Sunday, December 14, 2008

We are still alive!



We have had a few inquiries as to the status of our household since I have not posted anything for almost a whole month now. Well let me tell the chaos that has occurred here!




  • We arrived back in Utah from our Thanksgiving vacation with 2 sick kids and a sick husband. Julia ended up with a double ear infection.


  • Christmas parties galore


  • Our basement was flooded with sewer water and a plumber, a disaster service company, and the insurance company were all called in.


  • I was in charge of our centerpieces for our ward adult Christmas party and in charge of the Relief Society Christmas Enrichment Dinner & Program


  • Luke had a huge diaper rash that included blisters all over bottom area and spread upwards- if you get my drift!


  • And did I mention its almost Christmas!


So I am really wishing it was January right now, but for the meanwhile here is a picture from our warm and sunny vacation to Marco Island!



Thursday, November 20, 2008

Nov.19th & 65F







It is hard to believe that today, Nov.19th, it was 65 F here in Utah. To make the most of it we headed to the zoo with our neighbors Jeanette and her little boy Alex. Julia ran circles around Alex and everyone was exhausted by the time we left 3 hours later. I am grateful for this little time in our lives where Julia and Luke are home with me. No school to run to or sport practices to shuttle them to. It was great to go to the zoo and practically have it all to ourselves!
Tomorrow we are off to vacation- so no posts for 10 days!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Crafts galore

I wanted to find something fun and easy for Julia to do that would help her understand what Thanksgiving is all about. We tried making cookies for her nursery teachers and writing a thank you card. It wasn't too successful-Mom ate way too many cookies and Julia was more interested in playing with the nursery teachers' children instead of giving her teachers the cookies & cards.

Luckily fate was on my side today and I found my new favorite website at http://www.makeandtakes.com/. They have a cute little paper turkey with paper feathers that will transport easily in the suitcase. They were using the turkey as a countdown calendar for Thanksgiving, but I think this will be a great way for Julia & the Thanksgiving guests to write what they are thankful for on the feathers.



So..............tonight I am grateful for all of those little teaching moments you have with your children. Hopefully this project turns into one of those awe-inspiring moments. Most likely though, I can just picture a lot of glue on hands and maniac scissors flying around in a 2 year-olds hand.

Monday, November 17, 2008

30!

Tonight I am grateful to have had 30 years of good health, loving friends and family, and opportunities to learn and grow.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Aunt Mares

We are lucky enough to have my sister Maren and her husband Jordan live close to us. Julia loves them and gets so EXCITED when they come over. Maren is a talented hairdresser and tonight Maren gave Julia her first haircut. As you can see Julia was a little bit nervous at the beginning. By the end she loved it and kept going around showing everyone her new haircut.
I want Maren to know how much I appreciate and love her. She is loving, talented, funky, and always fun to be around. Thanks for helping me so much with Julia and Luke. In a year or so her and Jordan will be moving and we will miss you so much. We love you- Les & the munchkins

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Mornings

I am very grateful the Savior created mornings. In the Hansen household everyone is at their best in the mornings. Julia comes bounding out of her room with crazy Einstein hair and chatting away. She is always excited about the new day and it always gives me hope I can survive another day of a messy house, diapers, and toddler meltdowns.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Let's Eat Cake!

Luke had his first piece of cake today and as you can see he devoured it! He sat for a whole hour in the high chair eating, mushing, and smearing chocolate cake. Bet you can guess what I am thankful today- chocolate cake and the many "firsts" that occur in a babys first year of life.

Our internet server was down yesterday so this post was really yesterday's. So here's a little bonus: This is super easy for little ones to help out with. Somtime I just put all the ingredients right in the pan and mix. That way I don't dirty an extra bowl.

No Egg Chocolate Cake

3 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup cocoa

1 tsp salt

2/3 cup oil

2 tsp vinegar

1 tsp vanilla

2 cup water

Heat oven to 350. Grease and flour 1 9x13 inch pan or 2 round cake pans. Mix all ingredients except 1 cup water. Beat until smooth. Add remaining water and beat for another minute. Pour into pans and bake for 30-35 mintes. Cool 10 minutes and remove from pans.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sleep





Sometimes a night of good sleep makes a bad day fade away. So.. tonight I am grateful that Luke is sleeping through the night once again. We had about a month of him being sick and cutting teeth where he was waking once or twice. Makes for a much more patient and loving Mom.
Here's a picture of both Luke & Julia sleeping right after they came home from the hospital.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Life Before Kids


Tonight I am grateful for a Heavenly Father who often knows what is best for us, even when we think a different path would be better. Next week the whole fam is flying back east for Thanksgiving and today I was thinking about the joys of flying 7 1/2 hours on an airplane with 2 children 2 years old and younger! Before we had children Mike and I would plan a trip and just go. We went to some amazing places and have amazing memories from those places. However, during that time the doctors and us were also trying every miracle to conceive a child. Sometimes I look at my children and think "oh me of little faith". I am grateful now for that time Mike and I had together to build our relationship. Especially now that we don't have any time together.
Here is a picture of one of our favorite trips- just the two of us in Maui, Hawaii- actually just the 2 1/2 of us-right before we left I found our I was pregnant with Julia!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Short & Sweet

Today out of the blue Julia came up to me and said, "Mom I love you. I love Dad too" and then went back to playing with her baby dolls. I am grateful that children are forgiving of very imperfect parents.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Things 2 year olds love at church!


