I’m back-dating this post to fill out some major gaps in our poorly-kept family blog in 2013. While working at Adobe, once every five years, each employee is granted about a month of work off to do whatever they want, whether it be a personal project, personal development, or extended vacation time with absolutely no expectation of availability from the company during the hiatus. It’s a fantastic idea, one that I fully endorse and support.
Usually these sabbaticals are taken in pursuit of some grand vacation or side project, but mine was a bit different. Instead of focusing on one solitary project, I split the time up into multiple weekly activities.
The first week consisted of dedicated family time with the 4th of July celebrations and everything going on with that. Nothing too exciting, but definitely a relaxing time to be had by all. During this time, I also started work on a fun little side project that I had been wanting to do for some time now. I never have enough time to play with the violin and enjoy music, so I thought I would make a cover music video, complete with a violin descant. A lot of brainstorming and initial work happened during this week, too.
The second week of the month focused on Scout Camp and swim lessons for the boys. Being able to go to the pool every day and work with them to get comfortable in the water is something that means a lot to me given my storied past with learning to swim. And then of course in my new capacity as the Young Men’s president, I got to go up and have some fun supporting the boys working to get cool merit badges like shotgun shooting, boating, and aeronautics.
The third week was dedicated to recording, filming, and editing my cover video of Backwards by Matthias. I had been following his work for some time on YouTube, and I was really impressed with his skill and desire to create clean, enjoyable content. This video ended up encapsulating many aspects of expression from my life, including my time spent in Taiwan and attempts to broaden my creative horizons with video editing. All in all, I’d say it was quite the cathartic experience. You can watch the end result here:
The fourth week consisted entirely of a family reunion and trip to Disneyland. It was a lot of fun to include Daniel in this trip as well as let Sam enjoy the experience more as a four-year-old. I am sure we will have a whole separate blog post about that experience, so I won’t go into many details here. Suffice it to say, everyone in the family had a lot of fun, and we are so very grateful that Granny and Grandpa Hansen made it all happen for us!
The last week of July and first part of August was spent with more Young Men’s President duties. I spent all day Monday and Tuesday providing Priesthood support at the Young Women’s Camp up at Mutual Dell. I’ve never been so involved in YW Camp before, so I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. The girls seemed to enjoy how dedicated us adult males were in learning how to make wristbands and painting rocks during craft time, and we all had fun trying to outperform each other with progressively unique tricks on the zipline.
On Wednesday, we loaded up the truck and packed up my car with bikes and boys to head down to Moab, UT for the high adventure. It was an incredible three days of biking, rafting down the Colorado, and hiking up canyons. It also justified the purchase of my new mountain bike in June, so now I have less of an excuse to get out on the awesome trails around our neighborhood.
All in all, it was a very hectic month, and while a lot of it was spent in either family activities or volunteering efforts, I feel like it was time well spent.
When Eric and I were engaged all of his Chinese friends would tell him that we had “couple face”. Apparently there’s some phrase in Chinese which roughly translates to “couple face” that means that you and your spouse/fiance/significant other look alike, like you belong together, and you look like a couple. It became a family joke and it’s been fun finding other couples who have “couple face”. Well I started using Picasa to organize the pictures on my computer, and one of the cool features is that it will find faces and have you tag them. It also will start to guess who different faces are based on previous pictures you’ve tagged. I took this screenshot of one set of guesses –
In case you can’t tell, the people in the pictures are just me and Eric. Picasa tagged me as Samuel, Eric as me, me as my sister’s husband Ryan, and Eric as himself. This was just one sample. As I went through it was tagging Eric’s family members as members of my Dad’s family and all kinds of silliness. I did feel a little bit vindicated that it tagged Eric as his older brother Tim multiple times, but not once did it get me mixed up with my mother. For those of you who don’t know, my mom and I look A LOT alike, and I think Eric and his brother Tim look a lot alike as well. You can be the judge –
On our wedding day I saw Tim holding his little girl and was very confused that Eric had changed out of his tux and into another suit. I came within seconds of going up to, who I thought was Eric, and asking him why he’d changed his clothes! Luckily I noticed my mistake just before actually approaching Tim. I just wasn’t used to there being multiple Eric-looking people around!
