A Sabbatical State

 - by Eric

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.

I wish I could have gone skeet shooting, too!

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.

The YW sure know how to do breakfast!

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.

Troop 1336 hiking up a canyon in Moab, UT

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.

 

Becoming a Minivan Family

 - by Brittny

*SPOILER ALERT* – This is the van we ended up with :)

With the impending addition of a third baby Eric and I knew that we couldn’t continue for too much longer as a one car family.  At least, not when that one car was a Toyota Corolla and we would have all three of those kids in carseats.  We knew we wouldn’t need it until close to the arrival of the 5th member of our family but I decided to start looking in advance so I could figure out exactly how much we needed to budget out for a van and be prepared for that eventuality.

In June we took a trip down to California to see my family while Eric was at a conference in Los Angeles.  We were planning on purchasing a used van and I thought it might be worthwhile to look at used vans in California.  I figured that we could get a better condition used van there since it wouldn’t have been driven on icy, salty roads like vans in Utah.  So while Eric was at his conference my mom and I started looking around online for vans in the area.  I had thought that I probably wanted an Odyssey or a Sequoia, but as I looked at the different vans more closely I found that those vans were not worth the price difference to get them.  Eventually I honed in on the Dodge Grand Caravan.  Both Eric’s parents and my parents own Grand Caravans and we’d driven them around before and liked them.  The major selling feature was definitely the stow ‘n go seating.  That is a feature that is awesome beyond words in my opinion.  The ability to turn your van into a truck without having to leave the seats behind is SO useful.

While my mom and I were shopping around we decided to look also at what a new van would cost, just for comparison’s sake.  We found some in the area that were listed at $19,500, which was only just a little above what I was expecting to pay for a used van.  Since that seemed worthwhile to look into my mom called the dealer to see if that price was really for real and make sure there weren’t any special qualifications that were assumed to get that price.  The dealer assured her that $19,500 was the price, no catches.  So we made a field trip with the kids down to the dealership.  We found the vans and they looked great, took a test drive and it seemed like a pretty good option.  Then as we talked to the dealer he said that to get that price we’d have to meet some qualifications – like being in the military.  We were pretty disgusted to have been told one thing to get us down there, and another once we were actually there.  Needless to say, we left and did not come back.

So we did a little more searching and found another dealership that was offering the same van for $17,500.  That was absolutely insane!  We did a lot more vetting of the van and the price before going down, but after several emails back and forth with the salesman we determined that it was completely legitimate.  When Eric came home I showed him the van and what we’d found out.  The van had no fancy bells and whistles, but we weren’t planning on getting any of those anyways.  The price was so incredible, especially for a new van.  So we decided to go down and investigate.

Unfortunately, we left just before 5pm on a Friday afternoon, and we had to drive all the way through Los Angeles down to Huntington Beach Dodge.  That drive takes about an hour and a half in good conditions – rush hour on a Friday is not exactly good conditions.  It ended up taking us 3 hours to get down there.  On the way down my phone was acting really weird.  It had been having some problems before but as we were driving down it was really struggling.  I tried a few different tricks to try and get it to work, but by the time we reached the dealership it had given up the ghost completely.  I couldn’t even get it to turn on, despite having a charged battery.  Eric played with it too but he had no more luck than I did, which means it was *really* dead.

Since it had taken us so long to drive down we decided we should probably hurry over to the dealership despite not having had dinner yet.  We met with a different salesman from the one I’d been emailing with but after some searching he was able to find us the van from the online listing.  It was, as promised, not super fancy, but new.  We drove it around and everything looked great.  We decided that we would buy it.  How could we pass up the deal of having a van that was such an awesome price and still brand new?

As we were going through the paperwork we discovered that the reason the van was such an awesome price was that it wasn’t truly *brand* new.  It had been purchased but the financing hadn’t gone through (or something similar) and so the van had been returned within a few days.  So the van did have almost a thousand miles on it, but that’s pretty darn close to brand new, and for the price we’d gotten I wasn’t about to complain.  Still, I felt a little bit swindled to not have found out about this until we were in the process of signing the purchase paperwork.  I feel like their classification of it as a “new” van was misleading.    Aside from the price that we got I have to say that I was not at all impressed with the way Huntington Beach Dodge did business with us.

