Sunday, December 16, 2007

Christmas came early to Atlanta

This year is our first year to be able to actually be home in Arkansas with our families on Christmas. Which meant, of course, Santa had to come early to the Larsen household. We celebrated our family Christmas this weekend and had a really fun time. The kids are at such a fun age for Christmas! Here are just a few pictures of our Christmas celebrations...


Friday, December 7, 2007

Merry Christmas to all

I love Christmas! But who doesn't...well, maybe Chris. But, I won't get sidetracked with that right now.
After Thanksgiving we pulled out all of the Christmas decorations and started on one of my favorite parts of the holiday season, THE TREE!
Even though the initial stages of setting up the tree are frustrating, I really enjoy pulling out each ornament and being thankful for the various stages in our life together and for the memories of friendship and love that they bring. The kids are at such a fun age for this too! They really enjoy putting all of the ornaments up and they like to hear the stories of where they all came from and why they are meaningful. It's just a sweet time!

Now I'm not really sure what Caleb did for most of the decorating process other than his usual getting into stuff.
He was intruiged with the star for quite a while and I tried to allow him the freedom to participate even if it was only playing with the plug of the star. lol!

Obviously that was a really hard job because he crashed on the couch afterwards! It's hard being a one year old!

We hope that you and your family enjoy this holiday season and experience sweet and memorable time together!
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Thursday, November 29, 2007

10 Things I love about Atlanta

It has been brought to my attention by my sweet in-laws that at times my blog sounds like I need a stiff drink. : ) So, I thought that in light of our up coming move, I would reflect on a few of the things that I love and have gained from my time here in the ATL.

1. Wheat germ and flax seed: I'm pretty sure that I would have NEVER thought that they would become a regular part of my food preparation and lifestyle. That's one of the advantages of becoming friends with crunchy people. : ) Now, both of those items are staples in our diet.

2. Tofu: Okay, I'm actually scared for myself about how crunchy I sound but yes, we have added tofu to our diet and I'm proud of it!

3. CFLs: Not only do I love them for their effect on the environment but I love that they aide my frugality!

4: Going Green: So, this is definitely something that has come about from our time in Atlanta. I don't think that I ever really thought much about environmental issues before that. (I hate to admit that) But we attended a series of talks called "God is Green" and I learned so much that I was really motivated to change as many "un-green" habits as I could.

5. Fun things to do in Atlanta: Jessica Hutson told me before we moved here that there was a ton of fun stuff to do and she was right. We LOVE all of the fun options there are for us as a family. Even apart from the things like the Aquarium, ZooAtlanta, and Stone Mountain, it's nice to be a couple of hours from the beach and a couple of hours from the mountains. We LOVE to be outside and it's been so nice to have all of those things nearby.

6. The Adamsons: I could write a whole post on what a gift the Adamsons are to us. But I won't. I'll just say that I am so thankful for their friendship and that they have enough kids that they aren't scared off by our crazy family. They are the hardest thing to leave here!

7. Dekalb Farmers Market: Okay, this is neck in neck with the Adamsons for the hardest thing to leave. I can't even begin to describe how amazing this place is. You just have to experience it for yourself.

8. My new kitchen: I love it and I will be so sad to leave it. Especially my super fancy oven that chris bought. I wanted to put that into the house sale negotiations but he wouldn't go for it. Oh, well. At least I'll have a few more months with it.

9. North Georgia Premium Outlets: I'm sure that Emily is crying right now just thinking about them. Even though I'm not a huge shopper, there's just something nice about knowing that there's a Pottery Barn Outlet here if you need it. : )

10. My new headband: Shallow I know, but this is one of my latest favorite things about Atlanta. Super cute!!!

Well, there they are. Just the first things off the top of my head. We have loved our time here and will be so sad to leave. I have no doubt that there will be more emoting to come!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Jumpin' on the Grateful Train...

I took that title from my friend Trisha. I really liked it! I decided just now as I was reading some of my friends blogs that it would be good for me to sit down and think about some of the things that I'm thankful for. Now, these are not premeditated so read at your own risk. I just know that I am at a place where I'm trying to embrace the idea of "not blinking" (thanks Kenny Chesney). I just want to enjoy every detail of this sweet yet challenging stage in life. So, here's my brainstorm of things that I'm thankful for... (reminder, these will not be in order of importance)

1. Kenny Chesney's song "Don't Blink"

2. I'm thankful that my shy, timid daughter stood up on stage today, held up her drawing of the 1st thanksgiving feast and said (slowly and loudly) "The first Thanksgiving, called a harvest feast, was eaten outside". That was her designated part as her class retold the story of the First Thanksgiving. I cried. Not because the Thanksgiving feast was such a moving thing but because I understand what a triumph that was for her and I was so proud!

