Sunday, May 17, 2009

Recital and Uncle Adam

Katelyn has been working on the song "Salsa Kid" for months and finally performed it at her recital today. She did a fantastic job! To see her performance, click here

Yesterday we got to see a very tired, yet still energetic Uncle Adam in NYC. Adam is working for a company that hosts 200 mile relay races (Ragnar). Each team in the race has 12 runners who each take 3-8 mile stretches to run. The fastest team ran it in 18 hours and 50 minutes. The slowest teams took almost 35 hours. During the run, most of the runners get very little sleep. Although the runners get little sleep, those who staff the event get even less. Adam had only gotten 6 hours and 15 minutes of sleep since Wednesday (3 hours Wednesday, 3 hours Thursday, 15 minutes Friday). Today he had hoped to come to Church with us, but I think he was a little surprised when he woke up after 12 hours of sleep still tired. So, he decided to spend the remaining part of the day in NYC resting. We look forward to seeing him on Tuesday when he's done with work.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Snakes, toads, soccer, fence, Mother's Day, Eli standing

Saturday Melanie looked out the window to see some strange animal outside. Not sure what she was seeing, she went outside to find two snakes playing tug-a-war with a toad. When she went out, one of the snakes fled, leaving the toad to the other snake. Unfortunately, Dale and the kids weren't home, but she was able to get pictures. The boys (including Dale) are fascinated and Katelyn is petrified and will not even look at this blog while the picture is showing.

This week we stayed busy with more soccer. Katelyn and her team played very well. We took a lot of pictures. See our pictures site.

We also finished taking down the ugly white fence in the backyard. Can't believe how it has transformed our backyard from feeling long and narrow to much wider and expansive.

Melanie had a wonderful Mother's Day (& week). Celebration started Tuesday with a special Activity Day where Katelyn gave Melanie a beautiful pin and framed letter. Later in the week she also gave Melanie some potted marigolds from school. Dale and the kids all helped to make a wonderful fruit and french toast breakfast. Then Luke led Melanie blind-folded into the kitchen to help her sit down in one of her new chairs for outside. Katelyn's gift-giving wasn't done and she gave Melanie mascara and a slice of a geode. Lots of hugs, kisses, good food and love made a wonderful Mother's Day.

An update on Eli -- he has discovered that he likes to stand unassisted. So, he stands himself up and is so proud of how long he can go without holding on to anything.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Garden, garden, garden, oh and some tennis, & cherry blossoms

This week was all about finishing getting the garden cages finished -- stapling down the chicken wire, putting hinges on the large cages, mixing soil, and planting transplants and seeds. Still a little early for some of the warm summer crops (tomatoes, etc), but we've got a good start on some of the other stuff. Fun to see that our radishes have already sprouted (not sure if anyone will eat them, but its hard to pass up something that will be ready for harvest in three weeks).

Katelyn also started tennis lessons this week. Yes, she is doing two sports right now -- soccer and tennis. But, when she showed interest in the Challis' favorite sport, how could we say no? So, by the end of the week, everyone in the family now has tennis rackets. Katelyn had a great first practice and thinks she is pretty hot stuff. Luke was able to hit 3 balls that Dale tossed to him. Dale and Melanie might have to hit the court on a date night soon.

Finally, this week the cherry trees are in blossom. We have a small cherry tree in our backyard that Dale took the above picture. But to see more pictures of our family in beautiful Hurd Park with a cherry tree lined brook, please see our picture website: There are also pictures of Eli playing the piano -- he discovered that he can reach the keys if he stands on his tiptoes. He has tried to play duets while Katelyn has been practicing.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

garden boxes and more

This week Melanie kept Dale more than busy building garden boxes and cages. With the numerous critters that frequent our backyard (deer, ground hogs, rabbits, etc), past gardens have provided more food for the wildlife than for our dinner table. Hopefully, these new boxes will save the plants. Now we'll see if Melanie can really grow anything:-) Luke and Eli have both enjoyed being outside during the building process. Eli, unlike our other kids, is fearless. He doesn't seem to mind the grass, rock, gravel or sticks that he crawls over. He loves the dirt! Luke loves playing outside and thought he was really a big kid when our neighbor Amy invited him over to play Saturday afternoon.

Katelyn had a great day at "Take your child to work day" at J&J. Most of her classmates that went to work with their parents thought that it was pretty boring. J&J was anything but boring. The IT department let them take apart and reassemble a computer. They also surgically removed a penny from a banana and got to staple it back up -- this was done while wearing full surgical garb and mask. They did experiments trying to determine the best bubble making solution. They also made a bracelet to sell and all proceeds went to help the fight against breast cancer (they were excellent salesmen -- the parents were told to bring $5). Then, they each got a bag full of J&J products and marketing paraphernalia. They took a tour of an ambulance. The Liberty Science Center did a presentation. Then of course, there was a pizza party at lunch and an ice cream social at the end of the day. So, overall not a bad day at work for Katelyn.

