Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"1 Clo"

I was doing laundry yesterday and had a pile of clothes in the laundry basket that I was pulling out one and a time and treating. Pepper was with me and was looking in the laundry basket saying, "Clothes! Yook, Mommy, clothes! Der dey are! Story's jammies! Pepper's dress!" etc. etc. You get the idea...if you haven't caught on yet, Pepper talks a lot. Incessant. So cute. I love it. Anyway, "Clothes!"

Soon there was only one of Story's sleepers in the basket and Pepper said, "One Clo! One clo, Mommy." haha! Never knew the singular of clothes before...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Family Pictures and Updates on the Girls

Check out that frown! This pretty much sums up how thrilled Pepper was for family pictures

Our friend Emmy took some family pictures for us! Of course we picked the one day in the midst of weeks of beautiful weather that it was FREEZING cold outside!! It was around 40 degrees and we were not prepared. I seriously had no idea it was so cold because it had been warm all week! Anyway, we were freezing and my girls were not happy! Emmy is awesome and is going to do single shots of Story and some with both girls later. We did get some good shots (or at least where all of us are looking at the camera!) in spite of it all! I think next time we'll do pictures in the summer!

There were a lot of cute ones of Pepper actually. I had a hard time choosing which ones to put on here! Maybe I am just a biased Mom and think every picture of my kids is cute!

Here are some updates on the kidlets:

I raked a bunch of leaves this morning in the front yard and had Story in the bouncer and Pepper was playing with sidewalk chalk and just running around. I felt a little bad for Story just sitting by herself (this is not an uncommon occurrence and I always feel bad! I try to give her lots of toys to hold, things to look at, etc!!!) so I told Pepper to go talk to Story and say hi. She stayed by me for a minute and then said, "Go say hi. Story." and proceeded to walk all the way around the yard (on the sidewalk...couldn't cross the grass?) went up to Story and said, "Hi Story!" and then came right back by me. ha! Kind of had a longer interaction in mind...but it was nice of her to go say hi!

At lunch today I was telling Pepper the story of Goldilocks and the three bears and using different voices for Papa, Mama, and Baby bear. After lunch, Pepper was playing with toys and I could hear her saying, "Someone eating my porridge!" over and over in different voices. Cracked me up!

I LOVE this stage Pepper is in. She is so fun! Her eyes light up with excitement at the simplest things! And sometimes the silliest things - like a hat or shoes or a letter magnet! She is so full of joy for life and its so so fun. Its so fun too to talk with her. We just have little conversations and it is fun to hear what she is thinking. Not to mention convenient. She can communicate with words everything she needs, which is so nice! I don't realize it until I am around other kids her same age who can't really speak at all - other than a few words - and I feel really grateful.

Things she loves to do these days:

Wear necklaces. If they don't fit over her head they make GREAT headbands.

Wear shoes. She tries on lots of pairs, switches them often, and sometimes even carries around an extra pair. She is super good at putting them on by herself and usually gets them on the right feet...but not always!

Wear hats. (Are we sensing a trend?!) She will also change this frequently and carry around TWO other ones...one for each hand. Never know when you'll need to change your hat...

Clean up. This may sound weird, but she is really conscious of things being in their place. Not like she always puts all her toys away or anything, but she is good about cleaning up when we ask. And often she does do it on her own. This morning after playing with some straws (for sippy cups) she was about to go upstairs and she stopped and excitedly said, "Oh! Put dem away!" then turned around, put them in the drawer, and then went upstairs. Things like that - she does it all the time! Mostly, I think it is awesome, but a little part of me hopes I am not raising a neat freak! :)

Watch people and things (like garbage trucks, squirrels, dump trucks...whatever) She is still really observant. She frequently surprises me with the things she notices and the things she remembers.

Sing. This is new and really fun! She is getting pretty good!


Jump. She is getting awesome at this! Maybe because does it ALL the time! Both feet get off the ground pretty far! And her jumping is not restricted to the ground. Her bed is also a favorite jumping spot. She will grab different toys and put them on her bed and then jump and watch them bounce. "I jump ah hippos!" "I jump da bear!" So fun. Everytime.

Run around in circles and laugh. Love this. She also will run and say, "run run run! run run run!"

Read. She LOVES books and I often find her sitting down with a pile of books around her just "reading." And of course, I read a ton to her and we frequent the library often.

