Wednesday, December 20, 2006

O Christmas Tree

HOORAY!!!! It's only six days before Christmas and our tree is up!!!

Okay, actually, I put it up Monday night with the boys, so it was up one week before the day. Monday was quite the crazy day and I was so tired by the time I came home that blogging was the last thing on my mind. Want to hear about it? Of course you do.

I started the day by dropping Thomas off at school, then driving to our current residence to drop off Gordon and pick up presents to wrap and cleaning supplies. I had an appointment to meet the carpet cleaners at our new residence at 9:30 and I thought that while they were cleaning the carpets, I'd do a little spot cleaning in the kitchen and bathroom, then wrap gifts. Well, "spot cleaning" turned into a major down-and-dirty deep clean in the upstairs bathroom. I realize it's been about 36 hours since I've finished, but since I'm still annoyed, I'm going to vent. (Feel free to skip to the next paragraph.) Having rented every residence until now, I have always expected that the place I move into will be clean. Although I know there isn't a white glove inspection, I just assumed that the previous owner would leave our new house clean as well. Apparently, the previous owner (a single guy, granted, but still) didn't get the memo. The bathroom was a nightmare! I realize that it is a stereotypical guy thing to not clean your bathroom, but COME ON!! I don't know anyone, man, woman, single, married, old, young, whatever, who is okay with cleaning up someone else's bathroom nastiness. And I'm not just talking about the toilet-- the shower and floor... ugh, it makes me shudder just to remember... let's just say that I'm glad I had rubber gloves. Seriously, I feel like calling the guy up and billing him for my cleaning services. The kitchen also needed a bit of scrubbing, but it wasn't as big of a deal. And a self-cleaning oven sure helps. Okay, I'm done with the rant.

The carpet cleaner did a great job, but I ended up paying him quite a bit more than I had anticipated. Who knew that they charge extra for stairs and hallways? Well, at least it's done and the carpet looks really good.

By the time I got home, I was a little sore and kind of grumpy. I rested for a little bit, then tried to pack a few things while the boys unpacked as much as they could. I don't know why, but things seem to be much more interesting to them when they are in a box instead of on a shelf.

Later that night, when Chris was at work, the boys and I went to Smith's to pick up a few gifts and a tree. Unfortunately, there were only three trees left-- and all too big for me to manage by myself. I was pretty bent on getting a tree, so I felt very disappointed. I called Chris, trying not to cry, and genius that he is, he suggested going to the Home Depot. After we bought our groceries, we headed over to the HD and sure enough, several great looking trees lined the parking lot. It was dark and I put Gordon in the cart and Thomas ran excitedly ahead. He wasn't paying attention to his feet, though, because suddenly-- SMACK-- he tripped on a curb and fell face-down into the little parking lot divider. He screamed immediately, of course, so I ran over and hugged him, trying to whisper to him to get him to calm down. We hugged for a little bit, and when I pulled back, I saw it-- blood, gushing out of his little nose!

"Is it blood?" Thomas cried, though I'm sure he could tell.

"Yes," I said, and we hurried to the car to get some tissues.

"Am I going to die?" he asked, and I tried not to laugh. Poor little guy. I told him that no, he wasn't going to die, we were just going to go into the store and go in the bathroom to clean up. Which we promptly did. As we were cleaning up Tom, Gordon had to investigate the lovely public restroom. They both got several washings.

Finally, with both children calm and clean, we went to the garden center and picked out a cute little tree. When it was paid for and loaded into our car, we drove over to the new house to put it up. The carpets were still a tiny bit damp, but I didn't care-- I was putting up that tree!!! It took a while to get it up, the lights and the ornaments on, but it looked so pretty and Christmas-y when I was finished that it was worth it. And driving away from the house, all the lights off except the lights of the tree in the front window, I felt tired, but happy. Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Hale Family

I had to post this picture of Jon, Emily and tiny little Abby-- it's one of those pictures that just captures a beautiful moment so well.

