Category:family’

Family Pictures

 - by Brittny

A few months ago I posted about how we’d done some family pictures down at the LA temple for our 5th wedding anniversary.  When we were getting ready to do so I posted on Facebook that we were looking for a photographer in the LA area and we offered that we could work out an exchange with the photographer that we could hook them up with some Adobe software in exchange for the shoot, since Eric is an employee and gets a sweet discount.  We made a different arrangement with Mary and those pictures turned out great.  My college roommate’s mom – Lavon Maiersperger – saw my post as well.  She doesn’t live in Southern California so couldn’t do the temple pictures for us, but she was interested in making an exchange with us for pictures another time.  (I feel like I need to explain why we did pictures twice in one year.  It wasn’t at all because we didn’t like Mary’s pictures – we love them!  But we weren’t about to turn down a chance to get more pictures of our cute boys!)

We decided the best thing would be to meet at our house and then take pictures in some of the surrounding area.  We live where there’s a lot of open space and it’s beautiful at this time of year.  It seemed like a good way to minimize travelling time and get the best chance of happy boys for the pictures.

So, on the morning of our pictures I had just finished ironing my shirt when the doorbell rang.  I unplugged the iron and Danny and I ran down to let Lavon in then dashed upstairs to do the last few things.  As I was finishing taking out my curlers I heard Danny from the other side of the house scream out in pain.  Danny is our curious climber and he’s frequently locking himself in rooms, climbing up places that he can’t get down from, pinching himself in hinges etc.  So, I wasn’t too worried at first because it’s usually just something minor.  But I went to see what was the matter.  He was holding his hand, but nothing looked too wrong with it at first and I couldn’t see what he had done.   Then I realized that he’d just come out of the laundry room and that the iron, which had been on the ironing board, was on the floor.  I still didn’t know if the iron falling had just scared him, or what, but I took him to the bathroom to run his hand under some water just in case.  Sure enough, he’d burned his hand, and done a good job of it too.  He had redness that went across the whole pad of his hand that slowly turned into a massive blister!

Sad blister! As you can see, this was one of the ways we could convince Danny to smile at first was by taking his picture with Eric’s phone (a camera he’s used to). Look at that cute cheesey grin!

Not exactly the best way to start a picture day.  We figured there wasn’t too much more that we could do for him once the burn had been cooled down and put some aloe vera on it so we decided to go on with trying to take some pictures.  We drove down our block to where there’s a really pretty lookout into Utah Valley.  It’s one of our favorite places to go on a walk to as a family.  During the summer we try to take nightly walks that culminate in going to “see the valley”.  At first Danny didn’t want to get out of the car (he wanted to drive drive!), but we did eventually coax him out and got a few pictures taken at that overlook.

It didn’t last too long though and we soon decided to return to the house and try to let him run his hand under some cool water some more.  We figured we’d see if we could get it under control and then maybe try to take some more pictures.  It’s a decent drive to get up to our place so I was hoping to get Danny happy again so that we hadn’t wasted Lavon’s morning to drive up to us, just to have to reschedule.  While Danny played in the sink (which made him very happy, and our guest bathroom very wet) Sam went out back and Lavon got some pictures of him in our backyard.  Sam was being a major punk!  He wouldn’t smile for anything.  The pictures turned out really cute but not exactly showing a happy Sam.

We did finally get Danny happy again and brought him outside.  We put him and Sam on the grass and they were rather cute together.  Then our neighbor’s cat, Spook, came over and Danny was thrilled!  He *loves* our neighbor’s cat and his face lights up whenever he sees Spook.  It was awesome that Lavon was able to capture some of these looks of pure joy that Danny has.  Looking at the pictures you would think it was Sam who’d gotten his hand burned instead of Danny!

We might try again to see if we can get pictures of our family with everyone happy and smiling at the same time, but honestly, I love these pictures!  I love that they’re all taken in our own backyard and really show our boys personalities – blisters, frowns and all.  Thank you again Lavon!

(I don’t know if the full photo album is public, or if you’ll at least be able to view it all if you’re friends with either Eric or I but here’s the link to the full Facebook album)

Happy Mother’s Day!