Story is 6 months old! She is becoming more and more of a little person each day and is so fun. Things she loves to do:

Spit up. No really, it is her favorite thing and she does it ALL the time. She (and consequently me as well, thank you so much) nearly always is wet and smelling like spit up. Good thing she is so cute. We change clothes a lot and use lots of burp cloths!

Hold on to things and suck on them and drool all over. She is getting really good at reaching for and grabbing what she wants and taking it right where she wants it. Her mouth.

Smile! She is such a happy smiley baby. We love it!

Suck her thumb. But, mostly just when really tired or falling asleep...this is improvement!

Stand. Sitting? Not so much. Although, she IS getting much better and tonight she actually sat in the boppy without falling on her face for a couple of minutes!

Watch Pepper. She is pretty fascinated and amused by her older sister and often smiles and laughs when she is near. It is getting more and more fun to watch them interact. I can't wait for them to be best little buddies!

Notice the spit up?!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Brain Barf

Sometimes I just feel the need to brain barf. Do you know what I mean? I just feel like writing all the things going on in my head. They don't really need to fit into any cohesive framework or solve any problem or mean anything to anyone in particular....or even make sense! (And sometimes they really don't make sense. And when I read them later I think to myself, "Self, why did you write that?") But, I just want to think and write and get it all out. Perhaps its like a colon cleanse, only much more pleasant. See? Things like that. Should never be said...but, I'm brain barfing, so it doesn't matter! That's the beauty of it all. So, fair warning: you probably shouldn't read the rest of this post. Leave now while you can! It may be long. It may be ugly. It may be annoying, or slightly embarrassing, or incredibly boring, or none or all of the above.

I'm grateful today for many things! First, my niece-in-law (how many of you can say you have one of those?!) for inspiring me to be full of gratitude. Winner. Let's just say that FAMILY is one of the most awesome things...ever. Seriously. Think about all of the things that bring you great joy or the most meaningful experiences in your life - don't they mostly all involve family? If they don't, I find that sad. We had the missionaries over for dinner the other night and we talked about the importance of families. I think most people, me included, don't really grasp how important family is - and maybe that is why we don't spend the time and effort we should in building and maintaining really good relationships with them...just sayin.

Other things I am grateful for:
clean blinds (they were SO gross and I really feel a sense of renewal...)
friends to be with at the park
a roof over my head and a really nice house that we pay fantastic rent on - blessing!
freedom to worship as I please
people who think long and hard and come up with novel solutions to long standing problems
my wonderful husband (I'll spare you the lovey-dovey list of great qualities for now)
laughter from my cute cute girls...which makes me want to just say:

I have the best little girls EVER! I know I am completely biased and that's okay because they are mine and I can think they are awesome and adorable and hilarious in ways that others just can't appreciate. That being said, I hope to be the kind of mother who adores her children with a firm grasp on reality as well. You know the moms who think their children walk on water and can never ever do anything wrong? Lame. I hope to never be like that. But I also think that to be a good mom you really do need to have on some rose colored glasses, to look past mistakes, to see the potential and intent of your children and to forgive and forget as quickly as they do. I think you need to love them in all their quirky stages and annoying habits and take joy in each day with them! One of my sisters is SO good at this! She really just loves being a mom and taking care of her kids and so what happens? She is more patient, more understanding, more forgiving, more fun! I want to be like that. Not like every day will be a basket full of sunshine and daisies, but I think attitude makes an incredible difference! Well, I digress. I really just wanted to say that I love my little girls and I am so grateful they are in our family! They are so good and it is so fun to watch them learn and grow. Pepper says things all the time that amaze me and crack me up and make me grin. Today while she was in the bath I read from the Book of Mormon (I was admittedly trying to multi-task and get her in bed sooner...why? So I could brain barf on the internet? ...no. I think I had other plans. Can't remember exactly what they were...but, in my defense, I was really effective today! Maybe that's why I feel the need to do this mindless exercise). I always ask her after we read what we learned and then talk about what we read. So I said, "What did we learn?" She says, "Jesus." "What about Jesus?" She pauses and says, "umm...follow him!" Yes! I love little things like that. I know others probably don't care about all the things she says all day, but if I could, I would just write all of them down so I could remember them because I think she is so fun and so funny! I guess that is a mother's prerogative (btw, did you know that is how you spell prerogative?! Weird.)

I got some new slippers from Kohl's for Christmas. Yes, Christmas. All of our Christmas shopping is done and opened. We're so lame. Or poor. Or both. But, regardless, they have changed my life. It is stinkin cold on hard wood floors and in Cleveland...and I just feel like a new woman with these little pieces of heaven on my feet.

