Month: December 2009

Danielle’s Wedding and the End of Winter Break

 - by Brittny

In case you weren’t aware, let me tell you something unique about Eric. He is the youngest of 9 children. That puts him in a very interesting situation. He became an uncle when he was 3 years old. This means that our oldest niece, Danielle, is 21 and seems like she ought to be more cousin than niece, but things are what they are. However, 21 puts her at a marrying age and that’s just what she did over Christmas break.  That made us feel a little old to have a niece old enough to get married, even though she’s not all that much younger than we are.  Oh well.  If you’ve been following our winter break saga this post just picks up where the last one left off. Now back to your regularly scheduled blog post…

We drove from Logan up to Rexburg on Tuesday afternoon. We were very glad that we had planned ahead and were already halfway to Rexburg from Orem. Sam has gotten much better at being in his carseat in recent months, but it’s still not his preferred location so it’s best if we can keep him out of it as much as possible.

We pulled into Rexburg around 4:30pm. After unpacking ourselves into the room and getting settled Eric suddenly realizes the Rexburg Temple doesn’t provide clothing rental (or so he thinks). This wouldn’t be a problem except that his wife has fed him some apparently edible food since they got married and he now has more… girth units about his middle section. A.k.a. he needs new white temple pants. So he finds where the nearest Church Distribution Center is and races out to go get himself a new pair of temple pants.

(For those of you who might not be up on LDS lingo I’ll explain really quick. When we attend the temple we dress all in white to represent purity and heaven and other things along those lines. Most church members own their own set of white clothes that they can wear inside the temple. They can buy these at a Distribution Center where they sell white clothes that fit the specifications of the temple as well as other church supplies – scriptures, lesson manuals etc. At many of the larger temples they offer a clothing rental service for those who may not own their own temple clothes or who aren’t able to bring them with them. However, since Rexburg isn’t a very large town Eric didn’t think he’d be able to rent clothes there. Ok, enough explaining… back to the blog post :)

When Eric gets back he tells me that his sister Dianne (the mother of the bride) has invited us over for pizza, and has agreed to hem his new temple pants for him. Since there’s not a whole lot more to do in Rexburg, and the whole point of this trip is to be with family we pretty much immediately hop back in the car to go to Dianne’s.

We had a ball at their house! I was pleasantly surprised at how laid back they were for it being the night before the wedding. We played Rock Band, ate pizza, watched a movie and just hung out as a family.

Sam helping Eric sing his part in Rock Band

Sam putting on a show for some of the women

Sam trying to get into a cousin’s backpack

Sam climbing through his cousin Lizzie’s legs. Yes, Sam was very photogenic that night so there are some fun pictures of him :P

Anyways, so partway through our fun night Eric gets a call from his dad to tell us that we’d checked into the wrong room. Oops! Luckily we’d left one of the room keys behind and hadn’t let Sam make too much of a mess yet so they were able to just transfer all our stuff to the correct room and take over the room for themselves.

The next morning we woke up with a concern that had been nagging us all trip – what were we going to do with Sam while we were in the temple. He had been so clingy since the first day we left the house (Christmas Eve) and had only gotten worse the longer we’d been gone. We really didn’t want to leave our niece Becca with a screaming child for three hours, but we really wanted to participate in Danielle’s wedding. Danielle had invited all of the family to participate in an endowment session before the sealing to get everyone in the right spirit of the ordinance. However we knew that meant an extra two hours that we’d be leaving Sam. We finally decided to go participate in the endowment session and trust in the Lord (and Becca) to take care of Sam.

I’m so glad we did. We took Sam over to the Eaton’s house still worried that he was going to be ornery. He hadn’t eaten yet so I pulled out my nursing cover and fed him for a few minutes. All of a sudden, Sam decided he was done eating, climbed down, and crawled right over to Becca! It was truly a tender mercy from Heavenly Father that he would do that. We gave him kisses that he hardly acknowledged, and we left. Apparently Sam didn’t make a fuss the whole time we were gone. He slept happily on Becca for a while and played with his cousins.

The Rexburg Temple

The whole experience of going through the temple with Danielle was awesome. I think she was truly inspired to have the temple experience like she did. It was really cool to see how the endowment and sealing ceremonies fit together. It also really got us all with the Spirit before getting to the sealing. It was such a neat experience and I’m so glad we got to be a part of it.

After the temple we picked up Sam and went to a big family luncheon. You know, just being with family is pretty cool. We really enjoyed sitting around and talking and watching the little kids run around. What a blessing to have such a great family.

Sam and I ended up taking a nap and missing the family pictures (we figured Danielle would probably appreciate not having a cranky baby in her pictures more than us trying to force him to be there). We sent Eric to represent our family for the pictures and then he came back to bring us back to the reception.