3. I'm thankful that Chris was able to sneak away from all of the craziness at work today and that he didn't miss her! It was a great surprise!

4. I'm thankful that Diet Coke and Diet Dr. Pepper tend to rotate being on sale from week to week.

5. I'm thankful that I have been blessed with some very sweet, special and deep friendships.

6. I'm thankful that Chris and I have made it through 8 years of marriage and he hasn't once tried to send me back. : ) (Not that he hasn't thought about it!)

7. I'm thankful that God hand-picked the perfect house for us here in Atlanta. There could not be a more perfect place to raise children.

8. I'm thankful that Caleb is actually taking a nap today and it is happening simultaneously with the kids' tv time!!!

9. I'm thankful that I have a mom who has set a fabulous example of how to be a mom.

10. I'm thankful for my three children and all of the ways that they challenge and enrich my life!

11. I'm thankful for the internet. Just have to be honest. I would probably be nutso if I didn't have a way to escape this craziness for a while!

Okay, so those are the first few things that come to my mind. I can only pray that my heart will become more and more thankful. And, hopefully at times other than Thanksgiving!

Here are just a couple of supplemental pictures. Luke and I made cookies the other day and he and Caleb were fascinated with watching them bake.

Here are Kate and Luke having team spirit even though, let's be honest, do the Razorbacks really deserve our team spirit? (please don't leave me any nasty comments about that statement)

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Perfect Picture

On Sunday morning, Chris and I realized that it would be the perfect day to try to take our family Christmas card picture. The boys were already wearing matching sweaters (the curse of not having two girls) and Kate, Chris and I were miraculously all coordinated.
As is the ususal case with trying to photograph three children 5 and under, it was a struggle to get cooperation. I will say that the big kids were doing fairly well considering that we had bribed them. Caleb is our wildman at this point, though. He loves to be free and, as all Larsen children, possesses an incredible will and stubbornness. I spent most of my time chasing him from spot to spot and then having him kick the crap out of me as I tried to get him to at least look in the general vicintity of the camera.
Unfortunately, I didn't include those pictures.

This is a sweet picture of Luke as he is the "guinea pig of placement" while Chris sets up the tripod

This is Kate swinging from a lamp post. Typical Kate. : )
The next picture is of me holding Caleb after he fell face first down the brick steps, ruining our chances of actually getting a picture that would work for the Christmas card. I'm actually holding a dirty sock on his nose to stop the bleeding. NICE!!!

As frustrating as it was to lugg everyone over there and spend all of that time and energy trying to get just one picture to work, I guess this is just life. And as Jon and Kate plus 8 says, "It might be a crazy life, but it's our life". lol

So here it is up that's not marker or ketchup. It's his first losing fight with a set of brick steps. I'm sure it won't be the last.
By the time THAT heals, we will probably be sending out New Year's cards!
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Friday, November 2, 2007

What a fun Halloween!!

Okay, I will apologize on the front end for the lack luster pictures of the kids. I am constantly reminded that it is virtually impossible to photograph children, especially when one of them is a 1 year old.

This year Kate decided to go as a fairy. I was so proud that she actually kept all of her fairy garb on so that people could somewhat recognize what she was wanting to be. The first couple of Halloween outings we had she would shed her gear at the beginning as to not draw attention to herself, which then made it look like she was trying to be a ballerina and that was of course traumatizing. Hmmm...the life of mothering a shy child.

Luke on the other hand had picked out three great superhero costumes and was rotating between them. So, of course, on Halloween I set out his choices: Batman, Superman, Mr. Incredible (my personal favorite). Instead, he dug to the bottom of the dress-up tub and found the 99 cent Buzz Lightyear costume that looks like 12 kids have worn it before him. I tried to convince him that there were better options, mostly to save my own mommy reputation. I finally gave up the fight, humbled myself and allow him the freedom of choice and of course he was thrilled all night with his decision.

As you can see, Caleb was Batman. My nephew Wilson had these Batman pjs when he was little and so they were perfect for Caleb this year. Plus they were free which helped my tightwad nature!

These pictures are all kind of funny, I think. You can see that Luke LOVES to bother Caleb (poke him, rub his head, and any sort of general pestering)! Caleb is a pretty good sport for the most part but I have a feeling that Luke's time will come before too long!

Hope you all had a wonderful Halloween! For us, it becomes more and more
fun every year! And for all of those who were concerned...Chris was able to
convince the kids to choose dark chocolate as often as possible during our trick or treating adventure, which is his ultimate goal each year. It was a productive Halloween for all!
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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Snack Mom...

