I was kind of disappointed. I wanted to see how much I could do by myself without an epidural, and it didn't look like I was going to get very far. I made it about 3 hours before I couldn't take any more and asked for the anesthesiologist. At around 10:30 he got my epidural placed and the pain was gone instantly. It might have been a little overdone because I couldn't feel ANYTHING. Cole was amazed, because he watched the contractions on the monitor get progressively bigger without any response from me. After that, things got really boring. I watched some TV (mostly A Baby Story--after all, I was in the middle of my own baby story!) and slept. Cole even squeezed a nap in! My sister came over to visit on her lunch break from work, and it was somewhere around that time that the nurses declared me fully dilated. But, instead of pushing right away, my doctor let me "rest and descend"--meaning, I sat around some more while my body naturally pushed the baby down. That probably lasted for nearly two hours, and let me tell you, it got pretty tedious. We even got a little impatient, because we thought "fully dilated" meant "let's push this baby out NOW" and we didn't want to wait any more. Looking back, I'm so grateful my doctor didn't have me start pushing before he did because I probably would have been pushing for HOURS. Around 6:45 my doctor rolled in and everything was set up for delivery. I pushed for less than 20 minutes, and Kyle was born.

(back to Kyle's story)

When the nurses first saw your head they all talked about how much dark hair you had. One even joked about putting a bow in it! You were born with a little conehead--the doctor said you looked like a pterodactyl. They put you on my belly, Daddy cut your umbilical cord, and then they weighed and measured you and got you all cleaned up. I think they were a bit surprised that you came so fast, because you were pretty big--9 pounds, 8 oz., 22 inches long. You cried and cried and yelled some more, but I wasn't really surprised, because being born is hard work! We had called Grandma and Papa earlier in the day so they could come down and see you, and they made it not very long after you were born. Aunt Stephanie came from work to see you, too.

We visited for a while and everyone helped us move to our new room in the hospital where we would stay for the next couple of days. Papa took some pictures of us with you, and we both look really tired (it had been a really long day).

Mommy and Kyle

Daddy and Kyle. I promise he was happy; he was just really tired
The next day we had lots of visitors! Grandma Great came with my aunt Melinda and your Christensen aunts and uncles and cousins came. Everyone was so excited to meet you! The nurses in the nursery also had a great time playing with your hair.

They gave you a little faux-hawk
We stayed one more day at the hospital before coming home. I remember being so scared. I didn't know anything about taking care of a baby! They were just going to let us take you?!? We got everything loaded into the car and got you all dressed in your "go home" outfit. 

Even though you were a pretty big baby, the outfit was
still way too big for you!
The day we brought you home from the hospital was rainy and chilly. We stopped at Wendy's for lunch, then went to pick up some medicine for Mommy. There was a nice lady at the store who made everyone else let us go to the front of the line because she saw that you were a brand new baby. I remember being so grateful to her for that.

We got home on a Saturday afternoon, and we started our life as a family of three.

Kyle, I can't even express how much I love you. The day you were born forever changed my life in so many ways, and I'm so grateful for you. You made me a mommy, and I know I haven't always been perfect, but I've always tried my best. You've grown and changed in so many ways, but you've stayed the same, too. Each day that you grow older makes me a little sad, because I know that one day you'll become a big, strong man. But, no matter how big you get, I hope you always remember that I am your mommy and you are my little boy.

"I'll love you forever.
I'll like you for always.
As long as I'm living,
My baby you'll be."

Happy birthday to my beautiful firstborn!

I love you forever,
Mommy

10.15.2012

What I Made Monday: Halloween

I have a lot of Halloween decorations, but they're all kind of the same--jack-o-lanterns, ghosts, the like. I wanted something different to spice things up. These candy corn fit the bill perfectly, not only because they're distinctive but also because we can't get enough candy corn at our house this time of year.




This monster trio was too adorable to pass up. My sisters, mom, and I made these for our craft night during the Priesthood session of General Conference.



I think of this one as my "Lucas monster" because it has a rather adorable underbite, just like my Lucas. :)


I also needed a Halloween-y door hanger, so I made this witch. Cole told me "Witches don't need bows!", to which I replied, "everything is better with a bow." (am I right, fellow crafters?)


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