Sam’s 3rd Birthday

 - by Brittny

I was cleaning out my email inbox tonight and found that I had a note to myself in there about some blog posts that I needed to write.  I felt good that I had actually managed to write most of them, but there was one that had gotten neglected – Sam’s birthday.  I felt even worse when I looked through my post drafts to find that I have an unposted draft of a post about Sam’s *2nd* birthday that never got finished.  I think I want these posts to be extra memorable and that task gets too daunting so I don’t get anything done.  Oops.  So I decided I’d just sit down and quickly write out some thoughts about Sam’s birthday.   I’m sorry there’s no pictures.  I’m sure we have some somewhere, but if I wait to post this until I find the pictures it will never get posted.. and 6 months is long enough to wait to get a post finished :P

So the thing Sam was most excited about this year for his birthday was the cake.  Not the presents or party or anything else… just the cake.  It wasn’t even that exciting of a cake.  We made cupcakes from a boxed mix and put frosting on those cupcakes.  No real cool decorations, or fancy recipe, just good ol’ Betty Crocker cupcakes.  But he talked about that cake for weeks on end.  He was SO excited about the cake.  Perhaps he will not share in his dad’s preference for pie :)

We threw a little birthday party for him.  Ok, so maybe it wasn’t as little as I had intended.  I started with just a few friends, and his cousin Skylar who he sees pretty regularly.  Then I thought that if I was inviting my sister I ought to also invite my brother.  Then I decided if I’d invited both of my siblings that were in the area I ought to also invite Eric’s siblings who were in the area, and his parents as well.  It was a crazy fun party, with lots of fun kids running around.  However I think in the future I might limit his parties to either being friends parties or family parties.  I’m more and more liking the rule of thumb that you can invite as many friends as you are years old :)

The best part of Sam’s birthday in my opinion happened the day after all the celebrations and birthday stuff was over.  The next morning Sam woke up and asked me “Can we have the day we already had?”  While it was hard to break his bubble and let him know that he doesn’t get to have a perpetual birthday, it did make me happy to know that we had succeeded in making it a special day for him :)

Daniel’s First Birthday

 - by Brittny

Sunday was Daniel’s birthday! I can’t believe it’s already been a year since we welcomed this cute bug into our family, and I can’t imagine our family without him.  Our celebrations were pretty low key. I figure doing too much for a one year old will just overwhelm them, and my goal is just to make it a good day for the birthday boy.

Since it was Sunday we had church in the early afternoon.  I bought him a new Sunday outfit which he looked adorable in, although a few sizes too big for our little pipsqueak.  Then we came home and it was naptime.  We tried to get Daniel to nap with Eric so that I could start making preparations for our celebration that night but he didn’t sleep really soundly.  I think he had about 3 thirty minute naps when all was said and done.  Not exactly what we were hoping for but oh well.

We had Eric’s parents over for dinner.  Daniel chowed down!  Some days he’ll eat a lot of solid foods and some days he just wants to be held, but he just sat in his high chair and ate and ate and ate!  It was pretty fun to watch.  I think it helped that one of his birthday presents was  some sippy cups with straws and so he was having an easier time drinking with his meal.  Usually we’ll start feeding him solids and he gets distracted and wants to nurse, which will put him to sleep and then that’s the end of that.  It was really gratifying to see him enjoy the food so much, especially since he was the guest of honor!

Of course we had the traditional first birthday cake mess-fest :)  Danny was very tentative at first but then he got into clawing at the cake. I don’t think he actually ate much, but he certainly enjoyed the cake so I think that’s all that matters.  That was pretty much the extent of our celebrations, nothing too exciting but Daniel seemed so pleased at the end of it all that I think it was about perfect :)

For those of you who have no desire to watch the 9 minutes of Daniel smashing his birthday cake (i.e. everyone except his grandma), here are some still shots of the action:

At the end of the day we re-watched the videos that we’d taken at his birth. It was neat to get to go back and re-live those first few moments of his life, and watch him and Sam meeting for the first time.  It was interesting to watch and I could remember how much pain that delivery caused and how exhausted I felt afterwards, but still thinking “Aww, baby!  We should do that again!”  You would think that the pain and exhaustion and everything would be a good deterrent from thinking of going through it all again, but apparently not.  And no, this isn’t any sort of announcement!  I was pregnant with Daniel while I was still nursing Sam and I got SO anemic and weak.  I weigh less now than I did then (thank you breastfeeding and a week of food poisoning) and I’m pretty sure my body couldn’t handle another pregnancy until I have Daniel weaned, which does not seem to be on the near horizon.  But these babies are miracles and I feel so privileged to be part of bringing them into this world.