 - by Brittny

Happy Mother’s Day to all you mothers out there! I’m so grateful for the opportunity I have to be a mother, and for the cute little boys I am privileged to raise and a wonderful husband who supports me in this endeavor.  I feel truly blessed.

I woke up yesterday morning to find these on our kitchen table –

I guess Eric knew better than to think that he would be up as early or earlier than me so he left some presents for me out on the table with notes.  On the left is a questionaire that we had Sam fill out with questions about me (more on that later), in the middle is a shirt that says Mom in binary and on the right is a docking station for my smartphone.  I’m especially excited about the docking station because it makes it so my phone becomes a bedside clock at night.  This is useful because we have a rule that Sam is not allowed to come into our room before 7am, but once 7am hits I’ll often let him climb into bed with us in the hope that I can get some more sleep while he snuggles with us.  He’d been pretty good about this rule for awhile but over the past few weeks he’s started coming in around 6am and climbing in bed – meaning I’m getting even less sleep than usual (I blame the sun coming up earlier).  If I can easily turn and see the time then it’s easy for me to say, “no Sam, it’s not 7 yet, go back to bed”.  Unfortunately recently it’s been too difficult to get to my phone to check the time and I’ll let him into bed only to find out an hour later that it’s STILL not 7am.  Anyways, excited to be able to use that :)  Thank you Eric for the sweet gifts, they will be put to good use!

Since it was Sunday we of course had church.  Our Elders & High Priest Quorums had organized to take over all the auxiliaries for the women so we could attend Sunday School and Relief Society.  I was very impressed with my Eric for signing up for 2 different assignments – teaching the 10 & 11 year olds during the 2nd hour of church, and helping in the nursery during the 3rd hour of church!  It made me once again proud to be married to the kind of man who is willing to pitch in and do his part (and even above and beyond) to help serve others.  I’m a lucky woman to have him :)

During the second hour of church it was probably a little bit busier for me than usual since I’m the Primary Secretary.  Just with making sure the men knew who was in their class, checking that every class was covered, kids accounted for etc.  Eric was going to take Daniel into his Sunday School class that he was teaching but Daniel got hurt a few minutes into class and so we ended up in the mother’s lounge to nurse him a little bit.  That was ok since I had intended to stay near the primary during that hour to make sure things went ok for sharing time.  Plus, it was really fun to watch Brother Peters and Brother Knudsen running the sharing time and singing time.  They mentioned how hyper the kids were and I just laughed – the kids were actually behaving much better for the men than they did usually!  It was funny to see the difference in perspective.   It was also interesting to see the difference in how the men ran the primary from how the women run it.  One thing I noticed was that everything was a competition and they had to have prizes and winning and losing was a big deal.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen those kinds of competitions on a normal Sunday!  Not that one way is better or worse, but it’s just interesting to see the different approaches.  I’ve read a few books recently about the differences between men and women in their brain development and communication so I always find it fascinating to see those differences at play.  (For those of you who are interested some of those books were – The Male Brain, The Female Brain (both by Louann Brizendine), and Eve & the Choice Made in Eden by Beverly Campbell)

During the third hour Eric took Daniel so I could go to Relief Society.  That was a real treat.  On a week by week basis I don’t feel like I’m missing out in not getting to go to Relief Society, I really love my calling and the people that I serve with and wouldn’t give that up.  But I love going to Relief Society and it felt so good to be back in there again, even just for a week.  I have a feeling men don’t need Priesthood meeting quite like women need Relief Society.  There’s just something so energizing and renewing about just being there amongst the women of our ward that isn’t present anywhere else.  I just want to say a huge THANK YOU to all the men in our ward who pitched in so that the women could spend that time together in Relief Society.  It was appreciated more than you’ll know.  And especially a huge thank you to my own Eric for all that he did both in relieving teachers and taking our Daniel.