I want to personally thank whoever invented sugar free Ice Breakers Sours. They totally occupied the 2 year old for the last 10 minutes of sacrament meeting today as the speakers kept talking and talking and talking and talking. I also think the greatest invention is the miniature toilets that are in the nursery at church. Julia thinks they are the coolest!
Here's Luke's newest trick!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Songs Galore


video

Julia's newest passion is singing songs. She knows the Primary songs better than most of the Sunbeams we have ever taught in Primary. She sings them all day and where ever we might be. Tonight on our way out of a restaurant she starts belting at the top of her lungs "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" and of course this makes Luke laugh and laugh. We are officially a three ring circus now!

Tonight I am grateful for the gift of music. Not only for Julia's little songs, but music in general and the amazing ability it has to usher in the Holy Ghost (obviously, uplifting music) and uplift your spirit.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Silly Tricks

I wish I was a more creative mother. Unfortunately, I am a analyzer and planner type of a person. So all of the fun activities and games I play with Luke and Julia have been thought about for days or stolen from more "on the fly" creative people.
I am grateful for this silly little trick I saw my mother play with Julia when she was an infant. When my Mom went to change Julia's diaper she would put Julia's pants on her head. Julia had a great time trying to take the pants off and giggle at my Mom. So I decided to start this tradition with Luke and here is today's picture of it. In the process he also found his 2 ears and the rest of the day I would ask Luke "Where are your ears?" and he would grab them and giggle.
Thanks Mom for this little piece of inspirition (along with everything good about me).

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Blender Wheat Pancakes

Today I am grateful for my neighbor up the street and her talents! Recently our ward has been focused on emergency preparedness and food storage. One of my neighbors is an amazing bread maker and last night she did a little wheat/bread making class. I was so excited that I even hired a babysitter to come so that I could go to the class. The class was chock full of info and my neighbor made the yummiest samples. Here is one of the recipes she handed out which we had for breakfast this morning.

Whole Wheat Pancakes

1 cup milk

1 cup wheat kernels

Blend in blender or food processor for 4-5 minutes until smooth (if you soak your wheat kernels for a few hours before hand or overnight you don't have to blend them for so long)


2 eggs

2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp oil

2 tbsp honey or sugar

Blend on low until mixed (25-30 seconds)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The 1st Snow!



Snow, Snow, Snow! Julia was beyond excited this morning when she woke up and saw 4 inches of snow in our drive way. Starting at 7am she kept asking to go outside and play in it. Poor girl- it only took us to 10am to finally get everyone dressed and outside. Sometimes Julia & Luke's amazement at new things reminds me how lucky I am to be home with them full time. I would have been so sad to miss seeing Luke stick out his tongue and try to catch the snowflakes for the first time today. So thanks Mike for working hard!


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Fruit Snack & Forts

The welcoming of November came with rain, hail, wind, and snow today. Since we were stuck inside the whole day and Julia was bored we had a great time making a fort in our living room. I think I loved the fort more than Julia though. I would give her a snack and tell her to go eat it in her fort and she would spend 20 minutes eating fruit snacks in her fort pretending with her baby and singing songs. So if you can imagine we had all sorts of snacks today. Then Luke would crawl over to the fort and pull himself up to it and that would entertain Julia for another 10 minutes.
Some days I am grateful for just the little stuff. The 20 minutes I had to clean the kitchen without Julia today was such a blessing.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Pony Rides

As a Mom I am the playful at 8am, after that my energy, and mostly my patience, goes down hill. By the time Mike gets home from work the kids are tired of me (and vice versa) and Mike becomes the most playful. I am grateful for Mike and his willingness to help out with Luke and Julia after a long day of work. He is a master entertainer for kids with pony rides of his knees, crazy camp songs, and silly games he makes up. Thanks Mike- You're the best husband and Dad I know!

Here is a picture from tonight's entertainment:

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Beautiful Eyes

So I have to admit that yesterday I fell off the blogging wagon yesterday. Julia, Luke, and I are all sick and I spent most of the day sucking out noses, trying to pacify coughing kids, and trying to catch up on no sleep from the night before. The only thing I was truly grateful yesterday was Tylenol. I have no idea how the pioneers did it. I would make a lousy pioneer. Actually I probably wouldn't be alive. As my obgyn said after Julia was born, "Well, if you lived 100 years ago you wouldn't be alive today."
Anyhow..... today is a little better and I am truly grateful for the opportunity I had to attend Sacrament Meeting today (especially since Julia and Luke stayed home). I am grateful for the spirit that was present as testimonies were born of the Savior and his healing power in times of trials. Some days you feel so "spiritually thirsty" and I am grateful for those members in my ward that followed the promptings of the spirit.
No one wanted their picture taken today, so I found this picture taken of Julia about a year ago by her Uncle Noel. Her eyes reminded me of Luke's eyes so much.

