Tuesday, September 20, 2011


We're in our fourth week of school here and I'm finally feeling like we're getting into a routine.  It's true that I still couldn't find a better time to blog than at 10:30 at night, but still, things seem less hectic than they did a few weeks ago.  Here's what we've been up to:

We spent Labor Day in Teton National Park hiking, picnicking, skipping little rocks and climbing on big rocks, water-bending, and enjoying the beauty of nature.  Our only complaint was having to get back to real life the next day.
A 3+ mile hike satisfies some Webelos requirements!

Gordon practicing his water-bending skills
Since school is back in session, the boys no longer have the luxury of staying up past a certain time every night.  It doesn't really seem fair to send all three boys to bed at the same time, though, so usually we've just let Tom stay up and read in his room for a while before he has to turn out the lights.  For the last several nights, though, Tom has been going into his room at the same time as the other kids, waiting a few minutes, then sneaking back downstairs to play a game with Chris.  They usually play Mastermind-- it's quick and fun and they can get several games in before I send anyone back upstairs.  It has been fun to see these two enjoy some one-on-one bonding time.

Gordon is playing soccer and had his first game last week.  He loves it, of course, and has been negotiating his reward for if/when he scores a goal.  So far, we've agreed that we'll go out for ice cream after the game. 

It seems a little bit cruel to post a picture of us in all of our red gear after such a painful game (painful even for the winners) on Saturday, but I would be remiss if I didn't share that football season is alive and well in the Hansen home.  Chris had the boys singing "Utah Man" and marching around in their matching shirts all day long.  Little goobers.

I need to update my book list with some books I've read over the past little bit.  My favorite of those has been The Reading Promise by Alice Ozma.  Additionally, Gordon and I have been reading books from the Elephant and Piggie series by Mo Willems and they are just plain awesome.  Five stars, thumbs up, and huge recommendations from me-- if you have an early reader, they are a must.

Sunday, September 04, 2011


The first week of school has passed and it's official:  the boys love it!  The homework hasn't been too much (so far) and Tom has a class full of old friends while Gord is busier than ever making new ones.  They wore shorts every day last week which makes the transition from summertime to school time a little easier.  Here they are on the first day...

When asked what his favorite parts of his school day are, Gordon replied, "lunch and recess."  No surprise there, although he is a very good student.  Tom enjoys writing and decided to bring home his journal with the first week's entry, titled "Ten Years from Today." 

"Anything could happen ten years from today!  Flying cars, mutated animals, and probably some new restraunts!  Nobody really knows if those things will exist in ten years.  All I know is that I'll be twenty years old!  I'll also be an inventor!  First I got to go to college.  Wait, college is an estimated ten years from now!  Perfecto!  What kind of college, you ask?  I know I live in Idaho at the moment, but I'm going to Utah Utes College.  I'm going to live in Utah, too!  Go ahead.  Boo all you want."  (Okay, so a couple of small spelling/grammar issues, but isn't that cursive lovely?)
I know it's a proud mom thing, but I am completely in love with Tom's writing!  It just cracks me up!  I love all of the exclamation points (I wonder where he gets that?) and his little defensive strike against any Utah naysayers.  I think I should make him journal every day.  

At home, our cherry tomatoes are ripening and I am loving going out for mini harvests every day.  I'm trying to perfect a sweet balsamic vinaigrette (hint, hint Nonny & Debra!) to dip them in.  They're as delicious as they are lovely and even though we have so many, they don't last long. 

Chris and I were in Teton National Park, one of our favorite places on Earth, with the Crawfords, some of our favorite people, to celebrate our anniversary last weekend.  It was the perfect little get-away, and the perfect way to relax a little bit before jumping into the madness that is back-to-school. 

Lucky for us, we get a Labor Day break and we're going back to the Tetons tomorrow, this time with the boys.  Can't wait!

Friday, September 02, 2011

The Duck Song: Robot and "Cool" Versions

Tom and Gord love The Duck Song.  They have all of the lyrics memorized and even made up their own versions of it.  It's pretty funny.

Don't mind the moving car...

Thursday, September 01, 2011

It's Game Day

Just in case you're confused about who we root for in this house, you could always drive by...

or ask one of the kids...

Go Utes! 

