Thursday, February 28, 2008

Another History Lesson...

This one's all about me! (Gotta catch up on my tags-- apparently my mom and sister have caught the tagging bug.)

Anyway, here's a rundown...

20 Years ago, in 1988, I was a spritely little 4th grader in Redding, CA. My most memorable events of this time in my life were 1) getting in trouble for talking one too many times in Mr. Cropsey's class and having to sit in the back of the assembly with the other misfits and 2) hearing my first Bon Jovi song, played by the older and much more mature (10, I think) neighbor, Leigh Aldridge. The song was "You give Love a bad name," and I still remember feeling like such a rebel for loving it. Little did she know, Leigh was starting a lifelong love affair. He he... ♥

10 Years ago, in 1998, I was a freshman at BYU, and spent most of my time eating peanut butter M&Ms and those pink-frosted sugar cookies, sleeping, and failing Accounting. I did listen to a lot of Beastie Boys and Fiona Apple, and I had the coolest roommate ever, ever, ever. Oh yeah, and I was newly engaged to the cutest bushy-browed boy in the world! The thing that first attracted me to Chris: he made me laugh. Funny how that still works. ♥

5 Years ago, in 2003, Chris was getting ready to graduate from the University of Utah and we were discussing the possibility of moving to the Seattle area. Thomas was a sweet little 18-month-old, and we loved living across the street from a park. I was a member of a small writing group that still holds a special place in my heart. ♥

3 Years ago, in 2005, we were living in Lake Stevens, WA, where the snow doesn't stick. Thomas was a student at Sunnyside Preschool, Chris was the Assistant Editor at the Lake Stevens Journal, and I worked from home for Mrs. Fields. I was expecting Gordy Roo. It seems like we watched a lot of movies that year, especially since my brother, Jake, lived with us for a while and worked at Hollywood video. We had fun. We bought a new bed-- a pillow top-- which I still adore. ♥

1 Year ago, in 2007, we were still setting up shop in our new house here in Logan. I had also just started working for Harris Research. We bought a sweet little kitty, Schroeder, who, sadly, didn't last too long against the busy street behind our house. You can check out other February 2007 events here! ♥

So far this year, there isn't too much you don't already know...

Yesterday, in our efforts to simplify, we had our land line shut off. If you didn't get the e-mail regarding how to get a hold of us (cells), let me know. Also, I watched my friend's little girl for a couple of hours in the evening and got a huge kick about how different she was from my boys! I dug her glittery pink shoes. ♥

Today, Thomas went to a friend's house after school, so I had some one-on-one time with Gord. We played cars and dinosaurs, ate snacks, and told the same "why did the chicken cross the road?" joke over and over again. We received zero calls from telemarketers.

Right now, I'm changing the channel because I can't stand to watch one more American Idol loser sing (why do they make them do that?!?). And I'm blogging for the third day in a row. ♥

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


A long time ago, Marilyn tagged us to list all of our nicknames. I am pretty sure that I win this one hands down because I am married to a Nickname Master. I may have mentioned this before, but I think the number of times Chris has called me by my actual first name is in the single digits. My most common nickname is Leesta, though he comes up with a new nickname about once a month. So, take an average of 10 nicknames per year for the past 9 1/2 years... well, yeah.

We've said that we really should keep a journal of all of my funny nicknames, but I forget about it until we can't remember what Chris called me two or three weeks ago because it has changed. Maybe this will be a good start. Here are some of the ones I can recall today:

Lorna, Strenna, Stroud, Lunesta, Lunar Meadows, Roan, Spewdamenafens, Peat Swea, Rodafus Mones, Sexican, Beeleesta, Leesta Toasta (and Leesta Toast, and Leesta Toasta one-I-love-the-mosta, but these are all spinoffs of the same one), Yorba Linda, Cortalo Porchesney, Plistafuns, Moon Shad, Post Toastie, Reodesun, Spewdit... the list goes on, but that is all I can think of at the moment. As you can see, there is no rhyme or reason to these nicknames, just a funny guy who likes to make up funny words to call his wife. Oh, and some of these names actually have songs to go along with them!

