Friday, June 27, 2008

Eight Factoids

A while ago, my sister, Caitlan, tagged me to share eight facts or habits about myself. I've done this tag before, but it's been a while and I can always think of new stuff! So, here we go:

1. This is what I look like in 8 Mega Pixels!

That's right, I bought a new camera today! WAHOOOOO!!! Other than wanting to take amazing photos of my own family members, I really don't have any desire to be a professional photographer. That being said, I start feeling very greedy when it comes to mega pixels. Maybe it's my love for those fine details, I don't know, but I can't help but want a digital SLR camera. But, as much as I want to hoard mega pixels and RAW images, I had to be realistic and face the fact that it doesn't make a whole lot of sense for me to spend that much money on a professional camera when I'm not interested in being professional with it. So, I requested camera money for my birthday and used it to buy my new Canon PowerShot A590, which has 8 of those precious MPs and a 4X optical zoom. It's adorable and little and completely perfect for what I need it for. So THANK YOU to my parents, in-laws, Nonny and Bob, and the Freeds for contributing!! I LOVE my gift!

(PS. I had enough left over to put towards a fancy new scanner. Canon loves me today.)

2. Like most people, I love good customer service. What I don't love is when customer service goes overboard into the pestering/privacy-invading realm. One of the grocery stores here must really push the customer service thing, because their checkers go kind of crazy with the in-line chatter. Most of the time it doesn't bother me, but I really don't like it when they start commenting on my purchases. "Oh, are you having a party?" says the checker, eyeing my 4lbs of Red Vines.

"No, I just wanted some Red Vines." And those Chips Ahoy cookies. And that ice cream. And those chips.

Today I went to Motherhood Maternity to buy a new shirt. The girl in the store (who is also pregnant) met me at the entrance and asked me what I wanted, then proceeded to find every single shirt in that color in the store and put it in "my" dressing room, even though I insisted that I didn't really want to try anything on. Even after I made my decision, she pulled out another couple of shirts and tried to get me to try those ones on as well. Then, when I was trying to check out, she asked me a million questions about my pregnancy, my nursing plans and whether or not the baby had a college fund. I know they are paid to upsell, but COME ON! I spent more than 45 minutes in that store, when it really should have been a 10 minute thing. Next time, I'm shopping online.

3. Since we went to Panama, I've been wanting to enroll in a Spanish class. I actually took two years of Spanish in high school and another two years plus a semester of Italian in college, but I really can't say much more than "Hi, my name is Elise." I can understand Spanish a lot better than I can speak it (though that isn't saying much), and being around a completely Spanish-speaking population made me wish I could communicate better.

4. I usually don't dream a lot and/or remember my dreams, but for some weird reason, this pregnancy I am having the strangest, most vivid dreams. A few nights ago, for example, I dreamt that I was in a room with a bunch of people having an intimate acoustic concert with Jon Bon Jovi. Jon Bon Jovi started playing his guitar and singing and in my dream, I had the guts and vocal talents to start harmonizing with him! He looked at me, smiling, and shook his head and said, "yeah, that's right," and we kept singing together-- very High School Musical-ish. Sigh. The funniest part of this story is that the next morning, when I told Chris about my special moment with my favorite rocker, Chris said I actually blushed.

5. I have lots and lots of ponytail holders that Chris will throw away if he finds them around the house. It's probably a good thing that I'm the only girl around here, or we'd be hair-thing crazy.

6. When each of my boys were born, Chris painted my toenails blue in the hospital. With Thomas, I had a really light blue polish that Chris used while I was chilling with the epidural. With Gordon, the color was a metallic navy blue and that paint job came the morning after he was born, since the labor was a little more... let's say intense than my previous one.

7. When I was in 2nd grade, my teacher, Mr. Hickle (yes, that was his name) would have an annual pickle sale. The class wrote letters to Vlassic, who supplied us with several huge cases of dill pickles, which we then sold with or without toppings. The best toppings were chocolate and caramel syrup. I tried this again the other day and really, the combination is surprisingly tasty. I double dare you to try it.

