Monday, December 31, 2012

Baby Girl: 19 weeks

This is for you friend, out there in Oregon! :) Baby Girl is officially 19 weeks and we get to see your sweet little face again next week...can't wait! This pregnancy started off great, then took a quick turn for the south of the border... I spent a lot of hours trying to be very still so I wouldn't throw up, went back and forth between being hungry and then wanting to vomit two minutes later, feeling like sleeping all the time, acne like I was in 7th grade again, actually throwing up, and an all day all too well knowing feeling of being car sick. Woof. It was a rough couple months and I am so happy to be here in week 19 and feeling for the most part pretty normal again. Worst place I got sick? At a wedding in the restroom stall while the sweet little flower girl in the next stall asked her big sister..."Is that a monster/" No, sweet girl, just a sick grown woman trying to grow a little life and survive to tell the story :)

I felt baby girl move around week 16 and she is slowly letting me know she is getting bigger and stronger with heavier flutters and flipping feelings. I love knowing that she is down there just below my heart moving around. I am getting used to the idea of having four kids and already carry her around in my mind like I do my first three.

I know the next couple of months will go a bit slower and then spring will arrive and the weeks until she joins us will fly by. I am so excited to meet her and already dreaming of adding pink around here! 19 weeks and counting...

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas with a surprise!

Merry Christmas Family & Friends!  As you go about today, we hope you steal a minute away from family and loved ones to thank our greatest gift of all today...our Savior, for this life he has blessed us with. Through all circumstances and places in life, there can be great joy found in the everyday simple and small things. We hope these small pieces of joy fill your hearts today and all year round! 

I didn't get a Christmas card around this year...actually, I never attempted after my first trimester and then some was spent fairly sick most days. So here is our greatest wish to all those we know are near and far from our hearts today...a very Merry Christmas! And we even have a special surprise to send your way...

 Our boys...merry and bright!

 Filling our hearts today and everyday...

 Jaxon: 8 years old, 3rd grade, loves sports still, video games, swimming, bike riding, being with friends, talking, math, going to games with his Dad, and eating. All the time.

 Austin: 5 years old, preschool, loves imaginative play with cars, farm stuff, and building things, explores the outdoors, raises chickens, snuggles with his green blankie everyday, and loves donuts. Too much.

Carson: 17 months. Climbs on everything, runs most places, follows big brothers, loves books, going outside, and did I say climbs everything? He talks all the time, but none of us know what he is saying :)

Baby Girl Hansen: 18 weeks old, resembles Carson's ultra sound picture, a pure miracle of God's grace, and already stolen our hearts. Surprise!!!
(click below on In the Trenches blog to read more about our daughter)

Merry Christmas from all of us!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

our birthday boy

I had a big blog post all ready to put up for Austin's 5th birthday...  and then he woke up with a high fever (again) after his nap on his own birthday and as I called the clinic to get him in, my spunky curious 1 year old managed to hit the delete button on my almost finished birthday post. Sigh... thus is the life with little people :)  I will get some photos up of our ever so sweet middle son, but for today...a few of his things to remember him being four.

Austin is in many ways very opposite of our first son. When he came along life with him seemed to gently change and he made a sweet little entrance that to this day reminds us of his calm and easy going personality.  He has faith like a child and his easy acceptance of what is truly encourages me to stretch and just be okay with whatever is around me.

This boy can play by himself for hours and some days prefers just that. More then once he's asked to be left alone for quite time or for alone time and he finds a pile of books some place or creates his own car garage or just explores his back-yard. He loves to tag along to do about anything with you...Menards is his favorite stop with Dad! Often times he will ask after we drop Jaxon off...'Can we go to ALDI"? He loves to be outside...I can't say this enough. not only does he love playing outside, but he just loves what outside has to offer... space to move around, nature, peacefulness, adventure, animals, living things, and fresh air. I have never seen a kid more content with a hiking afternoon through the woods or time to just wander his back-yard. He loves the farm and everything it seems to offer him and often tells us he is going to live in the country someday with his 6 kids. He is even sweet enough and tells us we can visit him there all the time and I can cook him some lunch.

And I don't know what to say about his favorite foods other then he is a junkie...!!! What can I say...this boy loves his ice-cream and donuts and hot cocoa and candy. Ugh, my tummy hurts thinking of it all. His mouth waters at the mention of a treat!