A couple of funny nickname stories:

When we had been married for a couple of years, we went out to lunch with some friends. Our car was dirty, and Chris had written "LEESTA" with his finger on one of the windows. One of our friends had just learned that she was expecting, and when she and her husband saw the name on our window, they got all excited and were talking about naming their baby Leesta if it was a girl. Luckily, they had a boy, so as far as we know, "Leesta" remains a silly nickname and not some poor child's name.

Chris also has nicknames for the boys. One day in church, while walking a young Thomas to nursery, Chris said, "Come on, Tim," which is short for Timmer or Timodasee, two of Tom's common nicknames. A man behind Chris with his nursery-aged little girl said, "Come on honey, let's go with Tim." Chris didn't even try to explain why he was calling his son, Tom, Tim.

As for me, I also call Chris nicknames, but I only have a few that I use and they are far less imaginative than Chris's. Mainly, I call him "Hunsty".

A History Lesson

Grampuh has a really cool art book about the Constitution. As you can see, the boys were absolutely riveted!


Apparently the blog header only looks even on my screen, which is okay. I'll fix those pixels. (Heh, that's fun to say)... And I guess it will be a surprise on Saturday (I can't believe it's almost MARCH!) which color scheme I choose. But thanks for the input.

So, Saturday, we woke up and drove down to Salt Lake, well, West Jordan, to be exact. Gardner Village is one of those fun places that is a Hansen tradition, so we were excited to be able to meet up with Gary and Marilyn, Emily and Abby, and Amanda, Tyler and Lizzy. Emily and Abby were heading home to Colorado that afternoon, so we were glad we had a chance to squeeze in one last visit.

Our favorite stores at Gardner Village are (in order of importance): 1)the candy store, 2) the toy store (I think it's called Storybook Nook), and 3) the Christmas store. I like the crafty stuff as well, but I was speaking of the Hansen collective. The candy store is our favorite stop because everyone gets to pick a treat, and the selection is just fabulous.

Kids in a candy store, literally...

Gordon picked Jelly Belly jelly beans, Thomas got a bubblegum-flavored rock candy sucker, Chris got some funky seafoam candy, and I opted for the fudge. Delish.

After a brief stroll around the other, less interesting stores, Chris, Tom, Gary and Tyler took off to go to a Utah basketball game. We took a few last pictures with Emily and Abby before they left.

After the boys left, the girls and Gord did a bit more strolling. Gordon loved pushing Abby's stroller, although he was a little too short to steer well.

We spent the rest of the day at the Hansen's, just having fun with Amanda and her great little kiddos. The boys had so much fun sliding down the stairs on their bellies-- Gordon was the ringleader and, I thought, quite hilarious to watch. Those boys sure have a great time together! One of these days I'll have to take a picture of Marilyn's "Grammuh Room"-- it really is a little slice of heaven for these kids!

It was a nice, relaxing Saturday. Before the day was out, I made Chris take a self-portait with me, just in case you forgot what we look like. :)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Two Questions...

... about my blog.

1) Does my header look okay on your screen? It looks fine on my home computer, but a girl at work was looking at my blog and I noticed that my header stretches over the pink background part. Does it do that on yours too? Let me know so I can re-size next month's if necessary.

2) I was planning to do a St. Patty's Day theme for March, but somehow Easter decided to show up less than a week later. (Who made that decision anyway?) So, should I continue with my green-kiss-me-I'm-partly-Irish theme, or go straight for Easter? Or just Spring? Do you care? :)

Responses appreciated. Gracias.

Fun with the Hansen Side

I know, I know... it's been way too long. I have to blame my lack of blogging on two things: 1) Gordon has a new obsession with sitting on me when I am trying to type on the computer, so I've had to wait until he is asleep to get any one-on-one time with my PC, and 2) When I put Gordon down, sometimes I fall asleep, too. Sorry, lame excuses, I know. I think this may have happened last year at this time, so if history repeats itself, my blogs will become much more frequent in the next few days and weeks. Promise.