8. I think I have a pretty decent sense of humor and I laugh out loud a lot. Unfortunately, I am the worst at reiterating jokes or funny stories to other people (save the chicken jokes to Thomas, but that doesn't count). Chris is really good at quoting movies or shows verbatim, or retelling a story with just the right emphasis and buildup, but I do not have that same skill. I find myself way too often saying, "I guess you had to be there." Oh well, I guess I just wasn't cut out to be a comedian!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Happy Birthday Tyler!!

Today our cute little Wisconsin nephew, Tyler, turns 4!! Thomas and Gordon LOVE spending time with Tyler and we can't wait until they visit Utah later this summer. Tyler is a smart, funny, and sweet little guy and we just adore him. Hopefully his dad, Andy, will get a residency somewhere a little closer!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TY-TY! We hope it's a great one!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Dad's Day, Happy Birthday to Me!, Party at Lagoon, New Free Stuff, and "My Dressed"

This is what you get when I don't blog for a few days: a title almost as long as the post! ;)

Anyway, summer is in full swing here and we've been having lots of fun. I need to remember to pull out the camera for those funny, everyday moments that I want the boys to remember. Yesterday I had a conversation with Thomas that went something like this:

Tom (in a whiny voice): But, MOM, we haven't done anything fun today!

Me: What are you talking about? You guys ran through the sprinklers, we went to the park, we had a yummy dinner, we went out for ice cream... We had lots of fun.

Tom: Oh yeah.

I feel like I need to dig out the pictures and show him, "SEE! SEE THE FUN WE'RE HAVING? LOOK AT THOSE SMILING FACES!! THAT'S YOU!!!"

Anyway, on to a recap of the things I did take pictures of! First of all, we did have a great Father's Day up in Idaho Falls. All six DeArton siblings were there on Sunday, which I think is the first time since Jake came home from his mission. It's funny that the older we get, the more we like being around each other. I think my parents are heaving a huge sigh of relief because growing up, we fought like rabid animals. Anyway, we're almost all adults (in the technical sense, anyway) and I really do love being with all of them.

Even though Father's Day was more than a week ago, I don't think I can ever say too much how much I appreciate the fathers in my life. Both Chris and I have great dads and grandfathers that we continually look to as examples, and being parents ourselves makes us appreciate even more the sacrifices they have made in our behalf. It was fun to be able to share some of my favorite memories with my dad on father's day and to hear my sibling's memories and be reminded, once again, that we really are lucky.

I've mentioned this several times-- Chris is the best dad. I really couldn't ask for more from him in the fatherhood department and I am grateful for everything he does for our boys. Just today the three of them were running around the house, hiding from each other and playing tag, and I couldn't help but smile at those pleasant sounds. Chris is just crazy about our kids and I know they can tell how much he loves them. Plus, they got his smashing good looks!

It was such a gorgeous day on Sunday, so we tried to get a few pictures before changing out of our Sunday clothes. I absolutely adore this one of Gord!

We didn't get any pictures of my whole family, but Jake took a few of just us. Three-year-olds are ideal for hiding a growing belly!

On June 19th, I turned 29! I guess this means I am a woman (and it's sad that the lyrics of a dumb Britney Spears song are going through my head now...).

I had a great birthday. The celebration actually started the night before when Sean and Karin generously watched our offspring so Chris and I could enjoy a peaceful dinner at the Olive Garden. We were finishing up our tasty meals (Steak Gorganzola... yum... I guess I'm back on red meat) when the table was suddenly surrounded by a bunch of waiters with a birthday dessert and Becky! I was TOTALLY surprised to see her and had to fight myself from getting emotional. It was such a fun surprise.

The next day, I woke up to a lovely hand-made sign, designed by my three talented men:

Becky's sister, Katie, had their Bonzai Falls set up and they graciously invited the boys and me to join them for lunch and swimming/sliding. The kids had a BLAST-- it felt like my own little birthday party! I definitely owe Becky for making my birthday so much fun.

Gordon showing off his "wrickely" fingers

Yay, a shot of the birthday girl. I'm thinking about how much I love my boring black maternity swimsuit.

