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!
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 :)
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
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 :)
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 :)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?!”
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!
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
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.
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 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!
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.
I know I need to write a real post about our whole moving in with pictures of the new house in action, but I still haven’t gotten all of our pictures hung up yet so I don’t feel like the house is quite ready for its photo debut. However, I wanted to share something with anyone that follows our blog who is an iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad kind of a person. My brother and sister-in-law put together a cool app that you should definitely check out. It’s a children’s storybook that takes advantage of all the features that platform has to offer – sound effects, read aloud and high quality illustrations! Julie is a professional illustrator and Rhett has worked for many years in the computer industry, so between the two of them they had all the right expertise to put together a stellar application. The app is only $1.99 and is something you and your kids are sure to enjoy. You can get more information here – http://www.jujubeebooks.com/ . While we’re not Apple people ourselves we’d love to see this do well so that they can bring the app over to the Android market too!
I started this post just after Thanksgiving while it was all fresh in my head, and I’m not sure why it never got completed before now, I was only about 4 sentences from finishing. Oh well, here’s our Thanksgiving post.
Every year we try to swap which family we’re with for Thanksgiving and Christmas. So one year we’ll do Thanksgiving with the Hansens and Christmas with the Andersons, and then the next year we switch. The Christmas we were engaged Eric came out to California to meet my family, so the next year we decided it was only fair that we went out to Indiana to spend Christmas with his family. We figured this was the best way to keep it from seeming like we were playing favorites with one family or the other. What was interesting to me was how surprised people were when I told them we were going to spend our first Christmas with Eric’s family rather than mine. Apparently most girls will demand to spend Christmas with their own family, which seemed like such a strange concept to me that I never considered it. Each of our families is very important to us, so why would we want to leave one of them out? But I digress.
So, this year was supposed to be a Hansen year for Thanksgiving and an Anderson year for Christmas. We were making plans accordingly when my mom told me they were thinking about coming up to Utah for Thanksgiving. I was excited that they’d be coming up… but it was a Hansen year for Thanksgiving. Even though we live with Eric’s parents I still wanted to make sure we were being fair with everyone, so I told my mom that we’d obviously try to see them as much as possible while they were here, but this year we were sorta committed to spending Thanksgiving with the Hansens. When I told Dad Hansen about this predicament he told me that he and Mom Hansen were going to be in Illinois over Thanksgiving watching Eric’s brother’s kids anyways. That made things very easy, we just switched which holiday we were doing with which family this year and everyone was happy! In fact, it even worked out better because with our house closing at the end of December it was going to be stressful trying to travel back and forth to California at the same time.
My family was planning to drive up here on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. So a few days before my family was planning on coming up my mom starts noticing that the weather patterns aren’t looking especially conducive to traveling (for those of you who don’t know, my mom is a meteorologist). The closer they got to leaving, the worse the weather looked. In fact, from the way the storm looked it was set up to possibly create one of the biggest snowstorms Utah had seen in a very long time. In fact, I looked at the weather maps as well (as much as I can understand them) and encouraged Eric to come home from work as early as possible on Tuesday and try to reschedule his meetings so he could work from home on Wednesday. I also stocked up the 72 hour kit in our car and sent Eric with a sleeping bag, pillow and our Kindle, just in case.
As the time for my family to leave came close they decided they ought to just wait the storm out in sunny California and see what the damage was after the storm had passed. I was very relieved to know that they weren’t going to be driving in that storm and just focused on waiting for Eric to get home safe and sound.
The original predictions for when the storm would hit were pushed back a couple of hours so Eric stayed a little bit later at the office to really finish off his work for the day before coming home. That, of course, made me nervous but eventually he did make it home safe and sound before the snow started to fall. Then we hunkered down to watch “Snowpocalypse”. After a little while the snow started to fall. I opened up the blinds in the front room so Sam could watch the snow falling, and he thought it was pretty awesome. We went about doing the things we had intended that evening while keeping an eye on this storm. Then, after a couple hours, the snow stopped. We thought we were just in a break in the storm, but it never picked back up again. That was it, “Snowpocalypse” was over.
We did get a fair amount of snow and it definitely wouldn’t have been good to be out on the roads while the snow was falling and until the roads were cleared off. But it definitely wasn’t the epic storm it was supposed to be. However, I still don’t feel dumb for making the preparations that we did or that my family waited to come up. Especially if you look at what that storm did further north, there was every reason to think it was going to be pretty bad here in Utah as well. I’m glad that we didn’t have the massive storm that was predicted, but I’m also glad that we were prepared in case we did.
Anyways, my family finally came up on Wednesday. They drove all day long and luckily by the time they hit Utah the roads had been pretty well cleared so they made it to Provo without incident. They had to stop in Provo so that my little brother Cody could go on a “polyga-date” with a couple of the girls he’d met at EFY and then they made it up to my in-laws place where we’re staying now. We ate dinner together and then quickly packed up to go to my grandparents house in Logan. We arrived in Logan pretty late. By the time we got there it was time to put on pajamas and hop into bed.
Thanksgiving morning was spent preparing food and just spending time with family. Sam was really excited about the snow and wanted to go outside with the bigger kids. Unfortunately, despite my Uncle Paul giving us a snowsuit for Sam just a few weeks before I had neglected to bring it with us up to Logan. I had been operating on the philosophy that it was way too cold to go outside (it was only 2 degrees!) and had forgotten that little boys might feel otherwise. So after much begging I found the closest thing to snow clothes that we had for Sam – his pajamas, warm coat (but not waterproof), and sneakers. Then we borrowed a beanie and gloves that were way too big for Sam and sent him out.
