Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving: Grateful for Family

This week has been full of blessings for us to reflect on during this thanksgiving holiday.
The greatest of which being family.  Our little Ivan Alan is now coming up on 2 weeks old, and we already cannot imagine our family without him.  Also, Grandma and Grandpa Christensen have been here to visit and help out after baby came for about a week and a half.  We were very fortunate to have them here for Thanksgiving dinner.  This was our first major family centered holiday outside of Utah, and it was wonderful to still be able celebrate with family.
Other blessings on our "Thankful Tree" include (in no particular order):
Jesus, our ward here in Albany, soccer balls (Ellie: "because they give you strength and energy"), chairs (Chris), bacon, birds, nature, nursery, our home, drawing pictures, all our cousins, the swing set, Halloween, glasses...

Soooooo thankful for these beautiful kids!

Trying to squeeze in some updated family pics between rain storms

Having fun with Grandma and Grandpa


The moment Ivan came home for the first time Ellie wanted to read him stories

First thanksgiving dinner hosted at our house

Ready for turkey!!!

Our "Thankful Tree"
(Ellie is saying gobble gobble)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Ivan Alan Winter

Today our little Ivan Alan Winter finally came out to play!
He was born at 1:35 PM, after induction and a brief labor (~4.5 hours total from start of meds to baby).  He is 7 lb 1.5 oz and 21 inches tall.
He is named after my (Brad's) great-grandfather (my mother's dad's dad) Ivan, and my father Alan.
Teri is doing just fine.  She did not use pain medications again, and I am so impressed.  She is recovering very nicely.
I feel like I am the most blessed man on earth today.  Although we are far from most of our families, we have felt their support and prayers with us.  And we have so many people here in our new home in Oregon who love and care about us.  A special thanks to the Blunk family for helping watch Ellie and Chris while we have been at the hospital.
I thank my heavenly father for all that I and my family have been given!  Now on to the photos! (the only real reason you are reading this post)

My Beautiful Family

They love their new brother

This is the last night as a family of 4

Required naked pic!

Cute yawn

Cute boy

First bath

They love their new brother so much.

Friday, October 31, 2014

The Quintessential October Post

Well, it took until 7:30 PM on Halloween night for Teri's aunt Susie to call us out online asking for cute kiddo costume pictures.  So, here you go Susie... Cute Kids!!!!

Saying "Boo!" It was the only way we could get them both to look at the camera.
Christian is a "site worker" and Ellie is a "cat" (not a kitty, but a cat).  Christian finally decided on his costume about a week ago.  Ellie decided to be Elsa back in the summer time, but she got hesitant about a month ago and decided on the cat instead.  She was a kitty last year, and it was a totally different costume this year. 

Double fisted candy eating
We went to a farm to find our  pumpkins.  After going to a pumpkin patch last week with friends, we went to another farm in Jefferson with Dad on his day off yesterday.... Christian needed the opportunity to use a cool wheel barrow.  We had loads of fun at this farm.  There was a petting zoo, a huge barley filled sandbox, a hay bale maze, and more water pump racing with rubber duckies.  And the pumpkins were HUGE!

We asked the farmer if we could look at the tractor.  Christian was in heaven.  The farmer was a hoot during the hay ride we took.  He narrated a the whole trip and talked about the farm in old farmer fashion the whole time.  
Ellie's favorite part of pumpkin carving is getting the guts out.  Ellie was very specific about how she wanted her pumpkin carved.   She had to have moon eyes, a triangle nose and kept making us adjust the mouth until it was perfect

He kept filling his pumpkin with Teri's guts.  Christian's pumpkin had lots of triangles.  Triangles are his favorite shape.  

Our favorite Halloween dinner.  

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


I don't feel like we have been up to a whole lot lately.  Maybe we're finally settling into a routine here in Oregon, maybe I'm getting too tired to venture out, probably both.  Anyway, I haven't had a lot to post about, but this last week we did some fun things.  Friday we drove to one of the many pumpkin patches in the area and enjoyed some time with friends.  The rainy season has finally hit, but we didn't let the constant drizzle of the day deter us.

Christian playing in the sandbox full of some sort of dried bean or lentil.  He is always up for playing with tractors

Ellie having a ball jumping on the hay bales despite the rain

Christian playing the the water pump rubber duck slide.  He loves anything mechanical

Having fun making faces at the camera with some fun friends.  I love how so many kids wears rubber boots in Oregon.  They are so cute and really the best thing for the weather.     
We tramped through the very muddy pumpkin patch to find some excellent pumpkins.  Thankfully, my kiddos wanted to carry their own pumpkins so they were content with small pumpkins.  I was sure grateful I didn't have to haul a huge pumpkin out of that muddy pumpkin patch.  

Our ward has been planning a ward temple day since we got here back in June and this past Saturday we got to go to the Portland Temple with the kids.  Brad had to work in the morning and wasn't able to meet up with us until right before the session.  The kids and I went to the visitor's center and walked the grounds of the temple beforehand.  The rain hadn't started, but the wind was pretty awful.  The wind almost caused Brad to be late because a tree fell over in the wind on the interstate causing traffic delays.  The ward had arranged for daycare at a nearby stake center.  Unfortunately, about a half hour after we dropped the children off, the wind also caused a power outage,  so the daycare workers we left in the dark for almost the whole time we were in the temple.  They didn't have enough light in the nursery room, so they had to bring the 20+ kids out into the foyer.  Apparently it was chaos, but we truly appreciated it.  We picked up the kids and enjoyed a dinner at McDonald's at the children's request.

