Sunday, April 26, 2015


When we found out we were moving to Oregon, Brad got wind that the Spruce Goose resides in the state.  He wanted to make an effort to see it while we were here.  In honor of Brad and Christian's birthday, we decided to cross this off the Oregon bucket list last week.

However, the airplane festivities did not start in McMinville on Thursday when we had scheduled our trip to go see the monstrous wooden plane.  Because I have a reluctant napper in the house, I sometimes drive around Albany in the car with the kids in order to get Ivan to fall asleep.  We have a well established loop that I drive through the fields on the outer parts of town.  There are lots of sheep and beautiful green fields, so the drive is fun for the kids and relaxing for me.  Well, Wednesday we were out on our regular route when I saw a plane flying low to the ground up the road a way.  I decided to veer off our normal course and follow the plane assuming it was a crop duster hoping the kids would get to see it.  Well, they did, and it was quite a show!  The crop duster crossed the road just a head of our car at least two or three times and we got to see it release it "vitamin-a-mulch" (as Christian called it) as it dove down close to the ground.  Then right before it finished, it flew up parallel to the road really low to the ground right past our car and then flew up into the air and flew off.  It was so so so fun for the kids to see, and actually quite fun for me too.  It seemed like the pilot knew we were on the road just to see the plane, and he put on a show for us.  Boy, that really geared the kids up for our trip the next day.  They had a lot of fun telling Daddy about the plane when he got home from work.  

As exciting as the crop duster was for us, we had a lot of fun at the Evergreen Air and Space Museum as well.  Out camera ran out of batteries before we got to the space building, so enjoy the planes.  

Celebrating Dad's birthday.  We showed up at his office and brought cupcakes for everyone there.  Ellie and Chris had so much fun picking a present for Dad this year.  Ellie has an obsession with getting dinosaurs for any and every gift.  I usually try to talk her out of the dino gifts, but we decided on a new dinosaur shirt.  Chris didn't keep it a surprise.  Big surprise there, huh?  
Ellie and Dad by the Mustang.  Dad is proudly wearing his Daddysaurus t-shirt she picked out for him
That is one giant wooden plane!  It's not even made of a conifer tree as the name implies.  It is actually made of birch!
Mr Christian flying a helicopter
Ivan having a go at the pilot seat 

Here's the whole family with our new friend, the Spruce Goose.  Quite an impressive plane!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

April, so far...

April is full of fun for our family.  We have two birthdays in April to go along with Easter (most years) and the wonderful spring weather.  We celebrated one birthday yesterday, and are looking forward to the next birthday in another week.  We had a great Easter/Conference weekend as well, so we thought we'd share.
Some members of our ward got together between conference sessions for an Easter egg hunt.  We were lucky that the weather cooperated.  There wasn't any rain, and it was just a lot of fun.  

Aprons on and ready for coloring eggs (Ellie is making bunny ears)

Ellie showing off one of her eggs.  

My mom usually makes hot crossed buns for Easter.  I decided to try the same recipe for our family this year since we couldn't steal any from Grandma's house.  They didn't turn out perfectly (we had one batch that were more like hot crossed pancakes) but I was glad that I tried.  They still tasted great with some frosting on top!

New chalk for Easter.  It has been well used especially since it has been sunny half the day and rainy the other half.  The kids have time to make fun pictures, then they are erased by the rain for more fun the next day.  
Yesterday was Christian's birthday.  It was a pretty normal day besides opening presents and eating cake in the evening. He got to play with his new light saber all day since Ellie woke up first thing in the morning  and couldn't keep her present to him a secret any longer and proceeded to to get him all excited about the new light saber.  We let him open it.  He then picked out a blue outfit to wear all day to match his light saber.  
Christian is loving all the legos he got!  Thanks Grandma and Grandpa Christensen!
Thanks for the book Janel! We made sure to read it before bedtime last night

Christian is a big "site" fan. He loved to help decorate his birthday cake.  
 Christian is such a funny boy to have around.  He is very opinionated and doesn't back down easily.  He has learned well the meaning of time out, but doesn't really care. He loves to say "told ya so" when he knows the outcome of a situation.  He loves playing with his "site" trucks, making almost any object into a gun or spaceship, pretending to be a restaurant cooker, being a "bad guy", leading music,  and of course, he loves to bug his sister.  We love him and can't wait to see how he grows in the next year.