Just in time for the continuing celebrations, Saturday was my company's Lagoon Day. I am not a huge fan of the theme park, but I absolutely appreciate the free admission and dinner my company provides each year. In the few days before we went, Chris did a great job of prepping the boys: they looked at the park map online, drew up a schedule, and measured themselves for the ride's height requirements. Needless to say, the boys were thrilled out of their little minds.

I kind of made fun of the whole schedule thing, but it turned out to be a fantastic idea. We hardly doubled back on our walks from ride to ride, had breaks at just the right times, and managed to avoid any distressingly long lines. It was kind of fun to follow a map and schedule-toting six-year-old through the park.

Our first stop was Lagoon-A-Beach, the park's swimming/waterslide area. We were there early enough that we didn't have any competition to get to the water slides and didn't have last year's repeat of the aggressive older kids in the baby pool. We were armed with plenty of sunscreen, of course, and all four of us enjoyed the perfect start to our day. Thomas was especially brave on the waterslides, while Gordon mostly enjoyed running and splashing in the 2 ft deep kid area.

After the water park, we hit the rides. The boys loved every minute, except for Thomas and the white roller coaster... let's just say that he is still too young to enjoy that kind of ride. We made it up to him with lots of junk food and plenty of other good rides.

Gordon's first roller coaster-- Puff. He was completely stoic during the ride, but when asked if he enjoyed it, said "YES!"

The favorite ride of the day was Rattlesnake Rapids. We rode after dinner while it was still sweltering hot outside and were grateful that the signs warning, "You will get drenched," were telling the truth. You can't tell from this picture, but my back from head to toe is completely soaked.

We stayed until 9:30, and after one last ride on the Red Baron (below), we left the park completely exhausted and full of Lagoon until next year. I actually had a really fun day and I know the boys just loved it. In fact, on our way out, Thomas proclaimed, "I want to live at Lagoon!"

I've been quite busy with my digital scrapbooking stuff. In fact, if you haven't checked out my design site, you'll have to mosey over to pick up some new free kits. I feel like I'm finally getting the hang of things and am actually pleased with the results. My kits are getting a lot of downloads, which definitely gives me hope that I'm getting things right!

Finally, I had to post this funny picture of the Gordster. I am appreciating the benefits of the easy on and off shorts he wears on summer days. He can actually put on "my dressed" all by himself, though his appearance isn't exactly as neat and tidy as we (okay, I, I'm the only one who cares) would like. Today, for example, he does have one leg in each leg of his shorts, but the waistband is sorely twisted and the shorts are actually on backwards. Ah, he's a cute little turd.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

My Leesta Toast is 29!!

I can't think of a more appropriate time to attempt my first blog post than on Elise's last birthday of her twenties. I feel this is especially appropriate since I am composing this entry on the new iMac I got her as an early birthday present.

Let's start with some messages from the boys:
"I think I want to say ... happy birthday." - Gord
"I love you sooooooooo much. Happy birthday Mom!" - Tom
"Maybe I want to say I love you." - Gord, who loves Mommy because "I play with her."
"She obeys me, and I obey her." - Tom

What I will say is that Leesta is the Gorilla glue that holds this family together. If it weren't for her, the boys and I would be living up Logan Canyon in some cave, wearing loincloths and competing with coyotes for food. Sure, we'd have fun, but we'd probably smell bad and definitely cry ourselves to sleep every night over the loss of our lovely redhead.

When we found out we were having another boy, it just seemed right. Leesta has always been the lone woman in this family, and she's magnified that role so well. She's the perfect mixture of creativity, comfort, business savvy, leadership, friendship, beauty, intellect and sexiness. And, as Tom pointed out, she's got the obedience (and lustrous coat) of a golden retriever.
Happy birthday Leesta!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A family outing

Remember when I promised to blog with pictures and some video? Ha ha, that was a good one. The truth is that we DID have some great video of Thomas riding his 2-wheeler-without-training-wheels for the first time, but I somehow deleted the file. He'll give it another go this week, and I'll be sure to be ready!

