Family Update – Christmas 2014

 - by Brittny

Merry Christmas from the Hansens!  We hope 2014 has treated you all well and that you’re gearing up for a wonderful 2015 ahead.  This year has been full to the brim with changes and excitement, we’re hoping for a much calmer year to come than the one we’re leaving behind!  Here’s how the family is growing as the year has gone on.

Maeli (11 months) continues to be a very easy going and happy baby.  True to form for our family she has decided that she does not like the idea of sleeping in her crib at night and would much prefer to be snuggled with her parents.  Luckily we’re pretty used to having a baby in our bed by now and she’s a good snuggler so we’re not fighting that battle yet.  Maeli has been army crawling for the last several months and only just recently has started to crawl up on her hands and knees.  She has made many dirty onesies as a result of her Swiffer-ing!  She’s not quite walking yet but is getting close!  She recently started standing on her own and it’s so cute to see her proud little face as she stands there.  It’s really strange though, now that she stands she looks so much smaller than she does crawling around.  She’s later at walking than either of our boys, but at least Brittny still doesn’t feel ready for our baby to be that grown up already!  Time goes by far too quickly.

We enjoy listening to her starting to talk.  Her favorite “word” to say is dada, but she does say mama on occasion.  What’s really funny though is that whenever Brittny catches her saying mama she’ll start fauning over her, “Oh you said mama!  Did you know that’s my name?  Can you say mama again?”  Every time this happens Maeli will smile really big, look very proud and say, “Dada”.  We’re pretty sure she doesn’t know what she’s doing, but it’s pretty funny that the word she chooses is the exact opposite from what we’re trying to teach her to say.  Maeli loves to bounce along to music and get in on her brothers’ play.

This is just a cute video of Maeli’s reaction to riding a carousel for the first time :)

Danny is 3 and thinks he’s going on 33.  Danny’s favorite thing is going to meetings.  On Sunday mornings when Eric is getting ready for church Danny will quickly race to get dressed so that he can go with his dad to PEC or Ward Council or Young Men’s Presidency Meeting or choir practice – or as he calls it “ABCs”.  Originally Eric brought him along thinking that after seeing how boring these meetings really were he wouldn’t want to come again, but going to meetings is Danny’s favorite thing.  He actually does a pretty good job of sitting there relatively quietly and drawing in his notebook while the meetings go on.  Someday he’ll be called as a bishop and we’ll know that he’s been preparing for it all along!

Danny is very physically adept and spent most of the summer riding his “dirtbike” around the neighborhood.  We took his training wheels off early in the summer and the kid can cruise so fast on that bike!  It’s extra fun because he makes dirtbike noises as he rides it around.  He’s friendly, talkative and hysterical.  Be careful about getting him started talking because he will talk your ear off and has a pretty impressive vocabulary for a three year old.  He is super independent but somehow still struggles with separation anxiety, we haven’t figured that out yet.  He will leave the house without a second thought to go wherever he fancies.  However if we try to leave him with a babysitter, or at nursery, or at preschool this is a capital offense!  The funny thing is his preschool takes place at our next door neighbor’s house – the same neighbor whose house he most frequently escapes to.  You would think that would make going to preschool a pretty easy sell, but if it’s not Danny’s idea it doesn’t matter how good the idea is, he doesn’t want to do it.  Luckily, he does seem to be getting better and is starting to go to preschool and nursery on his own in the past few weeks, but those big brown puppy dog eyes are really hard to resist if you’re trying to leave him somewhere he doesn’t want to be left!

Here’s a little sampling of unfiltered Danny’s personality. We had such a hard time not cracking up the whole time he was talking.