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted about Danny so I’ll take this opportunity to give an update.  Danny had a rough winter and was sick nearly every week from October through February.  Never anything serious, just coughs, colds, runny noses etc.  Just enough to make him miserable :(  As a result he’s gotten into the habit of sleeping in Eric’s and my bed exclusively and I haven’t had the heart to move him out again.  It’s probably about time to start doing it but he is really fun to snuggle with.  It’s also meant that he didn’t eat very much and he’s pretty low on the growth charts.  He still nurses more than he eats solids by a long shot.  This has been good for my figure, but not quite as good for his.  I just don’t think I can keep up with the demands of a growing toddler!  So I’m working on feeding him more solids but it will be a slow process I’m sure.

One of the funny things with Danny is he started standing around 7 months, and would just stand but make no attempt to go anywhere.  He got to be a really solid stander too.  I’d watch him stand in one place for 5 minutes at a time without losing his balance. He could even squat down and stand back up from that squatting position without any trouble at all!  My mom called him a meerkat because he would scurry around on all fours and then stand up at attention and get back down and scurry around again.  It was a pretty apt description of him too!  Finally on Sam’s birthday (10 1/2 months)  he took his first couple steps.  After that he’d take a a few steps just about every day for about a month, but never more than about 4 steps and he didn’t show any interest in taking more.  Then a couple weeks ago he suddenly decided that he could walk!  And off he went!  This past week he’s even started running a little bit.  It’s so funny to see him suddenly have this mobility and just running around like he owns the place.  For some reason I feel like he looks smaller when he’s standing and walking than he does when he’s crawling.  I think it’s just so funny to see such a small thing walking around that it emphasizes how little he is, whereas it seems natural to see him crawling.

Danny’s started talking a little and jabbering A LOT.  He loves to make noises with his voice and sounds like he’s talking to us all the time.  He doesn’t have too many actual words yet, mostly just mama, dada and done, but I’m guessing that it’s going to be like with walking, all of a sudden he’ll realize that he can communicate with words and his vocabulary will explode all at once.

Daniel LOVES animals.  He is very much the opposite of Sam in that regard :)  Whenever he sees any sort of animal – the cat next door, stuffed monkeys, YouTube videos of puppies – his face lights up and he starts to squeal in a way that’s unique to finding animals.  It’s so adorable!  I have a feeling he’s going to be our child that is constantly vying for a pet.  Unfortunately for him, Eric and I decided before we got married that we’d rather have more kids than having kids and pets.  Especially since there are lots of allergies in my part of the gene pool (and Danny seems to have inherited that quality from me) pets just aren’t much of an option.  Luckily our next door neighbor has pets so we’re hoping that Danny can be satisfied with helping them care for their animals as he gets older.

Daniel really hates his carseat.  He starts squirming and crying as soon as we so much as walk up to the car now, and will cry for long stretches of time when we put him in.  We think it’s going to help when we can turn his carseat around, which we can do once he gains another pound or two (part of my motivation for feeding him more solid foods).  I know the recommendations have changed and they want us to keep him rear facing until he’s 2 but I don’t think the safety benefits of keeping him rear facing outweigh the dangers of driving around with a screaming child!  We’re making sure we at least get him to the old requirements, but then it’ll be time to turn him forwards.

Daniel shows no signs of separation anxiety like Sam had.  A few weeks ago we went to the park and Daniel spent the whole time trying to crawl as far away from me as he could.  He loves to explore and has no qualms about being far away from me.  It’s definitely been a shock to my parenting style!  With Sam if I turn to go another way he quickly turns to follow me.  Daniel couldn’t care less and would be fine heading off in the other direction whether I’m there or not.  I’m so fascinated by how much of these little guys’ personalities just comes pre-wired.

