Saturday, February 26, 2011

last few days

A few fun moments from the last couple weeks...

 Neighbor buddy came for dinner and a movie while his mom and dad had one last date before new baby arrived! The boys were excited to have him... can you tell?

 Austin is SO excited I finally figured out his new track from his December! In the chaos of the party the instructions were thrown away (reason #1 I am that mean mom that doesn't let her kids open the gifts all the way during the party... we've thrown away perfectly new toys because we've lost a major piece during the party. One year a bed tent was broken before it even got put up because kids all used the stick pieces as swords! :) Anyways, after many attempts I figured it out! He LOVES it and played with it non-stop for about 2 days.

 Sister... as she is known at our house, or Avery. She cracks us up and meal time is no exception!

 Austin had so much fun making valentines with his Learn and Play friends. They worked so hard on was precious.

 Kids love water... we had fun experiencing with sink & floating using fruits and veggies. Now Austin fills the sink up while I cook dinner and finds what he can float from my kitchen.

 The boys got to go to a sweet little Valentine party for our buddy, Boaz's birthday! Unfortunately, every person in this picture was sick within this day. Sigh...  so ready for spring!

And this picture just makes me laugh... this is my life most days, most hours of the day. Action, noise, busyness, and little boys :)  This is a perfect "in the moment" picture. One boy dumping his truck full of blocks onto my kitchen floor, another racing his car through the commotion, another pointing and shooting a Nerf gun at the first two, and all while the dog tried to get in on the mix. This is while I make lunch on top of it. HA, ha, ha... I can't help but chuckle most days at how my "work-space" functions :)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

before and after

My hubby is pretty good at surprises. I think part of the key to pulling it off is he rarely does it :) But when he does... he goes all out!!! 3 years ago I came home after a mission trip with the boys to find he had painted all our house shutters, painted kitchen, dining room, and entire basement, bought me a new dishwasher, and had cleaned the house! Now, surprises have gotten much better since our first couple years of marriage... after a Youth Trip one summer I came home to find he had sold our home without me even knowing when I was 8 weeks pregnant, sick, and heading back to my classroom in just a few weeks. Not so "happy" surprised about that one, but it worked out :) I think our first couple years together also had me about 6 new cars because he kept finding cheap ones on ebay and switching them out. Through the years there have been surprise nights away, amazing family vacations, a new dog, and date nights to name some.

A couple weeks ago Dave came home and was pacing the house. This isn't too unusual as he gets bored pretty easy, but he gave in and had to tell me what all the pacing was for. He was really bummed he had to come clean so soon, as he wanted to wait until I returned from another mission trip in a couple weeks, but the details weren't working out for that timing. The carpet guy was coming to measure our family room and stairs in just a few minutes it turned out! We've discussed carpeting this area since we moved in... 7 years ago. I totally did NOT see this coming!!! Once again, I was shocked and felt so loved :)  He'd been tucking some money to the side for awhile and treated me to new carpet. What a sweet surprise!  Dave is pretty darn good at pulling these off when he wants to. What a lucky wife I am!! In the process we've completely rearranged our home and I am loving our new set-up! Thanks babe... appreciate your thoughtfulness, time, and work to make this happen for our little home. What a treat for me!



Tuesday, February 22, 2011

15, 16, 17

We are cruising right along with this pregnancy! With two older ones to chase my days go really fast and I find myself forgetting I'm pregnant at times. Not because I'm not thinking about this baby lots, but I'm so distracted at home. This pregnancy is feeling a lot like Jaxon's did, only I feel more tired I think? The only big difference is with Jaxon I craved chocolate a lot towards the end and I don't see that happening any time soon with this one. Sweets make me feel nauseous and I go many days with no dessert of any sort... so NOT like me if you know me!!! I could eat cantaloupe, strawberries, and cottage cheese for every meal and prefer a baked potato over most meats. Dave thinks my belly looks like I am 6 months pregnant instead of 4.5 these days...but hey, it's the third baby in there growing! I think we've decided to find out here at our ultra-sound in a couple weeks, Dave is super excited for that and I'm giving in and finding I am getting excited to know too. Guess I won't get my birthing room surprise after all :( Oh well, the boys are anxious to know if it's a brother or sister!  Any guesses???

These are all taken by my little photographer....Jaxon!
 15 weeks

 16 weeks

17 weeks

18 weeks tomorrow :)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

everyday occurances

It seems there are many little things during the day that we just do and never pay too much attention too. They are parts of our routine that often times feel like the hum-drums of our lives and they usually drift away almost unnoticed. These little things are what make my life these days... they are the things that I spend my time doing or creating to make my kids do or organize to have happen or set up to work out for us or plan to intentionally be a part of our lives. 
Some of these things are just happening and I almost forget from day to day because of the so many little things that just go on on their own as we live. I had to take note of a couple small things that happen almost daily... little things, but things that are our lives these days, during this season :)

Daily Austin asks for ice-cream or a cookie or a Popsicle or candy. Daily.  He used to sneak them and run away to a corner of the house to eat it, but now he at least asks and most days after a good meal has been eaten he tends to get a small treat once a day. Other daily things for him... climbing into my arms every morning after he wakes up and saying good morning, harassing his dog in some way or another, stealing his binkie when he's not supposed to have it, playing with his cars or trucks, and snuggling in for a long nap. These are just a few of his daily occurrences...