Being four meant many hours of driving cars and trucks and tractors and trains. He built many ramps and garages and tracks. Anything with wheels is usually in one of his hands or in a pocket and on every level of the house and on the back-porch. Lord knows I can not throw out any 132 of them because he knows exactly each vehicle by it's color, shape, or style and notices when one or five go missing after a few days.

You can tell this boy was born in the middle of winter. At least that is my reasoning behind his crazy love for snow! He is amazed by the falling of snow and he can't wait to trudge around in it once it arrives. He honestly prays for snow the way I hope for lots of sun filled pool days :)

Austin learns very creatively .. everything is different then how Jaxon learned and this four year old, now five year old, prefers to do things hands on and always sees things from a different view and always takes his time to take in something new. I love his joy when he figures out something new and his eagerness to do it on his own.

This boy is just so sweet and silly and cuddely and fun to be around. We can sit by each other for long periods of time and never have to say a word or we can swing away on the porch chatting about the clouds and anything else he comes up with. He is simply a joy to have in our home and has blessed us so, so much.

Austin David... We love you more then you will ever know! Happy 5th Birthday to my big brown eyed, candy smudged face, blankie loving, and sweet little boy!!

Friday, December 21, 2012

snow boys

Can't keep a good man down... no winds or storm. These boys keep pushing me to go beyond my comfort level...and have some fun while we do it! 

When I asked Carson if he wanted to go out, he was so excited to get out there. I thought for sure he would only last 10 minutes. While he did not love trying to walk in the snow, he did love the toddler sled and just smiled the whole time he grunted at me to keep going! I was done well before him and I carried in a crying toddler boy who wanted more of the snowy outdoors!!

The smile on this boy's face captures his joy for this kind of play! Even with a low grade fever, he bundled up and followed his big brother out. I think he explored every inch of the back-yard. And every time I looked at him he was either quietly taking in his surrounding or just shrieking with joy!

And this kid is getting daring out there! He attempted to jump of his sled from too many high places, but his risky play sure makes his next of kin want to tag along. I love how well the two big boys play outdoors together. Even if I have to squish a few good ideas :)

I love that my boys love the outdoors through all seasons. There is nothing better then fresh air, sunshine, and the feel of the breeze against your skin to lighten anybody's spirit for the moment. Love these snow boys and all they make me do.... most days!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

a day early

It came one day early, but most of us were ready to welcome a snow day!

We headed to bed with a frosting of the white stuff...

and woke up early to a white wonderland all around.
(Texas friends, these are for you :)

Our snow loving boy was one of the first to see the first signs of winter. He watched patiently as Dad plowed away out front.

 This boy loves snow and everything about it for this season of life... Before the sun even fully rose, he was up after a night of fevers and dressed to go outside.

It was all hands on deck as everyone found a role to fill to make the snowy covering a safe place for all...

Dad's path to the coop helped this boy bring breakfast up to the house...

And we are officially welcoming winter day early!

The first snow always amazes me with it's ability to make everything white as snow. It is a beautiful visual of what my Savior does for us...and I always begin the first real snow day of the year greatly humbled by this vision as I see just how white He washes away my sin.  For everything I saw before is now covered with the blinding truth of our brokenness and His saving grace. Welcome winter!! 

Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.
Isaiah 1:18

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

5 Years Old!

Can you believe this boy is five today? He was so excited for two things this week...turning five and snow :) No lie, he has had snow on our family prayer list for weeks. The timing for our big snow storm couldn't be better. What a gift from Above in our five year olds world!!
This son of our's has brought so much to our family with his simple way of living life, seeing joy in the little things, and blessing us with his sweet demeanor and easy going personality  We just love this kid to pieces! Happy 5th Birthday to our favorite second son who shares a special day with his also very special Aunt Heidi (who is celebrating her big 3-0 today!! :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

one of many

This time of year brings many traditions. I love it. My boys are old enough to have been in the rhythm long enough to know what is coming each year and it is such a fun feeling when they look forward to little and big events just as much as us. Every year we designate a day our "Holiday Fun Day".  We spend the day baking oodles of yummy treats, watching Christmas movies, reading Christmas books, wrapping gifts, and delivering plates of food at the end of the day.  We had an extra day off from school, so we started a little bit of our baking last week... the real Holiday Fun Day is yet to come! It's always a surprise day, I usually let the kids skip school (shhhhhh), and we all enjoy a surprise day of Christmas fun. This time of year is a busy season outside our home and I have made this day all about slow and simple and just being home together, uninterrupted. And it is one I look forward to, just as much as my growing boys.