We continued on through the paperwork until we got to the financing part of the deal.  We had a decent chunk of the money we needed for the van saved up, but since we hadn’t been planning on purchasing a van for another 6 months we knew we’d have to finance some it at least in the short term.  One of the deals they had listed online was that they were offering 0% financing on their loans for some period of time.  I had figured that looked like the best deal we’d ever find for a loan so I hadn’t done any research on what else was available.  When we got to the financing we found out that the deal was only available if we didn’t take some other promotion that they were having which was saving us a thousand dollars or so on the price of the van.  Clearly it wasn’t worth getting 0% financing at the cost of $1000.  So we filled out the forms to have them run our credit and find out what sort of deal they could make for us.  While they were running their numbers we quickly used Eric’s phone to secure a loan through our bank.  They were running a promotion that would get us our financing at an introductory rate of 0.79%.  We looked through how to use the loan and it was so easy, they would immediately wire money to the dealership and we’d be all set to go.  When the dealership came back with their financing it couldn’t hold a candle to what we’d obtained so we obviously wanted to go with the loan we’d obtained through our bank.  The dealership’s financing guy (who we’d already felt was just kinda greasy, the stereotypical used car salesman type) then started telling us that they wouldn’t accept that loan, that we had to have a cashier’s check, they couldn’t do wire transfers etc.  We talked to our bank later about what happened and they told us that the dealership was just screwing with us.  This is how they do all of their auto loans and it is never a problem.  The only reason the dealership would’t take our money was that they wanted us to use their financing so they were being intentionally difficult to put us in a hard spot.  I think he just came up with whatever answer would make it so that we’d have to use their financing.  He knew it was past banking hours so we couldn’t go to a bank, and that we’d driven a long way and weren’t likely to do it twice, and we were unlikely to walk away from such a great deal.  We were extremely frustrated and felt like they were being totally unreasonable, but we also knew we were getting a killer deal on the van so we decided to just take their financing and re-finance when we got home.  But we were pretty ticked.

Anyways, the rest of the deal went fine, and we were finally out of there by 10pm with our brand new van!  But we were STARVING.  Especially since I was 11 weeks pregnant at the time and still very much so in the throes of “morning” sickness – not eating for that long was not going over so well with me.  So Eric and I were all ready to go out to eat and celebrate our new purchase… but of course most everything was closed at that point.  So we settled on a romantic evening at McDonald’s – wahoo.  After our dinner we decided that Eric would drive the van back to my parents’ and I would drive our Corolla.  Of course, my phone was totally out of commission so I didn’t have the luxury of my GPS to get me back (not good for a directionally challenged person like myself).  We quickly wrote down the directions that we got from Eric’s phone and just agreed to stick close to one another on the drive back.  Luckily Eric had a spare iPhone in his backpack that I could use to listen to my book on the way back.  I know, that sounds totally crazy to anyone who knows us that Eric would have anything made by Apple on his person, but he had it from work to help him test different features on some projects he was working on.  The phone didn’t have cell service, but I was grateful to at least have something to keep my attention on the boring drive back.

So we hopped in our vehicles and headed back to the freeway.  We didn’t get very far before everything STOPPED.  Apparently the 405 freeway was closed and the backup was insane.  As we tried to navigate onto the freeway I quickly lost Eric in the zillion cars that were all stopped at the same point as us.  So much for sticking close together.  I missed the first place that I could have turned off for a detour since I didn’t realize what was ahead of me.  The detour took 2 hours just to get back to the freeway.  It was brutal!  It was all the worse for not being able to call Eric and let him know where I was.  I was certain that he had made the first detour, or had used his GPS to get him better directions to get out of that mess and was probably well ahead of me.  I was also convinced that with how long it was taking me, by the time I got home my family would assume I was dead or extremely lost.  Being lost would be totally par for the course, my family used to joke that if they’d let me drive up to BYU from California on my own I’d likely call from the Mexican border saying “I don’t remember having to go through Mexico to get to Utah…”  While that would have been a slight exaggeration… my directional abilities really are that bad.  It’s incredible how debilitated I felt without my smartphone that night.  The next day found us at the Verizon store to purchase me a Galaxy S4 so we wouldn’t have these problems anymore.

It again took 3 hours to get home and I didn’t get back to my parents’ house until about 1:30am.  Eric had beat me but not by as much as I had expected.  He too had missed the first detour so we’d been stuck pretty close to one another most of the way back.  I was glad that they hadn’t yet called the police to try and find me.  Eric and I sorta collapsed into each other, not totally believing the insane ordeal we’d gone through.  We were very glad that we’d gotten such a great deal on our van, but man, what an experience!

Sam’s Last Day of Preschool!

 - by Brittny

To mirror our first day of school shot :)

Today Sam finished his first year of real preschool.  Our next door neighbor teaches preschool out of her home so he was able to just cross our yard twice a week and go over to their place for preschool.  It was the perfect thing for him!  He learned so much, and was so excited to come home every day and show us what he’d learned :)  Probably his favorite thing all year was the name tags that they would write each month.   Every month he’d bring one home and wanted me to tape it to his door, so he now has quite the collection.  I wish I had kept them in order so you could really see how he progressed in tracing his name.

Sam’s nametag collection

They had a little program to show off some of the cool things they learned this year.  And I do mean little, the whole program is less than 4 minutes, so don’t be intimidated about watching it, it doesn’t take very long.