Monday, August 22, 2011


Summer is almost over and I really am so sad about it.  I haven't bought a single item of new school clothing, nor have I organized the school supplies or written names on anything.  I just can't do it.  I'm not ready.

Even though I've been a hideous blogger for our 87 Days of Summer Vacation, I have been taking pictures.  I have taken SO many pictures!  So many, in fact, that my Google albums want to charge me to upload any more.  While I'm deciding whether or not to fork out for extra online storage, you can still check out the remaining June and first half of July photos over on the sidebar.  Every photo has a story, of course, so let me know if you want to hear.  There are just too many to blog.

Here are a few of my favorites that haven't made it to the Google album yet:

Gordon has learned to ride his two-wheeled bike and asks at least once a day if we can go for a ride.  Tonight we did a little bit of back-to-school prep and timed ourselves riding from our house to the school.  If you don't count the few minutes of arguing over who gets to go first through the under-road tunnel, then we should be able to make it in about 20 minutes.  I think a morning bike ride will be a perfect start to a new school day, don't you?

Chris has been in Phoenix for the past three weeks and will finally get home on Friday.  I can't wait!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Lucky 13

I've always liked this picture of Chris and me.  It was taken outside the Idaho Falls, ID Temple right after we were married thirteen years ago today.  No one had a digital camera at the time, so almost all of our pictures from that day were taken by a professional photographer and almost all of them were posed.  I'm kind of jealous of today's brides with their zillions of great candid shots that they can post all over wherever, while I have just a handful of not-so-natural-looking hard-copy photos.  But that's what I like about this picture-- even though we're getting ready to pose, the looks on our faces isn't contrived at all.  We're looking at each other and I'm laughing and we look really, naturally happy.  I love it.

Every marriage has its ups and downs, and ours is certainly no different.  We definitely have those times when we're just trying to get through, sucking it up, gritting our teeth, and forcing a smile.  We both fill a lot of different roles and sometimes it can feel like we're so caught up in making things work that we forget to enjoy it. 

But then there are moments like this one, maybe when we're getting ready to go on to the next seemingly important thing, when we have a chance to look at each other, laugh, and just be happy together.  Those little moments make everything else worth it. 

Chris is good at bringing out those happy little tidbits for me, and today I feel really lucky, and grateful, to have thirteen years worth of memories with him.  Happy Anniversary, Hunst.  I love you!

PS-- I took this picture of the boys yesterday-- so cute!   

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

More summer fun! (Days 6-14)

Day 6-- June 8th:  Frisbee Fun

The reason I need to keep up with this 87 days of Summer thing more regularly than I have been is that the days all blur together and I forget what happens on the individual days.  On day 6, for example, I'm sure we did something besides play frisbee, but since I didn't take pictures, I no longer remember.  That's kind of sad.

But, I did take pictures of these two playing an impromptu game of frisbee while Chris and I got dinner going.  I'm constantly nagging Tom and Gordon to play together, work it out, include your brother, etc, so the fact that they decided to go outside and actually play together without parental prodding makes these pictures all the more priceless.  Plus, they look adorable.

Day 7-- June 9th:  Swimming

We had several stormy days during the first couple weeks in June, and this was one of them.  Luckily, we had buy-1-get-1-free tickets to the indoor Aquatic Center left over from Gordon's birthday party, so I took these boys swimming.  My kids are part fish and all three of them loved jumping around in the water.  I had quite the workout trying to hold onto little Neil-- he doesn't understand the concept of not being able to breathe while under water and tried to swim away from me every chance he could.  Little booger.  We were right to go swimming inside, though-- it hailed on us on our way home!

Day 8-- June 10th:  Backyard Yoga

I watched my sister Ann-Michelle's four children for three days during this week, and on Friday, it was finally warm enough to break out the pool.  The kids played outside for hours, ate lunch and had popsicles, then played some more.  I took a bunch of pictures, but this one is my favorite-- Tom leading his cousins in some yoga.  Namaste.

Day 9-- June 11th:  The Scottish Festival and Trilobites (pictures coming!)