 Carson found this baking thing!

 Whats a Christmas season without a good sugar cookie?

 Little hands busy at work.

 And the little hnds will just keep coming to this counter for years to come...a blessed home filled with little people we have!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

the gals out back

It's been 7 months since we brought these gals home...well, since the mailman dropped them off at our front door. What started as big balls of pure fluff and tiny little chirps have become full feathered beautiful little ladies. And they are earning their keep here very well!  I have loved watching our boys gather around these feathered friends and help them grow, adapt, and become some of our beloved little backyard pets. They are a hoot to watch, even funnier to see our toddler chase them around, and fun to see out back whenever we look through from the indoors. They are producing a good amount of eggs for us and breakfasts have become a favorite meal around here, as well as baking, using our day old or straight from the coop eggs! 
 Rhode Island Reds...beautiful red feathered friends with a little spunk in their personality and quick little things too. These gals are egg producing machines with their brown colored eggs that faithfully come every day!

 Our little silkies. These white bantam hens are docile and friendly and don't mind a little toddler loving from now and then :) They started a bit slower but are starting to deliver two perfectly shaped small white eggs for our morning feasts.

 Happy and healthy! Good job, boys!

 Fully grown and ready for life in our back-yard!

A few of our gems... love what our feathered friends bring to our family table!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

And Christmas begins...

Our Thanksgiving day was a slow start with a hike through the woods, good food around our table with people we love later in the day, and unfortunately a sick hubby by night.  As every year goes, we end our turkey eating and thankful trees with the start of something new...a freshly cut tree! 
 Austin has talked about tree cutting day for weeks now and even though he was pushing off Dad's cold and fever, he was insistent we still head to the tree farm!

 It was one of our first colder days and we were thankful for the warm fire between tree hunting.

 Jaxon proved to be a bit of the muscle this year as we hunted...

 The sky was a perfect smokey blue of a typical Iowa winter set the mood for our shift in holidays.

 Dad led the hunt...and hunt we did. Sadly, the tree farm lost 15,000 trees this year due to the drought. So sad. Such a nice family owned farm and it was heart-breaking to see the fruits of their labor all brown and sitting stone cold.

 Carson thought this was the coolest thing ever. Open space and outside...he was gone!

 We marched on for awhile and about here Austin needed a piggy back ride...

 Luckily, Dad found it soon after Austin started to give up.

 A little of our muscle this year from our 8 year old!

 He helped cut and haul it to the trailer...getting so big. He was not yet 2 when he started this tradition here...he's come a long ways.

 The kids decided to hop in the back with our friends to help them finish looking... there was a lot of ground to cover.

 And these two boys headed in for warmth and snacks!! I decided to join their party :)

 And I can't believe it, but this is the first year that one of us left without a tree!! We found ours, but our yearly tree hunting friends headed to Menards :) That poor tree farm was slim picking.

Tree is up, boys are getting things ready for more Christmas making, and we are well into our holiday spirit!!

Monday, November 26, 2012

boys only

We were spoiled with mid 60's last week and we spent much of it out back. We had gathered some bales of hay for the chickens this winter and between the sticks collected for the fire pit and these bales, the boys created a "boys only" place for just them!  It was an afternoon of fun and cost was free :) I know this sounds weird, but I am slowly getting rid of our toys...not all of them, but many of them sit collecting dust at the bottom of toy baskets and really, my kids play more creatively, freely, and find ways to entertain themselves without oodles of toys grabbing their attention. It's play like below that I love to see them come up with and let them skip naps for!

 Boys only...

  This is Austin's kind of day...

 Carson is catching on to his big brother's adventure's pretty quick...

 Happiest in his outside world!

 Too much fun for this crew!

 I love seeing them play so freely...

 Best pals!

 And Austin even found his way back here after everyone went home and the yard was quiet again all to himself.