Eric has mistaken my mom for me on multiple occasions. The most notable was Christmas of 2008 when we were at home with my family. At the time I was 7 months pregnant with Samuel. My mom and I were standing together leaning over the island in their kitchen when Eric comes up from behind and starts stroking my mom’s arm. Just as my mom turns to find out what’s going on I lean over so he can see my face and say, “uhm, honey?” Eric had quite a start at that point and my family likes to tease him about it.
Eric’s not the only one who has mixed us up though. When I was in high school one night at dinner my dad came over behind my chair and started playing with my hair. That wasn’t really weird, until I turned around and my dad said “Ack! You’re not Kerry!” Suddenly it was a lot weirder to have had my dad being that affectionate with me :P
However, the strangest moment was during my freshman year in college. I had gotten all dressed up for some pictures and was heading out the door when I caught a quick glimpse of myself in the mirror. I suddenly turned around and said, “Mom?!” It was so weird to have confused myself with a mom, especially since my mom was over 500 miles away at the time!
So…”couple face”! It would seem that we have some of that within our family. And next time someone asks who Sam looks more like, I guess the answer would be me!
Sam *loves* Family Home Evening. It is one of his favorite things in the world. Frequently during the week I will watch him “play” Family Home Evening. He’ll sing a song, say a prayer, pretend to have a lesson, sing and pray again. It’s SO cute. We haven’t always been awesome at actually doing FHE though because we wouldn’t have a lesson quite ready. Fortunately for us our sister-in-law made us a whole bunch of Family Home Evening Lessons for Christmas so now it’s even easier for us to make sure we actually do Family Home Evening each week. (Thanks Susan!)
As everyone knows, the most important part of FHE is the treats afterwards. Since we’re pretty lame our post-FHE treat is pretty much always Oreos. It’s already made, easy, makes everyone happy, and we fairly consistently have some on hand. In fact, I think Sam would be surprised to find out that Oreos are *not* a church mandated part of FHE ;)
Tonight after we finished our FHE Sam was excited for his treat, so I pulled out the Oreos and started eating some with him. Eric had just gotten Daniel back to sleep in his arms so he retreated upstairs with the baby so he could keep him asleep (particularly since Danny’s been sick recently with a little bit of croup :( )
I walked away from Sam momentarily and looked over just as Sam was going up to the counter to reach for another Oreo. I didn’t so much mind that he was getting a second Oreo, just that he was going for it without asking. So I mildly scolded him with a, “Hey, what do you think you’re doing?” To which Sam responded something about Daddy and milk cookies (he calls Oreos “Daddy milk cookies” because they are Eric’s favorite treats and he – of course – always eats them with milk). I decided to count that as a request and handed him an Oreo.
Sam immediately took that cookie, ran upstairs… and gave it to Eric. He was so concerned that his Daddy hadn’t gotten a treat after FHE that he wanted to make sure that Daddy was taken care of. He didn’t even come back and ask for another cookie for himself. I’m constantly amazed at the sweet and caring nature of our little Sam :)
Well, it’s time for our obligatory year-end update on the family. It’s hard to believe we’ve been in our new home for over a year now! Time has flown by for our little family. We are very grateful for blessings and support we received this year from our family and friends. Adjusting to a homeowner’s life took more effort than anticipated, but it’s been a fun experiencing learning more about lighting, electrical wiring, installing water sprinklers, and other handy skills. I get the feeling that there is a never-ending supply of home improvement or maintenance jobs in our future.