After church we went up to Eric’s sister Katrina’s house for dinner with his family.  Sam was in heaven just being up with his cousins.  It’s so nice to have such wonderful family, and especially to have them so close!  When I was growing up, and even up until the past few years, I always expected and desired that when I had my own family we’d live far away from our families.  Now however I just wish we lived closer to more family than we do. What a blessing to be able to see your family frequently and spend time building those most important relationships.  What a silly desire to want to be off on our own!

So as I mentioned at the beginning of this post we gave a questionaire to Sam with questions about me that he was supposed to answer.  We also gave him the same questionaire to answer about his grandmas.  I typed up the answers and thought you might enjoy seeing them here.  One of the most fun parts (in my opinion) is comparing Sam’s answers for each person. Here’s his responses –

Answers about Grannie- Eric's mom

Answers about Bobo - Brittny's mom

Answers about his mom

So at first it looks really nice that Sam thinks I only weigh 60 pounds… until you consider that he thinks his grandmas weigh between 2 and 5 lbs.  That means that he thinks I’m approximately 12-30 times heavier than his grandmas… thanks Sam :P  I really just enjoyed doing this exercise with Sam, I tried not to edit his answers but just type whatever he said, regardless of how much sense it made.  Hopefully I’ll remember to do this again next year so we can see if his responses have changed.

Before I wrap this post up I just want to express my thanks to our mothers for all they have done and still do to help mold us into the people we are today.  The longer I’m a mother the more impressed I am with the remarkable women who raised us and the time, effort and sacrifices that they made on our behalf.  I hope to one day be the kind of mother they are.

More family relationships

 - by Brittny

I just wanted to pass along this quick Sam story.  This morning Sam was talking to me and asked me if Aunt Tay-Tay (my sister) was his only aunt.  I told him that not only was Taylor not his only aunt, but he had 9 other aunts!  So we started naming off his other aunts and he replied that each one of them was in fact his aunt.  Except when I got to his Aunt Marianela (Eric’s oldest brother’s wife), his response was “No, she’s not an aunt!  She’s a girl cousin!”  No matter how hard I tried Sam was not convinced that Marianela was his aunt, she had to be a girl cousin.  Congratulations Marianela!  You’re the only one of his aunts who earned that distinction – and one of his aunts is only 19 years old!

We are a Happy Family!

 - by Brittny

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 –

My mom and me on my wedding day

Eric and Tim, also on our wedding day (sorry Tim, it's the only picture I have of the two of you together)

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!

FHE Desserts

 - by Brittny

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 :)

Friday Night Losers’ Club

 - by Brittny

So my family likes to joke about the “Friday Night Losers’ Club”.  Basically the idea is if you don’t get to be out doing something fun on a Friday night then you must be part of the Friday Night Losers’ club for that week.  It was something my parents heard about in a stake conference or something and we’ve adopted it as our thing.  Most weeks we aren’t out doing exciting things, but we still enjoy that time at the end of another work week together.

On Friday night Eric had the great idea that we could break free of our bonds from the Friday Night Losers’ Club and go get some take out food and get a Redbox movie for a fun family night. (Ok, so we weren’t venturing out too far, but it sounded like a fun plan to us) Sam had gone down for his nap late, so despite it being about 5pm he was still asleep.  But we decided on what we wanted to eat and a movie to rent and Eric went out to go get the food and movie.  Of course just after Eric left Sam woke up wondering where dad had gone and was really upset that he didn’t get to go with Eric on an “adventure”.  So I had to comfort him until Eric returned.  When Eric got back home he realized that he’d forgotten to pick up the movies, oops!  So we ate our dinner together and then Sam got his adventure after all to help Eric pick up the movies.  Sam was SO excited when he saw that the movie we had picked out was Rio (or as he called it – Angry Birds :) )  He talked about it the whole way home and couldn’t wait to start the movie.  We popped some popcorn and Sam stood in front of the TV mesmerized as soon as the movie started.  We were feeling like it was a success!

