"Trick Treat"

Happy Halloween! We had a great Halloween. I had to go back to work today, but it ended up being a good day to go back because it was Halloween.

We had a busy night. Auntie El came by to give Kate an Elmo trick or treat pail. It was a big hit, Kate loved it & carried it with her all night. Then we stopped by to say hi to Papa & Grandma Jill. After that we went to see their cousins, Alexis & Kyle. We then trekked over to the Mitchell's for a party & trick or treating. We didn't think Kate would go trick or treating. Boy, were we wrong. She LOVED it. It was so cute seeing her walking down the street in her costume saying "trick treat". She seemed like such a big girl, it made Kevin and I kinda sad! To end the night we stopped by Grandpa Jimmy & Mimi's house. It was such a fun night!

With Auntie El
The whole family

Kate & Claire with their cousins Kyle & Alexis

Kate Trick or Treating, it took her so long to decide what to pick..Rolo or Recees. She made the right choice...Recees.
Kate and Taylor eating their treats!

Kate at the end of the night crawling around like a dog.....can you say sugar high?


Pumpkin Palooza 2008

Tonight was the 4th annual Sembrat-Larson Pumpkin Carving Palooza!

We have been doing this for the past 4 years which is when the Sembrat's moved up the street from us. Mark & Kevin have been best buds since 4th grade! Mark, Tara & Kevin all went to middle school and high school together. (I was a few years behind them at the same schools...they are old). It is so fun having childhood friends live a few doors up!

Each year the Pumpkin Palooza gets bigger & better. Here are some of the pictures from the night.

On our porch trying to get a picture of both girls. If you can believe it,this is the best one. Yes, they are in matching outfits...I love having 2 girls to dress alike :)

The drink master...Sir Mix-a-lot Marky Mark:
Isn't this drink cool? It was good!
Me & Kev. Cheers!
Tara & Zayden the peacock:
The pumpkins & goards before being carved:
And after:


Right Place at the Right Time

So, Kate decided she was done with dinner (spinach nuggets & ketchup) and she flung her plate across the table and it landed on Boulder. I am so glad Boulder was there so that the ketchup didn't land on my carpet. Now, that would have been a mess to clean up. Luckily, there were only 2 tiny spots that got on the carpet, but they came out. That was a close call!

Way to take one for the team Boulder, I guess we will keep you around :)


Hand Me Ups?

My sweet Kate is 21 months today. She is such a goofy little girl. We love her so much. She is such a great big sister to Claire. I love seeing her hug, kiss, torment, poke & put stickers on her little sister.

So, today, Kate was in Claire's room opening all of her drawers and taking out all of Claire's clothes & socks. About 99% of Claire's clothes are hand me downs from Kate. (It has been very beneficial to our checking account having another girl). She grabbed a pair of Claire's little jeans (that were Kate's when she was a baby) and she was trying to put them on & was getting very frustrated & was saying to me "pants on". These jeans were size 3 months, so I figured there was no way they would fit. But, then, for the fun of it, I decided to see if they would fit. Lo and behold, these size 3 month pants fit Kate perfectly around the waist & made a cute little pair of capris for Kate.

Who would have thought a pair of size 3 month jeans would fit a
21 month year old. Not me! So, here is Kate wearing these pants when she was 3 and a half months old and today, 21 months!


Ketchup & Hiccups

I don't like ketchup. I don't put it on hot dogs, hamburgers or french fries. I like my fries dipped in ranch (or if at Pete's Brass Rail, I dip fries in their cajun mayo).
The only thing I like ketchup with is hash brown or breakfast potatoes.

Well, Kate LOVES ketchup. Loves it. She has become a picky eater the past few months. That has been challenging because we need this girl to gain weight! Well, about a month ago, we were trying to get Kate to eat some chicken nuggets (which she usually likes). Kevin said, "give her some ketchup to dip them in" I immediately made a face and said, "ewww, nasty". But, Kevin insisted we give ketchup a try. He squirted some ketchup on her plate & she ate up every last morsel of chicken nugget. Kate became a big fan of ketchup that night.

So, now, whenever we are trying to get Kate to eat something we squirt some ketchup on her plate & she goes crazy.

Tonight, Kate had chicken nuggets for dinner. I gave her a chocolate chip cookie for dessert while she was still in her high chair with her plate with leftover ketchup on it. I witnessed the horror of Kate repeatedly dipping her chocolate chip cookie in ketchup. Kids are gross!