In the fall Sam will be going to preschool at our local elementary school for their tuition preschool program.  I wish I knew earlier on that Anna would be offering a different curriculum next year, I probably would have had Sam stay for both years if I’d known.  But by the time I knew that I’d already gotten Sam too pumped to go to the elementary school and ride the bus.  I think it will be a great experience for him and a good transition to kindergarten but this year was such  a great experience (and so convenient!) I would definitely do it again.  Thanks Miss Anna for a wonderful year!  We can’t wait until Danny is old enough to come and do preschool too :)

Sam & Miss Anna

Yup, that’s how Sam smiles when you ask him to smile. Awesome huh?

Sam: Our Story Reader

 - by Brittny

Sam “reading” a story to himself at 2 years old

If you ask Sam what he wants to be when he grows up he says he wants to be a “story reader.”  We’ve settled on that being a narrator and I don’t doubt that someday he’ll do it!  Tonight as I was getting Sam ready for bed I told him to run upstairs and grab a story for me to read to him.  He replied, “Oh, how about you just tell me a story.”  Not feeling in a very creative mood I recommended that he just go grab one instead.  He replied, “Oh, I’ll just tell you a story then.”  Luckily I had my keyboard handy and was able to transcribe what he was saying.  Be forewarned, these stories make absolutely no sense, and I left out a lot of the repetition (since he would say the same line 3 or 4 times sometimes) but I thought it was a funny little view into Sam’s mind.  Be warned that he switches between 3rd and 1st person without much warning and I tried to get some of the kid grammar pieces in there without fixing them.  Enjoy :)

Once upon a time there was a little boy named me and I was very old, and very sick. And I couldn’t walk. Then he said “there’s mommy there’s mommy!” because he found Daniel, and pizza! That was too funny. Danny gets hungry then he starts filling his tummy with juice! And he says “More House, more house please?” And too much soda was there the next morning, and that was too silly! Now that Sammy had gone far far away it’s time to say “Go go go sliding turtle!” And Sammy said “jump turtle!” Then there was two teeny tiny wires that he flew an airplane with! Then he saw a parachute and he wanted to try to parachute and the people who had that airplane said “I want to learn how to parachute.” And one day he said “Gootey” in preschool because there were sparkles on his shirt, and that was so funny. Do you know that we wear some kind of headphones in the winter? They’re called “Weereovers” They clean all the snow out. And one day he was supposed to wear some but he didn’t have any. He only wore gloves and a coat and a hood and a chin protector and nothing else, not even a mask! I needed a mask. And that was silly. The end.

I have one more story! It’s from Danny. It’s with great pictures. Danny said, “One time there was a little boy named Danny and Danny said “No no no no no no no no no” and he said “Yes yes yes” and then he said “Around the block around the block, catch up to Sam around the block” And then he came and said “Ry Ry! Ry Ry! Ry Ry!” And then he saw pizza shop, and he said “pizza! pizza! pizza!” because he wanted pizza. And Sam said “Aw, we should have got some pizza for Danny, but we missed it.” And one time there was a little bit of splat in the blanket chest, and one time there was a little bit of crumbs. And then there was a bubble behind the couch! And then it popped, and then it goed around and then it keeped going around. Aw Turty is sick! And soda he drunk more and that made him more sicker. And he drunk more and more and more and more. And then something turned around and it went “tramp tramp tramp tramp” Then, it was all of it went “squish and squish and squish and squish”. And they tried to put it in the vorarator, he was having a hard time putting it in something. Then it went “Beep beep beep” The end.

There’s one more story! From you! It went “Smarties on the desk, smarties on the desk”, because there were smarties, on the desk! I’m really sad! I wanted to see you be a baby. And she ate more and more and more, and she never stopped. Do you know what will happen if you eat smarties? You’ll feel even smarter! And if you eat even more of them, you’ll feel even more smarter – as tall as this cup!  And Danny kicked them out, and Mommy said “Noooo!”  And she said “kick ball” and Danny kept kicking Mommy and she said “ow ow ow ow!”  and that’s why Sam would hug her everywhere that Danny kicked her.  That’s why Sam kept mommy up.  Someone woke her up and she said “Bwom bwom bwom”  and she said “close your mouth, close your mouth, please just close your mouth.  Just wake up”  and it was the Winevwom.  The End.

There’s one more story from Daddy!  It’s called Sam & Daniel & Dad Be Friends.  When Sam and Daniel and Dad took pictures of friends skating on ice.  Then there was a bird collector that collected people and putted people into the road.  And then a car comed!  And the bird collector told them to “stay there”  and they saw me died!  And then they would never come alive ever ever ever!  And the friends said we’re never going to stop skating.  And mommy said “I’m tired” so she went to sleep and then someone woke her up – it was the Wyver Cheetah and it was a bad guy!  And she collected people in her bag.  And I got out of the road and told the people to come out of the road and they listened and the bird collector told them to stay in the road but they just kept skating until they got across that snow.  And then some lady saw a mountain and they saw where our house was.  And it was enormously fine!  And it was just a little hill and they took a little shortcut on that hill and it would lead them home!  And they were free!  The end.

