Saturday, December 18, 2010


Psssssst!!!  Look over there.  To the right.  --------------->

Notice anything new?  :-D

Trust me, we were more surprised than you.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Lookalikes or not?

I love freshly washed babies.  I love wrapping them up in their super soft towels and snuggling them.  They're always so cute, that I have to take a bunch of pictures.  Seriously, I have a lot.  Anyway, I was thinking, hey! Both kids in the same pose?  Smells like a comparison blog to me.  So here you go.  Jason at 15 months and Jilly at 2 years old, wrapped up in the same towel after a bath.  How much do you think they look alike?

To me, the older they get, the less alike they look.  Jason is much skinnier and longer, whereas Jilly had (still has) those chubby cheeks.  She definitely looks like her dad and he definitely looks like his mom.  But they still look related.  You also see the difference in personalities.  Jason is more reserved, more serious, whereas Jilly is just silly and goofy and shows it. 

Either way, I can't get enough of these two!  Love them!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What a difference!

When we got married, we didn't have tons of furniture and everything was second hand.  I had a loveseat that had originally been my dad's, given to another friend after his death, and eventually came back to me.  Steve had an old loveseat of his cousin's.  We had some other stuff that we'd collected over the years.  Well, here were are 5 years later and we still have the same stuff.  However, it's now all 10+ years old and having gotten a lot of use by us, friends and two crazy kids.  It was really starting to show it's age.

Here's a rough look of how we were arranged before.

Toy shelf next to the blue loveseat.

Blue loveseat and black loveseat at right angle, with end table in the corner. 

Blue loveseat across from the entertainment center, and the beautiful picture of Christ above the black loveseat.
 And the DVD rack in the corner, next to the entertainment center, blocked off by the rocking chair, toy container and another tub.

The blue loveseat of mine was one of those with two recliners attached to each other.  Neither sat up straight anymore and tacks and staples were coming out all over.  Not to mention The Great Rift Valley was growing between the two recliners, where the kids hid all sorts of toys and snacks and other assorted materials.  The black loveseat was losing all the stuffing and the springs were wearing out.  So this meant that if you sat down and leaned back too fast, then you would slam your head into the wooden frame.  There were holes and stains all over this stuff and they were beyond repair.  But it just wasn't in the budget to get new stuff, so we lived with it, because it was (just barely) better than sitting on the floor. 

A few months ago, my mom and step-dad mentioned they wanted to get a new couch for their family room.  As such, they would be getting rid of their current couch and chair + ottoman.  They knew that we needed new stuff, so they promised it to us.  They needed some time to order the new stuff, so we made so.  Then a couple weeks ago, they decided to bring over the furniture because they needed the room empty to paint while waiting for the new couch.  SWEET!!!!  It took us a little bit to move things around and decide how we wanted it all laid out, but we settled on a new arrangement and we LOVE IT!!!  They gave us a black leather couch and a tan microfiber chair + ottoman.  Both haven't been used very heavily, even though they're a few years old, so they're in great condition.  Plus, the leather is great for kids because it's so easy to clean!  We got rid of a couple things in the room and man, it feels so much cleaner now!  So here's the new layout:

Black couch along the wall where the toy shelf and blue loveseat were.  With the chair & ottoman in the corner, where the end table had been.  I re hung the pictures above the couch, centering our wedding photo collage and then adding our wedding photo, needlepoint my cousin made and picture of the San Antonio temple Steve's mom brought us.  We think it keeps a nice wedding theme over there.

 I re-centered the picture of Christ and Mary Magdalene on the wall, so it was more balanced.  There's nothing really on that wall, so it's the focus point of the wall and room.  I love it!!

And we moved the toy shelf over in front of the fireplace (betcha didn't know we had one, because we have always had it obstructed), to block it from the kids.  It's next to the entertainment center now.  The DVD rack got moved to our bedroom, where we keep it away from the kids. 

Overall the apartment is much more balanced and it actually looks nice!!!  It's such a relief to have a presentable living space that has not only comfortable, but non-dangerous furniture!  So come on over, because it's a nice place to hang out. :-D

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Holy Moly, what do I do now?

What's that way down there below me?  Oh yeah.....that's my comfort zone.  I am way beyond it now.  This week I was released from Primary (sniff, sniff) after 3 years and given a new calling.  That's me on the right.

Yup, I was called as the Ward Choir Director.  OH MY.  I am quite daunted by this. I have modest musical talents.  I play a little piano and can read music.  I'm a good complementary choir singer, I can hold the harmony and help bulk up an alto section.  I can even lead music.  BUT I am not a real director.  I do not have a good ear for hearing something wrong and being able to pick out what the problem is and correct it.  I have almost no experience choosing choral music. How am I going to do this?!