We got to help take down the reception which, strangely enough, was one of my favorite things. I really like the energy of setting things up and taking them down. There’s a sense of accomplishment when everything is in order and ready for an event, and when you’ve gotten everything cleaned up and packed back up. I know that sounds weird, but I guess I’m just a weird person. It’s definitely one of the reasons I loved my time as a stage technician for the Young Ambassadors. I miss being a part of that a lot sometimes. I love what I’m doing now as a wife and mother, but I still miss it.

When we got back to the hotel we took Sam swimming for a little bit. Sam is an absolute fish! He loves the water so we couldn’t pass up a chance to take him swimming – even if it was in the middle of winter in Rexburg, Idaho! (Don’t worry, the pool was inside, otherwise this “swimming” would have been called “ice skating” or “tobogganing”).

When the pool closed up we got dried off and met with some of our nephews to play cards. I nursed Sam to sleep and kept him asleep on my lap while we played Bang! and Five Crowns<. As we were getting close to our last round of Five Crowns the man at the front desk came over and said he'd gotten some complaints that we were being too loud and asked us to keep it down. We were extremely perplexed by this since we'd obviously been quiet enough for Sam to continue sleeping peacefully in my lap the whole time. We think that it was actually the family that owned and lived in the hotel that registered these complaints more because they saw us in the common area playing games rather than that we were actually making any considerable amount of noise. Luckily we were just about done so we finished up our game and went to bed.

The next day was a little bittersweet. Our vacation had finally come to an end. We’d had a really fun vacation with all of our family. It had been fun having time off from work and time away from home that we didn’t have to worry about all the same day-to-day activities we’re normally concerned about. However, we were very excited to finally be taking Sam home and get back to a normal routine. Sam had been very out of sorts since leaving and we would be glad to have our Sam back to normal. I think that’s the mark of a good vacation. Short enough that you’re sad to see it end, but long enough that you’re ready to get back to your regular life.

Luckily Eric still had a few more days off. So we went home and celebrated the New Year with Ryan and Taylor. We probably spent the better part of the next few days just hanging out with them and playing games and relaxing. It was a nice way to end a vacation before going back to real life.

Boxing Day and beyond

 - by Brittny

For those of you without British heritage you might be wondering what Boxing Day is. Simply put, it’s a public holiday in most countries that are currently or used to be under British rule, as well as several other predominantly Christian nations. It’s an excuse to have the day after Christmas off from work :) There are several theories for how the holiday got its name but none have been confirmed.

Anyways, our boxing day was spent mostly up at my grandparents. Eric hadn’t yet had a chance to go skiing this season so he took the opportunity to go up to Beaver Mountain with my grandpa. Logan hasn’t gotten much snow this season so the skiing was a little rough but they had a lot of fun. Luckily they were just up there for a half day so Eric didn’t even come back super sore like he usually does!

Sam and I slept in as much as we could that morning. When we got up we went upstairs to find my cousin Todd watching Lifetime television with my grandma. It was kinda funny to see :) Sam discovered a new snack that my grandma had leftover from when my cousins were his age. It’s this puffy, fruity cereal, and he LOVED it. He is still working on the canister that my grandma sent home with us.

Once Eric got back we quickly washed us all up to head back to Salt Lake City for a family dinner at Eric’s parents apartment. Eric was especially excited because it was time for another Hansen Family Christmas tradition – gingerbread houses! Sam enjoyed this tradition too because he got a hold of one of our roof pieces…

… and discovered he really likes gingerbread! Of course this meant that we were one piece short for making our gingerbread house, but I’ll have to have Eric post the video of what he ended up doing with our gingerbread house with that shortage.

After gingerbread houses we headed back up to Logan. We stayed up for awhile as I had some work to finish for a client (I’d been meaning to finish it earlier the previous week but I kept getting busy with Christmas preparations). So Sam and Eric were watching Top Gear with Todd. Sam wasn’t exactly being a model child and since Eric had seen how well Sam reacted to cookies earlier in the day…

… Sam was allowed another cookie.  Quite the mess, but also a very happy Sam. Todd’s friend Josh came up to Logan that night as well and the guys had fun watching more manly shows before bed.

Sunday was exactly what it was supposed to be – a day of rest! We went to church in the morning and then were able to spend the rest of the afternoon just hanging out with family and napping.

Unfortunately Sam didn’t take very well to being away from home so the whole trip was pretty rough for him but it was still nice to be away from home and with family during the holidays. Sunday night was probably the roughest night with Sam.

On Monday morning Eric was getting ready to go skiing and asked if it would be better if he just stayed with Sam and me so that I could have a bit of a break. While I really appreciated his offer I knew he was really looking forward to skiing, and that Sam and I could just take most of the morning to get the sleep we needed. So that’s what we did, and Eric got to go skiing again.