Sunday, March 29, 2015


Ah, spring.  We have been loving spring here in Oregon.  It has really felt like spring since February, so I have loved being able to send the kids outside on good days with no rain for so much of the winter.  Now, flowers are out and trees are blooming, so it really is Spring!  We have been singing "Popcorn" on our car rides around town for a couple weeks now.  I really like spring here.  Blossoms seem to linger longer, and really, the rain isn't bad at all.  As part of spring, we decided to experience the Tulip Festival that is held each year here in Woodburn, Oregon.  Brad is in the midst of a long stretch of work with no days off, so he decided to at least take a half day off so we could go and enjoy the sights.  We were not disappointed.  We have never been to a tulip festival, so this was pretty amazing
Mr. Ivan basking in the sun and loving all the colors and sights
In typical Christian fashion, Christian was all about the tractors sprinkled throughout the tulip fields.  And, in typical Christian fashion, he was too enthralled with the nobs and wheels to take the time to look at the camera for a pic.  This was the best pic, and is was on the PINK tractor.  Christian's favorite color of tulip was yellow and orange. 

Ellie looking cute next to the tulips.  Her favorite color of tulip was pink, red and purple.  
OK, here's a smiling Christian on a tractor

The sweet kiddos in the fields

Our "two lips" kissing in the tulip fields
The company that runs the festival is The Wooden Shoe Tulip Company, so there was a shoe carving shop with a bunch of wooden shoes of different sizes.  We had fun trying on the wooden shoes

A view of the colorful fields

We  brought home a bouquet of tulips to enjoy at home. It is called the Judith Leyster tulip and very beautiful.

On the first day of Spring, March 20, we found out that we will be coming back to Utah this summer.  Brad was matched as one of the first residents for Intermountain Healthcare's Ambulatory Care Program.  We are pretty happy about being able to be close to family again, but we will be leaving some great friends that we have made here.  The idea of moving back is definitely bittersweet due to the great people we have been blessed to meet while living here.   We have about 3 months left in Oregon, so we are going to try and soak in all that we can of this beautiful place while we're here.  We have already counted all of Brad's weekends and made a list of all the things we still want to experience here.  We're going to be busy to say the least.  

Sunday, March 1, 2015


We had the chance to go to Utah as a family last week.  Brad was able to schedule two interviews during the week, so it was completely worth it for all of us to head down there.  We spent a week enjoying time with grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and friends.  The week went by so fast, and we enjoyed every minute of it. Ivan was quite the trooper during the drive and we only had about 3 major scream sessions on the 12 hour drive to and from our destinations

The weather in Utah was unusually warm.  Ellie and Chris spent an afternoon working in the yard with Grandpa.  Grandpa was working on his beehives, and they were quite interested.  He taught them a little about his bees.  They even got to taste honey straight from the honey comb.

We spent an afternoon with the Winter cousins at the Treehouse Museum.  Ellie and Ainsley were so fun to watch.  They just picked up on their friendship as if it hadn't been months since they last saw each other.  
Hyrum and Christian enjoying the dinosaur exhibit.

  Going to Utah, Christian was  most excited to shoot Grandpa with a Nerf gun.  He was also very excited to meet the Stout's new puppy Sniffy.  He was pretty excited about the idea, but just didn't really take to Sniffy's energetic personality upon actually meeting him.  Despite only really seeing Sniffy through the window, Christian now talks about some day getting a dog "with no whiskers like Sniffy."  
Lee helped Christian and Ellie build a big big big lego tower the morning we left.  They are still talking about how cool it was.  
On our drive home, we spent the night in Pendleton.  the last 45 minutes before arriving there, you have to go over a pass and Ivan just hated the whole idea.  He screamed for over a half hour while Brad drove on wet, foggy roads with bad headlights.  I tried desperately to keep Ivan quite with multiple attempts to stick his binky in his mouth, without success.   This is him as soon as we got to the hotel though.....happy as a clam.  Silly Boy.  Sadly, he has given up on the binky all together since we got home.  It's as if he knew he would want it for the trip, and that's it.  

When we got home, I couldn't believe how much this little man had changed.  He just looked so different in the familiar environment of our home after having been without it for a week.  We are struggling with naps and sleeping through the night now days, which I am not loving.    He's got a voracious appetite and is eating about every  2 1/2 hours pretty regularly.  He wakes up once or twice during the night and even woke up 3 times once this week (yuck).  This week he also rolled over from belly to back, has been grabbing at things, and has just been super smiley.  