About halfway through the movie Sam started to cry.  After trying a few different things to appease him Sam said “it’s dark outside, I want to go to bed and be snuggled.”  We were rather stunned to have our 2 year old *ask* for bedtime!  We’d thought it would be a fun treat for him to stay up late and watch a movie instead!  But, we went up and did the whole bedtime routine (diaper change, go potty, pajamas, brush teeth, story, scriptures, prayers, snuggle etc) and sure enough, he went right to sleep.  Guess he’d rather be in the Friday Night Losers’ Club after all :P

Hansen Family Reunion 2011

 - by Eric

The Hansen Family, minus 2 nieces and 1 nephew

Well, this post has been a long time coming. Back in mid-June, our entire Hansen family got together for a family reunion up at Hidden Springs Ranch in northeastern Utah. We had a really fun time since nearly everyone was there. Only two nieces who had work and one nephew on a mission couldn’t make it. (Italics mean Eric, normal text is Brittny)

But because a good chunk of the family had to fly in from other places, we were able to have Tim and Ashley come and stay with us a couple of days before the official start of the reunion. We were really excited to have enough space that we could actually accommodate guests!  They came in on the Saturday night before Father’s Day and we were able to take them as well as Chris & Kristen (and all associated kids) to church with us the next day.

Since I’m the nursery leader in our ward (and Sam hadn’t yet gotten to a stage where he would let me leave nursery anyways) I got to go with Sam, and his cousins CJ and Kate to nursery.  It was fun watching them interact with each other and the other kids.  I kept looking at them and just thinking, “Whoa, you guys are definitely cut from the same bolt of cloth”.  I’m not sure what it was but it just kept striking me how much the three of them looked like Hansens.

After church we gathered back at our house for lunch.  I had offered to make something fun for Father’s Day breakfast and lunch, but the men had decided that what they really wanted was toaster strudels for breakfast and grilled cheese and applesauce for lunch.  Since it was their day and those were really easy requests to accommodate that’s exactly what we did :)  I also made up some tomato basil soup since it’s one of my very favorite things.  I think I made it up the day before so all I had to do was re-heat it after church, which was wise so that there wasn’t too much of a mess to clean up afterwards :)

Brittny’s being modest on the simplicity of the soup. It’s definitely more complicated than your usual heat up a can of soup type of recipe, and it’s AMAZING soup based on the Zupas recipe. The siblings were quite impressed with the concoction.

We were getting all of the family together at Eric’s sister Katrina’s house that evening and I’d been assigned to bring some cookies.  In my family the tradition for Father’s Day is to make peanut butter blossom cookies because they’re my dad’s favorite (peanut butter cookies with hershey’s kisses in the middle).  So, even though my dad didn’t get any I still felt like it was appropriate for me to make some in his honor.  I hadn’t realized this before starting, but I’d never made peanut butter blossom cookies on my own, and I hadn’t even been around home to make them with my mom in probably almost 8 years.  At one point I was really nervous that they weren’t going to turn out right, but luckily my sisters-in-law were there and able to say they looked ok :)

Again, she’s being modest :) I love peanut-butter cookies, especially the ones with the hugs in the center!

While we were waiting for it to be time to head up to Katrina’s the kids were getting a little bit energetic.  Chris made up different games for the kids to go find imaginary pets that Chris made up.  They were all different things, ducks, mice etc.  I don’t remember all of them, but one of them he called Ferbert.  The kids ran all over the house looking for Ferbert and calling to him.  I remember this now because Sam will still go around the house calling for Ferbert from time to time :)

We went up for dinner at Katrina’s and had a lot of fun just being with family and visiting with everyone who had just gotten in.  Of course, one of the best things was that we were able to be with Eric’s dad for Father’s Day, and what’s the point of Father’s Day but to be with our dads?  Unfortunately, we stayed pretty late and when we got back the boys had fallen asleep and it was too late for them to Skype with my dad :(  I felt really bad about that but we promised to Skype with him later that week and just pretend to have a second Father’s Day (luckily, my family is pretty flexible about observing holidays/birthdays when it’s convenient rather than being sticklers for celebrating on the particular day).