There’s one more from my nightlight!  There was Mom, and Sam and Daniel and Daddy went to work.  And mom said “hey someone’s missing!”  It was Dad!  He was missing.  And the cul-de-sac because they were stuck by a big snow bank and that’s why they went around the cul-de-sac out of the car, back into the car and drove back to where their home was.  And she goed down stairs and a Triple Guy Mean got her.  Then Sam went to Friday to ask for a game – he forgot a game!  He was silly.  I was a silly billy.  And Mommy hurt all over her finger, and that’s why she had bandaids.  The end!

A Caution Against Buying Jeans Online

 - by Brittny

I’m sure a lot of you (like my dad) will start to read this and think, man I really just do not care one bit about Brittny’s jeans.  Trust me, the conclusion is worth reading through the rest of this.  I promise.  Money back guaranteed.  If you get to the end and decide it wasn’t worth the time it took you to read this then I’ll come over and clean your house for a couple minutes (or whatever you might have accomplished in the couple minutes it would have taken you to read this :P )

So a few months back my favorite jeans developed holes in the knees so I decided to break down and buy some new ones.  I decided to try a slightly different fit of jean from the ones that had been my favorites for awhile.  So I tried some jeans on in the store and in the fitting room they looked pretty good, but the store didn’t carry short sizes so I went home and ordered them online.  When they came in the mail I really liked them… for a little while.  Then after wearing them around I found that the pant legs rode up when I wore sneakers, and weren’t doing me any favors around the waistline, they rode up when I sat down, they rode down when I walked… in short, they were awful.  But since I’d only just gotten them I couldn’t bring myself to go out and invest in another pair of jeans already.  So for awhile I just wore them anyways and hated how I looked whenever I put them on.

Finally a couple weeks ago I decided it was just time to suck it up and buy myself a new pair of jeans that I didn’t hate (what a novel concept!).  I decided to go with a different style of jeans entirely, but from the same store.  Again the size/style I wanted were only available online so I placed my online order and waited for them to ship.  A few days after placing that order, this happened –

Yup that’s right! I’m 6 weeks pregnant with our third child, and we’re excited!  Normally I wouldn’t officially announce this early but I’d shared with enough people that word was getting around… so I figured I might as well be the one to make it official :)  Plus – while I totally understand why people want to wait to make sure everything is ok before announcing – the first trimester is miserable and it’s when you’re most in need of help and understanding.  I’d rather have people know that I’m pregnant than just wonder why my kids are running around the neighborhood wild and dirty while I just sit on our porch and drink gatorade (or fall asleep inside on our couch).

Sam is over-the-moon excited.  He saw the pregnancy test lying around and asked me what it was, so I decided to let him in on the secret.  He was bouncing up and down SO excited.  The first thing he said was “I’m going to go tell my friends!”  I told him that we weren’t telling everyone just yet, but he ran downstairs, out to our porch where his friend Claire was standing and yelled “MY MOM’S GROWING A BABY IN HER TUMMY!”  While it wasn’t exactly the secret keeping we were hoping for (another reason I figure I might as well be the one to announce it) we couldn’t have asked for a better response.  Sam’s first reaction was “It’s going to be my sister!”, so hopefully it’s a girl because Sam will not be swayed from this baby being his sister.   It’s so sweet, I’m glad that he’s excited.  Daniel doesn’t really get what’s going on, but I think he would be decidedly *less* pleased if he understood that his days of reigning as the baby of our family are numbered.

Hurricane Danny

 - by Brittny

You wouldn’t believe that such a cute face could cause so much destruction.

Today as we were sitting down to dinner I was telling Eric about all the destruction just Daniel has caused today.  As I went through the list *I* couldn’t believe how long it was – and I was there for it!  If you ever come over to my house and wonder why it is such a mess here is a list of most of the mischief Danny has gotten into since he woke up this morning –

