Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Back in the swing of things

We have just come out of  a good 5 days of sickness. Cough, cold, fever. Both boys still have coughs but I chose to send Anders to school today because he didn't have a fever. It turns out that having two children who are sick and needy makes for a messy house and now I am sitting here trying to figure out where to even begin! Chris' mom is coming in the day after tomorrow and we will celebrate our first Christmas of the season. It should be fun but all I can think about is "how in the heck am I going to get everything done?" So today it's going to be a "put things away" day. Tomorrow is going to be a deep clean day. Friday will be a last minute shopping day.

While the boys were home sick I made a paper chain (with a little help from Anders) for our Christmas tree. Chris really likes the way it looks thank goodness. =) It was fun to just sit and make something out of paper and I plan on making a few snowflakes as well. They remind me of some of the Christmas's that we had growing up with some German girls that lived with us. They made some beautiful paper decorations that looked so old fashioned and simple.
I will post a few pictures when I load them onto the computer. Hopefully my next post will just be pictures!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Halloween and a One year old.

Halloween, Lars' Birthday, and other fun stuff. This should be my blog title. As usual I have some catching up to do but I finally got my photos downloaded from my phone to the compute and so I can properly post!
Halloween was quite fun this year. Anders really hemmed and hawed over what he wanted to be and Chris even bought him a suit of armor. He used that costume for his school halloween parade although he said it was too hot and scratchy. He went with Chris to his company Halloween party dressed as a zombie. Then for actual halloween night we whipped up a black ninja costume out of a few odds and ends and of course didn't get any pictures of that costume. That night we went trick or treating with a friend of Chris' from work and her son. The boys got along great and they ran from house to house at full speed and really made out well!

Lars turned One on November 5 and we waited until the next weekend to celebrate. We did go out to lunch on his actual Birthday and Anders enjoyed getting out of school early that day.  The party was very sweet with mostly family and a few friends. There were a handful of older kids and Anders had a blast playing with them. It was fun to see all the kids running around the yard and playing some game that involved lots of screaming and chasing.
Lars, had fun and mostly liked his cake. He especially loved all the balloons and we got a lot of use out of those for a few days.

The other stuff includes trips to the park, enjoying Malibu Presbyterian church on Sundays, school, loving our local library, playing around the house, watching Lars do new things and just enjoying being a family.
Anders and Miss Lizzy the teachers aid in his school class.

School friends all dressed up!

Ms. Gillette and Anders.


Our little one year old...

On Lars' Birthday we went out for lunch. Eating his birthday ice cream.

Lars loved his birthday balloons

Lars really took to our friend Jett. He really had a way with Lars!

All the kids enjoying a Birthday Lunch together. Rowen, Liberty, Jett, James, Anders,  Violet


Watching Grandpa blow the yard in preparation for the party.

Anders lost his second tooth.

Love the pilgrim hat...

The sanctuary is almost complete up at Malibu Pres. Everyone got to write something on the floors

Anders loved writing on the floor of the new church building.

I love these boys.

Lars being his cute self.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Lifter Of My Head

Yesterday while I was driving Anders home from his sports class in Burbank we drove by a homeless man lying on the sidewalk. I was going slowly enough that I could really look at him. He was lying in the sun, his hands were swollen and his breathing was fast and shallow. He didn't look right. I turned the corner and decided to call the police and see if they could send out an ambulance. I didn't call 911 but called the station directly. I was put on hold and while I waited I drove around the block to keep an eye on him. When I drove by again I saw that a fire engine had pulled up and he was getting looked over by the firemen. An ambulance was already on the way. I hung up the phone and stopped the car for a minute and watched them check his pulse and then take his blood pressure. I was glad that he was getting help and I was glad that I went back around to check. If I hadn't I would have kept wondering what happened to him. I still do wonder and I hope that he got the help he needed.
I was able to talk to Anders about it and and his first question was "did he take too many drugs?" I told him that I didn't know but that he was getting help now.
I drove through McDonalds to pick up some early dinner because I didn't want to go home yet. That incident threw me for a loop and all of a sudden I was in a cloud of depression and sadness.  I was totally taken aback by these feelings and I started to do some emotional inventory.

I realized that I make a specific effort to try and feel good. I hate feeling sad and depressed and yet I am very emotional by nature. I remember as a child scoffing at others fears and anxieties to try and suppress my own. It was and is easy to get lost in a book or a movie or other forms of entertainment to avoid sadness. It is easy to turn towards food or shopping or fantasy to make myself feel better. All to avoid the harshness and sadness that comes with living on this planet.

Life is not easy. As I look around I know this. My sweet Aunt is suffering through terminal cancer.  I have friends and family who have lost babies. And others who have lost parents. In the last couple of days hurricane Sandy just devastated peoples lives and homes overnight. People are confused, angry, broken hearted and sad. War, deception, power hungry people, lies, pain, fear... This old world groans under the weight of these things.