This fall Brittny was talked into coaching little league soccer for Danny’s age group (3-4 year olds).  It was an… adventure :P  We had a team of 7, but we were lucky each week if we got 4 to show up, and then luckier still if at least 2 of those who showed up wanted to play soccer.  The poor kids who did show up would have to play for the entire game with no breaks because we didn’t have anyone to sub in for them!  There was lots of tears shed because the ball got stolen from a player, or the other team made a goal, or we were playing with the wrong ball, but we survived the season.  It helped on the days when one of the kid’s parents would bring a box of nerds and we would bribe the kids with candy just to stay on the field! We’ll have the same team back together in the spring and hopefully the little bit of growing up that happens in the meantime will help us to have a slightly more cohesive team then!

Sam (5) also participated in soccer this year with a team of boys from our neighborhood.  We’d had him in soccer last fall as well and we were amazed at how much of a difference a year has made in his playing ability.  It’s a totally different sport from the 3 year olds to the 5 year olds!  Sam also started kindergarten this year.  We can’t believe he’s already old enough to be going to school, that went by WAY too quickly.  He is very precocious and friendly.  We gave him an online home schooling curriculum to work on over the summer and he completed all of the kindergarten work and made it a decent way through the 1st grade work as well!  He’s already reading well above his grade level and we are constantly looking for different ways to keep him challenged academically outside of his normal school work.  Lots of time has been spent debating how we’re going to help Sam have work that is up to his skill level without putting him in a situation that’s outside his social level.  We haven’t yet decided, but we’re considering a lot of different options.  We started reading chapter books with him at night and he’s been enjoying the Chronicles of Narnia and the Boxcar children series.

Sam is loving that we live in a neighborhood with a bumper crop of kids his age (literally there is a child his age in every house from our house until the house just before the end of the block, two more on the other side of the street, one up the street in the other direction, another kiddy corner from us and two more on the cross street).  He spends lots of time with his friends.  Their favorite activity of late has been Legos, and Danny has gotten very involved in that too.  There are so many lego creations throughout our house.  In fact, the boys recently had their legos confiscated for a week because they had been neglecting their chores.  After scouring the house for legos Brittny finally decided she had found pretty much all of them and sent them into exile.  Over the next week enough legos were found in nooks and crannies throughout the house to build a spaceship!  Sam is very particular about things being in order and suffers from a little bit of anxiety in that regard.  We’ve been working to find ways to help him manage that anxiety and to focus his energy in a positive way.  One thing we’ve found that’s been especially helpful is a set of meditation recordings provided by the BYU Counseling department on their website for free.  The boys both enjoy choosing a meditation each night and we feel like it has helped Sam to manage his anxiety to some degree.

Brittny is always busy but wouldn’t have it any other way.  Toward the end of this summer she participated in a local political campaign, which you can read about here. Brittny’s real passion (besides motherhood) is maintaining her blog.  She doesn’t post as often as she would like, but hopes that someday she’ll be able to post regularly enough and get enough of a following to turn it into some sort of revenue stream for our family.  In addition to soccer coach, blogger and local political activist, Brittny is currently serving as our ward’s cub scout committee chair and signed up to be the room mom for Sam’s class.  Life is certainly never dull around our house!

Eric’s life has gone through some pretty major changes recently. While at the beginning of the year he thought he would stay at Adobe until retirement, since then he has gone through two job changes and left Adobe to go work for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the Sr. Product Manager for their Analytics; basically he keeps track of how many people visited Church sites, watched their videos, and used their apps.  Yes, he’s very aware that you’re all waiting until the last minute on Saturday night to prepare your lessons! It’s definitely a culture shift (white shirts and ties are the norm) and longer commute (hour by train) for him, but he really enjoys the work he gets to be a part of and finds a lot of fulfillment in his role and responsibilities. Outside of work, Eric is usually working in his calling as Young Men’s President or participating in the Ward Choir. It doesn’t leave a lot of time for his mountain or dirt-biking pursuits, but he’s making time for skiing this season. He’d love to go with you, if you come out to Utah!

We wish you all a most Merry Christmas and a Happy 2015!  We hope you will all take a moment to stop and reflect on the true meaning of the season – the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.  He lives, He loves us and we are eternally grateful for his sacrifice for us, and the gift of his life.

