Thursday, August 28, 2008

There is Sunshine in my Soul Today

I don't know why it is, but whenever I think about playing the piano, I always think about that hymn, "There is Sunshine in my Soul Today." The funny thing is that I don't even particularly like that hymn, nor do I have any desire to play it. Maybe this thought stems from an ill-fated piano lesson assignment? Anyway, there is sunshine, or at least music, in my soul today because we have this beauty in our living room:

Yes, we finally found a piano! It is used (as you can see if you enlarge the picture), and needs a tune, but it's in good condition and plays well. We're mostly excited for Thomas to begin his lessons next week at the Utah Youth Conservatory, but I've been surprised at how much I enjoy sitting down to play a bit myself. And I love hearing the funny little songs Thomas makes up all day. I try not to brag about my kids too much, but I do have to say that Thomas has an amazing natural musical talent. I think these lessons will be just perfect for him and will hopefully develop that talent into something he can cherish. I'll definitely post some video of him playing in the next few weeks!

Happy Birthday to Thomas... on August 12th...

It's pretty bad that not only have I still not made a birthday card for my own child, but also that I'm just barely posting about his birthday celebration now-- two weeks late! Well, he doesn't read this blog (mostly) and honestly, the rest of you probably don't care all that much. I'm mostly just catching up now for journaling purposes!

Well, it's true: I am the mother of a seven-year-old boy! SEVEN! I remember seven!! I can't believe my tiny little boy is growing up so fast, but he sure is turning into such a fun kid. Those of you who know Thomas know that he is very smart, a bit sensitive, quirky, but most of all, a sweetheart to the core. We love having him in our family!

We started the day off right with tasty homemade waffles, complete with a birthday candle. Thomas had to make sure we had a cake planned for later-- he didn't want to waste his candle-blowing ceremony on breakfast!

And of course, there was cake! I spent a good amount of time decorating the rainbow-sprinkle flavored sheetcake into a MarioKart speedway, complete with the requested "7" and twisty candles. I was pretty impressed with myself, as was Gord. Tom, who at his age is apparently a bit harder to please, said, "Mom, that's a really funny cake." Funny? How about fantastic?!

The rest of the birthday day was pretty low key-- it helps when the birthday boy requests a "special birthday dinner" of Mac & Cheese! Ah, to be seven!

The real party was on Saturday, the 16th, when the four of us went to Cherry Hill, in Layton. I had been to Cherry Hill a few times as a teenager, but I had almost completely forgotten everything about it. We had a complete blast-- it was the perfect place to spend the day, and we enjoyed it so much that we're planning a DeArton family reunion there next year. The water park is set up perfectly for kids-- there is a shallow (but nice and chilly) Pirate Cove for little kids, then a lazy river and water slides for the bigger kids and adults. There were a lot of people there, but it wasn't overkill like Lagoon can be, and the price was really reasonable. Plus, the lazy river moved nice and fast, and Chris and Thomas had a great time "lapping" Gordon and me in the tube.

We had an absolutely wonderful time, and even enjoyed pie and ice cream before heading home. Happy Birthday to our wonderful boy!!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Use the Force

Elena always posts funny things her kids say, and I just love it. I need to keep a little notebook around, because my kids say funny things, too, but I usually manage to forget them by the time I'm blogging. But, here's one for today:

On our little Anniversary slideshow (below), the music is James Taylor's "You are my Only One." I've played it a bunch of times while I was getting the slideshow put together, and I guess it's in Gordon's head. I walked by his room and overheard him singing,

"Oh, You are my OBI-WAN, You are my Obi-Wan"

I think JT could definitely have a Jedi vibe, don't you?

Thursday, August 21, 2008


I can hardly believe it-- today is our tenth anniversary! TEN! That's double digits, people!!

I can remember ten years ago, when I woke up in my parents' house, young and excited, and drove with them to meet Chris and his family at the Idaho Falls Temple. We borrowed Chris's mom's car for our honeymoon, and moved to Salt Lake City, a place I had never lived before. This morning, I woke up in our house, in the bed we purchased together when I was pregnant with Gordon, and drove our car to drop our son off at school here in Logan, the town where we moved together. While I was reminiscing about our past ten years, I couldn't help but realize how much "my" life has become "ours". Every precious memory is one we've made together. It's kind of odd to say this, but even the hard things we've gone through have been easier to handle because we've relied on each other to get us through.