As a Christian I have struggled through the disillusionment that came when I realized that my religion is not perfect. That my church is not perfect. That the people I have looked up to are not perfect.


There is something that I have come to know deep down in my soul in a way that holds my center together. God is love. He is the perfect one. He is the one who is constant, who doesn't change and doesn't sleep.
I have come to see the pattern throughout history of God loving through all of the choices that people make. Because He gave us the ability to choose. To choose Him or to not choose Him. He loves us so much that he lets us be free. He cares about each sorrow, each step and each tear.

Psalm 56:8 You keep track of my sorrows (wanderings). You have collected my tears in your bottle. You have recored each one in your book. NLT

God is the redeemer of people. He can turn our sorrow in to joy, our hopelessness into hope. I remember the truth that He spoke to my heart back when I was 15 and selfish and lost in the midst of bad choices. He said "I see you, and I LOVE you". It was quiet and kind and true. I knew it was God's voice and it changed my life.

This is where I have to go in my gloom. In my future pain and sadness, in my fear and doubt, in my bad choices and bad behavior. This is also where I have to go in my joys and triumphs. I am not grounded in people, places or ideologies. I am grounded in a love that is above all else. 

That depression? It's gone. I know that I will be sad again. I will be overwhelmed again. I will get the blues, get hurt, have a bad day, lose someone I love, lose my temper, fall short in some way, disappoint and be disappointed. 
I am thankful for that deep truth that has taken hold of my heart and that lifts my face up.

Psalm 3:3 "But You, O Lord, are a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head."

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Little Update

Life has been galloping along here at the Jensen house! School is in full swing, Lars is 10 months and growing fast. Right now I am watching him fling toys around the room and make movements that might turn into crawling someday. He is active, funny and adorable. He is a total snuggler and a full blown mamas boy except when daddy is holding him. Then he's a daddy's boy. =0) He just started picking up small pieces of food and chewing without gagging. Yay! He loves Anders and really laughs at whatever Anders does. Sometimes that bugs him especially when he's not trying to make Lars laugh. Mostly Anders LOVES his little bro and they already have a sweet relationship building. I love seeing them interact.
School is going really well for Anders and he is on top of the academics of Kindergarten. He is starting to read and has been having fun reading all of the Mo Willems books with me. He took his favorite one to class earlier this week and read it out loud. Apparently he did so well and made everyone laugh so much that they sent him next door to the Pre-K class to read it to them! Yesterday he read it to the first grade class. He seems to thrive on performance and loves to make people laugh.

This past July we went on a family trip to Yosemite where we met my parents, my Sister and Brother-in-law and their kids, a couple of my Aunts and Uncles as well as a cousin and her family. It really was a special trip and we want to try and make it up there again in the future. 

We have been settling in to our new rental house and there have been some great things about it and some not so great things. We have more room to spread out. A new couch that comfortably seats the whole family and a front porch to enjoy the cooler evenings. Anders has had some fun playing in the hose and we have enjoyed the fantastic walking path right near our house. We have central air (lovely) and doors that shut. A washer and dryer plus a dishwasher make me feel down right wealthy. 
On the downish side the back yard is filthy dirty with all of the owners stuff stored back there. There have been ongoing fix it projects since we moved in and things are still unfinished. Our main bathroom which is beautifully tiled has wires and open vents coming out of the ceiling and the outlets don't work. 
One other tricky thing is that there is not much storage except in the kitchen. There is one closet in our bedroom plus some office cupboards that Chris is using for his various wires, cables and such. The house also came with a large armoire that I am getting good use out of. We are trying to pair down our things but it has been a challenge.

Mostly we are just THANKFUL for the good things in our lives! Chris has a good job, we have more comforts than we've had in a while and we have two great boys. I am so thankful for my family and friends, the good weather in California, all of the fun things to do in our area, a great local library with a really great selection of books.... Life is good.

The bunk beds in our tent/cabin in Yosemite

My Dad and his brother Tom enjoying the campground

Anders and his buddy/cousin Tommy loving the dirt and playtime

My mom and I had a lovely couple of hours hanging out while in Yosemite.  Lars loves his Grandma...

Half dome!

Anders enjoying some water play in our front yard.

Me and the cuddle bug.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Moving, bugs and greasers

What a fun stage we are at with both Anders and Lars! Anders has just started reading and Lars got to little bottom teeth. 
We are loving our boys and trying to soak up each precious (and not so precious) moment. 
In other news we are getting ready to move out of our quaint back house with the big back yard and built in friends to a house that is closer to Chris' work. We will still have a good sized back yard although it is a jungle at the moment but we will REALLY miss this sweet community that we have enjoyed for the past two years.
Things I won't miss, BUGS! We have different bug seasons and right now we are in the pincher bug/spider/occasional cockroach that has wandered in from outside season. Summer is pincher bug/leaf bug season.