Monday was the start of the family reunion.  We spent the morning getting all packed up and ready to go.  Then, because we had some awesome coupons, we went to Smashburger with Tim & Ashley.  If you’ve never been to Smashburger, you’re missing out.  It has become one of our very favorite restaurants, and we’ve agreed that they have *the* best burgers that either of us have ever tasted.  Seriously.  Yum :)

A Smashburger

After Smashburger we went to Costco to pick up the things we’d need for our meal later in the week.  We were planning on making Cafe Rio-esque salads.  I’d decided that was a good meal that could be easily modified to accommodate whatever picky preferences that anyone might have.  If people wanted to make it into a salad, great.  They could have it with meat, or no meat, you could make it into a taco, kids could even just make a quesadilla.  I figured it would be easy and delicious.  We were teamed up with Tim & Ashley which we figured would make an easy team.  Unfortunately, since each of our families only had 4 members we weren’t real good at estimating cooking for the 50ish people that we were preparing food for.  To say that we over-prepared would be an understatement.  When all was said and done we had enough food to have that meal at least 2 more times (and we probably still would have had leftovers).  Oh well, it was a good meal and everyone really enjoyed it… but next time we’ll know to scale down considerably :)

Cafe Rio Salads

In case anyone is wondering how to do Cafe Rio salads on your own, we recommend starting with uncooked tortillas and cooking them according to directions.  Then we made this rice without the pineapple, something similar to these black beans, this pork,  and this salad dressing.  You just sort of pile all that stuff on top of your tortilla with some lettuce, tomato, guacamole, sour cream, cheese, and tortilla chips (or any combination of those ingredients that strikes your fancy) and dig in!  It’s one of our family’s favorite meals–although we haven’t made it since the reunion–we came back with so much leftover that we were eating it for at least a week straight!

Anyways, finding all our ingredients took a little longer than anticipated, but we were finally all ready to head out to the ranch.  Sam slept most of the way there, but Daniel wasn’t too thrilled to be in his carseat.  He didn’t like it when the sun would get in his eyes or when we’d turn.  It wasn’t too long of a drive but he wasn’t a very happy camper.  At one point Sam stretched his arms out to Daniel and beckoned to him while saying, “Oh, Danna Danna Danna… come here”.  Eric and I cracked up!  It was SO sweet of Sam to be looking out for his little brother like that, but hysterical to think what he might be expecting to happen.  Was his 2 month old brother just going to climb out of his carseat over to Sam to get snuggled?  What cute boys we have!  Since then Daniel’s most common nickname has been Danna :)

The first night was set aside for a mega- Family Home Evening with all 50 of us! We got together for a short lesson and then had a show & tell sort of activity with five minutes allocated to each family. Most of the acts consisted of kids performances from piano playing to singing to karate chopping. Our family showed them all up by having Sam do supersaults and count to ten in Chinese!

As things were starting to wind down Sam came up to me and said “Mommy, I’m tired. Should we go home? Should we put me in jammas?”  It was so sweet and so heartbreaking at the same time.  I knew being away from home was going to be rough since we’d been doing pretty well at getting into a routine at home.  I honored part of his request and took him upstairs and got him in pajamas.  We then snuggled for a little while until he was too excited about everything going on downstairs and I knew I could either battle him for over an hour to get him to go to sleep or let him come out and play.  I know that what I did was the “wrong” decision in letting him come out and play, but I didn’t want to spend the whole reunion fighting with Sam to go to sleep!  He didn’t go to bed until nearly midnight, which unfortunately didn’t translate into sleeping in the next morning.  Sleeping was a difficult thing for Sam during the whole reunion.  He was doing somewhat ok at home with sleeping on his own through the night, and going to bed at a reasonable-ish hour, and taking naps, but it was really tough with the rest of the routine being thrown off.  He alternated between taking long naps and no naps during the whole reunion.  The hardest part was just being in a new place.  He wasn’t very flexible at the time and so even just trying to go to sleep was tough with other things going on.  He would have freaked out completely if I’d just locked him in our room and I didn’t think it was worth it.  The whole experience definitely strengthened my resolve to get us on a good routine at home and have better routines in place before the next time a reunion comes around

As the evening passed, I decided I needed to maintain my position as the favorite Uncle in the family, so I broke out the Wii, Xbox360, and projector for all the kids (*myself included) to enjoy! It was a pretty fun way to round out the nights after all the louder and more physical activities couldn’t be played anymore. We also had plenty of board games and introduced the joys of Dominion to the rest of the Hansen clan. It quickly became the favorite game to play, and I highly recommend it as the rules are simple, yet the game can be customized for many different styles of play. It definitely keeps things more interesting than a game that sets up the same way each time. I much prefer a variable meta-game like Dominion, myself–it makes for great replay-ability.