Here is a list of things Kate likes to dip in ketchup:
  • eggs
  • quesadillas
  • meatballs
  • french fries
  • chicken nuggets
  • spinach nuggets
  • toast
  • grilled cheese
  • tortilla chips
  • string cheese
  • bananas (gross)
  • chocolate chip cookies (double gross)
Onto hiccups....when I was pregnant with Claire, from 34 weeks on, she would get the hiccups every night from 10 to 11. This trend has continued for her outside the womb. She still gets the hiccups every night and she also gets the hiccups at least 2 more times throughout the day. These are violent hiccups, her little body convulses every time she hiccups. She doesn't like them & usually starts crying a few minutes into her hiccuping session. The good news is that her baby acne has finally cleared up (how shallow am I????)
Claire is 6 weeks old today & I almost caught a smile with my camera! I wasn't quite fast enough!


Kick for the Cure & Pink October

So, most of you know I played collegiate soccer at the University of Colorado (Go Buffs!) About 2 months ago, I got an email from the coach that was sent to all the Colorado soccer alumni letting us know about a charity event that the CU soccer team was participating in. Every year CU soccer hosts a soccer tournament. This year's tournament was called Kick for the Cure and the tournament funds was going to support Breast Cancer & breast cancer awareness. Nike donated pink soccer jerseys that the CU soccer players were going to wear in honor of breast cancer survivors & women who had lost the battle with breast cancer. The email I got told me about the event & the opportunity to "bid" on a jersey. If you were the winning bid, the money would be donated to breast cancer research & you would be able to have a name embroidered on the sleeve of the pink jersey to honor someone who has battled or is currently battling breast cancer.

As soon as I got the email, I told Kevin about it & we knew we wanted to buy a jersey to honor our sister-in-law Cindy's mom. (Kevin's brother Jeff is married to Cindy & her mom Linda lost her battle to breast cancer in May 1999). Kevin's mom joined us in the efforts to purchase the jersey.

I wanted to purchase a jersey number that either Cindy or her sister Kathy wore for soccer. Kevin's mom searched through old SRVHS yearbooks to try and find their numbers. I managed to sly-ly ask Cindy what their soccer numbers were one night & I found out she was #4 and Kathy was #5. My niece Alexis is #9 and my nephew Kyle is #45. The auction for the jersey's ended the day before I had Claire, and I was bidding on jersey #'s 4, 5 and 9. I got out-bid on jersey #4 and jersey #5, but I won jersey #9. Yay!

***Disclaimer...I am math teacher, and a self-proclaimed numbers dork, so I was happy that at least I got #9 because 4+5 is 9....so Cindy's number plus Kathy's number is the number we got.....not to mention #9 is Alexis' number and Kyle is 45 which also equals 9 if you add the digits together. I told you I was a numbers dork!

The Colorado athletic department sent me the jersey last week & we gave the jersey to Cindy & her sister Kathy last night. They had no idea that we had done this (we actually pulled off a surprise!)
Here are pictures from last night:

My niece Alexis wearing the pink jersey (her favorite color and mine!) in honor of her Grandma Linda.

Cindy & Kathy with my nephews Kyle & Drew and niece Alexis
Did you know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month?

In honor of this, the White House has gone Pink for October:

“During a ceremony at the White House, First Lady Laura Bush flipped a switch and suddenly a building that has been white ever since John and Abigail Adams took up residence there in 1800 was suddenly pink. She said:

We’re showing our support of breast cancer awareness and research in a historic way. In recognition of the mothers, daughters, sisters and wives who struggle with this disease, we’re lighting the White House in pink, which is the color of the cause. May our lights tonight shine as beacons around the world, a signal of the United States’ commitment to saving lives for breast cancer.”

Kudos to Laura Bush and all the other women around the world who are working hard to raise awareness of this horrible disease.

Also, check out these re-useable shopping bags I picked up at Safeway last week. Normally, Safeway's re-useable shopping bags are $.99 But, they have these special edition Breast Cancer ones that are $1.99 ($1 from each bag goes to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.) Aren't they cute? I picked up 5 of them! You can now go Green and Pink when you shop!

Front & Back Views:


Caramel Candy Corn

That's right folks, it that time of month....the October POTM (product of the month). This post is coming early because I want to tell you about it before they sell out & before Halloween is over.

4 words: Brach's Caramel Candy Corn.
This was a new product that came out last year in fall of 2007. I got it last year & this year at Target. 3 bags for $5 on sale!

Oh man. I have the weirdest love-hate relationship with candy corn and the pumpkin mallowcremes. I see them, I must have them, but I only want to eat like 5 before I'm like okay, no more for a year. But, every year, come October 1st, I bust out my glass pumpkin & fill it with candy corn & pumpkin mallowcremes. I mostly fill it because it looks pretty & festive, not because I love the candy. But last year, Brachs came out with a new product: Carmel candy corn. This stuff is good. REALLY good. It puts normal candy corn & pumpkin mallowcremes to shame.