More pictures:

Sunday, April 19, 2009

What a wonderful Easter we had!!! Grandpa David and Grandma Paula came for a visit from Utah. Plus, Jim, Patty, Derek and Jade came up for Sunday dinner. Each of the kids successfully found their Easter baskets. (Although Eli seemed a little disappointed that he did not get to sample the candy in his basket) Our church service was magnificent with a powerful Easter message and many beautiful musical numbers. It's amazing how music carries the spirit of the message so well. We are so grateful that because of Christ we will all be resurrected and that we all have the opportunity to be forgiven.
While Grandma and Grandpa were here we went to Bushkill falls. Even though it was cool and overcast with some drizzle, it was a spectacular view. Its hard to tell from the pictures (see link below), but the whole valley is covered with rhododendron bushes. We were told that they usually don't bloom until late May or early June. I think we will have to go back!
Katelyn and Luke had fun going to Space Farms (a small zoo) with Grandma and Grandpa. They also saw a movie and went to a park. Lots of fun memories.
This weekend we finished taking down the fence in the backyard and did some spring clean-up. We also prepped for the next steps in our bathroom.
If you want to see any of the pictures from the last two weeks, see our website:

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Time flies when you're having fun. This past week Dale (with his unofficial calling) had pack meeting. He and the kids had a great time eating and playing games during the Blue and Gold Dinner.

The youth had a pancake breakfast/ car wash/ garage sale fundraiser on Saturday morning which Melanie was involved with. Eli even got to eat his first pancake! Luke enjoyed playing with friends and Katelyn was a great help as she came early with Melanie and then watched the boys when Dale left early.

Katelyn started soccer this week. So, weather permitting, we should be staying busy with that.

Eli continues to progress. He loves copying his older brother. He's been taking small cars and going "Vrooooooom, vrooooom" If you want to see a picture of this or other pictures from this week, see our picture site:

We loved watching (when we could hear it over the racing cars from Luke and Eli) General Conference in our own home. What a blessing it is to hear the words of the prophets, apostles and other leaders! We came away spiritually fed and with hope to be better in so many ways. Good thing we have eternity to work on some of these things:)

In between sessions we were able to take a walk in Hedden Park which is right behind our house. (see above link for more pics). Its so much fun to see the beginning signs of spring -- the occasional green leaves and plants. We've also enjoyed the colorful crocus blooming in our own yard and it looks like the daffodils should pop open in the next week or two!!

We're excited for this next week as Grandma Paula and Grandpa David are coming.

Hope everyone enjoys this most holy of weeks & Easter Sunday.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

March 29, 2009

Katelyn's face has been stuck in a book most the week. She's completed two books, plus read all of the 2nd Harry Potter novel all in one week. It's fun to see her enjoying and understanding the Harry Potter books. Dale and I read her the first book a couple of years ago and she really didn't understand everything. This time, she is asking lots of intelligent questions and anticipating plot twists.

Luke was really cute a couple of weeks ago as we were preparing to go to a ward playgroup. We started talking about all of the friends he wanted to see there. Suddenly, he got a twinkle in his eye, ran over to our couch and climbed up. Pointing to the picture of Aaron with the Savior, Daniel, and Allison, he said, "I want to play with that boy" (Aaron).

Eli discovered the exciting game of "duck, duck, goose" during Family Home evening this week. (see pic below) He is so excited to be mobile. He loves helping unload the dishwasher (clean or dirty). He also tries to rush in whenever Luke needs to use the bathroom. His loud, high pitched, happy squeal can be heard throughout the house (So glad that the weather is changing so we can be outside with that squeal).

Dale and Melanie enjoyed another date night (2 weeks in a row -- an all time record!!!!). This time we went to a hibachi restaurant. Good food and even better company.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Been a long time, but it is happening

This past week we had a lot of things happen that haven't happened for a while.
  • It's been a long time since the dentist said that Katelyn was going to "lose her teeth any day", but Katelyn finally lost the last one we've been waiting for today. (and just in time for her ortho appointment tomorrow).
  • It's been a long time, but Dale and Melanie were finally able to go on a date. They went hiking while Eli serenaded the babysitter with his cries.
  • It's been a long time, but Melanie made it to the temple.
  • It's been a long time, but we are starting to see the first flowers of spring -- crocuses which Melanie planted randomly all over the grass. Luke loves to go out and find the tiny flowers. As he yells and jumps up and down in excitement, Eli squeals in delight.
  • It's been a long time (or so she feels), but Katelyn has her own email address now.
  • It hasn't been long enough, but Eli is trying to climb the stairs. I found his hands on the third step and his feet were on the first step.
  • It hasn't been long enough, but Eli is trying to pull up on things and let go to stand on his own. Today he stood for 5 seconds by himself.
  • It's been a long time, but Dale was born 36 years ago Monday. We had lots of birthday fun and good food.

We're also including pictures of the boys bathing -- They'll hate to know in the future that we posted nude pictures of them for the world to see. I hope they'll forgive us.

Fun eating apples

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Walls are up and come down

We're trying to start a weekly family blog ... we'll see how consistent we really are.

This week's updates: We finished the master bedroom!!!!! (at least as much as we can do until the bathroom is finished). It is so nice to have it all done. We've also started cleaning out the bathroom which is still in the rough stages. It will be fun to really start moving on it again.

Katelyn had a lucrative visit from the tooth fairy this week after she lost 3 teeth in one day. A couple of them broke in half because they were so thin from being so ready to come out.

Eli is also mobile. Last week he was doing an exaggerated arm movement that made him look like he was swimming free-style. This week he looks like more of a normal crawl. He also enjoys pulling himself up on the furniture and roaring.

Luke enjoys growling and roaring with Eli. We're definitely entering more of a noisy stage with the boys. I could get rich if I got a nickle for anytime I heard the words "my" or "mine" in the house.

Yesterday we had a beautiful day. Melanie got to go on a 5K with the youth in preparation for their summer handcart trek. When she got home, Dale started taking down the white fence that has been falling down in our backyard. Having the fence down really makes the yard feel more open. Katelyn got "deer poop" duty. Luke was a great help in finding all of the piles for her to pick up.

Overall a great week. Tune in next week for more updates (I hope ....)