The last few days have been really nice weather, nice change, and I have been taking advantage of it by running with the girls everyday. LOVE it! Love my double jogger. Love that I got it for a screamin deal on Craigslist. Love that my girls love to be in it. We've gone to the park almost every day this week and I have met some really nice people there. It's fun to meet new people and see what they are like. I think I am so used to the kind of people that I am normally with that I forget there are so many other kinds of people out there...and they are cool! And nice. I like that.

A friend of mine and I have been meeting once a week and clogging. It's been so fun to get back into it and remember steps and learn a dance. I remember why I love it so much and that it really is great exercise! I know this is super lame (I feel like I have used that word a lot in the last few minutes), but I really want to learn a dance and perform it. I miss performing! Maybe I am vain and want it all to be about me or something! But, I just love to perform and I really miss being on stage. That is not to say I am the best performer or anything. I am sure many would be quick to tell me that I am not. But, I love it. and miss it. And, I think I will just learn one and make my sweet husband and girls watch. ha ha! The JOYS of family! AGAIN!

That's it. It worked. Now my brain has turned off and I don't want to write anymore. Now I think it is time for some Raisin Bran. Lately I just can't get enough of the raisin bran. That, and it's past 10 pm which means I am suddenly ravenous.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Free Cute Photos!

This awesome girl in our ward is a photographer and had a free Halloween photo shoot to get name out there. Pretty fun! You can check out her photography site here.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Happy Halloween!

I love this chub-a-lub baby! Actually, I don't think 2nd percentile in weight counts as chub-a-lub, but she is so dang cute!! I am actually excited for Halloween this year. I think its because of my munchkins.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Hooray for Grandparents!

I'm a couple weeks overdue in posting this, but I am still proud of myself for doing it! :) We were lucky enough to have Grandma and Grandpa Orr come visit for a few days at the end of September and it was SO FUN! We loved having them here and wish we lived closer. We got to go to Kirtland, which was of course fabulous. Daddio spent most of his time fixing our bathroom floor, changing all our outlets from two-prong to three-prong (so helpful!), making doors for our attic (awesome), and putting in a new shower head...and buying us an AWESOME new tv...and the list goes on. We feel too grateful to adequately say thanks for all their love and service! Mom even mowed our lawn and of course loved and loved and loved our sweet kiddos! It has surprised me as a mom how much I LOVE having our parents spend time with and play with our kids. I want them to be around and make memories and build those relationships with grandparents. Every time they are laughing and reading and talking...I just...love it.
Here are some pictures:

Pepper loved reading with "Gampa Uhhrr" A couple of days after they left, I was hammering a nail into the wall in our room. Her room is next to ours and I had just put her down for a nap. I heard her say from the other room in a very excited voice, "Gampa Uhhrr?!" Obviously she associates hammering with Grandpa.

Wow, SUCH a good stacker, Pepper. Good job! And, let's just note how she insists on wearing at least one (or four) necklaces EVERY day.

Swinging in the back yard with Grandma! I love this picture and just wish she would have actually looked at me!

Grandma with the girlies! Those mums Mom bought us in the background have all bloomed now and they are SO pretty!


I love this girl.

At the Indians game! It was a really exciting game and we actually won! Pepper got a little scared when the fireworks started at the end of the game, but warmed up to them by the end. Story just slept through all of it.

Story sucking her thumb! The little rascal. She also pulls her ear out while sucking with her other hand and, if you haven't noticed already, that ear already sticks out a bit. I think she'll be mad at herself later. But, meanwhile, she sure is cute. She actually sucks her thumb much less these days...you know, now that I am feeding her enough! Sad story for those who are interested.

She is such a happy girl! Always smiling, we love it!

Hanging out with Grandpa!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Thank you, nice Jewish man.

If you'd like to call me, just be prepared to leave a message and I'll be sure to call you back. See, I won't hear your phone call because my phone doesn't ring! No external noises at all. Why, you ask? Well, it appears that I left it on the hood of my car and drove off. It fell a few blocks down the street...got run over a couple of times...and got rained on! Thankfully, a nice Jewish man (have I mentioned that we live in Little Jerusalem? Seriously. Our neighborhood is primarily Jewish - which is great. They are awesome neighbors!) saw it in the street (in the rain), got out of his car to pick it up, called my parents to get ahold of me, and then drove it to me at my house! How nice is that? I am so thankful that he is so awesome and that my phone works...mostly!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Pepper's Quotes of the Day

Pepper is at a super fun age right now and is just talking up a storm! She's so smart and I am constantly amazed at what she knows and understands. These are two funny things she said today.

