Happy November to All,
We love it here in Evanston where the weather has been unprecedented - very warm for November. I keep bracing myself for this infamous Chicago weather, and so far we’ve been unscathed.
We’ve just had Halloween, of course, so I wanted to include some shots of Soren in his costume. I realized later that we don’t have any of the whole family in their Halloween attire, which is fine because it was slightly anticlimactic. Let the record show that I was a chef (but lacked a big hat, a key component I fear - people kept asking me if this was my costume or if I actually worked at a restaurant) and Gavin wore his plastic Viking helmet. We were put to shame by another Kellogg family where the mom and dad were safari hunters and the kids were lions. They even had a stroller with signs on it that said, “Please feed the animals.” Very cute and impressive.
But, wait, this is the Christensen family letter. Back to us. Soren was a frog. He is obsessed with frogs (among many things – more about that later). Soren is constantly talking about them. A big problem with that is that he pronounces frog as f*ck. We are currently a household under fire – accosted regularly with the king of all curse words, the sultan of swears. It’s not just that he says it, but that he says it very clearly and emphatically - drawing out each vowel and consonant so that there is no mistaking that you did indeed hear what you thought you heard. Gav and I laugh at least once daily on account of Soren’s potty mouth. In addition, he pronounces ‘socks’ as ‘sucks’, he says ‘a*s’ instead of ‘eyes’, ‘sh*t’ instead of ‘sit’, and piss often makes an appearance as well (I’m not sure what that is supposed to mean).
As I’ve mentioned to many of you already – diction is becoming an increasing priority as his words make their way into the public forum. As volunteers, Soren and I visit a senior citizen in the community named David Peterson. We were visiting a few weeks ago, and Soren got going on one of his “frog turrets episodes”. I must be getting desensitized because it took several mutterings of the word before I thought to explain the situation to David. David, by nature, is a pretty sheltered guy and he was very much relieved to discover that I hadn’t been teaching my toddler how to be a sailor.
Another obsession with Soren right now is fish. He eats, sleeps, and breathes fish – literally. He eats Pepperidge Farm goldfish crackers by the bucketload, the first word out of his mouth after a nap is ‘fish’, and when he’s feeling particularly desperate he will let out a long wail of f-i-i-i-i-i-sh. The obsession rooted in a computer game that Gav played with him a little over a week ago called Feeding Frenzy. The object of the game is to eat as many fish as possible before getting eaten yourself. At different points in the game the computer yells out “Feeding Frenzy” or “Double Frenzy” based on how well you’re doing. Soren is mesmerized by the computer fish and loves to hear Double Frenzy! He can’t pronounce Double Frenzy so he as taken it upon himself to create a new word “Double What” which he loves to say at various times throughout his day.
One more cute Soren story, and then we’ll get on to the adults. Soren has always loved his Fisher Price Popper toy (a shout out to Janice for getting it for him!). He has lately decided that it is a vehicle for transportation. I will often see him systematically laying the popper on the floor, and sitting on the handle of the popper in sort of “half Indian-style” with one leg stretched out (it’s the same way every time.) At which point he begins to say “Bye, bye” and looks forward with this concentrated look in his eye like he’s about to lift-off. It’s hilarious.
By the way, Soren has just discovered how to open our front door. A bit unnerving of course, but we’re brainstorming counter-attack strategies presently.
On to the adults I was talking about earlier…
Gavin is working very hard – and cleverly. We get to spend a good amount of time together as a family and I owe all of that to Gav’s strategy. He just finished mid-terms, and is feeling pretty good about them. He loves school. As part of his extracurricular work he’s putting together a panel for a venture conference he’ll participate in. He’s getting to know a lot of people and trying to get involved in a lot of things that relate to what he ultimately wants to do – early-stage venture.
I’m doing great. Beyond the expected issues associated with transitions: feeling at home, making friends, getting to know the area, missing Gav, missing all of you, etc., I’m having a good time. There are so many things to do and ways to get to know people that it’s been easy to get involved. One thing I have yet to do is get in with a small arboretum here in the area called Ladd Arboretum. I’d love to volunteer for activities or work on projects. I know there are opportunities based on their web site, I just haven’t gotten a chance to get out there and visit yet. I also hope to get to the Chicago Botanical Gardens before it gets too cold. I hear it’s spectacular and huge. Maybe this weekend…
The three of us had the opportunity to go to Navy Pier this last weekend. It’s a pier on Lake Michigan that has been renovated to be something of an amusement park/shopping center. It’s kind of like Fanueil Hall for those who visited Boston. It didn’t take much to have a good time. We strolled around and ordered a large fry from McDonald’s to share. Soren worked his charm and managed to squeeze some cookies and a Happy Meal toy from the lady at the counter. Thanks to him we had a little dessert after we were done with our fries – which were really good, by the way.
Love to all and have a grand November. We’ll see the Utah crowd Dec 17-31st. We can’t wait!!