With Love,
The Hansens

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!

Active Andersons: Part 5 – The Rest of the Trip

 - by Brittny

On Friday, I got to meet up with some of my high school friends for lunch. It was fun to get to catch up with them and see where everyone’s lives have taken them. It’s always interesting to see how much things do and don’t change over the years. Life has taken us all in different directions, but we’re still essentially the same people that we were in high school.

In the evening the guys decided to have a “boy fest”. Originally the girls were going to go out and the boys were going to stay home and play basketball and Wii, but we girls didn’t end up leaving. So the boys still played their basketball and Wii but then we all spent time together playing Bang! and Ticket to Ride (and playing Ticket to Ride online). I think some of my very favorite times are just sitting around the table playing board games with my family. We got to do a lot of that this trip, and I think it will be a while before any of us (except for maybe Cody) will want to play Bang! again.

Saturday ended up being a very busy day. We got up early so that my parents, Ryan, Eric and I could go to the temple, and by early I mean we got up at 5am so that we could be to the temple by 6:30am. I was definitely NOT a fan of getting up that early but it was awesome to get to go to the temple with my family. We came home and took a much needed nap afterwards. That afternoon we went to the beach and took family pictures. I’d post them here, but that’ll have to be another time since we haven’t gotten them back yet from Tami Bowerbank – the photographer. They should turn out really fun though so we’ll definitely post them when we get them.

After family pictures I got to take Eric to geek heaven – Fry’s Electronics. If you are not a nerd or have never been to Fry’s you won’t fully appreciate what an amazing place it is in nerd-dom. It has EVERYTHING that tech nerds could possibly ever want. Computer parts, audio systems, DVDs, books on computer languages, hi-tech appliances, games etc. If a nerd wants it, they can find it at Fry’s. Eric had never been to a Fry’s before since there isn’t one in Utah and the closest one to his hometown in Indiana is about 4 hours away. It was fun to get to take him around and see everything. We were there to get some miscellaneous parts for a computer that we were building for Taylor and Ryan (we’d been able to scrounge up just about everything except for RAM, a case, a power supply and a processor). It was a fun project for Eric to get to put it together and a great Christmas present for Taylor and Ryan. We got the money for the extra parts from selling off pieces of Taylor’s broken laptop. While we were at Fry’s Eric also found a ridiculous deal on RAM for our desktop… so we now have 6GB of RAM in our desktop :P Eric spent the rest of the evening setting up their computer, and they ended up with a pretty sweet system, especially considering they were getting it for free. Once again we confirmed why we are NOT Mac people, you could never build a pretty decent computer for practically nothing and have it be a Mac. Yay for PCs :)

Sunday we went to church and then spent the rest of the day with the family at home. Monday we drove back to Utah and now we’re just settling back into our regular routines. It was a really fun trip, and nice to be able to spend time with family, especially at this time of year. Thanks Mom & Dad for having us!

Active Andersons: Part 4 – The Biggest Hit of Christmas

 - by Brittny

Probably the biggest hit from Christmas however was the game that I bought Eric, and my parents also bought my brothers — Raving Rabbids 3: TV Party. For those of you who have never played a Raving Rabbids game… you’re missing out. They have become some of our very favorite games to play. They’re mostly party style games meaning lots of people can play and enjoy them, and they have simple rules. This newest rendition has some games that use the Wii Fit (you play it with your butt!) so we were extra keen to get it since we’ve been enjoying our Wii Fit so much already! Unfortunately, this wasn’t a surprise either since Eric tried to buy the game for me for Christmas as well (I told you we love these games, and stink at surprises :-) ) and I had to stop him. We got a lot of fun videos of different members of our family playing the dancing game. Eric just recently made a compilation of the fiasco!