Of course, the most exciting thing that happened this year had nothing to do with our house, but with our new baby! Our sweet Daniel was born on 15 April at 11:00pm. He weighed in at 7lbs 9oz and was 20 inches long. Of course, he isn’t the same small baby that you see in that first post – he is 8 months old now! He is an extremely happy and easy-going child. His smile constantly makes our day, and makes him lots of friends wherever we go. All of a sudden, he has started moving around a lot! He is crawling very quickly and confidently, has taken to standing on his own for a few seconds at a time, and even crawling up stairs–much to our dismay. It won’t be long before he gets moving on two feet! He has developed a few “tricks” like clapping, and clicking his tongue. Our favorite thing he does though is sniffing. Every so often he will scrunch up his face and start sniffing really hard for a little bit. It doesn’t seem like he’s really trying to smell anything, and I’ve checked to make sure he didn’t have anything stuck in his nose, he just enjoys sniffing I guess. His face when he does it though cracks us up.
He started out as an amazing sleeper which was totally new to us. However in October we did some travelling and he got sick. Since then we had at least one person in our family sick through the end of November. Daniel’s sleeping habits haven’t been the same since, but he is still the least complaining child. I took him in for his 6-month check up at the end of October and told the doctor that he was acting just fine, but that his eyes had been really goopey. It was weird. She said it was probably nothing and started to check him out. When she looked in his ears she said “oh! He has an ear infection!” It was just a viral one so nothing that we could really do about it except let it run its course, but I was totally surprised that he had something really wrong with him because he’d been acting so cheerful! That’s just the way our Danny rolls :)
Sam is a really good big brother to baby Daniel, but of course not without a good bit of jealousy mixed in. He will be turning three in March, but you would think he was much older by the way he speaks. Whenever you ask him a yes or no question, he rarely responds with a one-word answer. If you ask him, “Sam, are you done eating yet?” he’ll respond, “No, not quite” or “Yes, I am done eating.” Or the other night Eric asked him, “Sam, would you like some dinner?” and Sam responded with a gasp and then said, “Dada! That would be so great! I do want some dinner!”. He loves reading and asking very precocious questions. For example, Eric took care of Sam one day while Brittny went to a meeting: Sam: “Is Mom home yet?” Eric: “No, not yet.” Sam: “Is she at school or play?” (Referencing a particular line of “Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam”) Or on the day that he was wearing a shirt that said “USA” he looked down and said, “U-S-A. Does that spell freedom?” He has started going to joy school twice a week and loves it. Even though he’s a little bit young for preschool we’re really glad that he has the opportunity to participate in this activity. He loves the chance to learn and to play with other kids. Sam loves letters and reading. He can spell a few words – his favorites are Sam and Eric. His favorite show is Super Why, and he even dressed up as Super Why for halloween!
Eric is working harder than ever after being baptized by fire into the Product Management group at Adobe. There is a lot to learn, but he enjoys the way the job challenges him and gives him opportunities to grow. He also is having a lot more opportunities to travel lately visiting clients all over the world from Sydney to New York. Probably the most exciting thing for Eric this year is that he developed an algorithm for Adobe that they’ve started to patent. He’s pretty excited to have his name on a patent, even if all the rights are assigned to the company and not himself. He always dreamed of inventing things when he was a young child, and now that dream is being realized! His church calling as a building scheduler is relatively simple. All he has to do is answer the phone and maintain an online calendar, but he is still very involved in church with the ward choir and putting on special musical numbers.
Brittny was released a couple months ago from her calling as the Nursery coordinator, which worked out well since Sam had been well adjusted to attending on his own for a little while now. She was then called to be the Secretary in the Primary! So her workload has expanded dramatically, and she still helps out with the Nursery from time to time. All of the exposure to so many little kids has turned our family into a petri dish for the illnesses floating through the ward. We’ve had at least one member of our family sick every week since the beginning of October until a few weeks ago (*knock on wood in hopes of keeping good health*). We’ve started implementing some new healthcare practices (multivitamins for everyone, extra hand washing etc) to hopefully ward off more nursery-borne sicknesses in the future! Brittny also still works from home as a freelance web programmer whenever she gets a moment’s rest from chasing kids. With Eric’s new job position the extra money isn’t really necessary, but it’s nice for Brittny to have the hobby and extra spending money. She appreciates the reminder that she’s good at things other than changing diapers and cleaning dishes (especially since she’s not so good at the dishes part!). But she does a great job caring for our two little ones, the most important job in our family.