  • I woke up to find 5 pieces of bread jammed into our toaster oven (which I had fortunately unplugged the night before)
  • As we were just about ready to head out the door for a visiting teaching appointment, Danny climbed up on the kitchen counter and managed to get himself all wet.  Oh, and also the counter where my cell phone was charging, getting both the cell phone and charger wet (fortunately no damage seems to have been done to either of those electronic devices).
  • While I was making soup for dinner tonight and had walked away to let it simmer, he climbed up on the counter and dumped a whole cutting board full of kale on the floor.
  • He threw the spice jar of paprika to the floor forcefully enough to break it
  • He got into a package of spaghetti noodles and broke quite a few all over the floor
  • Sam pulled out the eggs from the fridge to play “egg-y mess”.  Fortunately I found him before he could start actually playing this game.  However Danny found one of the empty egg shells that was still in the container and proceeded to smash it into a million pieces on the carpet while I put the rest of the eggs back in the fridge.
  • Sam and Daniel got into the upstairs bathroom and filled up the sink with water, soap and a whole roll of toilet paper, which obviously was unusable afterwards.
  • I attempted to make some home made granola bars this afternoon.  They turned out more like granola cereal so we put it in bowls and were eating it that way.  Danny took his bowl and dumped it on my rocking chair.
  • Later while I was making dinner, Danny found crushed red pepper flakes on the counter and dumped the WHOLE jar into that granola
  • In the afternoon Daniel asked for some chocolate milk.  I made him up some.  A little while later I found that he and Sam had taken the container of chocolate powder and dumped a bunch of it on the counter.  I confiscated the container and put it on a high shelf.  Sam then opened the pantry, climbed up and pulled it out and started feeding the chocolate powder to Danny using the lid as a spoon.  Oh, did I mention that Danny didn’t take a nap today?  Anyone want to guess why?
  • Danny found pens multiple times today and used them to draw on the doors of our entertainment center.
  • A picture on our fridge of Eric’s parents fell down during the day.  Danny found it and ripped a corner off.
  • For Easter Danny received some bubbles.  He found one of the three bottles and dumped it all out on the kitchen floor (at least that’s basically soap right?)
  • While the granola bars were cooking this afternoon Danny found the jar of peanuts and dumped quite a few of them out on the floor.
  • Recently Danny has figured out opening doors, and of course his favorite is to go out of our front door.  I had been able to deter him for awhile by engaging the dead bolt since he can’t reach that high.  However he’s found that by using his ride-on Lightning McQueen toy he can pull it up to the door and unlock the front door.  That of course meant that one of our activities this afternoon was repeatedly bringing him out of our front yard, especially since he didn’t have any pants on over his diaper.

There was more, but as you might imagine, I’m exhausted from trying to keep up with him all day.  So I can’t remember the others.  And yes, all of those things happened just today.  We ended the day by him throwing a HUGE fit, hitting me repeatedly and going into time out, and finally just passing out in my arms.  Please bless that he sleeps for a looooooong time tonight.

Sick Chickens

 - by Brittny

A few weeks back my little brother Cody entered the MTC to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I’m so proud of him and wrote more about that in my personal blog.  While Cody is gone the only contact we will have with him is through letters, weekly emails and bi-annual phone calls (Mother’s Day and Christmas).  While we miss Cody very much there is an awesome side effect to this – I’m writing him letters regularly, which means I’m sitting down at my computer and writing out the things that have been going on.  Consequently I can take those letters, paste them into WordPress, make some changes from letter to blog post and voila!  You might get semi-regular updates from us again!  So, here’s what I wrote to Cody last week.  Probably tomorrow I’ll post what I wrote to him this week.

Cody left for the MTC on Wednesday February 6th.  The night before he entered the MTC my family all got together.  Since Tuesday is a regular office day for me and I already had babysitting lined up for my boys I joined my parents in a quick excursion to the temple.  They had planned to go to the Salt Lake Temple, but then found out it was closed.  So they decided to go to the Draper Temple… only to find out that it was also closed.  Finally they settled on going to the Mt. Timpanogos Temple since it was in fact open.  We were going to go and do a regular endowment session but ended up pressed for time and opted to do initiatories instead.  While my mom and I were sitting in the waiting area to do the work (there was a half hour wait) we sat and talked about some different scriptural things (which, Mom – you need to blog those thoughts, they were good ones) and suddenly mom sees someone walk in who she recognizes – Sister Lehman.  The Lehmans lived in the same ward as our family when we lived in New York almost 20 years ago (that makes me feel old to write that).  When Brother Lehman was the Bishop he called my dad into the bishopric with him and my dad began a long stint in church leadership which is still continuing today.  So it was really fun for my mom to get to sit and catch up with this sweet sister for a little while.  Then we got to go and perform the ordinances we were there for, and as I was coming out my mom is sitting on a bench happily chatting with someone else.  She’d run into Danielle {Shorts} Janzen, the big sister of Cody’s very best friend Zach.  We don’t think it was coincidence that we ended up at Mt. Timpanogos doing intiatories that day, it seems that’s where we were supposed to be!