* Picture by Marilyn Hansen, proud Grammuh!

A Star is born!

Abigail Ida Hale
was born Sunday, December 17th
to Emily and Jon Hale

(Emily is Chris's sister living in Ft. Collins, CO)


* I have to note how cute Chris was while we were waiting to hear the news. Emily is his youngest sibling and he was really excited about her baby. He probably drove his mom crazy (she is in Ft. Collins helping) with his frequent phone calls! Every baby's birth is special, but I think this one was especially meaningful for Chris. We're so thrilled for Emily and Jon and their perfect little Christmas present!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Gingerbread Houses

I'll be honest: I can't even remember the last time I made a gingerbread house. Not that I don't think it's fantastic fun, I just haven't had the opportunity to do it for a really long time, and the last time I did, I'm sure it was with graham crackers. So, when my friend Karin invited Thomas and me to her house to make real gingerbread houses, we certainly couldn't refuse her offer! My other friend, Melissa, and her twins Miles and Zipporah came as well and we had a great time!

I actually got a great shot of all three kids before we started decorating the houses! They were all so excited-- especially because Karin advised them to eat as much candy as they wanted!

Melissa and Karin helping Zipporah and Miles put their houses together
Zipporah was the most creative of the kids
I helped Tom with the frosting--
he didn't want to do any of the hard work!
Against our advice, Thomas tried the frosting. He didn't like it.

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And here's the finished product! We'll definitely have to add making gingerbread houses to our Christmas traditions.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Christmas Traditions

Kristine asked a while ago about our Christmas traditions, so I thought I'd finally post about them now. Traditions are what makes Christmas such a fun time of year! I'd like to know what yours are as well, so everyone who reads this, please blog about your own traditions. Maybe we'll find some of each other's that we want to adopt.

So, here are some of our more unique traditions:

1. Annual Ornaments
For as long as we've been married, Chris and I purchase one new ornament each year to hang on our tree. I love this tradition-- especially since we're celebrating our 9th Christmas togeter, it's so much fun to look back at all of the ornaments we've collected over the years. These little objects have such great memories associated with them!

In addition, since Tom's birth, we and both sets of grandparents have given the kids ornaments each year. With three new ornaments a year, Tom's collection has already surpassed ours! The fun part about this tradition is that the boys get really excited about their own ornaments as part of the family tree. Then, when they are ready to move out on their own, they'll have a whole bunch of great ornaments to take with them.

This year, we bought a cute moose ornament while we were in Jackson Hole in June. I'll post a picture of it as soon as we get the tree up (TUESDAY!!!).

2. The Newsletter
First of all, let me express my sincere gratitude for all of the people who still send Christmas cards! I don't know why some people feel like cards are a thing of the past. I love Christmas cards and I intend to continue sending them until... well, I'll send them forever.

Every year with our card, I also send a family newsletter. My newsletter seems to get more and more elaborate each year, but what can I do? I really do enjoy putting them together! Here's ours for this year, in a newspaper style:

3. Christmas CD
For the last couple of years, I've made a Christmas compilation CD for my siblings. This year's included a funny techno Jingle Bells, some jazzy Dave Brubeck, and a couple of songs from James Taylor's Christmas Album. By the way, this album is great-- it has a really good version of "Go Tell it on the Mountain" that Thomas loves. It's way too cute when he sings along!

This year, Chris also made a CD for his siblings, a cool jazz mix. This is a fun tradition that I think we'll continue as long as we can find Christmas music to share.