So that’s our family update for the year. It’s been very exciting despite the fact we didn’t have to move, and that’s something to be really excited about! Our best wishes go out to you for an excellent 2012!
A couple weeks ago Eric got to go to Australia on business (lucky!) and left us at home in the cold. If you want to read about his adventure he posted about it here on his personal website. In the meantime we had some of our own adventures. I’d had a lot that I was going to post but I can’t remember most of it anymore. I think partly because I posted some of the pictures in another post and that eliminated a lot of my content. But I still had a few things that I wanted to share.
So while Eric was gone I really wanted to get our house all cleaned up and back in order. When Eric’s gone it’s a little bit easier to take on tasks like that because I’m not really cooking dinner all week. Sam and I can happily eat grilled cheese sandwiches/quesadillas/mac & cheese or leftovers all week long which doesn’t quite present the array of dishes that cooking real meals does. Not that Eric would be unwilling to eat such meals, I just don’t feel as much like I can justify myself as a housewife if I’m not preparing fairly decent meals. Sam wouldn’t eat those meals anyways and it’s not worth the effort for myself. Anyways, I digress (surprise).
One of the projects I really wanted to conquer was our tupperware cabinet. It was completely out of control, you could never find the right lid to go with the containers and it only got worse as we didn’t want to deal with trying to find the “right’ place for things and more tupperwares just got shove din. I really wanted to go through it and get it all organized but I kept telling myself that I really wasn’t allowed to take on a major organizing project like that until the rest of the house was fairly well cleaned.
On Tuesday we had one of my best friends over with her two little kids. Her son Zeke and Sam get along really well and were having lots of fun. Because there’s nothing breakable in my tupperware cabinet we haven’t put a lock on it to keep Sam out of it. So at one point I guess Sam showed Zeke the wonders of this cabinet. Next thing Stephanie and I knew, ALL of the tupperwares were out and ALL over the floor! It was an epic mess, and the boys thought it was great. Normally that might seem like a disaster, but really I was so glad that now I had an excuse to really go through and organize my tupperware cabinet! I finally took out the random appliances that were in there and stored them in more logical locations. Then took any of our cheap tupperware that I keep for taking dinners to people and hid it up in a higher cabinet. The result has been miraculous. That cabinet which was once a black hole now seems practically empty! In fact, since then Sam has discovered that he fits very nicely in that cabinet and likes very much to go hide out in there from time to time!
I also feel like I have to give Stephanie some mad best friend props that day by doing my dishes for me. I’d fallen behind on my dishes and I *hate* doing dishes. That didn’t really fit into the story but I had to tell her once again THANK YOU! It made a huge difference in me being able to keep up with the house that week. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!
On Wednesday we had to run to the store to pick up some groceries as we were out of practically all of the essentials (bread, milk, cheese… when you’re living off grilled cheese sandwiches – as Sam generally does – you can’t go too long without those). As we were getting ready to leave I decided to throw on a scarf. Sam, naturally, decided that he *had* to have a scarf too, and mittens, and a coat. It really wasn’t super cold outside but he was insistent that he have his full gear on. He was SO cute I had to take a picture –
I really can’t remember much of what happened the rest of that week. Probably partly because I ended up having Daniel and Sam both sleeping in my bed with me every night while Eric was gone. I think Sam was really thrown off by having Eric out of the house because since Eric came back he’s gone back to sleeping in his own room through the night. We were very very glad to have Eric home again at the end of the week! I’m glad that he got a chance to go see Australia (especially since my mom is from there, just fun to have that connection now) and very thankful that his job is going so well that it necessitates that kind of travel… but there’s nothing like having him home again. We love him a lot and like having him home with us!
Four years ago today Eric and I were married in the Los Angeles Temple.
Since then we’ve both graduated.
We’ve both gotten jobs.
We’ve had our first baby.
And now our second.
We’ve moved six different times, and finally decided to settle down in the one place we’d both agreed we didn’t want to end up.
So much has happened, but at the same time I still can’t believe that four whole years have gone by. Eric, I love you even more today than I did the day I married you. I feel so incredibly lucky to be on this wonderful adventure of life with you. Thank you for all the “adbentures” we’ve had so far and for the many more to come! (although, hopefully not so many in such a short time again) I love you!