Anyway, last week we had a fun and eventful week with Chris's family. Emily, Chris's sister, and her sweet little Abby, were visiting Gary and Marilyn for the week, so on Monday, they all came up to Logan to spend the afternoon with us. We ate lunch at the best restaurant in Logan, Le Nonne, which serves the most delicious authentic Italian cuisine. Younger sisters at BYU who are studying Italian this semester should really come up to visit. Italian-speaking boyfriends also invited.) Mmmmm... after more than a week, I am still remembering the deliciousness. Afterward, we hung around our house for a little bit and played some Cluzzle. We always have such a fun time with Emily and Abby, so we really appreciated that they made the trip up to Logan. Laziness prevented me from taking pictures.

On Wednesday, we went down to Salt Lake to attend the funeral of my sister-in-law, Amanda's grandmother, Libbie Lambert. Chris grew up in the same neighborhood as Libbie (and Amanda), and felt like one of her surrogate grandchildren. I'd only met her a few times, but I have to tell you that her funeral had a very profound impression on me. She was the kind of person one aspires to be, and I felt very grateful to hear about the amazing legacy she left for all who were associated with her. Imagine if we all lived our lives so that a stranger attending our funeral would be touched to want to be a better person? It was a great experience, and I'm so glad we were able to attend.

Amanda and her two adorable kids, Tyler and Lizzy, arrived in Salt Lake on Tuesday, so we had the chance to see them as well. I always love it when our kids can hang out with their cute cousins!

Tyler, Thomas and Gordon were just best buddies right away. It's always fun to see how the different personalities mesh together, and I'm glad to say that these boys are a perfect match!

Little Miss Lizzy is the sweetest thing ever! We love her dark hair and her soft baby smell. Mmm, you know me and baby smells...

Chris and I took advantage of the willing baby-sitters and went to the Temple after the funeral. It's always a nice, calming experience, and I'm grateful to Marilyn and Emily for giving us the opportunity.

Later Wednesday evening, Gary and Marilyn took us to Mazza, a middle-eastern restaurant in Salt Lake. I have to admit that I'm still a little undecided on middle-eastern spices. The hummus was tasty, and my chicken pita was pretty good, but I ended up eating about a half a bottle of Tums later that night. Too much information?

The kids were really good at the restaurant! Especially Tyler-- he actually put his own napkin on his lap! I couldn't believe what a well-mannered little boy he is!

Meanwhile, my little demon was doing this...

Ah, everyone loves the candid shot at a restaurant.

We had a really wonderful day with the Hansens! We went back down to Salt Lake on Saturday, so more on that tomorrow!

In the meantime, here are some tidbits from my everyday life:
  • Today at 4PM, I put Gordon in some big boy undies. By bedtime (8), he was on his 4th pair. You have to start somewhere, right?
  • Last week was my first official week as a part-timer. I took a nap almost every day.
  • I think we may be done with snow for a while. Maybe? Yes? PLEASE?!?
  • Apparently he saw it on a commercial or something-- Gordon has been running around the house yelling, "IT's MY MONEY and I WANT IT NOW!" Hilarious.
  • I discovered Hershey's Kisses "Trio"-- dark and milk chocolate kisses drizzled with white chocolate. Seriously.

    I think that's it. Happy Tuesday night-- more blogging from me tomorrow!!
  • Tuesday, February 19, 2008

    Our Day o' Love

    We had a lovely little Valentine's Day, starting with sweet little heart-shaped pancakes, made by yours truly. The funniest thing about these pancakes is that after I went through all of the trouble to make them, the little recipients of my gift simply said, "cut them, Mom."

    This little charmer had a special lunch at school, so in addition to the Valentine's Day party, he also got to dress up and eat with the principal in the "library restaurant". Tom got so many Valentine cards (his were the cutest) and way too much candy. He had such a fun day!

    And my little present was a new phone-- and look, it's pink!

    Chris had to work on Valentine's Day, so we celebrated this weekend by going out with our good friends, Sean and Karin Hunt. We ate a delicious dinner at Hamilton's Steakhouse, then went to the movies. Ah, a night without the kiddies-- now that's a memorable event. Why did I not take pictures?!?

    Sweet Things!