In the meantime, I do have some fun pictures from the weekend. We drove up to Idaho on Saturday and went to Fall Creek for a picnic with my parents, Jake, Caitlan, Allison and Maryn (friend of the fam). We found a perfect spot right by the Snake River. When he wasn't guzzling root beer, Gordon kept himself busy throwing rocks in the river. He even got his dad to help out.

It's always fun for the boys to hang out with Mom-Mom and Pop-Pop. There is something about grandparents that makes them immune to the annoyances of being climbed on all the time. I think they actually like it.

We had a really tasty picnic with all of the goods. My current fave: that onion cream cheese chip dip. Man. I could seriously eat that stuff with a spoon. A while ago, I mentioned this pregnancy-induced craving and someone (I think Shannon?) asked for the recipe: cream cheese, chopped onions, and a little bit of milk just to soften the mixture. That's it-- I love it with Ruffles, but any chip will do. Also on the menu: hamburgers, hot dogs, Mom's beans (YUM) and an all-time DeArton fave (especially because of the "my-family-is-nerdy" name)-- Psycho Freaky Bars. Since I'm in the secret family recipe sharing mood (just kidding, they're not secret recipes), I'll tell you how to make PFB's: rice crispy treats, except substitute Special K for the crispies, add peanut butter to your marshmallow mixture, then top with melted chocolate and butterscotch chips. Extremely unhealthy, but extremely tasty. Just get your toothbrush handy! :)

The quiet setting, (mostly) gentle breeze, warm sun, and great company made for a perfect Saturday afternoon picnic. I'm glad we had a chance to do it.

I have a few pictures from Sunday, which I will post tomorrow before So You Think You Can Dance (LOVE that show!).

Friday, June 13, 2008

A Joke from Slacker McGee

Okay, I've been a total blog slacker lately, but I DO have some updates, pictures and even some videos to post! Unfortunately, those will have to wait until later this evening because I've got a few things to do first. In the meantime, you know how much we love "chicken jokes" at our house, and I just told Thomas one that produced a genuine belly laugh:

How did the frog cross the road?

He tied himself to the chicken!

Monday, June 09, 2008

He's a Hunster

I have to write this quick post (sans pics, sorry) about the fantastic person I happen to be married to. Chris is really such a great guy, and I don't give him nearly enough credit or tell him often enough how grateful I am for everything he does. The truth is that I can be a selfish little snot and I tend to take his goodness for granted. So, on this night, let me just go down in the record books as saying this: I am SO grateful for Chris!

As most of you know, Chris works the evening shift at the newspaper and usually gets home between 10 and midnight every night. I complain about our schedule on a very regular basis (to his complete and utter joy, I'm sure, but he doesn't complain back) and I tend to get very worn out by the pseudo-single-mom role I play during the week. It seems like Fridays have been especially bad lately, and last Friday was no different. When Chris called to see how things were going, I answered in my grumpiest voice and explained how I had absolutely no more patience to deal with our darling offspring. After we hung up and I told Gordon for the umpteenth time to get in bed, I finished straightening the house and started working at the computer. At 9:30, I heard a little knock on our front door. When I opened the door, I couldn't see anyone but saw a couple of presents on the step: a Mexican quesadilla from TGI Friday's and a pint of Ben & Jerry's. I called for Chris, but he didn't come out of hiding, so I shut the door and went upstairs to store my treats. A minute later, another knock. This one still didn't produce Chris, but a dozen beautiful roses-- peach, pink, white and yellow. He finally came around the corner with his carefree smile, and I completely forgot about my stressful night.

The best thing about this little story is that it's not a rare one-- Chris is constantly finding ways to make me feel special. He is a very hard-working, kind, and genuine person, and I am so glad that he's mine. I need to try harder to be the kind of spouse that he is to me!

Love you, Hunst!

Happy Birthday Emily!

Happy Birthday yesterday to my sister-in-law Emily! We remembered Emily's birthday mid-day yesterday, but we were up in the canyon and couldn't call. Chris forgot again, then remembered at 10PM and decided to give her a call-- and managed to wake her up! Sorry, Emily! And, here is your belated card... one of these days we'll be on the ball!

