Monday, January 24, 2011


It's been a while since we've updated our D.E.A.R. list, so excuse the catching up.
In fact, I'm going to continue D.E.A.R. over on So Buttons, so if you are interested in what we're reading and our simple reviews, check it out over there.

Here are a few of the chapter books that we've read in the past year:

Pollyana is a story loved by many, but this was actually my first time reading the story. I had never ever seen the movie. I know, it's hard to believe, but it's true. Katie & I read this around the time Brooke was born. If I remember correctly, Grandma Jensen read a few of the middle chapters with Katie.

This was a great story, very well written, and full of humor. I loved it. I think Katie was too young at the time to follow the story or to understand the humor. I'm not even sure that after watching the movie she understood the story any better. We will definitely try this one again now that she's older.

Pinnochio is also a classic that I had never read. My only experience was the Disney movie - which is very different from the book. This, in my opinion, in not appropriate for little kids. Pinnochio is very naughty! In the movie Pinnochio seems more innocent to me - as if he finds himself in trouble or in sticky situations. In the book, Pinnochio gets himself into mischief and is not a very good boy. How he ever turns into a real boy? I don't know. He definitely doesn't do anything to deserve it!

This was another story that was a bit too mature for Katie (we read it when she was barely 4). I found myself substituting a lot of words and skipping parts while reading it to her because I thought some of it was inappropriate for her.

Peter Pan I loved! Again, I was only familiar with the Disney movie and the stage production - never had read the book. But I loved it! And I think Katie & McKenna loved it too. They were also fairly familiar with the story which I think helped them follow along with the storyline. The pictures in our copy also helped. I'm pretty sure McKenna was more interested in the pictures than the story, but that's ok.

We love the fantasy, adventure, and imagery of Peter Pan. Reading it made us want to fly away to Neverland and play with the Lost Boys and Princess Tigerlily. We had a lot of fun reading this one.

The girls favorite part: the word "nincompoop." They couldn't get over how funny that word is and kept asking for me to "read the part that says nincompoop" over and over again. What can I say, it is a hilarious word!

Alice in Wonderland is a strange book. It is just strange. There is a lot of fantasy, strange characters, confusing conversation and riddles, and definitely a lot of intrigue. Did my 3 & 5 year follow the storyline? I'm pretty sure they didn't. Most of the time I don't think they had any idea what we were reading about. Not to mention the book hardly resembles the Disney movie that they are familiar with.

The biggest upside for the girls? This book also used the word nincompoop. :0)

Speaking of Disney's Alice in Wonderland...we just barely saw the latest version with Johnny Depp. I have to admit, I didn't think I would like it at all, but I loved it!

So what are we reading these days?
We have fallen in love with the Magic Tree House series. Fun, quick reads that are perfect for our little ones to follow. Brookie even likes listening and looking at the pictures.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Snow Storm of 2010

Sad I didn't get pictures of all the kiddos and cousins out playing in the snow, but happy I at least documented Brooke's first official snow play.

Ok snow, now that Christmas is over, I'm ready for you to go back to where you came from. Ok fine, I'll settle for you melting and making the flowers bloom. :)

Christmas 2010: O Christmas Tree!


Picking out our tree at our favorite local tree lot is always a fun tradition. We added Krispy Kreme donuts into the mix this year. Donuts + hot cocoa + decorating the tree = a favorite family activity. This year it was especially freezing when we went tree hunting and luckily we found our tree right away. I think this year we made record time in picking the perfect tree. And it actually did turn out to be our favorite tree we've had.


Christmas 2010: Christmas Eve

We had Christmas Eve dinner all together. Clint was a sport and sat at the kids' table. Couldn't pass up taking a picture of that! We had just enough seats (I think) for everyone. There's nothing better than having a house full of people you love!

After dinner the kiddos decorated cookies for Santa. There was lots of licking of frosting and mountains of sprinkles. So fun! Santa sure got a treat this year.
The kiddos all got coordinating pajammies from Grandma & Grandpa Jensen. I'm so glad we got some pictures of all of them together, happy, and cozy.

We were especially excited to meet our newest Jensen cousin, Garrett, and share in his first Christmas!

After all the kiddos were tucked in bed, the grown ups played a few rounds of Bananagram (another gift from G&G/Mom&Dad).

My favorite Christmas picture is all of these stockings hung together. Great-Grandma Jensen has knit all of these herself over the years for each one of us. They are precious to us and I absolutely loved seeing them all hung and stuffed side by side.
Christmas Eve was the slumber party of the year for us. Mom & Dad slept in our bed, Maya in the closet (it's a big closet), all the other cousins stuffed in our girls' room, Clint & Mari & Garrett in the playroom, and the rest of us camped out on the floor in the family room. It was perfect.

It still makes me happy thinking about Christmas 2010. I'm sure it always will. It was so wonderful have everyone stuffed in our house and so perfect to wake up Christmas morning all together. Christmas 2010 will be among our most favorite memories. I'm sure of it.

Christmas 2010: Happy Kids

Christmas morning was a hit. The woke not too early (around 7:30) and they were all patient enough to wait for the parents to clean up their beds from the family room floor. Each kids took their turn trying to sneak a peak as to whether Santa came. There was much discussion as to who Santa left the tricylce for under the tree. Maya was the lucky winner!

Everyone was happy (with the exception of a small accusation of someone being naughty...) with their loot from Santa. McKenna got her trumpet, Katie got her pillow pet, and Brooke was just happy to have anything. Jensen boys got legos and nurf guns, and Maya got the coveted tricycle.
Grandma & Grandpa Jensen got all the cousins coordinating pajammies that were opened on Christmas Eve along with personalized mini-clipboards & family journal pages. Each Christmas we get a page from her with family pictures from the previous year to collect. We look forward to this every year.

The excitment and anticipation of Christmas morning sure is fun with little ones around, and with eight cousins all together this year, it was more fun than ever.
It was fun to have [almost] everyone together this Christmas. We know it's not easy to travel around the holidays - especially when transporting Christmas presents for the family. We are so incredibly thankful that our family was willing and able to make the trek. This definitely will be a Christmas to remember!