I’m sure I could keep going on about our Danny but I think that’s enough for now.  We love this sweet kid.  His smile can light up a room and he’s quick to share it with others.  We’re so glad to have him in our family, we love you kiddo!

Welcome Baby Daniel!

 - by Brittny

I’m sorry this has taken me so long to get posted.  I always want to get the whole story finished with pictures and videos and all the details just right… but that takes forever.  So I’ve got the whole birth story written out into a few posts that I’ll get up later this week (I still need to get pictures into them), but I figured it was high time that I at least posted the announcement that our new baby is here!  Daniel Curtis Hansen was born on 15 April 2011 at 11:00pm.  He weighed in at 7lbs 9oz and was 20 inches long.  We’re so excited to have him join our family!

He has been a great baby so far.  He sleeps well and in his own bed even!  He deals well with Sam trying to love (read: maul) him all the time.  He’s very alert and likes just looking around and checking out the world.  My mom thinks it’s funny to see that because it’s a lot like how I was when I was first born.  He took to nursing right away and thinks that he ought to eat ALL the time, which was really hard at first because nursing hurt a lot during the first week home (I’m so glad my sister-in-law warned me about how painful afterbirth contractions are when nursing a second baby or that would have totally thrown me through a loop!).  But now that it’s not painful to nurse anymore that’s really not a big deal.  Overall the adjustment to having him in our family has been much easier than I’d anticipated and we’re very grateful for that.

Anyways, if you’re interested in the whole story of his birth then stay tuned for the next few posts.  If not, I won’t be offended at all if you just skip those posts (although there should be some good pictures and videos in them if you want to just peruse them for that) :)  Welcome to our family Daniel!

Sam’s birthday

 - by Brittny

It’s crazy to think that a year ago we brought home this little thing –

And now we have this big thing –

Yup, March 4th was Samuel’s first birthday. It’s kind of funny having a birthday for someone who doesn’t really understand what a birthday is, but we had fun all the same. Sam and I were home alone the night before since Eric had Omniture Summit up in Salt Lake that day, so it wasn’t too special during the day. I made him french fries for lunch because he loves them, and I would read to him whenever he wanted, and I sang Happy Birthday to him in place of his usual lullabies. Not exactly major concessions, but I wanted him to have a good day. We decided to only have a very small celebration for Sam since he’s still a little wary of most people. So we had Grannie & Grandpa Hansen and Taylor and Ryan Lockwood (my sister and brother-in-law) come over for dinner. We made Chicken Fettucinne Alfredo for dinner because Sam thinks it’s really funny to play with noodles. Also, have I mentioned that it’s an AWESOME recipe? Oh yeah, like every other post since we discovered it. Well, we still love it and I don’t feel bad about posting about it because it’s not my culinary expertise (read: I don’t have any culinary expertise) that makes it great, it’s just a delicious recipe.

Taylor came over a little bit early to help me get the meal ready which was especially helpful since she was able to go pick up some ingredients for me as Eric still had the car in Salt Lake. Eric tried to get out of Salt Lake as soon as he could but ended up having to stay until the end of the closing ceremonies for Summit. Unfortunately that meant that he had to drive home while it was snowing AND rush hour. Not a fun way to have to make that commute. But he still made it home in pretty good time, all things considered. AND he beat his parents here, so he could still be a good host (it probably helped that they were also coming from Salt Lake and had to deal with the same conditions :P ).

Dinner turned out well and we enjoyed the people that we had here. After dinner was cleaned up Sam opened up his presents. Grannie and Grandpa had brought Sam Green Eggs and Ham (because it has Sam-I-am in it!) and a touch and feel farm book. Sam LOVES to read books, he spends most of the day trying to hand me books and get me to read them. He even likes to turn the pages on his own which I think is super cute. So the books were perfect. He loves to touch all the different textures in the Farm book too which makes it an even better sensory experience for him.