In talking with the bishop, he helped put me at ease, at least a little bit.  He expressed that it wasn't so much about wonderfully technical music, as much as getting people to participate.  He gave me some pointers of who to ask for help in choosing music.  He said it didn't matter that I don't have a proper director's ear, it matters that I just give the choir something to follow and can run through the music with them.  *phew!*  I can probably handle that.  Steve gave me some good encouragement too.  He reminded me the choir didn't need to be performing John Rutter, that singing hymns with a slightly varied arrangement would be great.  Hmm...Maybe I can do this after all?

I'm still pretty nervous about how to manage this.  It's pretty far beyond what I'm used to, but I've been in how many choirs, for how many years?  I've probably picked up more than I think in that time.  And if I'm struggling, I know some pretty darn awesome directors out there to lean on.  And basically it all comes down to this:


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Shame on me!

::hangs head in shame::

It's been almost 2 months since I posted.  I am sorry.  Our summer has been busy, but there are still things to be blogged about!  I mean, if you look at our blog, you won't even know Jason turned 1 over two months ago.  Or that we went to Lake Chelan.  Or how Steve's & my birthdays went.  Or how awesome it is that school started again.  Or about the visit from the Halls and Frueans.  That's a lot of stuff not to be blogged about!  So how about this deal?  I will start working on posts, updating about our summer.  And you will comment on them when I post them?  Let's shake on it.  Awesome.

Stay tuned!  If I have my way, something will be up this afternoon.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Day out with Granny!

Today we have an extra special treat!  A guest blog by Granny Sam.  It's short but sweet.  

Jilly spent the night on Thursday and since we were having so much fun, we asked her mom if she could stay another night.  There was more fun to be had.  She said yes.  Saturday morning I asked Jilly if she wanted to get a tattoo with Granny and she said "Yes!" so off we went.  I called Aimee on the way and said, "Jilly and I are on our way to get tattoos."  She said, "That's fine.  Just don't let Jilly get a Dora.  I don't want her looking back on it in 10 years and saying, 'That was so 3 years old!''  

Jilly sat very still while the nice lady did a beautiful purple heart on her left hand.  She even sat still while Granny got a beautiful swirly design on her leg.  It was so much fun that we decided Jilly needed her face painted too.  We topped it off with a pink heart helium balloon and called it a day.

Thank you Granny Sam & Grampa Paul!  Jilly had such a good time grocery shopping, playing in the sprinkler, doing art, playing with bubbles, school clothes shopping at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale (an annual Christensen tradition), going out to Pho and walking along Sunset Ave, etc.  Jason loved having Mommy & Daddy all to himself for a couple days (mostly Daddy, Mommy worked) and getting to actually keep his lovey in his bed because Big Sister wasn't in there to steal it.  Here's to many more sleepovers with grandparents!

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Big East Coast Trip! Part Three - Boston!

The Friday of our trip, we headed out to Boston to visit Steve's college roommate Christian, his wife Tara and their little boys Daniel and James.  The last time we saw them, was literally in the hospital when Jilly was born (they happened to be visiting WA that weekend, since Christian's sister lives near us.)  We've each had another baby since then, and Tara is pregnant with #3 too, so it had been a loooong time.  We had a great two hour drive and arrived at their cute little house for lunch.  After lunch, we loaded up and headed into Boston proper.  We parked at The Common and explored the park for a bit.  Man, it was beautiful!!  The kids hit off right away and Jilly just loved Daniel.  When she'd be getting cranky and refuse to walk, I would tell her "You gotta go catch up with Daniel!" and she'd take off after him.

This is how a lot of the day went.  Daniel would run off to check out something.
Jilly would chase right after him.

James would come along as well.
And all three kiddos would check out whatever it was.
Sometimes with amusing results. 
Jilly was more adventurous, with Daniel and James to lead her, than she often is.  It was really fun to watch her really playing with other kids and exploring more.  They spent a lot of time at this fountain.
There were these cool people that looked like statues.  When someone would tip them, they would move.  It was slightly creepy, but mostly really cool to watch.
We headed out of The Common and along the street.  There were so many pretty churches everywhere, often nestled between two high-rises.
This is the Freedom Trail and you can follow it all around Boston (I think it's like 3.5 miles or something) and check out lots of cool things.  We didn't have time (or the legs) for that long of a walk, but we saw a little of it.
We went into the graveyard where quite a few of the key players in the American Revolution are buried.  It was so cool!!  This was my favorite headstone.
They were just lined up everywhere.
This is Mother Goose's grave.  Apparently, she would tell the stories to her kids and it was either her son or grandson who wrote them all down. 
I can't remember who's grave this was, but someone important.  ;-)
After the graveyard we headed to "The Ducks".  Steve and I thought we were going to feed actual ducks, which was cool, because Jilly is all obsessed with ducks lately.  Little did we know, we were going to metal statues of ducks! We hadn't heard of "Make Way For Ducklings" before, but we learned about it then.  It's a children's book about a family of ducks in the park.  The statues are of the ducklings from the book. 