I won't miss the small utilitarian kitchen, the lack of a dishwasher, garbage disposal and storage.
I won't miss sharing a tiny water heater with the next door neighbors.
I won't miss tripping over our stuff and knocking things over if I turn around.

Things that we will miss - our good neighbor friends, the hight ceilings and the neighbor dogs. (right now Charlie the chocolate lab is sitting next to me). We will also miss Anders school which has been a huge blessing to him this year.

I AM looking forward to having our own washer and dryer! I AM looking forward to having doors on our rooms. I AM looking forward to having a second bathroom. I AM looking forward to having a real living room and a real fireplace. I already can imagine cozy fires on the cool california winter nights.
I AM looking forward to having a covered front porch and our own driveway to pull our cars into.

Anders and I have been talking about how it is o.k to be sad about leaving but to also look forward to the new thing. He has been having a hard time thinking about not having his friends a few steps away. But yesterday we went over to the new house and he got to play in the "jungle" back yard and run around in the front and he seems much more happy about the "new". 

School has been drawing to a close and he only has 13 or so more days until school is out. This past Friday his class put on a "Mothers and Fathers Day" performance and it was SO cute! It was a 50's theme and Anders loved dressing up like a greaser for the event. The kids performed songs, danced and recited sweet poems. After the performance they presented us with handmade gifts. Pictures for the moms and clay paper weights for the dads. Then they had us all sit in the little chairs and handed out cold tea and pastries. It was one of the cutest things ever! I heard one little boy say to his dad as he handed him the snack "For your service"!  I love 4 and 5 year olds....

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Milestone alert

Milestone alert - Lars finally rolled over from back to tummy today. Yay! 5 months 3 weeks

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

You know you're a stay at home mom when....

- Cutting your toenails feels like a spa treatment

- When you drop an earring into the toilet and your don't even blink at reaching in to get it

- When you can do 6 loads of laundry, wash the dishes, nurse the baby, play with the baby, drive to and from school, Facebook AND play Words with Friends, answer lots of questions and listen to lots of stories about ninjas, Power Rangers and snow leopards, make dinner and wash the dishes again then write a blog about it all on less than 5 hours of sleep.

- One very specific look (glare) can get things done

- When you realize that it will take a LOT more than a new piece of jewelry or clothing to make you feel "put together"

- When you find a great show on Netflix that has multiple seasons you have moment of pure bliss knowing that you have something to look forward to when the kids are in bed.

- A head rub from the hubby is like morphine

- You feel so so lucky to get to do this incredibly difficult and special job

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My big boys

I love these boys!

Well, one boy is getting big as in grown up and the other boy is just BIG.

Anders my grown-up big boy has been surprising me lately with little bursts of maturity. Small things like realizing when he is being unreasonable or last night when Chris was putting him to bed and was trying to explain some toy from his boyhood. Anders didn't understand how it worked and he stopped Chris and said "WAIT, explain to me how it actually works. I want to understand". Oh he is growing up!
 But then there are moments like today after eating a very bright blue birthday cupcake at school and he had an actual tantrum in the middle of the floor. A stomach down, fists hitting the ground tantrum. I just watched with amusement because I realized that when he was two and three and in the tantrum stage he never had a real ground pounding tantrum. I figured that it was a right of passage to have at least one of those kind melt downs before he grows up. I think we've experienced every other kind of melt down now. Throwing things, yelling, hitting, screaming, wall kicking... Fun times.

A few days ago we were driving in the car and Anders informed me that he didn't want any hugs or kisses from me. He said it in a very matter of fact way while looking out the window. I know this because I watch him in my rear view mirror. It's one of the quirks that drives Chris crazy. Me constantly adjusting the mirror so I can see my child while he talks to me. It makes the mirror wiggly. Anyways, Anders looked so moody and teen ager-ish that I knew that I had to handle this with respectful distance. I paused and then let him know that that was fine but that I really loved getting hugs and kisses from him and he could come and get hugs and kisses from me whenever he felt like he needed them. He nodded and I knew that we had an agreement. Tonight he came over and put his arm around my neck and leaned up against me. I kissed him on the side of his head a few times and pulled him close and he hung out like that for a few minutes. I guess that he knew that I was going to respect his need to not be tackled and smooshed with kisses and decided that he needed to come and get a little fill. I love my big boy.