On our wedding day, the man who married us gave us six little phrases to remember-- the last one was "We." I thought it was kind of funny, thinking on that day that the most important phrase was "I love you," but now that I think back on all of these years, I realize that "we" really was the most significant. I love that we have built this life together, and that when I imagine all of the many years to come, all I can think of is "we".

Happy Anniversary to my hunsty, my favorite person in the universe! "I love you" doesn't even begin to express!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Belated Birthday Cards!

To the four lovely people whose birthdays I have been meaning to mention... please forgive me! I should have realized when I started making digi birthday cards that the late summer would mess me up! My lateness has nothing to do with these fantastic people-- I'm just a bum!! So, without further ado, HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAYS!!

July 25th-- Happy Birthday Garrett!

Garrett is our sweet one-year-old nephew and we just love that he is a part of our family. I love the picture in his card-- Chris and I met him for the first time over Christmas last year and we both recognized immediately how precious he is. We wish he lived closer (or that we took more California trips?), but we are looking forward to getting to know him and watching him grow up in the years to come. Happy Birthday, Gar-bear!!

August 2nd-- Happy Birthday Sophie!

Born just a few weeks before our wedding, Sophie became our first niece. We have loved watching her become an amazing, talented, smart and sophisticated young woman-- not to mention beautiful! I always appreciate how sweet she is with my boys, both Thomas and Gordon, even though she is the oldest cousin. I know how tough it can be to be the only one your age, so I am especially grateful to Sophie for handling her "oldest" role with such grace. Sophie is a wonderful girl and we love her! Happy Birthday, Soph!

August 4th-- Happy Birthday Amanda!

I could not be happier that Amanda is my sister-in-law! Aside from being one of the nicest, most adorable people I've ever known, she is also a great friend and a caring aunt. Sometimes I can't believe how much she loves her nieces and nephews, but I think she is just one of those people who is just completely full of love. It's amazing, and I am so grateful for her calming attitude and contagious smile. I know everyone in our family appreciates her, and I hope she knows how much both Chris and I (but especially me!) love having her around. She needs to move back to the West!! Let's all cross our fingers! I adore you, Amanda-- Happy Birthday!!

August 19th-- Happy Birthday Marilyn/Mom!

Since this is my blog, I'll just post my personal birthday wish for my dear mother-in-law. (I was going to say that I'd get Chris to post something, too, but let's get real.) Anyway, since the very first time I met Marilyn, she has teased me about being "too good" for her son. I don't think she really means that, but I take it as her being glad that I'm a part of her family, and I'm so grateful for that. She has always made me feel like one of her own children, and the older I get and the more terrible mother-in-law stories I hear, the more I realize how awesome that is! Marilyn is a wonderful example of someone who is generous, forgiving, savvy, and not afraid to be herself. She is a spoiling grandma that my boys can't get enough of, and a wonderful mother (okay, we get spoiled, too) to both Chris and me. We love you, Marilyn! Happy, happy Birthday!

Friday, August 15, 2008

I ♥ Blogs!

One of my favorite things about having a blog is when I get in touch with people I haven't seen or heard from forever! I love finding people (like Adam & Shannon and Allen & Becca!), and I love being found (by Amberlee, SueAnn & Beccka just recently!). It's so fun! So, I've added a few new links to my "friends" list. Check 'em out-- you never know who you might find! ;)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Happy August Days!

I was trying to decide earlier today which month is busier in our family: August or December? I actually think August wins out. We have our anniversary and Tom's birthday in our immediate family, then five other birthdays in our extended families, plus three other anniversaries! Plus, we are still trying to cram in the last bitty bits of summer in and get ready for school (which starts on the 20th this year-- freakishly early, if you ask me), which means other things like lessons and PTA and who the heck knows start this month as well. This week we've had something every single day, which is the primary reason why I am WAY behind on my birthday wishes (even though they're late, I still love you!!), including that of my own little SON! Thomas turned 7 yesterday and I took plenty of pictures that I will just have to post about later. I'm still catching up from this weekend!