Dominion Card Game

I joined the group that played Boggle a lot.  I find words fascinating.  I don’t think many people realize this, but despite being a computer programmer my major in college was actually Linguistics.  I think it’s so interesting to see language patterns and put together words.  Anyways, Boggle was right up my alley.  It’s especially fun to get to play with people who are out of my league in games like this, which most of the other people were.  It makes for a fun challenge.  One of the best parts about Boggle is that each round only lasts a few minutes, so if I was needed by Sam or Daniel I could easily skip a round or two without messing up the whole game.  I’m a board game nerd so this was definitely one of my favorite parts of the reunion

During the daytime, there were plenty of activities for all to choose from, but most were for those families who had kids above the age of eight. Some of the younger kids went horseback riding with parents, and the youngest kids enjoyed the swimming pool immensely during those hot summer days.

As for the older “kids”, I participated in three really cool activities that week. First, I went rock climbing at on a fake wall attached to the side of their activity barn. There were a lot of negative angles (the kind where you are hanging from the wall rather than leaning against it), and so I failed pretty miserably. My brother-in-law Rhett brought up his shotgun and a box of clay pigeons, and group of about six of us went out to the range. I was practiced enough and loaded the launcher but was inconsistent at loading it at first, causing the pigeons to go in different directions each time. My brother Tim didn’t appreciate that very much and decided to intentionally send the shots wild for me when it came to my turn to shoot. I went four for seven overall, which was one of the best scores, despite the wildly random trajectories of the clay pigeons.

 Eric Skeet Shooting

Last but not least, we got a whole group of the boys together to play some hardcore paintball in the woods. The arena was fairly heavily wooded. We tried a couple of games that had a hard time working out fair teams and playing situations given the ratio of adults to children. First we played team elimination with a river being the boundary between the two sides, but that didn’t work because the other team had the high ground. Next we tried capture the flag, but that just took forever because few people really wanted to move or go anywhere. We started being more creative with the games and found some really fun “game modes” like revolutionary war–where two teams line up facing each other in an open field, take a shot, take one step forward, take another shot, etc. The rest of the games were played out in the field because it forced players to move and take action rather than hide. We played assault where two people defended an upper position against everyone else, and the group finished up with a free-for-all round with no teams. I stayed with two nephews and played sniper to see who was the best shot at hitting various targets. All in all, the whole experience was extremely fun, but I got some pretty nasty ring bruises from all the places where I got hit.

So that just about raps up our time at the reunion. Lots of food, fun, and friendships deepened as we got to spend more time as a family together.

Disneyland Adventures

 - by Eric

This post is a team effort.  Eric had actually already started the post and outlined a lot of the things he wanted to post about, and I decided to help him out and start fleshing out some of the pieces for him.  At first I tried to just write in Eric’s voice, but that got confusing to me and I knew that the way I was writing was different from what Eric would write.  So instead we’re employing the Chris Heimerdinger Method and all of my comments will be in italics and Eric’s will be in regular typeface.  Hopefully this isn’t too confusing :P

I know this post has been a LOOOONG time coming, but I really wanted to document the fun adventure our family had during the 2010 family reunion. I particularly enjoyed this trip because I got to take my family to Disneyland in California, a very nostalgic experience for me. You see, I went to Disneyland way back when I was five years old, so I was very interested to see how things changed over the past 20 years.

Old Disneyland Entrance

Old Disneyland Entrance

The first thing I noticed coming into the park was how much smaller it was! Well, I suppose the park wasn’t so much smaller as I was much bigger. Even so, the place felt a lot bigger by the end of the day because we had to walk across the entire park to get to our rides a couple of times.