The kids were flocking around the ducks, sitting on them and having a good time, while us parents hung back and watched.  Then this conversation took place:

Steve: Hey Tara, I'll pay you a dollar to go sit on a duck.  ::snicker::
Tara: Okay!!  ::runs over and sits down::
Steve:  Uhhhh....Aimee, do you have a dollar?  I didn't think she'd do it.
Aimee: ::laughing:: Yeah.  Tara, I'll give you the dollar.
Tara: That's okay, I would have done it for free! 

Daniel made sure to climb up on the big mama duck at the front.  Cute boy!
After hanging out at the ducks for quite awhile and having a snack, we moved on to see a few more Boston sights.  We stopped by Cheers (but did not go in to see if everyone really did know our names. ;-))
Again, more beautiful churches.  There were just so many! 
I could have taken pictures of them all day long.
We walked back through The Common as we headed to the car.  I just loved these fun purple flowers. 
After touring Boston, we decided to go to Jordan's furniture store for dinner.  They have a Fuddruckers in there, which was yummy, then we took the kids over to the "liquid fireworks" show (fountains with lights and music- pretty cool!).  It was getting late, and the kids were tired, so we went back to Christian & Tara's house.  We just had to get pictures of everyone.  First off, the roommates reunited. 

Then all the kiddos.  They are a really cute bunch.
Then the first attempt at the timer on the camera.  Less than stellar.
Attempt #2, much better. 
At last, young love.  Seriously, Jilly loved Daniel so much.  She just followed him everywhere and was so happy to be with him.  We all decided that it was perfectly acceptable for them to get married in 20 years.  :-D 
We had to leave at some point though, and by the time we got on the road it was 10pm.  Luckily, the kids slept pretty much the whole way back to Connecticut.  We had such a good time with the Hahns.  They are so awesome!  We made "plans" to all be back in Texas by the summer of 2012.  We hope it works out, because these kids need to grow up together!

Overall, our trip back east was phenomenal.  It was a lot of work to travel that far with the kids, but it was definitely worth it.  We had a lot of fun with everyone we visited and it was fun to have a vacation. 

The Big East Coast Trip! Part Two - The Reception!

Thursday was the big reception.  It was held at this gorgeous mansion, called The Wadsworth Mansion.  You turn onto the long, tree lined driveway and the house isn't visible from the road.  About a half mile (?) down, the trees open up and you see this beautiful building.  I loved it. 

My aunt and uncle rented two ballrooms and the room in between.  They decorated them beautifully, with white, navy blue and hydrangea blue.

The ballrooms were beautiful.  They used one ballroom and the middle area for most of the tables, where the guests ate dinner and watched the slideshows of both couples.  The other ballroom had a few tables, but was used for dancing. 

There was a really cool grandfather clock in one of the ballrooms and I just had to take a picture.

My boys, dressed up in their finest, eating dinner. 

Steve took Jilly for a walk around the grounds (she was cranky and sick of being inside).  There was a beautiful sunken rose garden, and he got this picture of her smelling the roses.
Back inside, the kids found these vanities with mirrors underneath.  There was one on each side of the foyer as you walk in, and that's where the guestbooks were.  (By the way, the guestbooks were Shutterfly books with each couple's engagement pictures and then guests signed them.  Way cool!)
This is the cake, in the middle area.  You can see the big patio right outside.  The original plan was to have tables outside on the patio, but a thunderstorm rolled through just before the reception.  Smart choice to set up inside.  Anyway, the cake.  The cake topper is from Spain.  My uncle bought it while he was on his mission and brought it home, to use for his wedding, whenever that would be.  It was on his & Auntie Terry's wedding cake, and now has been used on Gator, Robli, Kylee & Ryan's wedding cake.  Very cool.
Here are the couples cutting the cake.  They were mostly pretty nice to each other.  ;-)
After cake, the couples played The Newlywed Game.  Each one held their shoe and their spouse's shoe (so one of each).  Auntie Terry would ask a question like, "Who controls the remote more?" or "Who wants babies more?" and they would have to raise the shoe of that person.  They were mostly on the same page, but there were some funny moments when they disagreed.
Auntie Terry asking the questions.

After the game, it was time to toss the bouquets and garters and dance!  We headed into the empty ballroom, and Robli was showing off how cool her dress looked when she twirled. 

The back of Kylee's dress was beautiful as well.  Two gorgeous brides and two handsome grooms!
Funny story about the bouquet toss.  There was a chandelier right in the middle of the room, where the brides were going to be tossing.  Auntie Terry pointed it out to Kylee, and Kylee turned to Robli and said, "Now make sure you aim low, so you don't hit the chandelier!"  Then Toss!  BAM!!  Kylee splattered her bouquet into the chandelier and several of the roses fell out.  Oops.  Hahahaha.

By the time they had their first dance, our kids were really tired.  So we grabbed a picture with the happy couples and headed home to put the babies to bed.  We only had time for the one picture, so of course, both the kids looked away.  Oh well, you all know what they look like.  ;-)  It was a lovely reception with lots of fun and yummy food.  Congratulations again to Gator & Robli Bell and Ryan & Kylee Bangart!!  We love you guys!!