    As previously mentioned, my awesome mother-in-law, Marilyn, sent us the ingredients for our own delicious sugar cookies right in time for Valentine's Day! So, the day before, the boys and I spent the evening making some tasty heart-shapped cookies-- they were so yummy!

    One of the things I always have to remind myself when attempting projects like this is that things are going to get messy, and that's okay. I'll admit that it's sometimes hard to let their creativity take over when all I can think about is how difficult it is going to be to scrub that frosting off of my chairs! But, I think I did an okay job of chilling out this time-- and they had so much fun!

    As you can see, Gordon becomes a "flour" child when the opportunity arises.

    Cookies just aren't complete without the sprinkles!

    This is Gord's finished product: a "cookie sandwich". I love it-- what a fun kid!

    Thomas didn't hold back at all when it came to sprinkles. The more, the merrier.

    Soft, sweet, and perfectly divine!

    These are mine. So pretty, and they hardly lasted the day!

    This recipe is really awesome. Chris and I brought them to our sunday school class last week and we got all sorts of compliments. Do you want to make some yourself? Well lucky you, the recipe is right here!

    How to make a Valentine Box

    1. Start with a shoebox

    2. Color, cut, glue, color, stamp, cut, glue, color

    3. Don't let Mom help you with the glue. This might cause some problems with your final product. But, ooh, what a lovely picture.

    4. Be sure to put your name on your box in big letters so you'll get lots and lots of Valentines.

    5. Perfect!

    I wanna Rock and Roll all night...

    ...and party every day!

    On Saturday the 9th, we went to Pocatello to attend the 25th birthday party of Todd Flatland. Kristie really went all out with a pirate-themed party, including some sweet pirate decorations and a chocolate fountain! I think every party should have a chocolate fountain! My whole family was there, plus several friends and kids, and we had a blast.

    Even with the chocolate fountain, the real hit of the party was "Rock Band"-- a video game similar to the widely popular "Guitar Hero", only with a bass guitar, vocals and drums in addition to the guitar. Everyone loved it, and it was hilarious to watch people rock out. I even took a turn on the vocals to (who else) Bon Jovi-- gotta love Dead or Alive! Wooo! Ha ha ha...

    Ann-Michelle on vovals, Jake jammin' the guitar

    Tom is really good on the guitar! And Todd Freed ruled the drums-- they were harder than they look.

    Nicki Stanton and Kristie singing some song I didn't know. If I learned one thing at this party, it's that I'm apparently the only person who hasn't heard of half of these artists... and I guess knowing every Bon Jovi song does not make me cool. Oh well, I still love you Jon Bon Jovi! :)

    Those who weren't flexing their rock muscles had fun just hanging out. I love having Jake around-- he's such a fun bro.

    Me and the boys...

    We got Todd a cool little Zip-O (sp?) lighter-- he is one of these guys who has anything and everything stored in his pocket, so a fancy lighter will certainly come in handy for something. Happy Birthday, Todd, and thanks again for the rockin' party!!

    Thursday, February 14, 2008

    Lovey Dovey

    In honor of Valentine's day, I thought I'd share some of the love tunes that make me think of my cute hubs. Listening to these songs is sure to make you feel all mushy inside.

    ♥ Days of Wine and Roses-- Vince Guaraldi
    ♥ Something in the Way She Moves-- James Taylor
    ♥ Thank You-- Dido
    ♥ Groovy Kind of Love-- Phil Collins
    ♥ When We Dance-- Sting
    ♥ Just the Way You Are-- Billy Joel
    ♥ Only Love-- Winona Judd
    ♥ Just You and Me-- Chicago
    ♥ Breathless-- Corinne Baily Rae

    Happy Valentine's Day, from our home to yours!

    Happy Birthday, Todd Flatland!

    My brother-in-law, Todd, shares his birthday with Valentine's Day-- which hopefully means double treats for him! Todd is actually the second Todd to marry one of my sisters. He actually met my sister, Kristie, at his best friend, Todd Freed's wedding to my other sister, Ann-Michelle. Romantic, isn't it? My mom and I were wondering why Kristie didn't want to sit by us... and Todd was the reason. Maybe someday they will start blogging and tell you their own love story! Ha ha-- just teasing guys... mostly.