Jaxon has a routine all of his own... crawling out of bed and straight to the couch for a morning PBS show while I get breakfast, off to school where we drop him off 5 days a week with a high five and a prayer from me, a daily run down as soon as he jumps back in the van at the end of the day, has to have snack right after school because he's always starving, and of course nightly homework- usually reading or math, always surrounded by shooting hoops in the basement or convincing someone to play a game with him. He likes to finish with devotion in bed and refuses to sleep by himself these days, always wants to be right by his brother :)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

we have a sparky!

Our newest sparky in the Hansen house! Austin can't wait to be one next year!!

I can't believe I am saying this, but this post is short and sweet today... it is TOO NICE to be inside at all today!!! Hello 59 degrees!!!!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Dad's Books

And last but not least, Dave's books. Dave likes a good mystery with some action and sometimes will pick up a good biography about a certain Christian athlete or coach. Once in awhile he will read a book based on a true story from inner city people who have made a difference in a certain community or a book about what happened for someone trying to conquer poverty in a certain tough neighborhood. When Dave and I first met he would read to me while we drove places or hung around at night... lots of Max Lucado in those days. It was one of the things I loved about him when we were first married. Anyways, he still reads and he is the guy who will start a book and not put it down for 2 days, staying up way to late! I asked him his most recent books and his answer for me was "nobody cares what I am reading, don't blog that". :) Well, I care and want to remember, so this is what I know...

 James Patterson. I know the last probably 5 books he has brought home from the library are by this author. I think he has read most of them. they creep me out, but he loves them. Seen "Kiss the Girls" or "Along Came a Spider" movies? Those are by James Patterson if you need an idea of what these books are.

And this has been sitting in a few spots around our house just recently. It's about a Chicago neighborhood and the few pages I glimpsed at were really interesting and encouraging. May have to snag it when he is done!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Austin's Most Read Books

Austin is still at the age where he will sit on my lap with his blankie, lean his head on me, and let me read countless books. We read at least a couple times a day and it is one of my favorite times of our day. I usually have an extra kid or two and we snuggle on the couch or on my bed and read. I love it. These books are the ones Austin most chooses these days. I have about 4 different spots in our home filled with children's books to encourage lots of reading. We mostly read from our trunk in the living room and these books rarely get put away between readings.

Like Jaxon, Austin also loves Lullaby Babes. We read this story hundreds of times to Jaxon and Austin loves it just as much. This is the most chosen book before nap times.
I read this book for days straight when Austin was still in his own room. We would rock-a-bye and read this every night together. I think he remembers the words as he listens to them intently when we read this together these days. Such a sweet story and connection while we do :)

Austin loves to act out this book and often times will "read" it to me. He has it mostly memorized and his favorite animal is the big bear when he sneezes. I get a big scene when we get to that page... and a bit spit on too.

Who doesn't love Llama, Llama books? We have three of them, but the red pajamas one makes Austin laugh when he acts like such a baby half way though. Though he always points out that they have ice-cream on the last page and well.... can he have ice-cream too? Smart boy :)

This is one of the sweetest books I have ever read to my children. If you don't have any Nancy Tilman books, you should! The pictures are amazing too and Austin loves the dancing polar bears in this book! (he is into a polar bear phase right now)

Jaxon had this Bible and we literally used it until the book fell apart. Austin got his own for Christmas and likes to read it with me, but mostly likes to "read" to himself as he flips through the pages on his own.

Austin loves snow and loves Peter in this book. Almost every time he will ask me... "where did his snow go?" after he goes inside and it melts. He also always tells me that Amber, his cousin, had snow fall on her head while in the hot tub on vacation, just like Peter has snow fall on his head. A daily read during these snowy days at our home.

I love children's books and will so miss the day when my children out grow them. I know I will empty this house of most of these ridiculous toys as the time comes, but my books will remain put until some grand-babies come along far down the road!! I promise that!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Jaxon's Books

Jaxon's reading has taken off this school year. I can't believe all he's learned in the last couple years. They develop so much these first years and being my first-born I am learning I have to stay on my toes if I want to keep up with these kids!!! It has been so wonderful to watch him learn so many new words and then just teach himself as he goes. I remember when I learned to read and I thought I was so cool! I loved that I could read books and I think it is when my love for books started... when I was about 6 years old. Our reading time has easily turned into him reading to us these days. Gone are the days when he would sit on my lap and let me read books upon books to him. Now I am watching from the passenger seat as he reads next to me or across from me. I'm so proud of him and love that he is finding a good story to get lost in as he explores the world of books!

First on his list... Junie B Jones. She is a FUNNY little girl and Jaxon actually laughs out loud as he reads about her and her adventures. I think he has read almost every single one of her series... a must read for this stage of readers.

 The Magic Tree House books are his most recent books of choice. He usually brings at least one home a week and he has liked the adventures in each of them. He is an adventure reader... likes action, a hero, and a mystery to be solved!