It worked out well, Sam and I helped my Grandma put away some of her Christmas decorations (and by help, I mean that I talked to her and tried to keep Sam distracted from throwing the decorations around). Eric had another fun day of skiing. I’m really glad he got to go because he loves skiing and doesn’t get to go as often as he would like. It was a good day just being with family.

Tuesday was our last day at my grandparents. We slept in and then packed ourselves up to go to Idaho for our niece’s wedding. It was so nice to get to spend time with my grandparents and just doing something different during our Christmas break than sitting at home.

Stay tuned for my next post about our niece’s wedding.


 - by Brittny

Eric and I realized that this was probably our last Christmas for a very long time that we could go to bed early on Christmas Eve and sleep in on Christmas Day as we didn’t have any bicycles to assemble and Sam isn’t yet old enough to wake up at 4am excited for Christmas morning. We were really excited to take full advantage of this. However, since we stayed up late on Christmas Eve watching Tuesdays with Morrie and we were going to visit Eric’s Grandma Hansen at noon with his parents… that didn’t so much happen.

We set our alarm for 9am Christmas morning, which didn’t exactly thrill us since it was 3am already.  However, the 5 year old in me woke up before that all excited that it was Christmas morning. It was kinda silly especially since I’d bought all my own Christmas presents so it wasn’t like I had anything that was going to surprise me. But I was so excited to see how Sam reacted to his Christmas presents and to see if I’d done a good job with Eric’s presents that I woke up early. I decided that the best Christmas present I could give Eric was a little bit more sleep, so I turned off my alarm clock and snuck out of bed.

Eric’s family tradition is to make cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning. Since I’d already had my culinary adventure for the week I had Eric buy some Pillsbury cinnamon rolls that I could just throw in the oven. So I got those all in the oven and baked them so that at least I could wake Eric up to some yummy cinnamon rolls.

Once we were all awake and ready to start Christmas morning we came out to the front room and turned on our webcam so we could do Christmas morning with my family. Kind of silly, but it was more fun than just having the three of us opening gifts on our own. Plus, my family enjoyed watching Sam open all of his presents.

Sam’s Christmas stocking ready to be opened

We have video of Christmas morning that I might try to convince Eric to put together for another blog post, but for now you’ll just have to know that we had a good time. I had needed a new laptop so we decided for Christmas to get a new laptop for Eric and I would inherit his old one. Sam’s big gift from us was a set of blocks, which has been used extensively by him since then.

This is Sam with a toy that he got that lights up and makes noises. Yeah, I regretted the purchase even before I made it through the checkout line, but he loves it :P

Once all the gifts were opened we started to hustle to get all dressed and things cleaned up before Mom and Dad Hansen came over. The house was still a mess when they got here but we enjoyed having them over for a minute and letting them see all the fun Sam was having with his new toys (and anything else he could get his hands on of course :P)

Then it was off to the retirement home where Eric’s Grandma Hansen lives. Although she lives less than 15 blocks from our apartment it was the first time we’d made it to visit her with Sam. I’m so glad we went, Sam was quite the hit at the retirement home! At lunch he just looked at people and made noises and all the people just ate it up. He put on a very good show and we got so many comments from the ladies there about how adorable he was. Definitely a good way to make some people feel good on Christmas :)

One of the really cool things at the retirement home was this gingerbread village that the residents had built. You have to see it full size to really get how cool it was. But they had put this whole thing together with gingerbread and candy, it was spectacular!

After the retirement home we raced home to pack up our car. We were heading to Kaysville that afternoon and then on to various destinations after that. We wouldn’t be getting back for a week and we had hardly even started packing. So we quickly threw things into suitcases and tried to at least slightly manage the mess in our front room. Then it was into the car and off to Kaysville!

We spent that afternoon/early evening at Eric’s sister Katrina’s house. It was a nice relaxing evening playing games and hanging out with family. We played a game called Imaginiff which was really fun. It’s a game of really random questions that you have to answer about other players in the game. One example was “Imagine if Mike were a type of makeup, which of the following would he be?” and we all had to pick whether he would be lipstick, nail polish, concealer, blush or mascara. It was pretty hysterical to see the things people picked.

After dinner and everything was done at Katrina’s we hopped back in our car to head up to my grandparents’ house in Millville (just outside of Logan). It was a long day so we were happy to be done traveling and ready to go to sleep for the night. We spent some time visiting with my grandparents and my cousin Todd. Then we happily collapsed into bed.

Stay tuned for more of our Christmas break adventures coming up!

Christmas Eve 2009

 - by Brittny

I know I’m a bit late to be jumping on the blogging about Christmas bandwagon, but it’s been pretty busy around here up until now so you’ll just have to deal with the fact that I’m a little late and back-dating this post :P

Did you know that Christmas is made specifically for little kids? There is nothing that will get you into the spirit of Christmas like having a baby in the house – even if they’re too young to understand what’s happening. It was so much fun having Samuel around for this Christmas. He’s adorable and we love having him.