Active Andersons: Part 3 – The fun of giving and receiving

 - by Brittny

We had some fun gifts that we gave and received. We bought a few movies for Taylor and Ryan to enjoy together (my family rotates so that each sibling buys for just one other sibling – Eric and I had Taylor and Ryan this year), and a webcam for my parents (of course, my dad also bought one for my mom, which at least confirmed that it was a good idea…). We also got a calendar for my dad that has funny grandparent stories (I’m not sure how it started but I’ve bought a day-to-day desk calendar for my dad every year for the past several years. I like it because he keeps it at work and will tear off a page every day and think of me, and it’s something he uses), and a book called Funny, You Don’t Look Like a Grandmother for my mom. Since Samuel will be their first grandchild it was fun to get them some grandparent gifts.

We got a lot of baby stuff — my mom even put together a stocking for Samuel!

We also got a stroller from my parents for Christmas.

There’s a really cool demonstration of all of the cool features of this stroller on the manufacturer’s website but unfortunately the makers of the site did the whole thing in flash (shudder) and so I can’t post a direct link to the demo here, but if you are interested you can go to the website and click on products, the on strollers and then select the Helio (it’s the second thumbnail from the right on the top) and then click on demonstration. I really like how lightweight it is and how nice and small it folds up while still being a very functional full sized stroller. Thanks Mom & Dad!

As Eric wrote about previously, we got the video camcorder from Mom & Dad Hansen in conjunction with Samuel’s imminent arrival :) We also received several cute outfits, baby towels and baby blankets from Eric’s brother Mike’s family and our sister-in-law Kristen’s family for Christmas. I’m really excited to start organizing everything and even more excited for Samuel to come now!

Eric totally surprised me this year, which is quite the feat us! We both get too excited about our surprises for each other and usually end up sharing them beforehand. However, Eric managed to save some surprises for me. See, I lost my little bag that I keep my jewelry in when we moved from our apartment in Wymount to our friends’ apartment this summer. It had all of the jewelry in it that I wear regularly (which isn’t a lot, but they were the few pieces that I really liked). On Christmas Eve Eric went to the mall and bought me some new jewelry so that I have some nice things to dress up with! I never thought I’d be the kind of girl who was excited by little jewelry boxes under the Christmas tree but I was apparently wrong. He had picked out a couple of things that were simple and beautiful (just my style) and I was really touched by his sweet gifts.

Thank you so much honey! He’d also bought me a pair of new headphones that are a lot nicer than the ones I’d normally buy for myself. They’re really good at blocking out sound and really comfortable too. I had to promise though not to put them in my purse since we think the magnetic buttons in my purse are what previously caused the demise of Eric’s headphones.

Sadly, I didn’t have any really cool surprises for Eric like he had for me. He had made me promise not to get him anything really big since we’d spent a fair amount of money on some new suits for him a few months back. However I really enjoy putting his stocking together so I’d gotten him a few things that I thought he would enjoy, including some of his favorite books from when he was a kid (Goodnight Moon, Go, Dog, Go, Amelia Bedelia and the Baby, and Teach Us Amelia Bedelia). I also had some onsies made that obviously will be worn by Samuel, although they were really for Eric. They have this design on them that I created myself:

I think those could have been a cool surpise, however I needed Eric’s help designing them since I don’t know how to write Chinese, and I would have hated for him to open up his presents on Christmas morning and have onesies that say something like “I love dog food” instead of “I love my daddy”. I made two for him, in different sizes so that he’ll be able to have Samuel wear them for more than a couple of months. I was surprised that I was able to do it for a pretty reasonable price at

Active Andersons: Part 2 – Christmas!

 - by Brittny

So, I’ll give you a rundown on what we did during our time there. My family waited to get a Christmas tree until the last minute (we like doing live trees, but we’re all allergic, so it’s best if we have a tree in our house for as short a time as possible) so we got to decorate it our first night home. We stayed up pretty late playing games and hanging out with family but it was worth it.