4. Scrapbook
I decided to start a new tradition this year and make a Christmas scrapbook. I am making pages with descriptions of our ornaments, and pictures and memories from previous years. In future years, I plan to make one page per year to put in the book so that we will be able to remember all of our fun holidays. We always have so much fun in December, and I want to be able to look back and remember each year individually.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

It's Official

We're home owners! We closed on our new house today-- a few days early, but we're glad to get it done. Now all we have to do is pack up our townhouse and move! I wish it were that easy. Well, at least we should be in before Christmas. I plan to get a tree next week. :)

Here's the first casualty of our move-- my ficus tree. I've had this little tree for a long time-- I inherited it from my grandparents when they moved out of their home to travel-- before I graduated from high school. Since then, we've moved it with us to every apartment. I'll admit, it looks a little rough-- missing leaves, bent branches. Chris dubbed it a "renter's ficus", so we decided that it won't be joining us in our new home. I had to pose with it one last time.

And here are two of the worlds cutest boys!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Fun Saturday

On Saturday, I drove down to Salt Lake and met my mom, who had been there that week for a science teacher's conference. We drove over to the Gateway and met Caitlan and Ann-Michelle there for our regular shopping day. We love the Gateway and had a fun time shopping at the great stores. I actually got some Christmas shopping done!

We ate a late lunch/early dinner at Thaifoon at the Gateway. It was so tasty and we all helped Caitlan hit on our poor waiter. We had a great time!

After we finished at the Gateway, I met up with my awesome roommate from BYU, Amy, and her husband, Chad, at Hires. I haven't seen Amy and Chad for more than four years, so it was so great to see them and catch up! They are such fun people-- if you read this, thanks again for a great evening! You guys are the best!

I went back to Logan late Saturday night to find all three boys sick with colds. Today we're all dragging a bit, so hopefully we'll get well soon! Despite being sick, I did have a great weekend!

Sourdough Pancakes

I had to post a few pictures of the boys (complete with bed head!) enjoying some homemade sourdough pancakes on Saturday morning. Chris and I are "babysitting" my grandparents' sourdough starter while they are in South America for the winter. This starter is quite old and Nonny usually carries it with her when she travels, but had to leave it behind because of the liquid restrictions on airplanes. So, we've been charged to take care of it-- which means using and feeding it on a very regular basis. We're glad that Nonny and Bob trusted us to take care of their "baby"!

Ward Christmas Party

On Friday evening, we went to our ward's Christmas Party at the church. The food was catered by Firehouse Pizzaria and it was quite tasty! I love it when the only food items contributed by ward members are the treats. :) Aside from the usual socializing, we also sang a few carols and watched some of the primary kids put on a Nativity play. Very cute. After dinner, Santa Claus came and met with all the kids. It was a pretty fun party.

Here's Thomas and his best friend in our ward, Taylor. These two are too cute-- we live in the same area and about twice a week, one of them will take a hand-written note over to the other's house. They are both in kindergarten, so the only things legible in the notes are their names, but I think it's quite adorable how they enjoy their friendship.

My good friends Melissa (with baby Parker) and Karin.

The boys with Santa-- you can see how thrilled they were about this moment! Gordon was mostly interested in the candy canes, and even though Thomas didn't sit on Santa's lap, he was sure to mention that he wants "Air Hockey" for Christmas.

Friday, December 08, 2006

A new House for Christmas!

Well, I'm ready to announce to the blogging world our big news: we're buying our first house! We've actually been working on this little project for a few weeks now, but I haven't wanted to say anything in case things fell through. Now that the appraisal, inspection, and loan approval are done, I feel like I can announce with a surety that we're actually moving. We plan to close on the 18th, so we'll move in that week. It's a little crazy that we're doing this the week before Christmas!

Here's our new home-- a very cute 3 bed/ 2 bath house in SW Logan. We love it and we're excited to make it our own. I can't imagine a better Christmas present!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Reading and Eating

Tonight we had our December book club meeting. We read two children's books-- Pigs at Christmas by Arlene Dubanevich (sorry, it's out of print-- but check your local library or because this book is awesome!) and The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey. These are both great books and our meeting was so fun! We each brought a yummy treat-- we had peanut brittle, chocolates, cream puffs, apples with tasty dip, and these really good fried things that I can't remember their name. There's nothing better than celebrating Christmas with some wonderful books, delicious food, and of course, some of the world's most awesome ladies!