We trade off which family we spend Christmas with each year and this year was a year with the Hansens. That was nice because it meant that we didn’t have to go very far! Mom & Dad Hansen are on a mission in Salt Lake City so we got to be with family without having to travel.

We started off on Christmas Eve at Eric’s brother Mike’s house having a traditional family dinner (you can read about my culinary escapade for this meal here). It was so much fun to have lots of family together. Especially with lots of little kids running around. Sam wasn’t real sure about having so many new faces around, especially since he’s definitely going through the separation anxiety phase. However, randomly, the one person he took too immediately was his cousin Bruce.

This isn’t from Christmas Eve, but it was the best picture I could find of Sam and Bruce hanging out together

I’m not sure why Sam picked Bruce to be his best friend, but he would go immediately for him and give him hugs and just loved being around him. Totally atypical for Sam, if any one else tried to approach him he was extremely wary of them and definitely wouldn’t let them hold him or touch him. But it was really fun to watch them bond.

After having dinner with the family and spending the evening with them we drove home to get ready for bed. My family has a tradition of getting new pajamas for each person and wearing them for Christmas Eve and Christmas day. So we got new pajamas for Sam –

I don’t think he was as excited about his cute Christmas pajamas as I was, but I thought he was adorable! Since we couldn’t be with my family this year we called them up on Skype and webcammed the rest of Christmas Eve with them. We even watched my mom’s seminary Christmas lesson via Skype! It was a fun way to get to include them in our Christmas.

We then worked on cleaning up some of the mess from making so many trifles. Eric rocked Sam to sleep and started the movie Tuesdays with Morrie. I’d read the book before but never seen the movie, and I thought they did a great job with the movie. It was a great way to spend Christmas Eve, all in our pajamas, on the couch, watching a really great movie.  Thanks Eric, that was a great idea!

After the movie was over it was much later than we’d intended up staying up (it was about 3am), so we all went back to our room and went to bed.

I’ll post about Christmas day and the rest of our Christmas adventures later…

Christmas Eve Trifles

 - by Brittny

I’m way behind on my blogging, but I figured I’d jump back in by sharing my Christmas Eve culinary adventure.

We started our celebrations with Eric’s brother Mike’s family on Christmas Eve. I was in charge of making a dessert for the meal and I decided to make trifle. I should note that Mike’s wife Marianela is an *incredible* chef, so I’m always a little bit daunted when bringing a dish to her house. However, trifle was going to be a slam dunk. It’s my favorite Christmas food (my mom is originally from England and trifle is a traditional British dessert so we make it every year) so I was excited to be able to make it for my in-laws. It’s super easy and I’ve successfully made it on my own every year since we’ve been married and with my mom every year for as long as I can remember.

If you’ve never had trifle before it’s a pretty simple dessert. You take pound cake and cut it into small cubes and put it at the bottom of a dish, add some fruit and then pour liquid jello over it. Put it in the fridge to let it set. Then make instant pudding and pour that in a nice layer on top of the jello, let that set. Top it off with whipped cream (we always make the whipped cream from scratch because it’s much better that way). Our favorite one to do for Christmas is to make it with raspberry jello (with frozen raspberries in the jello) and pistachio pudding. It looks really nice and Christmas-y all put together because you have red and green and white, and it’s really yummy.

This isn’t exactly how my trifles usually look, but it’s the closest picture I could find

Eric told me that there could be as many as 30 people at dinner and I had no idea how that translated into how many trifles I’d need to make. I decided to play it safe and made 7 (yeah, even for 30 people I went way over board, but I like trifle and I didn’t want to run out). I also wanted to make sure I had plenty of time for all the layers to set up properly so I made sure that I woke up early in the morning to get them started.

Unfortunately, my jello would not set. I had my trifles in the fridge by 10am with the jello waiting to set up and by 3:30pm the jello still wasn’t set (I even used the quick set method which was only supposed to take 30 – 90 minutes to set up). In desperation I cleared out space in our freezer and tried to get them to freeze set up. It sorta worked, at least enough to pour the pudding into them (luckily pudding sets up much faster). Unfortunately the jello still wasn’t super set so all the layers got mixed together. I was pretty upset since I’d spent all day on them and they didn’t turn out right. Luckily they still tasted good. Of course, the 30 people we thought were going to be there, was actually more like 15… and most of those were under the age of 12. So we still have about 5 trifles in our fridge… although it’s probably time to get rid of them now.

In case you were wondering, what I think happened was that I added too much water. Not more than the directions call for, but since I added frozen raspberries in with the jello, I’m guessing that the raspberries melted, adding extra liquid which kept the jello from setting up. Oh well, lesson learned for next time!