The caramel corn smells much sweeter than normal candy corn, if you can believe it. Its color is brown bottom, yellow/orange middle and white tip. The flavor is extremely sweet, but it really tastes of caramel with a burnt and milky essence to it. Hard for me to believe that they outdid the original, but they certainly did it here.

They also came out with Caramel Apple Candy corn, but I was sort of frightened by this flavor. These have a brown bottom, red middle and white tip. They’re really quite pretty and I imagine they would look quite attractive in my glass pumpkin, but I am scared to try them. If you have had this flavor, let me know what you think, i am too cheap to spend $1.99 on a bag to find out :)

Back to the Caramel Candy Corn.....The flavor is familiar enough for candy corn lovers and different and strong enough to convince all the rest that candy corn is indeed a tasty treat. So, even if you don't like candy corn, you might like these! I hope they continue to make these each autumn season...We have already gone through 2 bags and it isn't even Halloween yet!


10 on 10 :: October 2008

10 on 10 is an idea I got a few months ago from my good friend Caryn. She does 10 on 10 on her blog. The idea of 10 on 10 comes from a blog called 10 on 10.

The idea is you take a photo once an hour for ten consecutive hours on the tenth of each month. It is a fun way to journal a day in your life through photography.

Reading books in Claire's room after breakfast.

Text message from my friend Tallie, she had a baby girl this morning! Congrats Mike & Tallie, can't wait to meet Tatum!

Kate helping me with laundry

Claire chillin' in her swing during lunch

Afternoon snack...for me :)

Playing in the backyard after naptime

Auntie Becky stops by on her way home from school. Check out Kate's slippers..Auntie got them for her in Italy.

Boulder waiting for Kevin to get home from work

Bathtime for Claire

Both kids asleep, time to relax!

I think this will be fun to do each 10th of the month.


What's in a Name?

I love talking to people about baby names. It is so fun to hear why people named their kids certain names. And, it is really fun talking to my pregnant friends about baby names! After we had Claire, I was surprised at how many compliments I got on her name! Many people have asked why we chose the names we chose, so I thought I would post the story here. This is the more "in-depth" reason on our name choices (and not to mention, I really like the way Kate and Claire sound together!)

Ever since Kevin and I were married 6 years ago, we had decided on a girl name and a boy name for when we had kids. I remember sitting in the Borders Cafe in the fall of 2002 and we started talking about what we would name our future kids. Our girl would be named Katelyn & our boy would be named Luke. Kevin and I both like simple, classic names. This conversation was a few weeks after I had an ectopic pregnancy (that is a whole new blog topic, to be written at a later time).

Anyways, we had first names, we just needed to figure out middle names. For Katelyn, we thought Katelyn Kristine Larson would be cute. (My middle name is Kristine, and my mom picked that because her name is Kristina, but she thought Melissa Kristine sounded better). And, Kevin's mom said if he had been a girl, she was going to name him Kristine. But then I started thinking about the initials of Katelyn Kristine Larson...it would be K.K.L. What if she married someone with a last name that started with a "K". ummmm.....those would not be good initials, so we needed to think of a different middle name.

When I finally got pregnant again in May of 2006 (after another miscarriage in October of 2005) and it appeared to be sticking I started really looking into name meanings for the baby. I knew this baby needed a significant name because of everything I went through after 2 miscarriages. My walk with God struggled after my 2nd miscarriage. I was pissed at God for taking 2 babies away from me. I was angry & sad. I didn't understand. It seemed everyone around me was getting pregnant but me. I feared that God would never allow me to have children. That caused a lot of tension between me and God. I did not understand His plan and His timing. All I wanted in life was to be married and be a mommy. Why wasn't MY plan working? It was during the time after my 2nd miscarriage & throughout my pregnancy with Kate where I began to re-discover the love, grace and plan that God had for me (and Kevin). Grace is receiving a positive benefit that one does not deserve to receive. Divine Grace also can be defined as God's empowering presence in ones life enabling them to do and be what they were created to do and be. This hit home to me during my pregnancy with Kate & I knew that if I had a girl her name would be Katelyn Grace.

The name Katelyn means "Pure" and the name Grace means "Grace of God", so Katelyn's full name means Pure Grace of God. Her name is perfect and it exactly describes who she is and how God has used her in our lives. She has shown us God's love and joy. My prayer for her is that she would one day understand and know the love and grace that God has for her and that she would extend God's love and grace to those around her.

This picture was taken 30 seconds after Kate was born and it shows the emotion, awe, amazement and joy I felt because I finally had my baby & once again, although I didn't deserve it, I had received the pure grace of God.