Top Row L to R: Marie, Karin (with sweet baby Everett), Alissa, Cindy
Bottom Row: Elise, Sara, Melissa, Susan

'Tis the Season!

I can't believe that six whole days of December have already passed and this is my first post of the month! It's already turning out to be a busy season!

So, let's see... last weekend Chris went to the Jazz game with my Dad and the Todds (my two bros-in-law, both named Todd). They had a great time. The Jazz are playing really well this year, so it's been fun for the guys to get into the games. While the boys enjoyed their guys night out, I stayed home with the little guys, ordered pizza and just hung out. It was kind of nice to have a low-key weekend.

Today I was amazed, as I have been for the past few weeks, at the number of catalogs in my mailbox! How did they get my name anyway? Not that I really mind-- it's been fun to look through them and find possible gifts for those on my list this year. Is it weird that I took a picture of my catalogs?
I have not really started Christmas shopping and the "Last Chance" catalogs are starting to make me think I ought to get on the ball.

While looking through said catalogs, I came across this ad and had to smile. Wrap him up? Sundance would have their best sales year ever! ;)

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Shots, Shoes and a Haircut

It's been quite the day! This morning, I picked Thomas up from kindergarten with some bad news: we had to go to the doctor to get the last of his two Hep A immunizations. He cried the whole way to the doctor and tried to reason with me, "I'll just tell the doctor that I want ZERO shots, Mom!" I told him it was okay to cry and that yes, it would be scary, but that he is a very brave boy. So, we go into the waiting room and do some homework (which he loves--clever, eh?)and he was okay for the moment. Then the nurse called his name and the tears began again. He was still pretty brave until we got to the little room and he saw the bandaids, then he started trying to bargain with the nurse: "I just want a bandaid but NO SHOT PUNCHERS!" The nurse told him that he would just have one "shot puncher", which made him cry even harder. I held him on my lap and the nurse suggested that he close his eyes. Tom closed his eyes and the nurse quickly seized the opportunity to give him the shot in his leg. "It's all over!" She exclaimed, and Thomas opened his eyes and looked around, then smiled. "I'm safe now!" he said, and grinned the rest of the time and the whole way to McDonalds. Moral of the story: nothing is worse than anticipation!

Tommer wasn't the only Hansen child with drama today. I picked the boys up from Sara's this afternoon and Gordon was screaming. Not brat screaming, but really hysterical "I AM IN PAIN" screaming. It was awful-- he couldn't sit still in his carseat, just arched his back and screamed. We didn't go home-- we went straight back to the doctor's office. When we got there, I took Gordon's little Nikes off and we went inside. By the time we got to the registration desk, the crying had ceased completely and Gordon was actually smiling! We decided to stay in the waiting area for a little while, just in case, but Gordon's mood just continued to improve. So, after about ten minutes, we went home. He's been fine ever since, so the only thing Chris and I can think is that he either had some sharp gas pains or something, or that his shoes were too tight. Whatever it was, it certainly added some drama to our evening and I'm so glad my sweet little babe is okay! (I've been giving him extra kisses tonight!)

After all of this, I felt I could use some pampering and look-- I had a hair appointment! Yippee! So, I decided to take some self before and after pics. I took two before pictures-- the first is how I normally fix my hair because I am lazy, and the second is to show what a mess it is when I take it out of its clip-- YIKES! My hair hasn't been cut in a while, so it has gotten quite scraggely. I went to a new person-- a cute girl in my ward, Becky Twedt-- and she did this great head massage thing before she cut my hair. So relaxing! Then she cut my hair-- just a trim-- and straightened it. I love it! Here's the after-- am I cute or what? ;)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Deck the Halls