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Winter Children

I feel like time is flying by so fast.  Heck, I'm a mother of three and I still don't feel like a grown up.  I sure don't act like a grown up some times, that's for sure.  Thank goodness I have a very patient husband who fills in the gaps.


Ellie is such a sweet girl.  I am so happy to have her as a big sister to both Chris and Ivan.  Since Ivan has been born, she has been such a good helper.  She is always willing to help me out by getting a diaper or a burp cloth when I am detained.  She dotes over Ivan all the time, which is so different from baby brother #1.  She loves to show him his dinosaur toy that she and Chris got him for Christmas (a triceratops named isosceles).  She also still loves to read him stories.  I think it is so sweet when she talks baby talk to him.  It's just so cute. 

Ellie and Christian get along for the most part.  It's good they can occupy themselves because of how much time it takes to care for a baby.  She does get her feelings hurt easily.  She also doesn't like it when she doesn't get her way.  But she just finds the trusty pink blanket and the thumb automatically pops in the mouth to comfort her.


Christian is all boy.  He loves trucks, cars, tools, and his specialty is knowing perfectly how to bother his sister.  He loves to play with his "Site Trucks" (construction site has been shortened to just site).  It is a good thing he is so darn adorable.  Because, since Ivan arrived, he has taken the terrible twos to another level.  But when he is not pouting or yelling or evading clean up, etc. he makes me smile.  He is at an age where he is often in a fantasy world playing and everything he says is extremely cute.  One of the cutest things I have noticed about him these past few months is his attempt at trying to understand time: yesterday, today, tomorrow.  He just gets so confused that tomorrow is now today, and that today eventually becomes yesterday.  He actually has gotten quite frustrated on occasion when trying to figure this quandary out.  


I know it is cliche, but this boy is just getting so big so fast!!  No, he has not figured out his sleep/wake schedule yet, but he sure loves to smile!  It is amazing to see the difference in personality from the other kids even at such a young age.  Ivan is definitely his own person.  And we love him so much.

Anyway, sorry for the kid post.  I just love these 3 little monsters so much I had to share.  

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Grandparents and Blessing

The day after New Year's Grandma and Grandpa Hooper came out to visit us!!  The kids were sooooo excited, they had their noses up against the window looking for them for most of the day.  Because we missed the annual Winter Nerf War back in Utah, Grandpa was good enough to bring a little nerf war to us.  Chris was in heaven.  I think he could spend every minute of every day shooting Grandpa.  On Saturday we went to the Newport Aquarium.  We all had a blast.  Then Sunday we were able to bless our handsome little Ivan Alan.  My (Brad), great uncle Lloyd Colvin was able to join our little circle.

Two Nerf Warriors ready for battle!

Grandma made a very good friend while here.

This is his "serious, pensive pose"

Our proud priesthood men.

Such a happy family!

Having fun at the Oregon Coast Aquarium

Christian's absolute favorite part was the shark tank

Chomp! Chomp!
This little man is getting too big too fast

New Years

New Years Eve is definitely different when you have young children.  We celebrated with Ellie and Chris early in the evening.  We had a year in review scavenger hunt, a craft, ate chocolate pudding (by Christian's request), the Netflix count down, and they were in bed by 8:30.  Brad and I stayed up until midnight with Ivan and watched a movie.  
I printed some pictures of different events throughout 2014 and hid them around the living room.  The kids had fun with the scavenger hunt and also had fun looking at and talking about the pictures after the hunt to remember all the fun things we did last year.  

Brad was lucky enough to have New Years Day off of work, so we took advantage of the opportunity and drove to the coast.   I got the idea from my friend, but I got nervous about cold weather and Ivan. Thankfully, Brad was around.  I am not very good at being spontaneous, so it was good that Brad was there to push us out the door.  If it were up to me, we would have spent the whole day at home wishing that we were doing something exciting.

Here is Ellie getting her warm gear on in style!

Ellie and Christian had fun on the beach with Dad

Ivan spent his first new years day relaxing with mom in the car watching the ocean waves.
We were really spontaneous and braved a restaurant as a family of five.  We went to Mo's, THE seafood restaurant in Newport.  It was a super fun to go to dinner with the whole family, and it was a very family friendly restaurant.  They even got a shark toy presented to them on their straws.