 The Boxcar Children! These have been so fun, as both Dave and I read these as kids ourselves. Dave spends time reading these out loud to us at times and Jaxon has liked keeping up with the four kids as they solve mysteries. These take him a little longer to get through, but he keeps bringing them home from the library.

This devotion book is our most recent bedtime read. Jaxon likes learning about all the different animals, how God made them, and how that relates to us as we learn from some pretty interesting "animals behaviors". Great devotion for kids!

Friday, February 4, 2011

what we're reading

Most of you know...I love to read! It is my hobby that I can do anywhere, anytime, and during every season of my life.  I usually have a book in my van for in case I am found there waiting ever, in my purse for those times in a doctor's office waiting or at the hair dresser's, and always by my bed side table. Most don't know that my husband actually really likes to read too! And, our 6 year old is taking a liking to books lately also. I love it! So.... to record and remember what our family is reading these days I wanted to post on each of our readings as of lately. It's winter time and it seems we've made our way through a lot of good ones with all these cold days to be inside under blankets reading :)  I'll go first and then I will add the rest of the fam's later in the week. Have any good suggestions? I'm always looking for the next great book!

My favorite Christian fiction author is Karen Kingsbury. I've read all of her books and at a desperate attempt to find a good book, I picked up her first two novels to reread. She is a great writer and has grown so much through the years! Read these two while on vacation a couple weeks ago.

I really enjoy history and have always been drawn to stories from the Holocaust. Zoomed through this short read in about two days recently. A true and sad story that amazingly turns out okay in the end. Okay for a young girl that grew up in the Holocaust I guess. Nothing really okay about that...

The widow of a 9/11 victim. Left with two boys and gave birth to a daughter just months after her husband died trying to save the plane that crashed avoiding the Pentagon. Her faith story is amazing and I found much respect for our President at that time that had to walk through so much tragedy with so many families.  I cried as I read this book, but it may have been pregnancy hormones :)

I loved this author's first book, Bittersweet, and got this one as soon as I was finished with the Bittersweet book. This is my "van book". A perfect book to read a chapter or two each day while waiting for Jaxon to get out of school.

I have read through this twice already, but love it so much I pulled it out again. It's my "bedside table" book and I like to read a section each night before bed. Great faith encouraging words and questions to stretch you as a person. Gotta love anything by Rick Warren, right?

My very latest read. As in I just finished it tonight. Also a reread. I have read this book 3-4 times now. I love it. It's four women from the 1920's who follow very different dreams and each learn that sometimes our dreams are simply those things we open our eyes to so that we can see God's dream for us, more than our own. very next book. Pretty excited to start this one!! I'll let you know what I think :)

On my "to-read" list next... Francine Rivers "Her Daughter's Dream' and "Her Mother's Hope" and Mary Beth Chapman's "Choosing to See".

Thursday, February 3, 2011

winter in Iowa

Iowa winter's are a season all on their own... unpredictable, unusually long, typically cold, and most days very white outside. I love the four seasons and know I would miss them if I moved some place warmer. I just really wish fall was as long as winter and winter was the blink of en eye we experienced each year when it came to it's turn on the season chart. None the less... we are Iowans and we must make the most of winter days. I have to say....easier done these days with kids to take outside and have fun with. Our boys love the snow and seem to not notice the drop in temperature. Of course when every outside play time is followed by hot chocolate and marshmallows, what kid doesn't like winter play time? :-) The other day Austin asked if we could sit outside on the deck for dinner. When I told him it was too cold out he simply replied "I will put a hat on." If only my perception was as off as his :)

Austin spends 75% of his time outside eating snow. I am not kidding. As I looked though my outside pictures most of him were with his hand full of snow in his mouth!

 Jaxon is getting good at creating things in the snow all on his own. He makes snowmen, villages for squirrels, forts, football fields, and sledding slopes.

 More snow eating.... I do feed him!

 Our teamwork in making this fort. It's recently been blanketed with a new cover of snow...I guess we'll have some more work to do once the temp rises again!

The added tarp for a roof made for a semi-cozy spot outside :)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

homemade granola

Homemade Granola
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Mix together in a large bowl: 1 cup coconut, 4 cup rolled oats, 1 cup sliced almonds, 1 cup milled flax seed, 1 cup chopped pecans, 1 cup peanuts.
Bring to boil: 1 cup honey, 1/2 cup oil, 1 Tbsp cinnamon
Pour honey mixture over dry ingredients and mix well. Spread on well greased jelly roll pan and bake for about 30 minutes. Stir often. Remove before too dark and let cool untouched. Break into pieces once dry. add 1 cup dried fruit of choice if want (we loved cranberries in it). Enjoy!!!

I love granola and one thing my mom used to make when I was a kid was homemade granola. I decided to give it a whirl and made a batch with the kids. Yummy! This recipe was pretty simple and I altered it just a bit according to what I had in the house. Made some pudding and cut up a bunch of fresh fruit and we've been loving our parfaits here... breakfast, snacks, and dinner! :-)