We had a very fun evening! After work, I took the boys to Michael's to pick out a new Christmas Wreath. We used to have one, but I think it must not have survived our move last year. Since Michael's was having one of their great 50% off sales anyway, what better time to pick out a new one?
The boys were very good while we were at the store. They both "oohed and ahhed" over all of the Christmas stuff-- it was really cute. One funny thing-- while we were waiting in line to check out, I was browsing through a magazine. Shame on me for not paying attention. Gordon managed to grab one of the fancy little candies they have sitting on the counter (Lindt Chocolates, I think) and unwrap and stick it in his mouth. He was being so quiet, I didn't even notice-- until I looked up to find white chocolate dribbling down his chin! I bought the candy, of course, and pulled the cart away so that he wouldn't get any more. Clever little stinker!

So, now that we were really feeling the Holiday Spirit, we came home and put on some Christmas tunes and got out our decorations. Here are some of my favorites:

Marilyn made this adorable little snowman for me over the Thanksgiving weekend. Is he not the cutest thing?!

The Myers family gave us this great house last year and the boys were so excited when I got it out. Each little drawer is numbered and is big enough to hold a little prize for every day until Christmas. Last year Thomas could hardly wait to get up in the morning just to check what his prize was for the day. It will be fun for Gord to participate this year!

And finally, my Santa Clause-- I just love this guy! My mom and I both bought Santas one year after Christmas and he has been one of my favorite decorations ever since.

We also hung up our stockings and got out all of the Christmas books and DVDs. So fun! I love this time of year!

What a Game!!

Chris and his dad went to the game on Saturday, while Marilyn, the boys and I stayed and watched it on TV. I'll be perfectly honest: the way that BYU has played this year and the way we really haven't been able to count on the Utes being consistent, I was worried that Saturday's Holy War would end up in a complete route by BYU. Fortunately, this was not the case. After two scores by the Cougs, the Utes regrouped and completely dominated the second and third quarters. The game was super close-- with Utah ahead most of the game!-- and it actually came down to a final play, when BYU's Cryin' Quarterback, John Beck, threw the winning touchdown pass with no time left on the clock. 33-31 was the final score in favor of the Cougars. It was incredible! Both teams played extremely well, so even though BYU won in a heartbreaker, at least the Utes gave them a good run.

Chris's reaction: "Sometimes you need a loss from BYU to keep you humble."

And at least we got to see John Beck cry some more...

Thomas took this picture of me watching TV. He's not a bad litte photographer, is he?

So, both teams will head to bowl games in the next month or so, which is exciting. We really had a great time watching the Utes this year-- and nothing better than a close one to end the year and keep the rivalry going strong! GO UTES!!!

Monday, November 27, 2006


We had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend! I started the day waking up very early and driving to Idaho Falls for the "Race to Feed the Hungry" 5K with my mom and sisters Ann-Michelle and Caitlan. This was our first race and we had fun. We didn't win, but I felt great that at least we finished! We're planning another run on New Years Day-- the Resolution Run, also in IF. It's been fun training and I'm hoping to keep improving!

After the race, I headed back to Logan to pick up Thomas and Gordon, then the three of us went to Salt Lake City to celebrate Thanksgiving day with my in-laws. I am annoyed with myself that I didn't take any pictures of Marilyn's table-- it was beautiful! Not just the food-- the traditional tastiness of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, have I missed anything?-- but the whole table setting was gorgeous. Marilyn is the perfect hostess!

Poor Chris had to work on Thanksgiving and the day after, so he missed the big meal. He did stop by Angie's diner and get some ham (they ran out of turkey) and I think he probably relished sleeping in late on Friday morning. At least he'll have some good time off at Christmas. Gotta love the life of a journalist-- the news never sleeps.