Luckily my brother Cody was willing to take Sam out so that I didn’t have to brave the cold. But he was so cute and happy out there I eventually found some makeshift snow gear of my own and took a few pictures –
Evidently Sam enjoys the snow. In fact, it’s all he’s been talking about ever since we started getting snow here. He will pull me to the window a few times a day and say “Look! Snow!” It’s a good thing because we’re going to be living where we’ll get a lot of it. You probably can’t see in the picture, but towards the end Sam took off one of his gloves. He was mad that he couldn’t touch the snow so he got the glove off and touched the snow. That was all fine and dandy, until we got him inside. The cold hadn’t bothered him so much, but warming that hand back up really did. Poor kid, it wasn’t anywhere near frostbitten or anything like that, but when you don’t know that the pain is going to stop and your hand will feel warm again it’s pretty scary to go through that. We’ll have to do a better job of securing his gloves in the future.
After all the fun in the snow it was time for the delicious Thanksgiving meal. My grandma had opted to do the whole meal on paper plates this year, which I think was absolutely brilliant! Why have dishes for 30 people when you can just throw it away and be done?! The food was delicious and it was fun to be with family to enjoy it. Sam didn’t eat too much but he enjoyed some of the rolls and corn, not exactly a Thanksgiving feast on his part, but he was happy so who cares?
After we cleaned up the meal we played games and watched TV. I laid down on the couch to just rest for a few minutes… and woke up three hours later. Oops! Apparently I needed some sleep. It wasn’t even a quiet place to sleep, I was right in the middle of where people were playing games and doing stuff. The boys set up a Mario Kart Wii tournament in the evening. Eric came in second despite wearing his lucky Mario Kart t-shirt.
After a few more games it was time for us to head back to South Jordan. My brother Jayson had a flight to catch the next morning and we decided it would make the most sense for Eric and I to just take him home with us and then take him to the airport the next morning. Particularly because Sears was having an incredible Black Friday deal on a washer and dryer set that we actually thought it might be worthwhile to wake up early for, even though we hadn’t gotten back until after midnight. We since there was no way we were taking Sam Black Friday shopping we would divide and conquer. Eric would wake up at 3:30am to be at Sears to try and get the washer and dryer and I would sleep with Sam and get Jayson to the airport by 9am. We had the deal that Eric was allowed to sleep through as much of the rest of the day as he deemed necessary in return for braving the Black Friday crowds.
Well, we didn’t get the washer and dryer that was ridiculously priced, but Eric still managed to get the very best deal I’ve seen on a steam washer and dryer. In the end I’m happier that we didn’t get the “doorbuster” set because it didn’t really have the features I wanted, it was just at a price that we couldn’t pass up. The set that Eric got us instead are way better and he still saved over $1000, so a successful day overall.
On Friday my parents came back down to South Jordan and my sister Taylor and her husband Ryan and son Skylar returned from their Thanksgiving in New York. Since Mom & Dad Hansen were out of town they had graciously offered that everyone could stay at their house, so the whole family stayed here and played games that night. We also did our traditional Chinese meal that Eric puts together whenever my family is in town (it’s by special request now, he does a great job). We made fried rice, dan bings and potstickers – yum! The food was great and we had a great time together. It was really fun just being our own family for a little while and enjoying each others company.
On Saturday we got to take my family up to our new house and finally get to show them how it’s coming along and where it is. It was fun to finally be able to show them physically what we’ve been describing to them for awhile. Then we continued on to Provo to watch the BYU vs U of U game. For those of you who may not know, there is a HUGE rivalry between the two schools, and that rivalry is extended into my family. Eric and I obviously both graduated from BYU, Taylor & Ryan are currently students there, and Cody is working on getting ready to apply to BYU to attend in 2012. On the other hand my parents met at the U of U and are die hard fans (well, at least my dad is die hard, my mom is definitely a fan, but probably not as adamantly so). So we all gathered with Brick Oven Pizza for what was sure to be an exciting game.
It really was an exciting game, it came down to the last few seconds of the game, and the U of U won despite not having scored a single point in the first 3 quarters of the game. It was fun to watch even in light of the disappointing ending. Afterwards the girls went to a bridal shower for a good family friend and the boys went to the gym to play raquetball. The quote of the evening came from my brother Kyle who, when my dad asked him how he liked the biggest Gold’s Gym, he replied – “They had the buffest midget ever!” Apparently Eric and Ryan knew exactly who he was talking about, but it was still a pretty unexpected response.
On Sunday Taylor and Ryan had their baby blessing for Skylar. We had a fun luncheon at the Lockwoods apartment before church (their church doesn’t start until 1:30pm). Taylor and my mom made some yummy soups and bread, and Mom Hansen was able to rescue dessert by having left a frozen cheesecake that she had asked us to eat while she was gone. The blessing was a great event to be able to participate in. It was really neat to see this little baby who had struggled to get into this world, now receiving his baby blessing and you wouldn’t have known he had ever had those struggles.
There was (of course) another huge snowstorm coming in that afternoon so my family was anxious to get on the road before it hit too badly. They had a pretty treacherous journey back and we kept getting text messages like “Almost through filmore. We definitely won’t be doing this trip in any record time, a few minutes ago the truck we were following did a 360 and slid off the road. Why do you guys live in Utah?” and “By the way we keep seeing 4 wheel drives off the road” and finally “We are to Vegas and we are still finding chunks of ice that have fallen off cars”. They did make it home safely and we got back to normal life.
We are so thankful at this time of year for wonderful friends and family. We’re thankful also for the gospel that gives our lives so much meaning. And we’re thankful for the many rich blessings that our family has been afforded with. We couldn’t ask for more :)