Monday, December 28, 2009

books, books, books

I have a small weakness when it comes to buying good children's books.  I love a good story that comes to life for a child as they listen to a book.  I love escaping into a book's world and characters and feelings. I also love that as I parent and I find mysel having a hard time explaining a certain thing, life lesson, or experience that I can almost always find a book that relates to that certain thing or topic or lesson and my kids can grasp it through another way with words and pictures.  I've had some great conversations lately with a few people about good books they are reading to their kids.  I wanted to share a few in our weekly library.  We read a lot here at the Hansen house and these books make the stack weekly, if not daily!  I switch up our books as the seasons change, but some just never leave the book trunk in our living room.  If you're looking for a good children's book... here's a few to pick from!  My hope is that our children will learn to love books the way I do and appreciate what they can take from it each time they let themselves escape with a good read! If you have a good suggestion, leave a comment!  I could not get one of our fave's to copy a picture over for me so here's a title to start you off!

How Do I Love You by PK Hallinan (a child is always loved even when they scribble on the wall, wear their pants backwards, or walk around with sacks on their head!)

It's so fun when everyone piles in bed for a nap! Even more fun when it's time to wake up!

what child doesn't get mad at their mamma for dragging them through the store! A classic that also has a "sister title" we love too... Lamma Lamma Red Pajama

You are special because the great Creator made you, just the way you are. The story is told through the eyes of a beaten up wooden doll, made by his creator, Eli.

Baba gives in and makes Nikki's snow white mittens... oh, what fun the animals of the forest have with it when he loses it! Great pictures!

You can never go wrong with an Eric Carle choice.  This is a classic, must have!

Each creature loves their little ones just the same... tucking them in at the end of their day, a lullabye is sung to each little one. A must have before bed!

OKay, this one copied in spanish, my bad!! Ha! it's actually called "Hey, Little Ant".  A somewhat funny story about being the little guy... ends with a great conversation question at the end for you and your little ones.

Have you ever been that kid that really wanted that certain something? Have you ever been the kid whom has had your needs taken care of and you could afford to give a bit more of your own things? Jaxon loves the story line in this book. So does mom :)

Because everyone should like themselves... no matter what googely eyes or horns or bumps you may have. We're each one of a kind!

This guy is just too cute... running, jumping, yelling for no reasons at all. Just likes the way it feels and sounds... a sweet read before nap time :)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Recipe

Recipe for Christmas All Year Long

Take a heap of child-like wonder
That opens up our eyes
To the unexpected gifts in life—
Each day a sweet surprise.
Mix in fond appreciation
For the people whom we know;
Like festive Christmas candles,
Each one has a special glow.
Add some giggles and some laughter,
A dash of Christmas food,
(Amazing how a piece of pie
Improves our attitude!)
Stir it all with human kindness;
Wrap it up in love and peace,
Decorate with optimism, and
Our joy will never cease.
If we use this healthy recipe,
We know we will remember
To be in the Christmas spirit,
Even when it's not December.
By Joanna Fuchs

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Happy Birthday, Austin David!!!

Austin is TWO years old today! My, my... how time flies when you have 1 child, but then add another and it really starts zooming by.  I'm sure it just keeps speeding up as you add more!  I seriously feel like I just brought this little one home from the hospital.  Today we celebrate another precious little person who is healthy, funny, full of life, and just a joy to have in our family. What a blessing children are from our Lord.

A little collage of pics and notes about our favorite 2 year old boy...

Austin now spends his weekdays with two little friends for about 20-30 hours each week. Here he is with his buddy, Avery.  These two are so fun to watch together.  They just crack each other up!  I love seeing Austin develop little bonds with his little friends!

Austin decided he LOVED the snow this year.  I will be so sad when he pronounces his "s" sounds...  all day I hear "nooooo"  in a very excited little voice, each time like he just saw it for the first time. The little joys in life! A yard full of "NOOOOOOO"!!!