Anyway, Saturday we went to a reunion for the Andrew & Carrie Newbold family-- Chris's maternal great-grandparents. Lucky us, it was held right here in Logan, so everyone got to come to us! The reunion itself was nice-- Chris has some really neat people in his family-- but it was especially great because Andy and Heidi and their family were here from California, and Amanda and her two sweeties were here from Wisconsin! We missed Andy Hansen and Emily and her family-- maybe we should start up an annual Hansen reunion?

Our kids were SOOOOOO excited to see their cousins, and even today Gordon asked, "When is Tyler coming over?" Ty is almost a year older than Gordon, but the two of them seem to be instant buddies. I love how they even look alike!

Chris and his cute aunt, Sharon, enjoyed tasty watermelon along with the rest of us. There were a lot of people that I had never met, but I hadn't seen Chris's aunts, uncles or cousins in years, so it was fun to catch up.

Here are all of the Hansen grandkids except Abby. Chris was nice enough to introduce my gigantic belly to everyone as "Number 10".

Cousins! We really need to plan a trip to California!

After the reunion, the Hansens et al came over to our house to celebrate the five August birthdays with tasty cake. It was really fun to hang out with everyone and the time went by just too fast. I think Marilyn was in heaven with all these kids!

Afterward, Gordon came to lay down with me for "just a minute"... and sure enough, it only took a minute...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Anniversary Trip! (Part II)

After our first night in Victoria, we went to Butchart Gardens, a pristine 55-acre garden about 15 miles from Victoria. Butchart Gardens is incredible-- another must-see if you are in the area-- and we loved being able to stroll around the property on such a beautiful day. Chris and I had visited with my family when Thomas was 2, and in a different time of year, so it was fun to see the changes of the seasons (no rhododendrons, but the roses-- oh my!), and to be able to stop and enjoy everything without chasing a toddler around!

After Butchart, we went back to the hotel to rest a bit, then hit downtown Victoria. As I mentioned, it was BC Day, and I have never seen so many people in Victoria! It was kind of crazy, but very fun to be there for the holiday. We did some touristy shopping downtown and picked up a couple of souvenirs for our kids.

Nicki and I tried hooking up with this grizzly-- he wasn't impressed.

The next time we visit Victoria, we'd really like to stay at the Empress. We're assuming we'll be very rich by then!

After walking around in the hot sun, it was nice to cool off for a bit and enjoy a tasty dinner at the Tapa Bar. Tapas are spanish appetizers and you just order a bunch to share with everyone-- so yummy!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Anniversary Trip! (Part I)

In two weeks, Chris and I will celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. I think that's kind of amazing, and even more amazing is the fact that we still like each other! I'll probably go on and on about how much I love my smart, goofy, sexy little man on our special day, but for now, I'll just sum up by quoting Chris from a conversation on our trip:

"I feel like we won the lottery."

Last year, we started talking about what special trip we could take this year to celebrate, and decided to return to our old stomping grounds in the Pacific Northwest. When we talked about the trip with our oldest married friends (meaning they've been our longest "coupled" friends, married just a week after us), Ryan and Nicki Stanton, they got excited and we all decided the trip would be that much more fun with all four of us. And, since Ryan has a company car and doesn't have to pay for gas, a road trip was definitely in order!

The trip definitely lived up to our plans and expectations-- we had SO MUCH FUN!! We had a blast touring some fun sites in Seattle, Vancouver and Victoria, BC, and just reminiscing about our ten years as couples and friends. Ryan and Nicki were such fun traveling companions and we are so glad that we made this trip together.

So, a brief travel log, with a bunch of pictures of Chris and me looking schmoozy:

We left on Thursday last from Idaho Falls (where we left the boys with my parents-- THANK YOU!!!) and started with a kickoff breakfast at Smitty's. Mmm, love those waffles! We headed up through Idaho and Montana, then West to Washington. Although we made pretty good time, we didn't get to Seattle until 9:30 at night, so we had to rush to our dinner spot: Steamers, a tasty fish and chips place right on the waterfront. The food was fantastic and since we were the last customers in the place, the staff was very kind and gave us some extra fish and chips and clam chowder. Yum!

We stayed that night at the Inn at Queen Anne, about a block and a half away from the Space Needle. The next morning, we drove up to Queen Anne hill to enjoy the beautiful view of chilly Seattle (chilly is a good thing at this time of year!), and watch the cruise ships coming in to the harbor. Although we've been to that park more times than I can count, I never can get over how gorgeous Seattle is. I miss it.