We slept in on Christmas Eve to recover from our long trip and late night, then spent most of that afternoon finishing up Christmas shopping. Christmas Eve is when my family does most of their Christmas traditions. We had our big Christmas dinner at our house with another family who had been very helpful to in organizing the Yes on Prop 8 campaign. After they had left we did what has always been my favorite family tradition – Christmas pajamas! Every year we each get a new pair of pajamas that we wear Christmas Eve and all day on Christmas (although this year we modified the tradition to be something to wear on Christmas – mostly sweats for the girls, basketball shorts and t-shirts for the boys, and Cody opted for a new pair of jeans and a hoodie :P). We hide the pajamas throughout the house and then everyone has to search to find their pajamas. This year Taylor helped hide the pajamas so they were hidden a little bit more creatively than usual. Cody’s ended up in a popcorn tin… in the garage… in the attic. I found mine in the outside refrigerator (good thing pregnancy has made me warmer than usual or I’d have been pretty put out to have cold PJs!!). My dad’s were in the solar oven – ok, so the solar oven was my mom’s doing, but you get the idea. Once everyone had their PJs on we read Luke 2 together. The rest of the evening was pretty laid back as we wrapped presents to go under the tree and played games. Once most of the younger kids had gone to bed (not that any of them are really young per se, I just mean the kids younger than me) we stuffed stockings and put them out before going to bed ourselves.

Christmas morning we were all woken up early because my youngest brother Kyle (10) is still at an age where seeing what Santa brought you is far more exciting than sleeping in.

I think Christmas is just more fun when you have little kids around, and it made me even more excited that we’ll have our Samuel here next Christmas, even though he’ll probably still be a little young to truly get caught up in the excitement.

Active Andersons: Part 1 – The Drive Out

 - by Brittny

Hi, it’s us again! We just got back from a 10-hour long drive from Thousand Oaks, CA, where my family lives. Eric had a slow night at work last night, so he thought he would multi-task and start updating y’all on our comings and our goings. However, things got busier and we went to bed early so I’m finishing it up today. Even still, all the credit for the title, organizing what we wanted to write about and all of the pictures/videos lies directly with Eric.

You’re probably sorry he didn’t write the post as well and spare you from my uber-lengthy posts :P He has declared that this post is way too long (seeing as it spans 4 pages when pasted into Word) and won’t let me post it all as one post, so it will be divided into several different posts. Sorry that it no longer has the continuity of a single post, but maybe it will be easier to read in smaller chunks. I’ll publish them as each chunk is completely filled out with pictures/videos from our Christmas adventures :)

So we left two days before Christmas with little sleep (read: we slept for about 3 hours the night before and hadn’t had much sleep in the previous week either) and arrived pretty exhausted in California late that night. The roads were a bit slick but manageable until we got through St. George and we hit a little bit of traffic as we got into LA (no surprise there) but otherwise we were able to get through without any trouble at all. We would have taken longer, but fortunately my dad was able to help us circumvent really bad traffic in Las Vegas (due to construction – who decides that the weeks around Christmas are a good time to do major construction in the middle of Las Vegas??). It was really funny to take that detour though as we had our GPS on and trying to take us to the I-15, while we were on the other hand taking a bunch of smaller highways to go around the dreaded traffic jam. It spent almost our entire detour trying to get us to turn around and go back. We didn’t want to just turn it off, so instead we spent about 30 minutes listening to the GPS say “Drive point five miles then exit right… exit right… recalculating… drive one point three miles then exit right…” Someday I think someone needs to rewrite the programming of the GPS to just get really snarky and after so many attempts of getting you back on its route have it just get fed up with you and say “Fine, drive off a cliff for all I care!”

View Larger Map

Our very creative route through Vegas

The whole family was home for the holiday – including my sister Taylor’s fiance Ryan Lockwood. They have both moved to California from now until their wedding and for the foreseeable future. I think they were most excited that they’ve finally set a place and a date for that wedding – May 23rd in the Palmyra, New York Temple (Ryan is from that area, and originally so is my family so it’s pretty cool on a lot of levels). I’m really excited for them, and especially excited to finally get to go back to New York, I haven’t been back since April 2000.

