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.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

one of our lasts

Was it just a few days ago that we dressed in our shorts and headed to the park to play in the sunshine? We have surely enjoyed the long warm fall and now that winter seems to be moving in to stay, I am so thankful we splurged so often on those days we thought would be our last warm day and made it to the parks and our local reserve.

 There is something about kids and the outdoors that makes them feel free, simple, and fully embraced in the moment. I love to watch my kids explore outside and get fresh air pumping through their lungs.

 The little boys love this park and even though they went separate ways most the time, I think they are starting to have a little fun together!

 They both love slides and the grin I get on the way down is priceless.

 This boy has no far my most bold child. And he is only 1!

 Austin is so fun to take out to the woods for some exploring and playing. He is content doing the smallest thing and finds joy in whatever is around him. 

And Carson loves following him as Austin leads the way! Thank you, thank you Mother Nature for a fall filled with many outdoor playing time to lead us into the coziness of winter... and our seasons change once again.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Hansen boys... their apple pie! Maybe one of my favorite pictures of all my special guys. Hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving as much as these boys love their Mama's apple pie :)

Monday, November 19, 2012

1st Hoopin' Days

We have slowly let Jaxon dip into a little bit of sports and this is the first year he has played on a 5 on 5 team that regularly practices and plays in a few tourneys. It is through a great set of parents who coach the kids at a local church and really know the game. We are blessed with the caring adults involved and the team building that they are working to develop, along with good fundamental skills and fun. Jaxon had the taste of his first team tourney this last weekend and it was really fun to watch and learn together. With this kid, I think this is just the beginning of bleacher sitting and snack providing for us!!

 Headed out the door. He was pretty excited! Maybe a little nervous :)

 He is #22...and looked so big at home in his jersey...until we got to the tourney. Then I thought he looked so little next to some of those other teams!

 In action!

 He played 3 games pretty much all in a row...they were a tired bunch of boys at the end. He fell asleep with me in bed by 8:30 :)

 On my wish list...a good camera. Too many memories coming up that need to be captured...and my $100 canon just isn't going to get them all I'm afraid :(

 These boys were sure cute to watch and they are learning so much these first years.

Maybe my favorite part...this team involves lots of Jesus loving good families. We are so thankful for a chance for our boy to learn alongside great kids and great parents!! Look forward to our next bleacher days together...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

6 is our new number!

Yes, it is true! If you haven't guessed by now...we are moving the Hansen Family member number from 5 to 6! We were a little (okay, a lot) surprised when we discovered we were having another baby this soon...but we are so, so excited! (Turns out if you sell most of your baby stuff and give your maternity clothes away that it is a good time to get pregnant :)

All of our boys are almost FOUR years apart! These two little ones will be a mere 22 months...whoa, baby! And true story for all those hoping for pink... as we took these above photos, the pink balloon literally popped after one photo. No lie. We cracked up laughing! Boy or girl, we are looking forward to rounding our number up to six this spring and are so blessed to bring another child of God into our family. I've entered the 2nd trimester and couldn't be more thankful to slowly be leaving the very pukey feeling days behind...oy, pregnant in your 30's is a little tougher then in your 20's :)  Either way, sick or not, I am feeling blessed to do this all over again...even a short 14 months later from my last pregnancy!!

We are so excited to meet you little one! You are about to find yourself in the middle of one loud, crazy, and love filled home...welcome :)

Monday, November 12, 2012


I know you will be surprised, but Jaxon was a football player again. He went back and forth from a super-hero to a football player to not even dressing up this year! What!?!? Is my first born already to old to dress up for fun and candy hopping with his brothers? I sure hope not! This was the last year for him to participate in the school Halloween parade and I am hoping not the last he chooses to go out with his siblings on trick-or-treating night. We usually drive from house to house of good friends, but we let the boys experience a full out walking night for their goodies. They loved it!

 Jax and his good pal, Cam, both football players and both still little enough to dress up...(if you ask me :)

 Jaxon was so sweet at times helping Austin across the yards. What a good helper he can be...when he chooses :)

 Carson of course had to keep up!! It was cold and his big brothers walked fast...but that did not discourage him. Actually, he was rather mad when I walked him back after one trip down the streets! Next year, buddy, next year.

 Austin quickly got the hang of it and his last words as he ran from one house to the next..."this is the best holiday...ever!!!" Ha!

 His Aunt Heidi made this super cute costume a few years ago. It fit perfect for our little man this year...who knows, maybe we will throw it on him over the holidays...I went back and forth between Peter Pan and an Elf. being he looked so cute, I may just get all my worth from it while it fits!

 Every year we wind our way back to the same house to hang out before we head back over towards our neck of the woods... hot cocoa and a warm fire and popcorn and good friends who feel like family are always waiting...and every year it warms my heart to end here.

 Austin (aka Underdog) and his buddy...of course, unrecognizable in her costume :)

 Carson stayed strong the whole night...what a trooper. He spent the final minutes of his evening kissing the dog and pounding the 3rd one, whatever it is that keeps him happy that time of night...kiss away, my son!

 I had a great night of fall fun with so many loved ones...I went to bed that night so thankful for full homes and full hearts and full days with special moments like those ones.

 I had to snap a picture of these two... I think it was 6 years ago...maybe 7, that we started making our pit stop at our friends house. Jaxon and Emma spent one of those first Halloween nights sitting side by side sipping their cocoa in their lion and giraffe costumes with rosy cheeks and cold little fingers. Emma turned 9 on Halloween! They looked so big and I can't believe how quick years go by...

It was a successful Halloween...on many levels. But this boy sure enjoyed the stash he and his brother collected for months to come of sweet tasting enjoyment!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Backyard Fall Fun!

I'm not sure how this started, other then inviting some friends to stop by for soup before trick-or-treating about 5 years ago...but this little event has grown into one big fun fall party for pretty much anyone and everyone who wants to come! Our boys look forward to this every year and between all the good food and assortment of friends and cute little people dressed up, it is an enjoyed night by all. I love hosting to so many friends and their kids and having everyone gather together. It's short and simple and then all head out to trick-or-treat. This year we moved it to the back-yard because our house was packed wall to wall last year and it got a bit...crazy :) the backyard was perfect and I think this will become a new tradition to add to the fall party plans.

We had plenty for everyone...from smores and desserts... hanging donuts for kids... soups and sides. Last year I ran out of food (sorry!!), so I made plenty this year!!!

Carson slept through the first half of the party, then he made an Peter Pan!

It was neat to gather everyone on our back porch. We spent a lot of time on our porch this last summer enjoying many meals and quiet times and art time and snack times and just sit and chat times. Ending the season with friends on that same porch that was our gathering point so often was a perfect ending to celebrate the joy our home brings to us. And we're so happy to share it with others.

We had a campfire going to keep warm and roast marshmallows...of course!

The weather worked in our favor even, thankful!

 Such cute little monsters at this event!!

We pulled it off this year with help from our awesome roomie...Thanks Natalie!! You saved me :)

Lots of toddlers who were just babes last year, so fun to see them change year to year. I think we had 6 infant car-seats sitting in our living room at one point last they were running around!

And once dark came, we hit the streets for some candy! We have always driven from house to house of people we know each year. That just started to become not very enjoyable as the big kids just wanted to trick-or-treat "for real". We did a lot of driving around town and by the end we were all wiped. So this year we let them walk and walk they did! They were excited to go!

We started off with some friends from the party and then headed to a neighborhood where we usually end our Halloween nights anyways .. more to come on our boys first walking experience on trick-or-treating night. :)