We went to Utah to visit Grammuh and Grampuh, but like a moron, I forgot my camera.  Luckily, Gramm is a fabulous photographer and got all sorts of good ones from our day at Thanksgiving Point.  Some things I want to remember about our wonderful day:  Gordon falling in love with the bagpipe bands at the Scottish Festival (he informed us that he wants to play both the drums and the bagpipe when he grows up), tasty shortbread at one of the booths, the boys loving making trilobite molds just like a real paleontologist at the Museum of Ancient Life, and the huge and delicious sundaes at the little ice cream shop at Thanksgiving Point.  What a great day!

Day 10-- June 12th

Gordon got his face painted at the Scottish Festival and was so excited about it that he asked if he could paint his own face with watercolors after church on Sunday.  He's our own little Braveheart.

Day 11-- June 13th

The boys were invited to a friend's birthday party at a cool outdoor family fun park, and I took a picture of Tom climbing the rock wall with my phone.  It was cold and rainy (you can see how cloudy it is in the background), so we didn't get too spend too much time outside, but the boys still had a blast.  The Idaho Falls YMCA runs a rock climbing gym that I'm hoping to take the boys to sometime soon.  It seems like something we'd all enjoy.

Day 12-- June 14th

Another day where I'm not sure what we did.  All of my pictures are for digital scrapbooking stuff except this one of cute little Gordon.  Man, those eyelashes!  And sigh, that underbite...

Day 13-- June 15th:  Tee Ball

Gord is playing tee ball this summer with a fun group of boys in our area.  Most of them live within a few blocks or so, so every Monday and Wednesday, the boys have kind of a play date while the moms sit on the bleachers and visit.  It's really fun.  Go Yankees!

Day 14-- June 16th:  Sand Art

We watched my friend's son while she and her husband spent a weekend in New York (lucky ducks!!) and since it was another kind of gloomy day weather-wise, we decided to do some crafts.  After a fun filled lunch at the indoor playground at Arctic Circle (I had no idea they give you a free kid's cone when you stay for lunch-- sweet!), I took the boys to Wal-Mart and let them choose $10 worth of crafts.  After much deliberation (and me saying, "okay, it's time to choose" about twenty times), they finally decided on a sand art kit.  It was a little bit messy, but pretty fun, and the boys ended up with some cool art and father's day gifts.  Just what every dad wants!

Coming soon:  Fathers & Sons, more Tee Ball, the Backyard Science Fair, and more!  Summer is so fun!!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

87 Days of Summer Vacation-- Days 1-5

We're big fans of Phineas and Ferb around here.  The boys discovered it on Netflix and they're not the only ones who love it-- Chris and I get a huge kick out of this clever kids show, too.  The first line of the title sequence goes, "There's one-hundred-and-four days of summer vacation..." and the boys and I are feeling a little gypped that we've only got 87.  That 87 includes the last day of school (the first official day of summer, starting at 2:21 pm) and weekends. 

Since we're trying to jam all the fun we can into those 87 days, my goal is to take at least one picture each day and make a summer scrapbook.  If you are into scrapping or photography, you've probably heard of Project 365, where you take a photo a day for a year.  I'm not quite at that point myself, but I think Project 87 is a good start, don't you?  And there's nothing like a scrapbook to remind you how much fun you had!  :)

Day 1-- June 3rd:  The last day of school/ First day of summer.  I picked the kids up from school and we went to Baskin Robbins where we enjoyed tasty kid's cones while we looked at the end-of-year reports.  I'm happy to say that both boys really improved from the beginning of the year to the end, and that they are both well above average.  Of course, I don't need a school report to tell me that! 

Chris and I thought it would be a fun tradition to have a backyard campout on the last day of school, but when we were talking about it, we must have forgotten that we live in Idaho, where it regularly snows in June.  Last year the boys ended up camping in my parents' shop, and this year, we set up the tent in the basement.  Instead of falling asleep watching the stars, the boys had Toy Story 3 and the dimmer switch on the lamp.  The backyard campout may have to wait for better weather, but I think the fun sleeping arrangement tradition is here to stay!

Day 2-- June 4:  I have big plans for running this summer.  No more 13-milers, though, you can be sure about that!  Still, I plan to run a couple of 5Ks, a 5-mile leg in a relay, and hopefully a 10K at the end of the summer.  I'm also taking a running class at the gym, so I'm hoping my times and endurance will get better as the summer progresses.

My first official run of the summer was the Melaleuca 5K on Saturday.  I ran with my mom and some of our great friends from our ward and neighborhood, which was so fun.  Running with people really makes a difference.

