Sunday, January 31, 2010

November 2009: Nate and Liesel in Utah

Near the beginning of November, Nathaniel and Liesel were on their track break so we put them on an airplane by themselves and sent them off to visit Grandma and Grandpa Jensen for a week. I don't know who was more or them...probably me. They had a great time though, arrived safe and sound, had a great week and didn't even get homesick! We gave them our old camera to take some pictures. Here's a couple from their visit to see the dinosaurs at Thanksgiving Point.

Liesel and her cute little cousin, Stella

Thursday, January 21, 2010

November 2009: James' First Birthday

James turned one November 2nd. Ben brought home balloons for him and he LOVED those balloons! He ran around excited all night carrying the balloons everywhere. He even held on to them while he opened and played with this presents! I think he only let go once to hold his toy phone!

He was so cute when I put the whole top part of the cake on his high chair. He was sooo excited!

He did not hesitate and dug right in. He knew what to do! It was as if he had been waiting for this a whole year!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

October 2009

Ben and I celebrated our 12th anniversary in October. We have a tradition started on our first anniversary to eat out at an Italian restaurant. But this year it fell on a Sunday so Ben cooked up an amazing meal for us.

Ben's friend Daniel and his brother, T. Jay came to Vegas and they all went to a U2 concert.

Nathaniel was a dragon tamer. Yes..."tamer" not "slayer". That's a baby dragon on his shoulder.
Annika and Elora were both sweet fairies.

Liesel and her second cousin Rylee were both witches.

This is Annika and the kids' other second cousin Kennedy.

I love this picture below. It's the end of the night and everyone is checking out their loot. James had slept through all the trick-or-treating and woke up to candy heaven! Elora sees him coming though and is not about to let him get at hers!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

September 2009

Annika started Kindergarten this school year. She is LOVING school! We are on a track system here and Nathaniel and Liesel are on a different track than Annika so sometimes she is off and they are on and vice versa. When she is off and they are in session, she misses school so much that she wants to pretend she is going to school. She packs a lunch, gets all ready and does some school projects at home. She has a great Kindergarten teacher that does cute projects with the kids and teaches them lots of songs with actions which Annika adores! She is such a song and dance girl! Since the time she was tiny she has loved music and dancing. She has quite the rhythm too! I don't know where she gets it! She is starting to read and we are just so thrilled that she enjoys school so much and has such a desire to learn! (Hooray for great teachers who inspire and don't squelch kids enthusiasm for life and learning!)

The girls were doing all kinds of silly poses on the first-day-of-school-pictures. Actually Annika was trying to look cute and Elora was trying to be as silly as possible!

Nathaniel and Liesel are both on the Honor Roll as they are every year! I am so proud of them for working hard on their school work. Nathaniel has always loved reading and Liesel has become quite the little bookworm too lately! She loves mysteries and anything about princesses or fairies. She told me recently that sometimes when she reads a book she can think of all kinds of things the author could have added to make it more interesting!

Ben, T. Jay, and Jerry went to Denver in September for a Broncos game. I think it was a great chance for them to have some brother-father-son bonding time! ( I wish I had a picture of the three of them together!)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

August 2009

In August my sister, Missy and her family came to visit. The kids swam and swam and played and played. They were in heaven. We got to see a live mermaid in this fish tank at a hotel! One of the fun things about Vegas is all the cool hotels with free things to see inside them! We have learned that if you park at a hotel parking structure and then go inside the hotels from there, a lot of the hotels are connected and you can avoid all the bad stuff on the streets. This one with the mermaid isn't even on the strip so that's nice! Missy and Shawn got to have a little fun out on a couple dates and watched our kids for us while we went out too! It was so nice!
We discovered a fairly inexpensive museum to take the kids to.

There were some pretty scary dinosaurs there but Annika managed to find one really nice tame one! : )

It was also Nathaniel's birthday on the 7th of August. The Hollenbecks were there to celebrate with us along with a couple of Nathaniel's friends. We went up to Mt. Charlston about 1 hour from our house and had a picnic. It is a beautiful forested mountain with streams and good hiking and amazing views. But I, of course, forgot to take any pictures. Perhaps I was too busy trying to stay warm. It was pretty cold! We knew it would be cooler but it was August so we were thinking cool..not COLD! The kids had fun anyway and it's always nice to get out in nature! We will have to go again sometime and remember to take pictures! I didn't even get a picture of Nathaniel with his cake and his friends! : (

July 2009

In July for Independence Day we had the missionaries over for dinner and then headed to our bishop's parents' home for a birthday party/4th of July celebration. It was such a beautiful night. I wish I had taken some pictures. There was a full moon, the kids were swimming and playing with sparklers in the Watson's amazing backyard and people were letting off fireworks all around that we could see. Plus everyone at the party brought a ton of fireworks! It was such a fun way to spend the fourth. My parents were up to visit a few days before that so we had a little celebration with fireworks then too. And then again on July 5th we let the kids do a few more sparklers at bed time so there are pictures of them running around in their pajamas. We love living in a state where we are allowed to do fireworks ourselves! We did have one little fire on our grass though that we had to put out. Oops!

We also took a trip to AZ in July and got to visit my parents cabin since the kids, especially Nathaniel, had been begging to go there all summer!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

June 2009

On June 6, 2009 our beautiful Liesel was baptized. It was also her birthday. We gave her the choice to be baptized on her birthday or wait till the next month. She was so excited and wanted to be baptized on the very day she turned eight. It was a wonderful, joyful day!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

May 2009

In May, things settled down a bit in our house. The floors were done. (You can kind of see how the downsairs floors look in this picture below.) And the yard was completed. This was a relief since as Annika said once that she didn't want to play in a backyard that was covered with "smokes and poops"! There was no landscaping and the previous owners apparently NEVER bothered to clean up their pets' messes and apparently they liked to smoke in the backyard too...A LOT. It really was disgusting! We had a few unpleasant surprises like that. I guess that's what you get when you buy a foreclosed home! Oh well, the "smokes and poops" and relentless animal hair is now gone and it feels like our own home at last. The girls had fun from May to Sept. swimming in our portable pool and running through the sprinklers.

Annika turned 5 May 7th. Things had been so crazy for so long that it was nice to enjoy a little party with just our little family. She loved her new bike and rides so fast she scares us sometimes.

Elora also had a birthday on May 19th. She turned 3 years old. She got a wedding dress to dress up in and I think she looked so angelic in it. I know this picture will have to be shown at her wedding reception someday!
This was my first experiment at making an ice-cream cake. Our family isn't too fond of regular cake for some reason so I tried something new. There is no cake in it. It has a cookie crumb crust like a cheesecake and two layers of ice-cream (Chocolate ice-cream and vanilla ice cream with raspberry puree mixed in it with ganache and raspberries on the top. It was a winner. Now everyone requests ice-cream cake on their birthdays. No more wasted birthday cakes! Yeah!

On Memorial Day weekend we took another trip to Utah so we could see my sister-in-law Shaunna and her adorable kids who live in Texas. We rarely get to see them so we wanted to take advantage of the opportunity while they were up visiting Jerry and Kit.

We went to Thanksgiving point and visited this adorable little farm! The kids got to pet bunnies, ride horses, ride a stage coach, go on a hay ride and see all kinds of farm animals. It was so fun! Elora still talks about it and calls it "my Grandma's farm"! Annika, Emmerson(Shaunna's daughter), Elora, Liesel

Emmerson and Annika

Ben and James