On Friday, Grammuh and Grampuh took the boys and me to Tom's favorite place: the planetarium. He's such a funny little boy-- every time we visit my in-laws, he requests to go to the planetarium. They oblige him more often than not! During this visit, we saw a 3D movie called "Santa vs. the Snowman"-- a little cheezy, but the 3D was really cool. Tom was a little nervous about it-- particularly during the dinosaur previews-- and watched with one eye covered by the 3D glasses and the other bare.

On Friday night, I put the boys to bed, then drove to Logan to pick up my hubby. We drove back to SLC together and spent the rest of the weekend there. Saturday was primarily consumed by the game (see above post) but we did get the chance to go to a late movie with our fun friends, Ryan and Nickie Stanton. We saw The Prestige-- I still can't decide if I liked it or not. It was weird and creepy, but as Ryan said, it kept our attention the whole time. Well, like it or not, it was great fun hanging out with our friends!

After church at Chris's parent's ward on Sunday, we were pleased to get a visit from Mike Crosby and his cute daughter, Kira. Chris and Mike have been friends since they were really young and they had a good time catching up. Gordon was napping at the time, so Thomas and Kira played nicely. I really enjoyed watching Thomas play with Kira-- she is a very sweet little two-year-old girl and a little shy, and Tom was very kind to her and engaged her really well. It's always fun seeing your kids play well with others!

Finally, late Sunday afternoon, we drove home to Logan. Whew! We really did have a great holiday weekend and I'm so thankful for all of the wonderful people in our lives that made it so! We love you all! ♥ ♥ ♥

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Brotherly Love

Ah, the joys of having boys. For those of you who know my children well, you know that the bully in their relationship is most often 18-month-old Gordon. We're constantly advising Thomas to stick up for himself-- after all, he is almost four years older and twice as big as his brother! So tonight, our Tom decided to fight back. I was upstairs and heard Gordon's scream of pain and hurried downstairs to find him bleeding from the corner of his eye! I asked Thomas what happened and Thomas said, through tears more dramatic than his victim's, "I knocked him." I hugged them both and cleaned Gordon's cut, which turns out to be fairly small, then got out the camera to capture the apology hug. Gotta love brothers!

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Cuddles and Snuggles

Thomas has been feeling a little bit sick the last couple of days. Last evening, he didn't have a lot of energy and just wanted to cuddle and snuggle with a blanket on the couch. Gordon thought that looked like fun and was insistant that I put him on the loveseat with a blanket. They looked so cute that I had to take pictures. As you can tell from Gordon's messy face, we had spaghetti for dinner. I also love their almost identical crooked smiles. Way too cute!

Our little Pilgrim

Yesterday, Thomas came running out of the school with the rest of his kindergarten class wearing this funny pilgrim hat. He is having so much fun at school and it's especially cute to see these kinds of projects that he made all by himself. We're thankful for our great 5-year-old!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Our first Away Game!

It was freezing in Colorado Springs, but we bundled up and cheered for our Utes at our first away game! Well, I guess technically we've been to several in-state away games at BYU and Utah State, but those don't really count as there is usually a huge Ute contingent and you don't really feel all that "away". At Saturday night's Utah vs. Air Force game in Colorado Springs, however, we were definitely in the minority.

When we arrived at Falcon Stadium, we were excited to learn that parking is free on the government-owned property at AFA. Cool! I was also very glad that I bought the tickets through Utah, since the Ute section was very small. It was nice to be able to sit by other people dressed in red. As you can see, Chris felt quite comfortable cheering for his team!

The first touchdown was scored by Utah, but Air Force managed to keep the game exciting by matching the score. It all came down to the last three seconds, when Utah's kicker made the winning field goal. What an exciting game!

So, it all comes down to next week's big game at Rice Eccles Stadium vs. rivals BYU Cougars. It is true that the Cougs won the Mountain West Title this week, but I think for both teams, the season really rides on this game. I'll admit, BYU has a great team this year, but we're certainly hoping the Utes pull out all the stops and put a little damper on their great season! :) Go UTES!!