Well, it's a holiday so in typical Larsen fashion all of the kids are sick.
Not only are they all sick, but I signed up in Aug. to be in charge of snack this week
for Kate's kindergarten class. So while Kate has been lying on the couch watching
cartoons, all the other kids in her class have been enjoying all of the fun Halloween
themed snacks that I had so lovingly prepared for her. : )
That's just how it goes's not her fault that she's sick.
But it made it hard last night when it was 10:30, I was working on an average of 4 hours of sleep for my 3rd day in a row, and it was my job to make the cupcakes for the class Halloween party today. Of course at that point, I wasn't too hopeful that Kate would even be
going to school today but in true "Sanders" fashion there was no way that I could send "plain" cupcakes
regardless of whether my child would enjoy them or not.
So, here they are...

They turned out nicely, and I'm sure my mom would be proud.
And for the record, Kate went to school... so she won't miss out on her cupcakes.
She didn't go in costume though because she's so shy that she doesn't like to draw attention to herself (much like her mother, lol)and I didn't bother to explain that being the only child in the whole school without a costume actually drew more attention to you but I did convince her that she should at least wear her Halloween shirt.

So, even though she doesn't realize all of the work and love that went into those Jack o Lantern cupcakes, it warms my heart that she's not missing out on the fun of a holiday celebration!

Stay tuned for costume pictures!!!
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Monday, October 29, 2007

The Larsen Family Pumpkins

Well, here they are...
I know that everyone has been on the edge of their seat to see the Larsen family
represented in pumpkins.

Please note that everyone was suppose to choose a pumpkin that represented themself.
I felt like Kate and Luke's choice of "pumpkins bigger than Daddy and Mommy's"
says a lot about how things go down in our family.
I would also like you to notice that my pumpkin (the 1st carved of the season) is already starting to get all nasty and funky. It probably won't even make it to Halloween.
Also, very telling... lol!

Each child was able to draw their own face. It made for difficult carving but definitely an interesting show.
And I have no idea why Chris decided to reflect himself as the angry, evil pumpkin.
I've been rather concerned about that if I do say so myself.

None the less,

Happy Halloween From our Pumpkin Family To Yours!!

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Picture's Worth A Thousand Words

I have a number of friends who have blogs and who have other friends who have blogs and it never fails that I waste half of my time reading people's blogs that I have only met once or have no idea even who they are. I was reading a blog tonight of a girl that I knew in college. As I looked at the pictures of her and her family, I found myself thinking "they look like they have such a fun family", "look how sweet her kids look", etc. Then one unhealthy thought leads to another and the next thing you know I'm drinking hard liquor in my bath robe on the couch at 10 in the morning. It's funny how sweet kids/families look in pictures. It reminded me of these pictures that I took of our kids the other day at the park.
I look at them and it reminds me of how sweet they are but I have to admit that for at least 1/3 of the day (maybe even 1/2) I feel like they are holy terrors sent to destroy me and each other.

They have a master plan and it consists primarily of pursuing emotional and physical destruction. It's amazing that any of us are alive at the end of the day.

Now you have to hear what I'm saying...I LOVE my children. Each one of them is a blessing to me and I would NEVER trade being a stay at home mom for anything else. But, I just like to remind myself and others that pictures tend to capture the best moments. I can't get caught up in comparing myself or my family with the way that other people "portray" themselves. I tend to be an overly honest person anyway so there aren't too many people that get a false image of my life. But I'll do my best to portray the real life happenings on this blog. If nothing else, it will make everyone else feel really great about themselves and their parenting! : )

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Carving the First Halloween Pumpkin

Since we haven't been to the pumpkin patch yet, Chris' parents bought us our first pumpkin of the season. The kids could hardly wait to carve it!
(Kate is much more excited than she looks in this picture)

It's so hard for me, in times like this, to participate in the moment and not just be the family photographer. : )

One of the best parts for the kids is scooping the goop!
I'm glad that they've embraced that as their own...

This is pretty much what Caleb did while we carved, along with a couple of mad dashes for the street and a short talk with the scarecrow.

Oh yes, and this was another contribution. We'll take it where we can get it!
Kate and Luke carved the pumpkin. Who gives a 5 year old a knife anyway?
The only thing scarier than a 5 year old with a knife, is a 3 year old with a knife...
Who are these kids' parents anyway???

This is the finished product. It's the "Mommy" pumpkin (note the big mouth) and won't win any pumpkin carving awards but the kids were very proud of it!

We're off to the Pumpkin Patch this weekend so I'm sure there will be much more to share!!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Marshmallow Roasting Extravaganza maybe it wasn't an "extravaganza" but we did build a fire out back tonight and roast marshmallows.
We told stories and really bad knock knock jokes. It was a blast!
Nothing like huddling around the fire when it's 80 degrees outside...

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Monday, October 1, 2007

More Black Rock Mountain Pics!

For some reason these pictures didn't make it into my original post...

Mommy and Caleb

My friend LeaAnn and her two boys

Who are these people? The Duggars? Oh, wait...that's the Adamsons!

Nothin' like bacon when your camping! Is that a bear in the background? lol!
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