Sunday, October 26, 2008

Y2W22 - Efteling

The girls had a week off of school this week. We went to Efteling (Fairytale Land) in the Netherlands on Monday and Tuesday. It was great. We were a little worried when looking at the weather forecast but it turned out fine. We got put into the Golf Suite so some of the pics are of the room, the girls thought it was so cool. The really neat thing about this place was that Bryn and Avery got to ride almost everything. There were only two coasters that had height requirements, all the rest of the rides were free game.

Fairytale Land is based on the Grimm Fairytales. Bailey really surprised us as we went to the Fairytale part of the park, she proceded to recite the Fairytales. I'm embarrassed to say that some of them were unknown to Greg and I. Apparently she had read them at school, but her ability to remember and recite them...Wow, we were amazed.

Another amusing thing about the park was the garbage, yes you read correctly, I said the garbage. See the picture below. The garbage would shout, "Hallo, Papier hier, Papier Hier, Hallo." When you put the garbage into the hole, it would suck it in, and sometimes say, "Lecker, lecker, lecker," which pretty much means tasty.

The rest of the week we just relaxed and enjoyed three days off of school. Saturday was pretty mellow as well. Greg wasn't feeling well (the reason was because he didn't wear his coat in Trier) but he will never admit it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Y2W21 - Birthdays, More Birthdays, and a Baptism

I went against my very strict rule of only being able to open presents on the actual birthday. We let Bailey open her presents on Sunday afternoon and in turn let Bryn open hers a week early as well. She had been through numerous birthday parties where the presents were for someone else. I couldn't take the look on her face when she watched yet another person open their presents in front of her. Bailey's big present this year was an i-Pod and Bryn's big present was a Laufrad (walking bike). Greg took Bryn out to try out the new bike.

Thursday, Lleyton was officially one month old. Here are his first month pics.

We spent a good portion of the week getting ready for Bryn's Carnival Birthday party. We thought having it Friday afternoon would be best so I took Bailey and Avery out of school for the afternoon so they could join in the festivities. When I would ask Bryn what she wanted for her birthday, she would always say, "Cupcakes." So, I decided to do a carousel out of cupcakes instead of a cake. It worked well for the three year olds that came to the party. We had carnival games such as Duck Pond, Tin Can Alley, Bean Bag Toss, Lollipop Tree (they had a hard time waiting for this one and pretty much helped themselves), Balloon Hats, and Face Paint. Greg made the balloon hats. I wish I would've gotten a picture of this. I made him watch an online tutorial and then recreate the hats. He did a great job. For food, we had hot dogs, popcorn, roasted peanuts, and cotton candy. It seemed like the kids were having fun although I think they would have been fine just playing with the toys in the toy box. We had tickets that they used to play the games and prizes when they won (which was pretty much every time they played).

Saturday, we decided to try to go to Trier again. This time we made it. The Roman ruins there are quite spectacular. It always amazes me how well preserved they are after all this time. It is fun to watch the girls make the best of these sightseeing visits as well. They may not be as interested in the subject matter as we are but they find a way to make it fun.

Sunday was a very special day for Bailey as it was her Baptism. She had the privilege of sharing her Baptism with one of her friends from Church, Larissa. The whole service was done in German and English so that both girls could understand what was being said to them the entire time. It went well. I couldn't believe how many Ward members stayed for the Baptism and how many well wishers there were. They even had the Primary choir sing. I am constantly thankful for the Ward here in Bonn. We have been welcomed and loved by the members here and we will never forget their generosity to our family.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Y2W20 - Arrrgh Maties

This week Lleyton and I have been finding our groove a bit more which is making it easier for me to accomplish what needs to get done.

The dreaded picture day wasn't so dreaded. Monday was the girls' class and school pictures and Tuesday was the sibling picture day. Our time slot was at 9:50am. Lleyton slept through the whole thing. We took him out of the car seat, placed him in Bailey's arms for the picture, and put him back in the car seat. Easy Peasy. Hopefully they turn out good.

It rained most of the week but ended up being quite nice for the very exciting Pirate Birthday Party. This time it was Bailey's turn. We had games such as Swab the deck, Bombs Away, Three legged race, Dress your partner like a pirate, and of course a treasure hunt (not necessarily in that order). Greg was the architect of the treasure hunt and was super helpful during the party. I am so used to always having the Grandmas help that usually Greg gets off without being asked to do too much. This year he certainly got to do his share. It was really fun and it was something that Bailey had been looking forward to since the summer vacation. Yikes, I can't believe she is Eight Years old already. It was only yesterday that we were bringing her home from the hospital and I was scared to death to have a baby that was depending on me for everything. I am still coming to grips with the idea that we have four kids that we have been entrusted with to raise. Sometimes I look around and think, "How did we get here?"