In mid-May, our church group had a 5K fun run and my time was not great, so I was very happy that I came in at 5 minutes faster than that previous time.  Not a personal best, but still, I am pleased with how it turned out.  My one goal was to run (jog) the entire time, and I did.  Hooray!  My friend won an iPod, too, which is pretty darn awesome-- maybe some of that luck will rub off on me for our next race!

Day 3-- June 5:  I decided to just to un-do all of that good calorie burning by making a delicious, completely un-nutritious dessert on Sunday.  I think we're calling it "Strawberries and Cream Pie" and the recipe was given to me by my friend Jeanette.  It's light, summery, and decadent-- perfect for a Sunday afternoon!  I'll post the recipe on Culinary Collie Sue in the next day or so.  In the meantime, you can drool over this picture...

Day 4-- June 6:  I've been watching my sister's four kids three days this week, so we've had kind of a crazy week.  Gordon had his first tee ball game (Go Yankees!-- they're ADORABLE) but I didn't feel like I could take my eyes off of the other six kids for too long and decided to leave the camera at home.  Luckily, we have several more games and I'll have fewer little bodies in my responsibility next week.  Gord played pretty well and afterward commented, "Now I remember this game!" and played even better on Wednesday. 

Late Monday night, Thomas came downstairs with a little problem-- he'd been chewing on this little scarf that belongs in a magic kit and got it stuck on his braces.  It was easy enough to pull off, but I thought it made a pretty funny picture.  Apparently in addition to taffy and chewy caramels, he should also avoid chewing on magic scarves.

Day 5-- June 7:  In typical Idaho fashion, Tuesday was cold and rainy, so we had to stay inside for most of the day.  Luckily, I had a backup plan:  Spore Creatures.

We have this funny computer game called Spore that the kids just love-- you create your own weird monster thing and make it dance and move.  I thought it would be fun to make our own 3-D Spore Creatures with play-doh and the boys agreed.  They invited some friends and we got to work.

Next time, I think I'll go right for the modeling clay.  Play-doh doesn't stick as well and we had to use wooden skewers to help the limbs stay stiff.  As the creatures have dried, some of their extremities have fallen off.  Oh well, live and learn.  The boys LOVED this rainy-day project, so I am sure we'll try it again.

Tom's Creature:  

And Gord's (love the title):

Most of Neil's ended up in little bits on the floor, then into the garbage when I swept.  He still had fun and I am pretty sure he didn't eat any.

That's it for the first five days-- I have more pictures to share, and I'll post a link to my scrap pages when I'm done in case you want to see how our summer scrapbook is coming along.  Good times!

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Come on, Summer!

It's June!  Tomorrow is the last day of school!  My sweet little tree in the backyard really looks like popcorn popping!  My garden is planted!  So come on, SUMMER, what are you waiting for?!

When my grandparents were here, we discussed the fact that no matter where you live, you pay a price in some regard or another.  Here in lovely, low-cost-of-living, great family community Idaho, the price we pay is in the weather.  Or rather, the wind.  And the cold.  I feel like winter has lasted about four months too long, and I am ready, ready, ready for summer.

Yesterday I expressed my happiness at the first of June (for reasons of impending summertime) and Chris replied with, "Yeah, only three months until football season!"  Sheesh.

Anyway, it's windy here, but at least we have a kite, a huge field outside our back gate, and little boys who can stay entertained for hours.

We're all getting very excited for summertime, and I'm going to do my best to make sure that this summer is one of our best ever.  On the docket for summer activities:  camping, hiking, swimming lessons, tee ball, bike riding, and family visits.  We can't wait! 

P.S.  I updated my book list!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tidbits from a month of life...

Ah, the blog.  It's been pretty nuts around here lately, and I've neglected my little blog.  I have taken all sorts of pictures, though, and it's about time I updated.  Here's a quick run-down of what we've been up to, pictures included!

My brother and his wife were in IF for a couple of weeks before Tanya's internship in Arkansas, so we had a lot of fun hanging out with them.  They arrived a couple of days before Easter so I took Tanya shopping with me when I bought some new clothes for my little crew.  Tanya was a lucky charm-- I found cute, inexpensive, matching Easter outfits for all of us!  I am sure that my time for dressing the boys in matching outfits is quickly running out, so I take advantage when I can.