Eric and I got Sam a little toy bus to push around. Just before Christmas I’d decided that Sam was too young to play cars and decided against getting him any for Christmas. The day after I finished my Christmas shopping we were at a bridal shower and Sam started playing cars with another little boy there. Guess I was proved wrong! So, I’d been planning for awhile to get him a car for his birthday. What I didn’t realize was that in addition to having little people inside this bus the people bounce as you push the bus, and you can push the driver to have it sing songs and light up! Score! The bus has been a big hit with him too.

Then of course came the most fun part of a first birthday party – the cake. Eric informed me before we got married that there is a tradition in the Hansen family of giving kids their own cake on their first birthday and letting them go to town with it. This seemed like an awesome tradition so we definitely wanted to keep with it for our family. Here are the results –

He started off eating with a spoon…

Then decided to ditch the spoon and eat with his hands. You can tell he’s pleased by this decision because he’s clapping.

Then his Aunt Taylor shoved his face into the cake (hence the large amount on his forehead. Surprisingly he thought this was the best part yet and kept insisting that she do it again

He really got into the whole cake eating thing at this point. Just dug right in face first

Our very happy birthday boy!

Thanks to everyone who helped make Sam’s first birthday a wonderful day! We love you Sam! Thanks for being a part of our family :)

Birthdays, Babies, and Bated Breath

 - by Eric

written by Eric

I figured it’s been awhile since I’ve really contributed a post, so in light of my recent birthday, I figured I take a crack at it, though I am not as entertaining a story-teller as Brittny seems to be.

First off, thanks to everyone who helped make my birthday party a blast. Brittny gave me some great clothes to help “professionalize” my wardrobe, especially since I hate clothes shopping, I’m glad I could have some help on that front. While I am able to wear more comfortable styles of clothing in my current job, I do hope to move up the corporate ladder eventually. So now I can dress for the job I want to have, right?

It’s crazy to think I have lived for a quarter of a century now. I’ve lived through the fall of the Berlin wall, introduction of the Internet, miniaturization of technology, and the continual degradation of what used to be common moral values (Enron, wide acceptance of unchaste behavior, and so on). Ten years ago, I had incredibly high aspirations for what I wanted do and where I wanted to be in my life at this point. The high expectations are still there, albeit tempered by understanding of the actual work it will take to achieve my goals. Also, changes come into my life that help me see a better path than my original desires. China, for example, I have come to believe will be a big part of my future.

Speaking of which, we are still trying to be patient in waiting to find out about upcoming opportunities to work abroad. It is a little frustrating at times to see how slow things are moving, but we are keeping our hopes up because we know we are supposed to be there, whether it be later rather than sooner.

Sam has been growing so well recently. He is fun and full of life, learning something new each and every day. Most recently, the little tike has started climbing up and down everything he can. The coffee table in our front room has become the obstacle of choice this past week. He climbs up on top, stands and then patters around in a circle for a few laps. Then, he lays down on his side and deftly and safely slides off the edge. It’s quite impressive considering I didn’t even learn to walk until my first birthday.

Other than that, our family has enjoyed watching some really neat Olympic events. Despite quite a few difficulties experienced by the hosts, most of the competitions were really amazing and fun to watch. Congratulations to USA to setting the record on the medals count this year.

Well, I think I have covered recent events. I know Brittny is planning on writing about our trip to California mid-February, so I will encourage to finish that quickly. Until next time…love life, laugh loud, and lead onward.

I’m 24 years young…

 - by Eric

Well, my birthday has come and gone, and I wanted to say thank you to everyone that wished me well and helped make my day a good one. This post is going to have to be a short one with all the craziness that has been going on in our household, so sorry if you were looking for something more substantial.

Of course, most of the celebration this year was spread out with no major plans, especially considering the fact that we were anxiously awaiting the birth of a baby boy. Well, it seems that this little boy has a mind of his own. You’d think his parents are pretty strong-willed or something ;)

But since he hasn’t decided to come early, and he hasn’t decided to come on time, the real question to ask is when do you think Samuel will be born?

Brittny really treated me special today–that’s not to say that she isn’t wonderful on any other day–and once again I can’t be thankful enough for the wonderful blessings of family. She took me out to Tucanos and Zupas, two excellent restaurants, and I also enjoyed strawberry rhubarb pie for dessert! YUM!