Fast forward a year later and SURPRISE....I was pregnant again. I knew I wanted to name this child something that had as much meaning to me as Kate's name. If it was a boy, we were going to use Luke, since that was the name we still loved. For a middle name, we had decided it would be Luke James. James is my dad's name and since he had 3 girls, Kevin and I wanted to honor my dad in that way by passing on his name. We actually never told anyone we were going to use James as a middle name, we wanted to surprise my dad (aka: Grandpa Jimmy) and tell him the name in the hospital if it was a boy.

For a girl name, we couldn't agree. I had a short list of girl names I liked & Kevin wanted the name to be Sarah if it was a girl. (I said no to Sarah because although Sarah is a beautiful name, the name Sarah Larson is too common. Besides, George Clooney's ex-girlfriend is a model named Sarah Larson). Kevin also likes the name Emma, but it is really popular, in the Top 5.  I also REALLY love the name Charlotte for a girl. If there is ever a 3rd Larson Lady, that is what I want to name her :)

We knew that if we had a girl, we would use Kristine as the middle name (since we didn't use it with Kate). So, I had my short list of about 5 girl names that I like & I went on the internet to research their name meanings.

My top name was Claire, but Kevin wasn't so sure about it. Once I found the meaning of the name Claire, I knew that if we had a girl, Claire HAD to be the name. Claire means "Bright". The middle name would be Kristine, which means "Follower of Christ". It was perfect! And, like every good husband, Kevin gave in and let me use the name I wanted :)

Together, the name Claire Kristine means "Bright Follower of Christ". It was exactly what I would hope & pray for my 2nd daughter, My prayer for Claire is that she would know God and be a bright follower of Christ and live her life for Him. I pray she will be a bright light amidst the darkness, sharing the good news of Jesus Christ to the lost and dying world we live in. May her light shine so that other may know the richness of God's love.

And, because I posted a pic of Kate 30 seconds after she was born, here is Claire seconds after she was born:


It's Finally Fall!

September 22nd is the "official" first day of Fall. But considering it was still in the 90's that week of September, I would hardly call that fall weather. I am waiting patiently for the true fall weather.
Today, we FINALLY had some real fall weather & I *think* I can officially celebrate the beginning of fall!

Fall is my most favorite season of all! I wish I lived in New England during this time of year.

Top 10 Things I love about Fall:

10. The new fall TV line-up! No more re-runs!

9. Football season! Go Buffs! Go Niners!

8. Fall reminds me of playing college soccer. Those were the days! Now I am a has-been. But, this time of year always brings back a flood of fond memories from college.

7. I love fall clothing! Time to bust out the sweaters, boots & UGGS! (and this year, fall clothes will help hide my oh-so lovely post-partum body.)

6. Fall means that Thanksgiving will be here soon & I get to eat Thanksgiving Dinner! Yummy! And, that means Christmas is almost here!

5. Halloween! Halloween is so fun now that we have kids. It is fun deciding on what their costumes will be. And, Kate is getting old enough to actually go trick or treating. I can't wait to take her this year!

4. I love cooking during the fall. Get ready for casseroles & home made soups! And, I especially love baking during the fall! ahhh..comfort food!

3. I love the fall weather. Days are sunny, but not hot. It cools down at night. I love the brisk air. I like how it gets darker earlier. I know, I am weird.

2. I love the changing colors of the leaves. The reds, orange & gold leaves are gorgeous! Drive down Sycamore in a few weeks & you will see some beautiful fall foliage. I want to go to New England one fall & drive through Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine & Pennsylvania to check out the beautiful trees & changing colors. (gee, that makes me sound like an old person....I am really only 29, I swear!)

1. PUMPKINS!!! Pumpkin Bread, Pumpkin Scones, Pumpkin Ice Cream, Pumpkin Cheesecake, Pumpkin Muffins, Pumpkin Cookies. The smell of my pumpkin candle. Pumpkin Decorations. Pumpkin Soup. Pumpkin Bagels. Going to the Pumpkin Patch! Carving pumpkins! I love all things pumpkin, except Pumpkin Pie *gag* (it's a texture thing)


The Beast

Tonight the 5 of us took out our new double stroller (aka The Beast) for a walk around the neighborhood.

Kate loved it, she especially liked being in front & holding on to Boulder's leash for part of the walk. Claire slept most of the time, but when she was awake, she was happy! It was my first post-partum walk & it was a nice evening.

The Beast was pretty easy to push (according to Kevin...I mostly walked the dog) Our neighborhood has lots of hills, so Kevin was in charge of the Beast.

I am happy with The Beast, it is simple to open, turns easily, easy to maneuver, folds easily & Kate couldn't get out of the straps (although she tried). The only down fall is that it is heavy, but it is the "lightest" double stroller on the market (or so they say)

A special shout-out of thanks to my MIL who bought it for us! Thanks Jill!


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