Aww, Taylor and Ryan, squishy!

It was the first time we’ve actually stayed at my family’s home since we got married. We’d seen my family a lot as they’ve come up to Utah a lot of times, and when we went camping in Carpinteria with them but hadn’t stayed at our house. It was fun to get to be there as a married couple now, since the last time we’d stayed there together we were engaged – in fact, it was the night before our wedding!

That’s Overweight

 - by Eric

If any of you reading this recognize the title, you probably own a Wii Fit. We heard these words when Brittny stepped on the Wii Fit today. Now, before you round up a mob to lynch me, Brittny actually wants to gain weight and has given me permission to write about this topic! Trust me, I’m not that crazy to discuss a woman’s weight!

Brittny’s Overweight Mii!

It is good that Brittny is well on track for delivering a healthy baby boy! We’re very excited to meet him come February. Brittny has left the “honeymoon” second trimester and entered the I-feel-like-a-whale third trimester. It means more heartburn, lower back pains, and trouble getting out of bed (I try not to laugh…). She’s handling it like a champ, though.

Week in Review

I guess the title is applicable to this post in more ways than one. This past week has been incredibly hectic for the both of us. Finals week was upon me, and it was not fun. Of course, I would think you have to have some sort of mental issue if you actually enjoyed taking finals! I had finals for all of my classes, and unfortunately, many of them were scheduled for the last two days of the week. I won’t bore you with the details, but I am simply glad to have this semester done and over with. It is hard to imagine that I will be done in just one more semester!

It snowed this week!

Brittny has been terribly busy with work as the holiday season and current economic state has many retailers and companies going into overdrive to maximize efficiency and profits. This translates into more requests for work and changes to be completed before the break. And with the snow this week, Brittny didn’t feel comfortable driving into work for most days. It is understandable…she is a California driver!

But what’s amazing about this woman I love is that she just keeps doing more! Handling a pregnancy, working full-time, and she still finds time to make wonderful treats like Strawberry Glaze Bread!

Mmmm! It’s delicious!

She made time to do this and help take care of the apartment chores. We were definitely excited to be able to sleep in this weekend.

Family fun

On Saturday, we had the chance to take care of one of our newest nephews, little CJ Hansen while his mom was visiting Orem for the afternoon. It was so much fun to play with this upbeat 4-month-old. He was always happy and content, even after he woke up from his nap, he just looked around and waited for one of us to come and pick him up.

Look at that cute face!

After that, a good portion of the Hansen clan got together for dinner and a special family tradition. We had my sister Julie and her family, Katrina and family, Mike and family, Kristen (sister-in-law), my parents, and us! We all had to cram into my parents apartment in Salt Lake City (they are serving a mission right now at Church HQ), which was no easy task. After a really yummy dinner, the grandkids gathered around the table to make gingerbread houses! How cool is that!! My mother had a recipe for a frosting that hardened, becoming an edible glue, in essence. The kids used the frosting to build and decorate their houses. The whole night was a fun adventure. For your viewing pleasure, I have uploaded a video of each grandkid’s house.

My new toy!

Christmas came a week early this year for me! And while the title suggests I got a new toy for Christmas, the real impetus for this gift was for the forthcoming baby. Yup, you probably guessed it! We got a new video camera!

ooOOoo! Pretty!

The video and pictures on this blog post are thanks to this brand new, High-Definition video camera! I am loving the deal we got on it, too (less than $500). For those of you who are interested, I have a full review on my website.

Yeah! Two in a Row!

 - by Brittny

Yeah! Look at me actually writing a post two weeks in a row! Mostly this week we’ve been gearing up for the end of the semester and Christmas. Eric had his last day of classes on Thursday so it’s been papers, presentations and projects all week long. It didn’t really lend itself to either of us getting much sleep this week (obviously more so for Eric since he was the one actually doing those projects), but hopefully we’ll be able to make that up as soon as finals are over.