Next we headed down to the waterfront and to Pike's Place Market, where Ryan and Nicki had never been. We enjoyed tasting a bunch of samples (the peaches were incredible) and fighting our way through the throngs of people at the market. I tried to soak in the cool ocean air and the fresh smells in the market, especially the fruit and flowers. I'm always amazed at the fresh flower selection-- the bouquets I'm posing by were only $10 and more beautiful than anything you can get in Logan.

We left Pike's Place and headed North to our old town of Lake Stevens, where we had a delicious lunch at our favorite Italian place: Luca's. The restaurant has expanded quite a bit in the three years since we've lived there, but the food was still just as tasty. We also stopped at our favorite grocery store, Haagen, to pick up some salmon rub. It was fun to reminisce.

The US-Canada border is only about an hour and a half from where we ate lunch, but after being routinely stopped for a security check and hanging out at the border office for almost 40 minutes, it took us a lot longer to get to Canada. We even had our passports-- bums! The other disappointment for the day was that our hotel in Vancouver was booked full for BC Day (a holiday for British Columbia very much like the 4th of July for us) and the only rooms left were an executive suite and a smoking room. Since I couldn't tolerate the smokey smell, the four of us ended up sharing the suite-- Chris and I pulled the extra bed into the huge living room, so we still had separate quarters. The good thing is that Expedia was great to work with and gave us a refund, which we split with Ryan and Nicki. Anyway, it was an interesting afternoon, but luckily the only one on the trip that wasn't perfect.

We hurried to get primped, then drove to Vanier Park in downtown Vancouver to attend Bard on the Beach, Vancouver's Shakespeare Festival. We saw Twelfth Night, which was absolutely incredible. This was our second time at the festival, and we wish we could have stayed for all three plays (though I'll admit that Titus Andronicus looks a bit freaky) because they are so well done. Even if you have never seen a live Shakespeare play before, you would enjoy this festival-- it is AMAZING! I think this was probably my favorite event of our trip and I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone.

They don't let you take pictures inside the theatre, but here are the four of us outside the tents:

The next morning was spent in downtown Vancouver. Our first stop was Chinatown, which is actually the 2nd largest Chinese community in North America, second only to San Francisco. After browsing one too many open fish markets (and the Chinese fish markets are a bit different than the ones we're used to...), we decided to forgo our planned lunch there. But, I did get some really good fortune cookies, and tried on this killer hat:

Gasstown, closer to the water, but only a few blocks from Chinatown, had a bit more of the Western tourist flavor. We bought our Christmas ornament for the year here-- a beautiful maple leaf ornament to remind us of our trip. We also stopped at a food court where the vendors did not accept Visa-- weird, huh? We ended up eating lunch at Safeway! :)

After lunch, we went to Tsawassen, where we loaded onto a BC Ferry to Vancouver Island. Victoria, the capitol city of British Columbia, is located on Vancouver Island. The ferry ride is about an hour and a half, and has gorgeous scenery of the small islands in the bay. We also played some games and visited the on board gift shop.

Finally, we arrived in Victoria and checked into our gorgeous, antique hotel, The Dalton Inn. Our only plan for the evening was a very fancy dinner at Barkley's Stakehouse, where our food was almost too beautiful to eat. But man, it was tasty! We had to take a picture before we ruined the presentation.

We spent more than two hours at dinner, enjoying every last bite of our exquisite dinner and talking about our favorite memories from the past ten years by candlelight. The boys were so nice to get dressed up and I really couldn't have planned a better evening. With the romantic candlelight and my handsome hubby, our close friends and easy conversation, and of course, amazing food, it was the perfect anniversary dinner.

And you know me-- no perfect dinner is complete without the perfect dessert: creme brulee! It was heaven!

More to come!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

We're back!

We just returned from our wonderful anniversary trip to the Pacific Northwest! It was such a great trip, but sadly, we're back in real life where laundry, mail, and other annoyances await. :) I have loads of pictures to share, plus a few belated birthday wishes, so I promise a couple of good long posts within the next day or so. And of course, I have a TON of blog catching up to do! Hope you all had great weeks-- more to come!