The day started with us all being a little bit groggy.  While the other families mostly had kids who were SO excited to be there that they didn’t mind the early hour.  However, at only 1 year old Sam didn’t know what was in store for him.  So he wasn’t super thrilled to be up early.  As we went in he was mostly clingy and just wanting to go back to sleep.  We even debated just heading back to the hotel for a little while to let him get some more sleep.  However we decided to first try going on some rides and see how he reacted.

Stroller Nap

Stroller Nap

His first ride of the day was actually just riding around on Grandpa’s scooter with Grandpa.  In Sam’s opinion, that was pretty awesome!  Grandpa even let him control the scooter himself for awhile.  It doesn’t get much better than that, especially if you’re Sam and have inherited your father’s penchant for technology and pushing buttons :)  After awhile of playing with Grandpa we decided it was probably time to test out one of the actual rides at the park.

As far as actual rides go, we started out in the little kids section of the park and tried letting him ride on the merry-go-round on a horse with mom standing next to him, but he didn’t really enjoy that experience until mommy actually rode with him. After that he seemed to enjoy it enough to ride a few more times.

 

Not sure about this carousel thingy

Not sure about this carousel thingy!

Next time around was better

Next time around was better

The next nearest ride was the dumbo flying contraption where you ride on Dumbo’s back in a circle, controlling the elevation with a joystick in the cockpit. The funny thing about Sam on this ride was his expression. During the ride he had a very contemplative look on his face as if he wasn’t sure if he liked the ride or not, but after he was done and got out he got really excited. He came over to me, made the signe for more and asked, “MORE?!”

 

Dumbo ride with Mom

After the Dumbo ride with Mom

Sam signing for more Dumbo :)

Sam signing for more Dumbo

The next logical step from that ride was something a little more exciting: the teacup ride! I distinctly remember riding that one when I was there as a kid, and it was fun to spin ourselves fast and see how dizzy Sam got at the end. The line was pretty long for that one, so we then hopped over to the Storybook boat ride that was nearby. This trip was made during Sam’s fascination with water, so he really enjoyed the boat rides that day. We had to hold on to Sam as we went around, and he was only semi-interested in the exhibits and displays around him. If we weren’t holding him back, he would’ve jumped into the water!

 

Sam on the teacup ride

Teacup ride

Given Sam’s love for water rides, we felt it only appropriate to make the token Small World ride to complete our Disneyland experience. The experience was much the same as I remember, except there were a lot of newly-injected Disney references from recent movies like Toy Story and Lilo & Stitch. Sell-outs! :P

Space Mountain Poster

Eric and I wanted to get some fun out of our day at Disneyland too, so we got ourselves some FastPasses for a couple of rides and arranged with Mom & Dad to watch Sam while we rode those rides.  We considered them like little mini dates.  Even though with our FastPasses our “dates” were less than half an hour it was still fun to have an opportunity to spend a little bit of time together and to feel care free. Our first mini date ride was Space Mountain which is a classic ride of and we had a lot of fun.  There’s not a lot to say about the ride itself, it’s a rollercoaster in the dark, but it’s a really fun ride.  Actually I was impressed that the ride itself was as long as it was, with most rides I have the opposite opinion, so that in and of itself is a pretty good commendation I guess.  Surprisingly Eric and I hadn’t been to an amusement park together in our 3 years of being married so it was kind of exciting just to have some new “first” experiences together.  Luckily Sam slept happily in his stroller for the duration of the ride.  Which was good, he was still having some pretty serious separation anxiety and wasn’t yet used to Grannie and Grandpa.  We were glad to not have to worry about his reaction to us being gone, even for that short bit of time.

Indiana Jones Poster


For the second mini-date near the end of the day we were able to secure some FastPasses for the Indiana Jones ride on the other side of the park. The long walk wasn’t the best, and unfortunately Sam wasn’t napping in his stroller this time around. With his separation anxiety, we had to try and distract him with another ride on grandpa’s scooter while we stole away into the line for the ride. I wasn’t sure what the experience would be like, but LucasFilm partnered with Disney on the experience, and they generally produce good stuff. The ride was on a giant jeep with hydrolics, and we were both amazed at the animatronics of all the characters in the ride. At first, I thought the people were real. I figured that would be a really boring job to have to repeat the same lines and actions over and over again. It wasn’t until the last moment I realized that it was a robot. Pyrotechnics combined with G-forces from the hydrolics made for a really fun ride. It was good that it didn’t last as long as space mountain because Sam was really distraught when we came out.