After the temple we went to Tucanos.  As I was sitting next to Sam he was feeling a bit warm to me.  He was sitting and eating slowly but consistently but just seemed warm and lethargic.  By the time we got home we’d decided he definitely had a fever and put him to bed.  I stayed up helping my parents and Cody pack up his bags.  We realized that Cody had left at home a very critical part of his missionary supplies – his white shirts.  Anyone who’s seen LDS missionaries before knows them by their iconic white shirts and ties, so this was more than a bit ironic that those were the items left behind :P  In the end my mom was kind of happy they’d left the shirts behind because they were really my other brother’s old white shirts that hadn’t gotten much wear, but it just didn’t feel the same sending Cody out with used white shirts.  She was happier to have him with newly purchased white shirts to start off his mission, even if it cost a little more and was a bit of a hassle.  After we finished getting Cody packed up I went up to check on Sam.  He was laying in bed awake and looking miserable.  When I felt his forehead he was burning up!  I went and found a thermometer and found that his temperature was 104.7° F – Yikes!  I quickly went and found him some motrin and sat with him for a little while.  This whole time he’s sitting there telling me (a little bit delerious) “I’m fine.  I’m not sick. I am well.”  Which was nice of him to say, but quite evidently false.  After a little while Sam threw up the Motrin, but his fever went down and stayed down for the rest of the night.  Poor kid.  He proceeded to have a fever that went up and down but lasted until Saturday.

We were so glad that he was finally doing better and that Danny had seemed to have dodged that bullet.  We started making plans for our traditional Chinese New Year dinner the next day.  Not one hour after we’d sent out emails to invite everyone… Danny had a fever.  We quickly sent out a redaction email for the party and hunkered down to take care of our baby.  He was sick for almost the whole next week!  Neither of the boys were too miserable, but they slept A LOT and obviously fevers are cause for not leaving the house.  Danny finally got better.  The following Saturday I woke up in the morning and could hear Sam downstairs.  I went down and he said “I threw up”, and sure enough, there was throw up all over his PJs, in his hair, on his bed upstairs… yuck.  He didn’t show any other signs of being sick and ate fine on Saturday and Sunday so I thought maybe it was just a fluke thing.  Maybe all the congestion had built up in his stomach from the sickness he’d had, or he’d eaten something that didn’t agree with him or something like that.  So, on Monday morning we decided that we’d go to Grannie’s house for a President’s Day party with the cousins.  Eric dropped me off and headed out skiing with our nephew Dallin.  I’d made Sam a cheese and pepperoni sandwich for breakfast (by request) and he slowly ate a bite of it at a time.  In three hours he only made it through about 1/3 of the sandwich!  Finally I just finished it off for him and decided he’d just have enough at lunchtime and we’d call it good.  It wasn’t too atypical for Sam to eat that slowly so I didn’t think too much of it.  He went to the bathroom and had some pretty bad diarrhea, and had made a mess in his underpants.  Grannie threw his pants and underpants into the washer and Grandpa made a quick run to Wal-mart for some clean clothes (thanks again!).  As we were starting lunch Sam was wandering around, then as he was walking into the front room he started coughing and Katrina said he sounded like he might throw up.  Sure enough, he threw up a little in the front room.  I quickly ushered him into the bathroom and he proceeded to puke ALL over the bathroom floor and had diarrhea at the same time.  It was a huge mess and so disgusting.  We threw him in the bathtub and let him soak while Grannie and I cleaned up the bathroom.  He looked so miserable and pale.  Poor thing.  We offered him some 7-Up and he drank half a sip before he said it made his stomach hurt – that’s really sick when even 7-Up can upset your stomach!  In the afternoon he suddenly fell asleep on the couch and took a 3-hour long nap.  In the evening when Eric came back Grannie and Grandpa had offered that we could stay for dinner, so I helped prepare the meal.  Sam woke up just after we’d started eating and said he was REALLY hungry.  I was very wary of him eating after his reaction to the 7-Up but we decided he could eat a little bit of plain rice.  He ate probably 7 small bowls of rice – which is saying something considering how slow of an eater he usually is!  After that, he was fine, no further reactions to food, no puking, nothing, he was right back to normal.  We had a reprieve on Tuesday with no upset stomachs and we’d thought that maybe Sam had just eaten something bad.

Nope!  (Chuck Testa)  Tuesday night I woke up to Daniel having puked all over his bed as well.  Eric and I cleaned him up and then Danny came to bed with me.  I think we woke up every 30 minutes all night long to either Danny puking, feeling miserable, wanting something to drink etc.  He couldn’t even hold down the apple cider that I had in his sippy cup!  So sad and miserable.  He wasn’t much interested in eating that day and had a bit of a fever – but by the next day, he was back to normal.  *knock on wood*  I’m ready for our family to just get well and stay well for a good long time now.