Well, I must say that this wasn’t a complete surprise. After spending last week participating in Omniture Summit 2011 and working more than 12 hours a day every workday, my body has decided to retaliate against me with some sort of viral infection. Considering all the interactions I had with various people during the week, I suppose the disease was transmitted to me while I was in Salt Lake. Of course, when you combine that with a weakened immune system from the lack of sleep and all the concentrated work I had to get done, I was a goner this weekend. I remember talking to my mission president once about zone conferences. He would work so hard and long preparing for and during the conferences that he would immediately get sick after it was over. It was the same story for me. I started to feel icky on Friday, and by that night I was sporting a cough, fever, and a pounding headache. Even now, if I move my head too fast or cough too hard, I get the feeling of needles poking my brain.
But wait, there’s more! It’s not just a self-pity post about my sickness. Sam contracted a viral infection (probably last Sunday from nursery), and it incubated until around Friday when a high fever popped up. One time when we took his temperature, he came in at 104 degrees. We think it was the Roseola virus as he seemed to be acting fairly normal despite the fever. Fortunately, we were able to tame the fever by alternating doses of Tylenol and Advil every three hours.
Through all of this, I just feel bad for Brittny who has a useless husband who can barely move and child that needs to sleep more but is somewhat erratic because of the sickness. We’re praying that we will all get better before I need to go back to work tomorrow.
I sent out our Christmas cards this year with a link to our blog rather than a full newsletter. I figure most people who we send Christmas cards to are followers of our blog anyways and that’s like an intense, year-round Christmas newsletter. But I decided that I ought to have a brief recap of our year for those who just want to hit the highlights. So I posted 4 pictures on the inside of our card that I feel show the most important things that happened this year, and I’ll explain them in more detail here –
First of all, Sam. This year has been all about Sam. He turned one this year and it has been absolutely delightful watching our little baby grow into a bouncing toddler. He walks and talks and is so much fun to have around. He’s always getting into something new but it makes every day an adventure. He’s getting really excited for…
His new baby brother who will be born in April! We haven’t yet settled on a name for our new addition but hopefully that will be coming soon. We’re excited to be adding another little boy to our family. Sam is especially excited and really wanted us to get the baby for Christmas, but we have since convinced him that we can have the baby for Easter instead. Sam spends a fair amount of time “playing with” the baby, by kissing my stomach and drumming on it etc. His new favorite trick is to put his hands on either side of my stomach and say that he wants to “carry baby”. Hopefully this enthusiasm will last after the baby is actually here.
Another exciting change is Eric’s new job at Adobe. He is now the Emerging Business Manager for the Digital Home (yeah, the new title is a mouthful) and loving every minute of his new job. He gets to spend his days playing with video game consoles, IP TVs and other cool technologies while he figures out new ways to integrate Adobe’s products with those new technologies. Maybe it’s not quite as glamorous as all that, but he still says it’s his dream job. Adobe is moving their campus in the next couple of years to Lehi. With the new position and the new campus it meant it was time for…
A new house! We are currently completing the construction on our first home. It is about 5 minutes from where the new Adobe campus will be. The house has a Draper address, although it’s on the Utah County side of the mountains (much closer to Highland, Alpine and Lehi really). We’re up in the mountains a little bit so it’s out of the bustle of the city and (more importantly) the pollution in the valley, but it’s not very far out of the way so we’re not stranded away from civilization either. We’re very excited to be moving in at the end of this year.
So, that should about cover the main highlights of the year for us. We hope this season brings you joy, love and peace.
I figure I ought to write this post considering it mainly affects my life, though it should also prove to be an adjustment for the entire family as well. The big news is…*drumroll please*……*no seriously, do a drumroll*…I got a promotion to what is most likely my dream job!
Brittny’s note: For those of you uninitiated into programmer speak “!=” is how you express “does not equal” in many programming languages. So Eric was saying he wasn’t a happy camper. I now return you to your regularly scheduled Eric blog post :P
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.