This is how you usually see Austin when he can be outside... on a bike with his buds.  He rides laps around our van and will wave as he cruises by.  If anyone knows my kid they kow he loves his bikes and cars!!

What can I say? The kid loves a good truck! A true boy! Jaxon was all balls and sports even at this young of an age... Austin has been drawn to trucks, cars, and bikes from the time he became interested in anything besides food and sleeping!

Austin and Jacob watching the garbage truck.  When we can be outside this is a favorite past time for Austin.  He often plops down wherever he is and watches in amazment.

Like big brother, Austin is a fish in the water! NO fears when it came to this big pool this last summer! I had to keep a very close eye on him as he thought he could just walk straight out in the deeper water!! Ah!

Austin loves animals too.  We went to a few fairs this last summer and he enjoyed the animals the most! He would walk so slowly and take his time at each animals pen.

Slides! or should I say "yides"? Either way, Austin loves his yides :)  The first couple months of school we took Jaxon and hung out on the playground while all the school children played. Austin would climb right up there om equipment like he was one of them.  He loved going down the slides and the little girls loved helping him!  It became a lovely morning routine each day.

Yup, Austin pretty much loves every food that is BAD for him right now! Agh! Can't wait til this phase is over...  for awhile there he spent most of his day getting into our food pantry and trying to break into every chip bag or cereal box he could get his hands on!

A perfect picture of Austin during his last year... sippy cup under his arm, on a bike of some sort, dirty onesie and crocs, messy hair, outside, and in the driveway riding away. Doesn't get any better then this! Love these everyday moments!

sweet corn loving Austin

He loves to climb into my closet, empty cupboards, on top of Jaxon's bunk, into Dad's shower... he will sit and giggle until you find him.

Another everyday picture of Austin... green blankie, binkie, nightly bottle of milk. Oh, I love these brief stages! Austin is still a good sleeper. He takes 1 big afternoon nap and hits the hay about 7:30-8:00. He wakes up anywhere from 7-8 usually and still is snoozing away in his crib! Big boy bed in the next year maybe???

Another 'Austin" picture... this is just him on a daily basis here :)

This last year I started watching kids again. Just a couple and semi full time. It's a perfect schedule for me right now and Austin has made some new buddies! I was a little sad at first to split Austin's time up with some extra little ones, but he's adjusted well and we both love it! Here is Jacob's first week...  free rides anyone?

Austin went on his first mission trip this last year!  He got to go with mom and Jaxon to God's Mountain Camp for a whole week!  Along with fellow toddler friends Addelyn and Boaz it was a pretty darn good first mission trip for the trio :)

Brother bear... we love you so! You make this family complete and we're so thankful to have you be a part of this life with us!  Happy Birthday sweet boy. We think you're the best!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

almost two

Our baby boy is almost two! Is that possible? Well I suppose it is! He's gone from a very laid back and calm natured baby boy to a fairly laid back, yet energetic little boy!  He is still very content and easy to please, but he's brought out this whole new level of energy that just did not exist until about 5-6 months ago!  My sister-in-law, Holly, can confirm that after chasing him trying to get a picture of him last week!  I am greatly blessed with creative family members all around.  Holly has an eye for good pictures and she recently invested in a new camera!  She enjoys taking pictures just for fun and I lightly begged her to take some of Austin outside before it got too cold or snowy.  She wasn't hard to convince and said yes as you can see :) I LOVE the winter look outside with the snow gently covering the old leaves and dry trees.  Austin of course never sat still. Which is partly what I love about these pictures... they capture his true personality right now in his life. We've got some fun planned for our soon to be birthday boy this weekend and are pretty excited to have another official toddler in the house. Thanks Holly for spending some time with us for these pictures and just a little advice for next time (there will be a next time, right? :)...wear your running shoes! Ha-ha!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Snow Day!