One of the really fun things we did this past week was to buy and sell Wii Fits from We’d been helping Eric’s brother Tim to get one for Christmas so I’d set my phone up to get text message alerts when they were in stock. Since they have been in such high demand and impossible to find Amazon set a limit of three per household. We decided to take advantage of that and help out family and friends who would have had a hard time getting them otherwise. Since right now they’re in such high demand you can pretty much only find them on eBay for around double the retail price and we know how much we’ve been enjoying ours we felt pretty confident that we could find people who wanted them. We were right! We were really excited to be able to sell them (at retail price, not ridiculously marked up) to Eric’s sister Dianne and our good friends the Criddles. It just felt good to be able to help out around Christmas time, albeit in an unconventional way :)

The other really fun thing this week was that we had both of our company parties on Saturday night. It was too bad that they both fell on the same night so we had to choose which one to go to. However, since we went to my Christmas party last year, and Eric’s company party was black tie at the Grand America hotel… it wasn’t a very difficult compromise. We were able to go to the very beginning of Axis41’s party up at the Millcreek Inn. It was fun just to get to introduce Eric to my co-workers so that he could put some faces with the names. Plus they had some great hors d’ouevres and punch that we enjoyed while we were there. We stayed for about 45 minutes before heading back down to Omniture’s party.

The Omniture logo…in style!

One of the great things about Omniture… they definitely know how to throw a party! The place was packed and it was a really fun night. They had paid for their employees to rent tuxes (or given a set amount of money to their female employees to offset the price of their formal wear) so everyone was very dressed up. I told Eric afterwards that I still felt like a little kid who was at a grown-up party, even though I know full well that we’re grown ups now too. The food was pretty good. The appetizers were a little weird, we felt like we were eating garnishes (and I’m sure someone was sitting there and laughing at us… but that’s all that was on the appetizer plate and everyone else ate them too *shrug* ) but the food itself was really good. I got halibut which was really good and had Omega 3s which are important for our baby’s brain development. Eric isn’t as big of a fan of fish as I am so I get excited whenever I get a chance to eat fish. It’s not that Eric won’t eat fish or even that he really dislikes it, but if I’m going to go to the effort of making a meal for him, I’d rather have it be something that he gets more excited about eating. Eric got the steak, which was pretty incredible. It was a super tender cut of meat and very well made. It also came with these potatoes that I’m really sad we didn’t take a picture of. They were sliced super super thin and then layered on top of each other with sweet potatoes in the middle. They were really good, and partly just amazing to see.

They also had some cool games that they had everyone play to compete for 6 iPod Touches (is that how you pluralize touch as a noun?) and donations to different charities. They also had some cool presentations that summarized all of their business for the year. We’re really excited that Eric is part of this company that is growing so fast right now and doing such cool things. They had a dance floor set up in the middle and dancing afterwards, but we left because the bouncing style of dancing isn’t quite as fun when you’re 29 weeks pregnant (probably not very attractive either :P ).

As far as the pregnancy goes, things are going really well. Still fighting heartburn but it’s not unmanageable. The weirdest thing is that I’ve been getting really warm – not so much hot flashes, but generally I’ve found that I’m warmer than other people. It’s super weird for me because I’m usually FREEZING even in the middle of summer… but it’s the middle of December and I’m the one turning down the thermostat! I’m not complaining in the least, it’s probably the best thing about pregnancy! Well, except for the cute baby that we get at the end of it all :).

Now we’re just counting down the days until Eric finishes his finals and we get to go to California for Christmas!! We’re pretty excited because it’s the first time that we’re going home since we’ve been married (like actually going to my family’s house and staying there, we did go to California for Memorial Day weekend but we stayed the whole time at Carpinteria, which is just different from actually going home). Hope everyone else’s holiday preparations are going well!! We’ll probably post to you again from the other side of finals :)