    I'll tell you what I love about Todd: he is the most generous and easy-going guy in the world. He is outgoing and funny, loves to play games but doesn't get too competetive (ahem), and he treats my just-younger sister like a queen. I am thrilled that Todd is a member of my family and I hope his 25th year is the best yet!

    Happy Birthday Todd!!

    Tuesday, February 12, 2008

    Running, B-Ball, and the Stee

    On Saturday morning, I dragged myself out of bed early enough to run a 5K race... by myself. I thought I liked races for the race experience, but I realized on Saturday that what I really like is the race experience with friends. So, I've decided that this will be my last lone race-- it's just not that fun. But, I did get this cute little beanie, which looked so lovely on my red face as I took my post-race self-portrait. Ha ha, that sounds so pathetic!

    Right after the race, I met Chris, Tom and Gordon at the rec center for Tom's Jr. Jazz game. He is getting better every week and it's so fun to watch! Tom doesn't know any of the other kids on his team, but this week they played against a team that included one of his friends from school. The two of them were hilarious to watch-- they guarded each other and basically just chased each other back and forth, giggling like crazy. Tom's team won (oops, we're not supposed to keep score-- someone tell Tom that!) because they have a future NBA player on their team. Seriously, this kid is GOOD-- I guarantee he could beat me. Tom contributed a couple of good chest passes and several great cheers.

    After the game, we came home and got ready to drive up to Pocatello for Todd Flatland's 25th Birthday party. The party was awesome (pictures and details forthcoming)! Beforehand, we stopped at Red Lobster (dubbed the "Stee" by Chris-- you know, Red Lobstee, shortened) for some tasty dinner. I don't care how "chain" Red Lobster is, I love it. Those cheddar bay biscuits are awesome-- we've tried in vain to duplicate them at home.

    The kids were amazingly well-behaved, and Thomas even ate some of my salmon!

    The only thing missing: Red Lobster stopped serving Vanilla Bean Cheesecake. No one will ever understand it.

    Sunday, February 10, 2008

    Special Delivery

    I have to excuse myself-- yes, I had a rather tumultuous week last week, but I made it sound like my whole world was in turmoil, but really, it was just one little part. Last week, a lot of really, really great things happened, and I was just so consumed with the one area of drama, that I failed to recognize how great all of the other areas of my life are. So, let me just share a few fun things from last week:

    I have great friends! In addition to all of your sweet comments, I also got an e-mail with the recipe for a relaxing bubble bath (and yes, candles instead of electricity really is so much better!), several kind phone calls, and an e-flower from an old friend in Washington who I haven't heard from forever. You are all wonderful and I love you!

    Chris has been ultra-supportive and sweet this week. We handle stress very differently-- I am very good with the day-to-day stuff, swapping schedules, arranging child care, managing the house, etc, and Chris is really great about staying calm when a bigger trial comes along. It's funny, but sometimes it takes a storm to make you realize how strong your house is. ♥

    We got some cool stuff in the mail:

    I ordered a small gift for someone from Eddie Bauer-- jewelry, in fact-- and the little jewelry box came in another box as big as Gordon. We got a huge kick out of it-- check it out-- Tom is holding the actual gift box, and, well, you can see the big box... too bad I can't get my kids to smile...

    My snow boots came. We got a couple of days off from snow, but I hear it's coming back. This time, I'll be ready.

    I have the best mother-in-law. One of my favorite things about her is that she is a great keeper of fun traditions. For as long as I can remember, we've received a fun Valentine's package from her. This year, it was an extra special treat-- the dry ingredients for yummy sugar cookies, a vintage-looking cookie cutter, Valentine's sprinkles (the boys' fave) and, my fave, Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla! YUMMY!! She is so thoughtful and the fun little package really made my day.

    I received the BEST acknowledgement this week-- you might notice a new little "blinkie" in my "Creativity" section over on the side bar. Well, Andrea Burns is a designer that I absolutely love-- her style is just right up my alley (she is the one who designed the stuff my background/header is made of). Anyway, this week she e-mailed me specifically to invite me to be on her creative team! This is a huge honor, especially because usually you have to wait for a designer to put out a call, then you have to apply to be on the creative team. For her to invite me, well, let's just say that it was such a great compliment!!