The next week, I took Thomas to the orthodontist for his last of a set of three appointments in April-- and this one was to get his braces.  Even though it might seem early for braces, we're actually hoping to correct and prevent with "early intervention".  So far so good-- he looks adorable and he has been a real sport with all of his new food (candy) restrictions. 

While Jake and Tanya were here, we had plenty of fun excursions.  I'm sure Chris would say that his favorite of these trips (mostly involving eating) was to Sammy's-- a little diner/shake place in Rexburg.  We actually discovered Sammy's on a trip to Provo a few months ago and Chris became an immediate and diehard fan of their famous "pie shakes".  Chris described learning about a shake made with vanilla ice cream and a whole slice of blueberry pie as a nearly spiritual experience.  He said something about how he had always known it was true, just hadn't realized it until someone told him.  Hilarious. 

Thomas participated in a day-long chess tournament hosted by his school.  He has been in the chess club since first grade and is really starting to get pretty good-- I think.  I have to admit that I don't actually play chess myself.  I should probably start.  Anyway, one of Tom's friends described him as a "baiter"-- he uses one of his pieces as bait to trap his opponent into making a fatal move.  Sounds pretty clever to me!  Tom earned a participation ribbon at the tournament, which means he wasn't in the top 3, but he had a great time playing and hanging out with his fellow chess-players.

My grandparents, Nonny and Bob, were in Idaho for a few days early this month.  We always enjoy spending time with them!  It seemed like a really short visit, but luckily, we'll see them again in just a couple of months. 

Gordon's kindergarten teacher sent home a note saying that Gordon was invited to share his reading skills by reading a book to his class.  We picked a fun and simple book, then Neil and I went to the class to see him "perform".  He did such a great job-- he is a very confident kid and seemed at ease reading to his whole class.  I am thrilled with how much he has learned this year and it was fun to see him show off his skills.

This last week, we celebrated for three days for Mr. Gord-- he turned 6 on Sunday!  On Friday we brought treats to his class, then on Saturday we went out for breakfast, had a lunchtime party at the Aquatic Center (with sixteen kids... holy cow), then extended the party to the slip and slide and sprinklers in the backyard.  On Sunday, his actual birthday, we had another yummy breakfast before church, then a birthday dinner and ice cream and Ghirardelli brownie sundaes for dessert.  Whew-- I think I put on a pound for every year of Gord's life!

My friend Becca wrote a fantastic article/post about her son, Brigham, who I really think was cut from the same cloth as Gord.  I know for sure that I'm in "Parenting 505" with Gordon-- and where Becca is probably getting an A, I'm hoping to squeeze by with a C-!  Case in point-- she shares about a day where she prays to be able to get through the evening with her rambunctious kiddo; I was thinking about how most of my end-of-day prayers are those of repentance for not quite making it without losing my temper!  

While Nonny and Bob were here, we were discussing Gord's insane energy, stubbornness and determination, and when I complained about my parenting difficulties,  Nonny said, "yes, but he is growing up to be such a neat, neat person."  That comment has really stuck with me and has helped in the past couple of days when birthday-boy-brat syndrome has shown its ugly face.  Gordon can be a very challenging child, but he is also an incredibly sweet, intelligent, friendly, and wonderful little boy.  He truly is a neat person and I'm so glad that we have the opportunity to learn and grow from each other.

Finally, we're down to the last few weeks of school and a countdown to summer.  I am SO EXCITED for this summer-- Neil is finally emerging from baby-hood and I think I can take him places without a stroller, and Tom and Gord have been busy planning all of the outdoor activities they want to do.  Gordon got a new fishing pole for his birthday and Chris has already logged several hours checking out the local trout ponds.  Plus, last weekend, a glimpse of summer weather blessed us for a couple of days and we took advantage in the back yard!

Oh, that sun felt goooooood.  It's chilly and cloudy again, of course, but just knowing that warm weather is just around the corner is enough to make everyone smiley.  Let the countdown begin!

One more picture-- our cute neighbor boys and my boys are thisclose (they even fight like actual brothers) and they all got Club Penguin toys for Easter.  I don't particularly care for Club Penguin, or any video game for that matter, but the boys were very excited about their little plush toys.  They played outside all day.  Cute, cute, cute.