Another adventure we had last week.  We came home from church on Sunday and found a big puddle of water next to the fridge under the water dispenser.  We gave Sam a mild lecture about not using the water dispenser on his own (carefully because we weren’t entirely sure it wasn’t Daniel who’d caused the puddle), and made ourselves some lunch.  As we continued making our lunch I came back to find that the puddle had regenerated, and I knew that Sam hadn’t been a part of its creation this time.  Some further investigation showed us that the water was coming from our ice maker, and that our freezer was not all that cold.  The water was coming from the ice melting in the ice maker and dripping out through the water dispenser – awesome.  We came to find out that our freezer has some buttons on the outside that you can push to adjust the temperature of the fridge and freezer.  If you adjust either side to be set to 0 then the fridge or freezer is shut off.  Who wants that kind of access to that functionality?!  So one of our boys had apparently played with those buttons in the morning and had turned off *both* our fridge and freezer.  Great.  Luckily the only thing that really spoiled in that time was our ice cream, but there wasn’t very much of that anyways, but it still wasn’t a very welcome surprise.

That’s it for this installment of letters to Cody.  Tune in tomorrow when I get us caught back up to this week!

Family Christmas Update 2012

 - by Brittny

Before we get into 2013 we ought to post a family update summarizing 2012. We’ll start with the members of our family that you most want to hear about. Sam (3 1/2) and Daniel (1 1/2) are great friends to each other. There is nothing that makes us happier than to see those two playing together. They love wrestling, pretending and playing outside together. They are sweet boys and we feel so blessed to have them.

Sam finished a year of joy school and loved every minute of it. It was a lot of work to try to coordinate with the other parents and it seemed like joy school was cancelled more often than not, but we enjoyed getting to know some other kids better. In the fall we decided to go a different route and enrolled him in preschool at our next door neighbor’s house.  It is one of his favorite parts of the week, and Brittny is glad to pay someone else to plan the lessons and coordinate everything rather than doing it herself.  Having preschool right next door was the perfect solution for Sam since he’s already comfortable with our neighbor and awesome for us since we don’t even have to drive him! He’s been loving it and we enjoy seeing him come home with all of his new projects to show off. His mom is learning the skill of  properly disposing preschool art projects without causing too much consternation.  Sam loves to learn, he knows his alphabet very well and can spell a few words (Sam, mom, dad, stop etc.) and would probably love to be reading better if we would spend more time teaching him.  Despite his original objections to the zoo, Brittny’s aunt was very generous and shared her zoo pass with us this year.  Sam quickly decided that his favorite animals were the elephants and we enjoyed MANY fun days at the zoo this summer.  THANK YOU so much Aunt Petrine!

Sam enjoyed spending his summer days outside playing with the other kids in our neighborhood. He  made good friends with the 5 year old next door who loves to play with him and Danny. So much so that we had to disconnect our doorbell one day to keep him from coming over every 5 minutes during naptime (the every 5 minutes part isn’t an exaggeration)! One of the really funny things is that two of the older kids that he played with have speech impediments and have difficulties saying “r” sounds. We started to notice that Sam had started to say things like “squawes” instead of “squares” and had to explain to him that even though these kids were older, Sam did in fact have the correct pronunciation of the “r” sound! It’s interesting to see the influence friends can have. He has finally gotten himself potty trained, although keeping dry at night still eludes him. We’ll get there yet! On a more positive note we recently realized that despite having started life as a terrible sleeper Sam has recently become our rock solid sleeper.  We’ll put him in bed at night and not hear from him at all until the morning, and nothing bothers him in between!  He’s also become our excellent traveller.  Over Christmas we went down to California and he happily sat in his carseat for over 10 hours each way, even when his brother was crying.  We never thought either of those things would happen, and they happened so gradually we hardly realized it!  Further proof that miracles do happen!  More than anything he loves technology. Every night before bed he gets to play one computer/phone/tablet game with his dad and it’s probably his favorite part of the day.  If we don’t watch him carefully he often will find a device and happily retreat to some corner of the house to play games for hours on end.  He recently told his mom that he needed a different clock that he could watch shows on and play games on like his dad, and that he needed a new laptop for Christmas because his laptop (just a toy one) is just old. Oh boy! We have a feeling this is a pattern that we will be observing for years to come!  We enjoy having him in our family and all the different perspectives he brings to our lives.

Our Daniel turned one this year and  is an absolute delight to be around. He is a bright and happy child and just a sparkle to have in our family. He loves animals of any kind – from tiny rolly pollies to dogs ten times his size. He has a particular squeal that he emits for any animal that he sees. He has to get closer and pet it, even if that animal looks like it would happily eat him for lunch.

 

He has started walking and talking. It was funny to watch him learn how to walk, he had gained the ability to stand steadily for long periods of time at about 8 months old, even bending over to pick things up and stand up again without sitting down, but wouldn’t take steps for months.  Brittny’s mom called him a meerkat because of the way he stood on two legs looking alert, and then going back to all fours to actually get around.   Then on Sam’s birthday he took a couple steps on his own. After that he took a few steps every day for a few weeks, but nothing more. Then one day he suddenly decided that he could walk, and off he went! By the end of that week he was testing out running and hasn’t looked back. Danny loves being outside and playing with his big brother.