Little Big boy number two is becoming a truly sweet, funny part of our family. He belly laughs at Anders antics and tries so hard to get his attention by kicking his feet and staring intently at big brother until big brother pays attention to him! He blows spit bubbles is super ticklish and doesn't sleep through the night yet at 5 1/2 months. He is a squishy, cuddly, ball of love! I can tell that he is going to be funny. He has a gleam in his eye and is always ready for fun even at this age. I LOVE cuddling and nursing him and kissing his round milky cheeks and could do it all day long!
Anders class has been working on a special book in their writing workshop class. His was pretty funny. The first page said "I imagine.... Mom riding on a toilet skate board". That was fun to show everyone!

The Pre-K class at NVLA

Anders loves to jump and fall. This is one of our favorite parks in Calabasas

We got to celebrate cousin Tommy's Bithday last weekend and all those boys had so much fun playing together!

Here is my BIG baby! 5 1/2 month about 19 pounds.  

Lars is all sweetness, love and cream.....
Here are a few recent pictures of the boys.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Not a status update

Has it really been over three months since I last blogged? Life is busy and it's easy to write short little status updates instead of a time consuming blog post. But a status update doesn't say it all.

Lars has been out of my belly for almost 4 months now. Time is flying and he is getting sweeter and cuter every day. In the beginning he was constantly hungry. I felt like he was never full and breastfeeding was all I was doing. This time around I decided to demand feed and see how it goes. With Anders he had been put on a nice and neat three hour schedule in the NICU. He didn't latch on and nurse at all for quite a while so I was pumping milk and feeding him AND trying to get him to nurse. It was exhausting. With Lars I just nurse him when he seems hungry. At night it has been fantastic because he is sleeping in a co-sleeper right next to me and I can just pull him in to bed, nurse him and put him right back in his bed. I leave a dim light on in the kitchen so that I can see at night and it has worked out smoothly.
Because Lars has been such a voracious little eater I feel like demand feeding him has been a really sweet bonding experience. I haven't been worried about scheduling or if he is getting enough (he clearly is at 15+ pounds at his 3 month appointment). I've enjoyed snuggling him and holding him a lot knowing that he won't be a baby for very long. Now that he is past 3 months we've slipped into a nice schedule and he eats, plays and sleeps. I still get up a couple of times a night to feed him and I'm hoping that he will start skipping that middle of the night feeding soon.

Anders has adjusted so nicely to being a big brother. He really loves his bro and is very protective and caring. One time Lars was wearing a little striped had and Anders said that he looked like a robber. He jokingly said "you're going to be in jail!" Immediately he got a little emotional and said that he didn't ever want Lars to be in jail! I love my sensitive big boy Anders.
Speaking of Anders he has been growing up a lot lately. He has been learning so much in school and he likes to talk about his "light bulbs" coming on while he's learning. We started him out in the Kindergarten program in September but quickly realized that he needed some more time adjusting to the academics of school. Since late September he has been in the preschool class and has been really thriving and growing. He can sound out words write his name as well as lots of words and is becoming much more independent and confident. I'm so glad we took this extra year to encourage his abilities. He loves doing puzzles, playing games and playing outside. His teachers Miss Mimi and Miss Sweetie have been so good at working with him and have really had to reach deep to find ways to keep him engaged and focused. I keep them in my prayers daily! =0)

I'm still adjusting  to mothering two boys and the evenings are an interesting juggling act to try and meet both boys needs as well as make dinner do dishes or whatever else needs doing. I'm beginning to get back on top of house keeping although it is always an uphill battle for me. In my last weeks of pregnancy my blood pressure was really high and I couldn't do much. After I had Lars my bp was still high plus I had a new baby and was healing up from the c-section and I felt so overwhelmed by basic house hold duties. Add to that all of the STUFF that comes with a new baby, a very small space, no storage, no dishwasher and limited laundry access and it was the perfect storm. Slowly but surely things have found a place, laundry is on it's rotation, I have my energy back, Anders is in school most of the day... I'm happy to have some peace around here again.
My evening are quiet with Anders in bad by 7-7:30 and Lars down by 8:30-9:00. I get time to Facebook watch Hulu or Netflix and relax. Chris works late most nights and when he is home it's a rare treat. I miss having him here and it gets a bit lonely. But I am thankful that he has a good job and that we get our weekends to have our much loved and coveted family time.
Here are a few pictures from these last few months to fill in the gaps.

Anders got the cutest t-shirt made by cousin Philips wife Abby. So sweet!

This child is clearly getting plenty of mama milk....

Enjoying cuddle time with Lars.

Anders LOVES his little brother. Lars doesn't know it yet but they are going to be very good friends. 

The boys with Anders teacher Miss Mimi. 

A weekend day trip to the Long Beach Aquarium. We love our weekends!

Anders in his art class. Miss Sisu  is a fantastic and engaged art teacher!

My big boy. He was so proud of climbing this tree.

My little boy. Such a cuddly love bug.