In the car on the way to the store:
Me: We're going to have sweet potatoes for dinner. What should we eat with our sweet potatoes?
Pepper: ummm...a fork!

haha! Of course, yes, we will eat them with a fork! Why didn't I think of that?

Pepper has recently started saying prayers with our help. Today at dinner she was "saying" the prayer and I said, "Dear Heavenly Father" and she said, "Dear Jesus upstairs" We just laughed...do we explain at this point that we don't pray to Jesus, just in His name?! We figured she'll figure that one out eventually. For now I guess we'll just be glad that she's tying it all together and knows that Jesus (whom she sees on her bedroom wall upstairs) is a really important part of prayers! She has also started adding her own items to the list of thanks:

Me: We're thankful for the food.
Pepper: Swee potao. Chicken. Fork. Mommy's fork...

She's hilarious and we love her more and more each day!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Corn and smiles. Corny smiles.

I think if I could invent a camera that actually does justice to real life I'd make a lot of money! Here is Story giving a smile, but of course she is a even a million times cuter than this picture shows.

And Pepper has discovered that she loves corn on the cob! I was cutting it off for her, but she stole the sister missionary's cob right off her plate and started munching. Now she won't have it any other way and she'll down the whole thing!

Here is Pepper on the swing at the farm where we went apple picking yesterday (so cute, by the way). She looks entirely too grown up!

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Yes, I AM posting. I know. You all thought we had died. Turns out we're alive! And in Cleveland, Ohio of all places! We're here for medical/PhD school at Case Western Reserve University and we'll call it home for 7 years. At least. Taylor (side note: T.J. has decided that he is all grown up now and is going by Taylor. It's so super weird when your husband changes his name. I guess I'll just be glad he didn't choose to change his gender.) is doing an MD/PhD program that is perfectly aligned with his career goals of 1) being an awesome doctor and 2) changing our health system through research and policy. He is super excited and rightfully so as he snatched the single spot for the program and the attending grant money (awesome!). We're so grateful and really liking it out here. The people are so nice, we've made great friends, and there are tons of awesome things to do with the kids.

What else has happened in the last...year plus since I wrote? Well, I graduated and am now Master Christensen! :) My thesis was published in a good journal and I wrapped a few other publications under my belt for good measure. I'm still occasionally working with my professor on manuscripts just keep a toe in the door. Just in case.

We had a family reunion (well, half of the fam!) and got to see lots of family and we also got to see a lot of them on the drive out to Ohio. It was so so fun and made moving so far away that much harder! I may or may not have shed some tears.

Oh! And you know, we had a baby! Story Ann Christensen born in May and she is such a doll! We love her to bits! Ann is after Taylor's mom, Julie Ann. She and Pepper are 16 months apart and both are keeping me busy! Story is so sweet. She loves to suck on her hands and her thumb (much to my chagrin) and smiles and laughs and is starting to babble. We love it! Pepper likes her, but doesn't quite understand that she isn't a doll. She likes to see her and touch her and pull her off the couch on to her head. Needless to say it is impossible to leave them in the same room alone unless Story is safely strapped to something.

Pepper is growing up too fast and is all talk. Seriously, she talks all day! Full sentences and learning more and more every day. We love it! She runs all around and still loves to read books. She loves being outside, playing with rocks, sticks, dirt, dogs, and jumping in puddles (there are lots of those here - it rains a ton!) We have a tire swing in our back yard and she loves loves loves to swing. Taylor pushes her so high and she holds on like a champ! I just can't watch! She is such a smart girl, so helpful and so sweet. We can't get enough of her! Okay, occasionally I can. But, I still love her to bits!

The last few weeks we had our sister-in-law Krystle and her little girl Royal staying with us. It was SO fun!!! We had a blast and I loved having a friend around all the time to talk with, cook yummy food with, and help clean up and watch kids. We went to Kirtland (it's only 25 minutes from our house. So, if you're ever visiting church history sites...you'd better come stay with us! We have stellar air mattresses, good conversation, and great grub! Seriously though, we'd love to have you.), saw some Amish sites, went to a "petting zoo," the Children's museum, science center, libraries, parks, and Pepper learned how to be tough. We were so sad to see them leave!

Okay, I promised myself that I wouldn't try to play catch-up. But, I am going to sincerely try to be better about blogging every now and then from now on. I can't even keep up in my journal! But, since this counts as that too, I suppose it is worth the effort.