We were very excited for him to start nursery back in October, however he’s only made it a couple of times so far.  Daniel has absolutely no fear or inhibitions, much to the dismay of his parents! He will climb on to anything within reach, grab exactly everything he shouldn’t and simply run away from his parents from time to time.  Luckily the worst injury he’s had so far was a burn on his hand from grabbing the iron, and a big bump on his head from tumbling out of the shopping cart. Daniel of course has also taken after his father’s interests in technology.

He loves to mimic any sort of big sounds, be it the lawn mower, the snow blower, or the smoke detector. Or playing music and dancing, he’s a little audiophile in the making!  His vocabulary is starting to blossom, and it’s fun to see him gain a few new words every day. Around the time Daniel entered nursery, he developed a bit of separation anxiety. After he warms up to you he is very snuggly and affectionate, though. We got him weaned within the last month which has been a huge milestone for us.  For the first time in over 4 years Brittny is neither nursing a baby or pregnant with one (or both at once!)  Danny has also started wanting to be potty trained, which is surprising to us after only just finishing potty training Sam a few months ago!  We’ve been putting him off until after a getaway that we have planned in a couple weeks as it doesn’t seem kind to leave him with his Grannie only partially potty trained but that will definitely be an exciting change!  Now if we can get him to sleep through the nights on his own again he’ll be practically all grown up!

Brittny has been extremely busy as the secretary in our ward’s Primary Presidency, but she is enjoying her work and contributing a lot to the community. On top of her calling and motherly duties, Brittny still enjoys doing freelance web programming for various clients, especially friends and family.  This year she created websites for a neighbor starting his podiatry practice, a friend who’s developing her own clothing line, another website for that same friend for a wrapping paper business and a popular young adult novelist.  She recently landed a contract with Adobe and that has definitely given her a good challenge and changed the way she’s working.  For the first time since before Sam was born she’s actually going into an office to work, which is something she hadn’t really considered doing. She wrote a lot more about this transition in her blog, but it’s been a great opportunity for her to get to know what Eric does a bit better (the contract is one within his department), really improve her skills and gain some confidence in working with different systems. She spent a fair amount of time caught up in the recent election, and while she’s considerably disappointed in the results, she’s somewhat glad just to have it over with.

Eric has been settling more into his Product Management role at Adobe, and he’s recently taken on some additional responsibilities for more Adobe products. That does mean more traveling and workload, but it’s also a good opportunity for him to take his skills to the next level. He’s recently traveled to New York City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Boston, and Sydney attending fun conferences and visiting with customers.

He’s very excited about the completion of Adobe’s new campus which – besides being a really awesome facility with great amenities – has the added benefit of being less than 10 minutes from our home rather than 35 minutes away like their old location. He’s given himself the added responsibility of being a team captain for Adobe’s After Hours Gaming League team for League of Legends (think like a company softball team – but with video games). They play for charity so he gets the added benefit of being able to justify his time spent playing his favorite game as being for a good cause. :) Fortunately, he is around most weekends so he can sing with the choir and play the violin in special musical numbers. Eric also had the added luck to win the company’s NCAA March Madness pool with a bracket in the top 0.05% of all brackets on ESPN.com, which is funny because he doesn’t follow basketball hardly at all. The $1,000 prize went towards his season pass to Solitude this year! He’s been given two church callings in addition to a church “assignment”. He helps out in our primary as a “friend” to an autistic child, is in charge of email communications for our stake’s single adult ward and is an emergency preparedness neighborhood block leader. They just can’t get enough of him! At the new year he’ll be trading in his calling as a “friend” for being Danny’s nursery leader, which will hopefully encourage Daniel to attend nursery more frequently!

Progress on the house is coming along, though we’re sure there will be a never-ending supply of projects, we finally were able to put in a backyard complete with fresh sod and a planter box for our gardening ambitions. There was a  mix up with the sod delivery and it came a day earlier than expected but late in the day. Even though we had people who were willing to come and help in the morning Eric got excited about the sod and just started rolling it out, with the intention of just seeing how far he could get before it got too dark. Just before midnight he came into the house with all of the sod laid! It was especially fortunate as a rainstorm came in the next day which would have made the sod much heavier, and it made it so our sod could take good advantage of the moisture. Even though we hadn’t intended on additional purchases this year, we rounded out our backyard with a nice gas grill and playset for the kids.  Building the playset was yet another adventure.  It took us over a month to complete and after several trips to Home Depot for missing or broken parts we finished with some leftover pieces.  In retrospect we think we’d have been better off finding some plans and buying some lumber and building it from scratch, but we’re glad to have a fun playset for our kids to take advantage of in our yard.

We hope the new year brings joy to you all and that you will feel the love of our Savior in your life.

Love,
The Hansens

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)

Sam’s 3rd Birthday

 - by Brittny

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

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

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

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