I don't know about you, but we were pretty happy for some snow days!!  Snow days mean being "stuck" at our house... darn.  I am a home-body and I LOVE good excuses to stay at home!!!  I always find it funny that we "stock up" and "hunker down" for some good quality time at home for a couple days. Makes me think... hmmm, why don't we live this way each day?  Plan our weeks so we have the food we need to prepare meals, say no to things that aren't super important, and create space to have good fun family time...simply in our homes.  I try to do some of these things regularly, but living in town it's so easy to run to the store quick, say yes to something that won't take long, or fill our time with "busyness". Busyness isn't all bad as long as we're busy with the right things in life. Yes, snow days are a beautiful treat to us here. It's like an extra Saturday or two in the middle of the week!!  Thanks Mother Nature for a couple cozy days at home, safe and sound :)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Traditional Tree Hunt!

Every year we bundle up the kids, pick the Reisetter's up, and drive a little north to Kris Kringle's Tree Farm the weekend after Thanksgiving.  I think this is our 4th year of doing this. It's become one of my most favorite traditions during the holiday season.  We always have a fun time... snow, cold, sun, warmth, or clouds...and leave filled with the tingle of Christmas under our skin. As the song goes... it's the most wonderful time of the year :)  Now this may seem like a petty Christmas tradition, but through just a few short years it has become a day where friends find some joy simply from the atmosphere we are in and see the blessings in the little feet that patter along the grass hunting for that perfect tree. If you've been reading my blog you know I LOVE traditions.  I actually looked up the definition for "tradition" today and found this.."handing over, passing on". I hope as we raise our kids that we pass on many traditions.... practices so to say.  I love giving my kids something to look forward to, to depend on, to build on.  Our friendship with the Reisetters started years ago... over 10 actually! Part of the "tree hunt" day that I love is simply the continuation of that friendship and how it is passing on to our children.  It is my hope as we build a life with our kids that we offer many traditions and once they leave our little nest they will always have something to come back for... whether it be a yearly tree hunt, attending the Christmas Eve service together, Friday night homemade pizza, Sunday afternoon football, summer days by the pool, prayer together, Bible reading together, dinner conversations, and so on... you get the idea! Whatever it is, big or small, there is comfort and peace in traditions.  What a wonderful time of year to start some for yourself if you haven't already!!!  Have a great holiday season!


Monday, November 23, 2009

Girls Just Wanna Have fun!

Now these shoes have seen a lot of miles!!  This past weekend 6 of us gals that trained for and ran the Chicago Marathon together had a little fun!  We thought it would be fun to experience the Living History Farms race in Des Moines and say a final goodbye to our very first pair of training shoes.  This race is known for attracting a fun crowd... people dress up (or down!), runners & non-runners show up, all ages come from all over, and of course the route itself is not your typical race route!  We just wanted to have a fun race day and we went with the whole race atmosphere of dressing in costume and getting dirty!! It was a 7 mile course, but honestly felt like 4.  There were some points you just had to walk. It was either too slippery, too muddy, too steep, too rough, or too deep of water to not walk through it! I laughed so hard a majority of the race and am pretty sure my abs got a work out just from the laughter I couldn't hold back.  I must say this was a little out of my comfort zone at first, but once I jumped in that first creek I had a blast after that and never thought twice about getting dirty and having fun!  If you're looking for a fun group experience, with a little bit of team building thrown in, sign up for this race next year! It's held every year at the Living History Farms on the weekend before Thanksgiving! Too fun!(side note- be prepared to pitch anything you run in... anythng is possible on this course and you may not want to keep your muddy ruined shoes or clothes!)

Oh and yeah... to explain the pictures! Our theme was 80's! Can you tell? Every so often I would look at one of the girls and try to listen to what they were saying while dressed this way. I could not take them seriously half the time, their hair and their clothes made me laugh alone, not to mention the bizarre situations we found ourselves in along the race route :)  what can I say??? Girls just wanna have fun!