Anyway, Happy Birthday to Emily! I have always appreciated Emily's good-natured personality and her kindness. The day I met Chris in person, Emily was nice enough to walk with me from the church to their house, and introduce me to her parents while Chris was busy greeting all of the other post-mission well-wishers. She made me feel very comfortable, and I have been grateful for that same part of her ever since. She and Chris share the amazing talent of adventurous eating, but Emily has excelled that and has become an amazing cook. Her recipes are always tasty and you can count on her to give a good eating recommendation. Her ideas have challenged me to explore a little more with my own cooking. (By the way, if you want some of her recipes, check out her recipe blog at Culinary Collie Sue-- you won't be disappointed!)

Happy Birthday, Emily! We hope your next 25 years are as great as your first! ♥

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Let's call it a leap...

Here's a little secret: when it comes to living your dreams, trying something new, or putting yourself "out there", I talk big, but inside, I'm a complete mess. I really admire those friends of mine, many of whom have blogs here, who are doing things like this and are just getting better and better at their crafts.

So, about a year ago, I started digital scrapbooking. I've been paper scrapping for the last 12 years, and I love it-- it's actually very therapeutic for me to sit down at a table with a bunch of paper, elements, pictures and double stick tape, or all of those things on a computer, and just focus on creating something. I'm not the best scrapper in the whole world, but I'm proud of my pages and I love looking at them.

Since I've been digital scrapping, ideas have kept popping into my head for my own papers and elements. I decided to give the designing end a try and realized that it is way more difficult than I thought it would be, but that I actually love doing it. So, I bought a book, Chris bought me this computer and a fancy program, and after a lot of trial and error and google-searching, here we are: my first digital mini kit. Right now, while I'm still learning, I'll be giving the things I make away for free on my new design blog: Elise Hansen Designs. I know that there are a billion designers out there who are better than I am, but I'm definitely learning the ropes and I really hope to make this into something real. In the meantime, you're not allowed to criticize-- I just don't think I could take it! :)

Visit my design blog, Elise Hansen Designs, to see more on this kit and download it for free. If you end up making anything with it, please let me know!

Here's to taking leaps! ;)

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Here comes Summer!

You can't tell by the cold, rainy weather, but today is actually the first day of our summer vacation. Thomas, who is still young enough to take everything quite literally, was disappointed this morning when he looked out the window and saw dark clouds instead of a bright sun. Sorry, bud, but it looks like someone forgot to send Mother Nature your school calendar!

There are two things in particular that I have been looking forward to about this summer vacation. Number 1: I no longer have to leave the house by 8 AM to drive the 30 minutes round trip to drop Thomas off at school. This equates to sleeping in a half an hour longer, and saving whatever it was we were spending in gas on his hourly daily commute to and from school. My plan for the summer is to come up with a more economical and earth-friendly way to get around next fall. In the meantime, Number 2: We've got the bikes all set up and I'm going to be a bikin' mama! The parts of town that we frequent, including Chris's and my offices, are pretty much on a flat plane, so we've agreed to take this summer off from driving as much as we can. Chris has already biked to work for several days and has really enjoyed it. I admit that I took the car today because it was raining, so hopefully tomorrow. As for the boys, Chris's primary objective over the next week or so is to teach Thomas how to ride the two-wheeler, and we can tote Gord along in the bike trailer. Good times.

I didn't take very many pictures on Monday, but here is one with my grandparents, mom and Allision, minus Tom who was being a pill.

Thomas had a great last day of school. He cleaned out his desk and his locker, had his favorite pizza lunch, and said good-bye to his friends with an extra amount of excitement. He has had such a great year! This year, we've really seen Thomas blossom. He absolutely loves going to school and loves doing schoolwork at home. Since August, his reading skills have improved to the point that he can read almost anything without having to sound out the word audibly, and he seems to really "get" math. He made a special notebook to record his thoughts and stories over the summer, and the past couple of days I've caught him getting up early to go downstairs and write in the quiet morning. It's really sweet.