After dinner at Pizza Planet, we weren’t sure what to do with a one-year-old, but as we wandered around, we came across the TLT dance party. That caught my attention thanks to my DJ-ing days in high school and college. What kept us there was seeing my son break down to Darude’s Sandstorm – he’s got good taste in techno! It was really fun to see Sam in this new element. He even got some flirtatious looks from some girls nearby! I think we may have a ladies man on our hands. :)

Our last ride of the night was the new Finding Nemo ride.  Sam had recently gotten into the movie so we figured it was likely to be a safe bet.  Unfortunately the line for the ride was incredibly long all day, and we didn’t think that our 1 year old was going to have the patience to wait so we kept putting it off.  When we finally did hop in line the line was still over an hour long, but we decided to brave it.  While standing in line Eric fell for Sam’s cute face and bought him a flashing bubble gun.  Since Sam was getting pretty tired at this point it was a very helpful tool in getting Sam through the line.  Even though it was severely overpriced (welcome to Disneyland :P ) it was definitely a worthwhile investment, because at the end we were able to get on the Finding Nemo ride.  It was Sam’s favorite thing that we did all day long! As we hopped on the submarine I was concerned that he was going to freak out at the small space or being underwater.  However, my fears were quickly replaced by a completely different concern – that Sam was going to be too distracting to the other people on the boat!  He looked out the window and immediately started exclaiming, “water!  Water!  WATER!”  He *loved* it.  He didn’t stop talking about the water the whole time we were on the ride :) The ride itself was pretty impressive, it was cool to see how they had re-worked the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride to become a completely new ride.  When it came to the end Sam kept saying “more? more? more?” but of course there was no way that he was going to last through that line again.  So instead we started to head out of the park.  We were leaving just as the final parade of the night was going through Main Street.  It wasn’t worth it to stay with Sam as tired as he was, but he still enjoyed seeing the fireworks as we walked out.

So those are the main highlights from our Disneyland adventure. I’m just glad that I took enough notes that we could write about it a year later!

Four Years

 - by Brittny

Four years ago today Eric and I were married in the Los Angeles Temple.

Our Wedding Day - 02 June 2007

Since then we’ve both graduated.

My Graduation - April 2008

 

Eric's Graduation - August 2009

We’ve both gotten jobs.

Axis41 – The company Brittny’s worked for since July 2007
Omniture, now Adobe – where Eric’s worked since January 2008

We’ve had our first baby.

Samuel Eric Hansen - born 04 March 2009

And now our second.

Daniel Curtis Hansen – born 15 April 2011

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.

Our house! Completed December 2010

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!

Conversations with Sam

 - by Brittny

I was trying to get Sam to take a nap this afternoon and came back into his room and was holding his hand to try and comfort him while he fell asleep.  The following conversation ensued –

“Mama, your hands are cold!”

“Yes Sam, that happens sometimes”

“Mama, your balls are cold too!”

I had a very hard time responding to that comment with a straight face.  I should note that Sam calls the knuckles that join your fingers to the rest of your hand “balls”, so his comment was in no way, shape or form intended to be crude.  However, even knowing that it was hard to continue in that conversation.

On a completely different note, last night we had a Family Home Evening lesson where we talked about being children of God.  We explained to Sam that Sam was a child of God, and so was Daddy, and Mommy, and Baby Daniel.  Then we explained to him that we recently had something very special happen in our family – we had a new baby!  We told him that Baby Daniel had been living with Heavenly Father before he came here.  Sam was so excited about this that he got off his chair, ran across the room to where Daniel was and started saying “Daniel! You were with Heavenly Father!”  It was really sweet to see his excitement to teach his baby brother this important truth.  We are so grateful to have both of these sweet little boys in our home.