    And finally, at book club on Thursday, we reviewed Feel the Fear, and Do It Anyway, a self-help type book. We had a great discussion and I came away with a lot of really good ideas. I'm a fiction girl, as I have mentioned, but this week, it was kind of fun to read something that offered specific advice on living a better life.

    So, all in all, I should stop complaining and just move forward-- and thanks to all of you for helping me regain perspective! ♥

    "I'ma gonna getcha, yes I will"...

    "...I'ma gonna getcha, don't you know..."

    These are some of the amazingly clever and original lyrics of a song that Chris sings to the boys. Ha ha-- okay, original or not, it sure is cute! He's a fun dad-- he lets the boys sit on him and try to tickle him or play with his face, then of course, he shows them how the tickling is done. Look at my cute little valentines having fun together!

    Saturday, February 09, 2008

    Toony toony toony toons

    I try to keep most of my scrapbook stuff posted on my digital galleries, but I just had to show off these pages made with an awesome new collection. MandaBean (I'm on her creative team) and Robin Carlton teamed up to create four kits based on kid's favorite shows: Dora the Explorer, Blue's Clues, Backyardigans, and Little Einsteins. They didn't use any trademarked images or anything, but the colors and themes match those of the shows. Since I know a couple of you, especially family members, have expressed a lot of interest in digi scrapping, and since I know for sure that there are some major fans of these shows out there, I had to share!

    I LOVE how bright and fun all of these kits are! The collection was just released today, so it's on sale for 20% off, plus you get a couple of cool freebies, including some awesome word art. Anyway, enough of my selling-- if you're interested, here's the link!

    Friday, February 08, 2008

    It's time for another bubble bath...

    It's been one of those weeks.

    I won't go into details, but I'll just say that when I think about how I've felt the past few days, emotionally turbulent seems to be the most fitting phrase. Most of the time, I like to pretend I have it all together, that I know what I want and I know what I'm doing, so weeks like this always throw me for a loop.

    Ha ha-- I've typed and erased about six paragraphs now, but let's just leave it at this: I'm going to be okay. I have everything I need and I am loved and happy. ♥

    More tomorrow, I promise...

    Tuesday, February 05, 2008

    Vampire Weekend

    Okay, I am a total copycat, but I had to post this video that I found on Becca's blog. I love it!

    Snowed In!

    We had planned to head up to Idaho Falls on Sunday morning to participate in Todd and Ann-Michelle's blessing of their new little son, Graham. I even got everyone up early (which, if you know Chris, is a huge feat), dressed, and into the car by 7:15AM, and we were on the road. We didn't make it very far, though-- we were driving in a blizzard! Sadly, we decided it would be safer to turn around and head back home, rather than face the scary snowy roads in our "I-hate-the-snow" Camry. Even though I was so sad to miss Graham's blessing, it turned out to be the best decision.

    Just so you can get an idea of what we're dealing with, here is a picture of my back yard on Sunday morning:

    (There is a sandbox in there somewhere...)

    It snowed nearly non-stop for 24 hours!

    Naturally, the kids were very disappointed, especially our little Tom. He kept looking out at the snow, hoping it would let up. Sweet little bug.

    Since we already had a sub for our Sunday school class, we ended up staying home and cozy all day. It was nice to stay inside, but not so nice to wake up on Monday morning with our driveway completely buried. The last time I can remember seeing that much snow was when I was a little girl in Idaho Falls-- and I am guessing those memories are slightly skewed, since I am at least a little bit taller now.

    My arms are sore from the small bit of shoveling I did, which was just enough to get Chris's car out of the driveway. I like to make fun of our little Kia (it's a crummy car pretending to be an SUV), but it does have one virtue I should praise more often-- 4-Wheel-Drive!!

    Chris shoveled the rest of the driveway and the sidewalk and contributed to one of the many giant snow hills you can now see all over Logan. Gordon, of course, has been improving his conquering skills with each hill.