Sunday was Ellie's first primary program.  She memorized her part, but got too nervous during the program to say it without the help from her teacher.  Christian also had Ellie's part memorized by the time we finally reached the program as well.  She was great at singing all the songs.  Her favorite song this year by far has been "I Stand All Amazed."  We sing it frequently at night before we put the kids to bed.
Here she is before church.  She had to wear a black dress because it was the week of Halloween.  Sorry for the strange face she is making.  For some reason she has a hard time smiling, holding still, and looking at the camera long enough for a picture.  
  These kids are getting really excited for the new baby to arrive.  I am over 36 weeks now, so we are running on the "any time now" mode despite the fact that I don't think I am really prepared in a lot of ways for him to get here.  I think I have mentioned this before, but this little guy loves to wiggle around and kick.  He is going to be a mover when he gets here.  Both Ellie and Christian love to pat and kiss my belly and they love to talk about what they will do when the baby gets here.  Ellie is excited to give the baby a rattle and Christian is excited to read his baby story to the him.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Hiking Baby!

Today we went on a 1.5 mile hike with the kiddos.
This is quite the feat for us.  Most "hikes" we have complete with children have been on wide, well groomed trails that constituted more of a walk or pleasant stroll.  Well, not anymore!
Also, by popular demand this post will include ultrasound baby pictures!!

 Yeah for hiking!


 Somehow this was a safer way to hike when the trail got steep...

 Cute profile 
My son is a Sith Lord!!!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Northern Cali

Hurray! Aubrey, Nate, and Grandpa Winter decided about 3 weeks ago that they wanted to take advantage of the long Labor Day weekend and come visit us.  Instead of meeting us in Albany and the surrounding area (which has plenty to see, don't let this deter any future visitors), we decided to meet up in Northern California and camp in the Redwoods.  I didn't object to the 4 hours drive because I am in love with the Redwoods, so I was completely stoked for the trip.  Plus, we got to squeeze in a camping trip for the year which just added to the whole family's excitement.  Brad got off on Friday afternoon at normal time and we drove down after work. We got to the KOA campground in Crescent City after dark.  The campground was on the outskirts of the forest and was a fun place to call our home base.  It had warm water, showers, a playground, and goats that the kids got to feed with Grandpa. We spent Saturday, Sunday and half of Monday exploring the Redwoods and the coast.  It was a complete blast.  Thank you so much Grandpa, Aubrey, Nate, Ainsley, and Hy for making the long trip.  We had so so so much fun.
We went on 3 short trails (Simpson, Stout, and Hiouchi) in Jedediah Smith State Park.  Here we are at the first stop, Simposon Trail.  
Grandpa made the mistake of climbing up this huge pile of logs, so of course all the kiddos had to follow his example.  It made for a fun picture since I wasn't willing to brave it with my preggy belly.

Taking a break on the trail to give some Grandpa hugs.  

Ainsley and Ellie were in heaven just being together all the time.  They spent every car ride in the same car and had many an adventure exploring the never ending playground of the Redwood forest.  

Hy-Guy and Christian sitting on the "turtle knots" as Ellie called them.  

Brad trying to carry these two rambunctious boys

We had many a log challenge.  A log challenge is walking from one end of a fallen tree to the other without falling off.  It was a fun game for the kids to play.

Here we area at Stout Grove.   After Stout Grove, we went to camp and had lunch.   After lunch we played at the beach in Crescent City before dinner.  I didn't have my camera so I didn't get any pictures.  

Sunday morning, when tide was low, we went to the Battery Point Light House to hike across the rocks and visit the ligthouse and  explore tidepools.  We had a lot of fun seeing crabs, starfish and anemones.    

We decided to drive down to Prarie Creek State Park after playing in the tidepools to see Fern Canyon.  We stopped off before entering the forest to see the Paul Bunyan statue.  

We took a scenic byway through Prarie Creek and stopped to see the Corkscrew Tree.  This little blue jay followed us all the way back to our car from the tree.  He must've wanted a treat.  

This is the only picture I got of my two kiddos together.  Ellie was too connected to Ainsley for me to get her away for a picture with her boring brother.  I couldn't even get her to focus enough to smile and look at the camera for the picture
We stopped for lunch at a picnic spot on Sunday before we drove up a dirt road about 8 miles to Fern Canyon.  When we got about 4 miles in, we stopped at the Ranger Post where we were informed that Fern Canyon and the beach near the canyon were both packed due to the holiday weekend and cars were backed up a half mile waiting for a parking spot.  We decided to not wait, so we turned around and headed back.  I felt bad recommending the site, driving over an hour to get there only to turn around and go back home.  Oh well.  The kids had fun in the car and the scenery was spectacular.  Back at camp we had a Sunday lesson by Grandpa, played at the playground, made dinner, and pretty much went to bed.  We woke up Monday morning and packed up camp.  After camp was cleaned up, we went to McDonald's for lunch since the kids had it in their mind that they were going to eat there since the appearance of Grandpa.  Christian and Hy-Guy even played at camp in the trailer pretending to be Grandpa driving to McDonald's.  We drove to the Jedediah Smith Campground after lunch and enjoyed one final trail before saying goodbye to our cousins.
In the summer at the Jedediah Smith Campground, a seasonal bridge is built across the river next to the campground to access a trail system on the other side of the River.  We took the Hiouchi Trail a short ways and enjoyed some additional magnificent trees.  The kids called this the teepee.  

Chris and Hy made sure to find some good pieces of wood to throw off the bridge on the way back.  

Here's Grandpa being a daredevil.  Actually, all the men had fun getting off this bit of wood.  I am hoping Aubrey will post the video later.  
We had such a great time and had a hard time saying goodbye knowing that it will probably be months before we see our cousins, aunt, uncle and Grandpa again.  We are so glad for the fun memories we made.