We owe a huge thanks to his amazing teacher, Mrs. Cook. She is the perfect 1st grade teacher and you can just feel her love for those kids when you meet her. She is a truly admirable person and we're so glad Thomas will be with her again next year.

After school, we met Chris and Gordon at Casper's for a celebratory ice cream treat.

Nothing says, "Here comes summer!" like ice cream!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Tonight I went to and ordered Easter shirts for the boys for next year. It was kind of weird because I ordered three of them.


I am going to be the mom of three sons. The fact has hardly sunk in, but I can't help but feel a little giddy when I think about it.

Yesterday was such a fun day! After dropping Tom off at school, I went to work for a while, then came home just as Nonny, Bob, my mom and Allison were pulling up. Chris had been watching our friends' little boy while they went to their ultrasound (she is due just a week after me), so they joined us for lunch and shared their exciting news. Gordon, who hadn't seen Nonny and Bob since they were in the States last summer, more than made up for lost time by updating everyone on everything going on in his life. I think he may have talked non-stop for about three hours, then announced to Bob, "I'm tired!"

Bob generously agreed to keep an eye on our now sleepy 3-year-old, while the rest of us picked Thomas up from school, then met Chris and Marilyn at the doctor's office. I have to admit: I was having major anxiety over the number of people we were planning to bring into that ultrasound. I even called the office ahead of time to see if they had any kind of capacity limits. They didn't, so we all went: me (of course!), Chris, Thomas, my mom, Marilyn, Nonny and Allison. Luckily, the ultrasound tech could not have been better. He was totally relaxed, funny, and even put on a little show for all of the spectators. I'll have to write a little note to let him know how much his personality made the experience great for all of us, especially the anxiety-ridden pregnant woman!

He took us on a full tour of my womb, complete with the baby and all of his little organs and bones. Everything appears to be functioning as it should, and the baby measured almost exactly to my due date. The tech asked if we wanted to know the gender, which we did, but I don't know if it would have been possible to hide it. That particular area was quite plain to see, so there is no room for doubt! What was difficult to see, however, was the baby's face: he kept at least one hand in front of his face the whole time. I tried to shake my belly to see if he would move around, but instead of moving his one hand away, he moved his other hand up there, too! It was actually pretty cute, though we didn't really get a great ultrasound picture of his face. Oh well, they're a little alien/Skeletor-looking in those things anyway!

All in all, the ultrasound was a really good experience, and I am so glad it worked out so well that some of our most important people got to share it with us.

As far as reaction from our boys, Thomas had requested a sister, so he was a bit disappointed. I later learned that the primary reason for his disappointment wasn't so much having another brother, but concern over the fact that we had already been discussing our Halloween costumes for this year. Repeating our video game theme from last year, Thomas is planning to dress up as Mario. Gordon plans to be Sonic the Hedgehog (his idea, and totally fitting, if you ask me), while Chris will either be Bowser or Donkey Kong. I'll be the Princess and the baby will be Toad, who Tom apparently thought was a girl. When I explained that the baby can still be Toad, and that actually Toad is a boy, he brightened right up and seemed fine with the whole thing. Funny! Gordon predicted that the baby would be a boy, so he just said "uh huh," like, "yeah, I knew that already." I think his test will come when we actually bring said baby boy home!

Chris and I are still discussing names, which feels odd because both Thomas and Gordon were named within moments of our knowing their gender. I am easy-- I like almost anything classic, while Chris is a little more picky. Feel free to keep making suggestions, though I think we'll probably come up with some consensus within the next day or so. In the meantime, it's fun to call the little kicker a "he", and it's fun to start looking at things in threes.

Monday, June 02, 2008

My THREE sons!!!

Well, a whopping 80% of you (okay, us-- I voted girl, too) were wrong!! Our ultrasound revealed a no-questions picture of our new little guy-- DEFINITELY a BOY!!! It's late and it's been a long but exciting day, so I'll post more tomorrow, but I did want to give you all a quick update. (And a new BLUE header!!)

Our little guy, aside from having boy parts, has all of his other parts right where they should be. We are totally thrilled to have another boy! Now we just have to figure out the little dude's name...