After the party we went downtown Bonn. It was just such a nice day that we wanted to be out in the nice weather.

Sunday was Stake Conference for us in Düsseldorf. We planned on leaving at least an hour before but Lleyton decided to annihilate his outfit which meant a bath and change of clothes, which also meant Bryn undressing herself while Greg and I are dealing with Lleyton's "incident." We get out the door, a little hope by this point that we will make it reasonably on time when we hit a Stau. I think I described this in the last post. A major traffic jam due to construction on a Sunday morning. Who would have guessed? So, we arrived about an hour late. I was blessed to have one of the talks given in English. I could help occupy my children with snacks/books and still listen and get something out of it. When the talks are in German, I have to concentrate so hard just to pick up bits and pieces of what is being said.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Y2W19 - Family Road Trip (kind of)

My mom left on Tuesday bright and early so it was pretty much back to the real world for me. Starting Wednesday morning (which was also supposed to be picture day) I was prepared to get the girls up, showered, dressed, hair fixed just so, and get them to school on time when a friend of mine called and said she would come pick the girls up for school so I wouldn't have to take everyone out. What a blessing. It gave us more time to work on the hair. We only found out later that day that picture day had been rescheduled. Now we have to go through all of that again next week.

A highlight for Bailey this week was that she was voted by her class to be the Student Council representative for her class. She really wanted the job and had to make a speech in front of her classmates. She was elated on Thursday when she found out that they had voted for her.

It was great that it was a short week. We had the German Unification Day Holiday on Friday. The girls and Greg had the day off so of course, being the Christensens that we are, we planned a day trip. We thought that Lleyton was up for some light travel. We decided a trip to Trier would be just the thing. It is about an hour and a half away. First, Avery would not wear matching shoes. We were delayed about 20 minutes by this fact. Then, she forgot her coat so we had to turn back and get her coat. This set us back about another 10 minutes. We finally get off around 10:30am. I was thinking that was not too bad for a family of six, showered, dressed, dvd player and movies, snacks, breakfast eaten, etc. Then we hit the freeway. There was a huge STAU (this means traffic jam). So, Greg quickly looked at the map and we got off on a more scenic route through the Mountainous terrain. It was a beautiful drive and we were feeling quite lucky to have gotten out of the Stau when we did. We were about 45 minutes into the trip when Bryn announced that her tummy hurt. Next thing I know, I am hunched over the passenger seat holding a plastic bag for her to throw up in. Unfortunately I was not quick enough to get the first round. We did not think to bring extra clothes for Bryn so we had to take her drenched coat and shirt off. Luckily we went back to get Avery's coat, so that is what Bryn got to wear.

We were only five minutes away from Adenau, where the famous Nürburgring can be found. This is an old F1 race track where you can pay to take your own personal car on the track and go as fast as you want (the only catch is you sign a waiver and all insurance is waived). Apparently Unification day is a very popular day for the Ring as it was packed with people. There is a lookout point where you can watch the cars speeding by. At this point Lleyton was awake and needing to eat, so I fed him and stayed with Bryn while Greg took Bailey and Avery to look at the fast cars. After they returned, Lleyton filled his pants (something he never does except when we have to change him in the car on the front seat) which was quite the humorous double-team Greg and Ellyn event. We decided at this point it may be better to return home and try again another time.

Saturday, we did some shopping in Bonn. We took the train into Bonn because Greg put Lleyton in the Baby Bjorn and it worked great.

Bailey is missing from the picture because she went with her friend Olivia to the Juvenile diabetes Walk-a-thon they were having in Köln. It was a little chilly but sunny and perfect Fall weather.

General Conference doesn't start over here until 6:00pm so we had the whole day to play and conference in the evening. The girls are working on their Conference Activity packets in the picture below (thanks to the Garns). I couldn't even make it to the second session. Let me just say that I am grateful to have these gentle reminders about what is important in life, that it is possible to always improve, and when things are hard it is usually for your own good. I will try to have a cheery disposition tomorrow morning when it is once again the dreaded Picture Day.