Friday, October 31, 2008

America

As we were out Trick-Or-Treating tonight, I thought to myself what an amazing event Halloween is. Granted it has its cons; like too much candy to rot the teeth, media that enhances the dark side, and individuals who poison candy or other various malicious acts. But in all reality those things happen everyday. So... in my little suburbia of kids running from house to house screaming for joy and a million little girls dressed up as princesses... I thought it is truly a blessing to live in America where we are rich enough to pass out candy to kids and provide costumes of some sorts above and beyond just a shirt & set of pants to wear. It never seems to amaze me how blessed we are in the United States.


Here is a picture of my little trick-or-treaters!


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Prudy Saves the Day

Quick notes for the day:
-Julia still sick with fever & running nose
-Therefore had to miss Ward Halloween Party tonight
-Consequences= No trial run through for kids' Halloween costumes & no free dinner= Mom and Julia extremely UPSET!!


***So.... at the end of the day I am grateful that Mike finally came home from work before 7pm (truly amazing!) and Prudence Pennywise provided amazing dinner recipes of Roasted Tomato & Corn Vegetarian Chili in the Slow Cooker & Soft Whole Wheat Pretzels. If you haven't checked at Prudy's blog at http://www.prudencepennywise.blogspot.com/ you are truly missing out!

Luke was truly glad to see his Dad too!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Little Helpers

Yesterday Julia started running a fever right around dinner time (oh the evil hour of motherhood) and stayed up most of the night coughing and wanting Mom. This morning despite feeling crummy she was in a pretty good mood. What was even more amazing was to walk into the kitchen and find Julia unloading the dishwasher and putting the utensils back into the drawers. When I asked her what she was doing she said, "I am helping Mama. I am cleaning". I was literally speechless at how sweet Julia was and the fact that she was putting the dishes away in the right spots. Take look for yourself!


As a mother I worry that I do not spend enough time teaching my children how to be polite, helpful, kind, and most important Christlike. Today, though, I am grateful for those little moments when your children surprise you and you realize that you are doing at least an okay job of being a mother.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

LMH


Today was Luke's official 9 month well-baby check-up and this afternoon as I had some quiet time I reflected on how lucky we are to have Luke as part of our family. Honestly, I haven't always been so excited to have 2 children. It took 3 years for Julia to join our family and when Luke came along 20 months later I was scared and exhausted. Now it is hard to imagine life with out Luke.

Here are just a few of the things I LOVE about LMH:

*He is a great napper!
*He loves Julia and can always make her smile when Mom can't.
*He is a mellow, happy-go-lucky baby (most of the time) thanks to the thumb.
*He is ours for eternity.




He was such a good sport as he got poked and prodded by the doctor and ended up with 2 shots. Here is his stats from today: 29 inches long (75%), 17lbs 2 oz (5%), and 46 cm head circumference (65%)- a Long and Skinny Kid!






Here is a picture of Luke today and one from 7 months ago.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Survival Day

I LOVE PUMPKIN! I love pumpkin pie, muffins, cookies, soup, cake, milkshakes, anything with pumpkin I love. So... today when Luke was crabby from cutting a tooth last night, Julia was crabby from missing her nap yesterday, and I was crabby due to (like you can't figure that out!).... I decided there was only one way to rememdy this situation: Bake PUMPKIN COOKIES. I found a yummy Pumpkin & Caramel cookie on http://everydayfoodstorage.blogspot.com/. Crystal, author of the everyday food storage blog, posts yummy, easy, and cheap ideas for using your food storage. Note: The picture of cookies is also from Crystal's blog.


Here is the recipe with a few changes I made:


Pumpkin Cookies with Caramel Icing Cookies
1 cup shortening (I used 1/2 cup shortening & 1/2 cup butter)
1 cup sugar ( I used 3/4 cup)
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 egg
1 t vanilla
2 cups flour (I used 1 cup all purpose & 1 cup whole wheat flour)
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
½ t ginger
1 t salt
Heat over to 350. Cream shortening and sugar. Add pumpkin, egg and vanilla. Sift and add dry ingredients. Drop by teaspoonful on cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 mins. Yields 2 1/2 dozen.

Icing
3 T butter
¾ t vanilla
1/4 C. milk *note from Crystal-3/4 T. dry powdered milk + 1/4 C. Water*
½ c brown sugar
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
Combine butter, vanilla, milk, brown sugar. Cook, stirring constantly to rolling boil. Cool. Stir in powdered sugar. Generously frost cookies while warm. Return icing to heat if too thick.Cookies will appear raised when cooked. Frosting will melt on top of cookie.

As you can tell by the recipe- I am truly grateful for Libby's Pumpkin Puree. These cookies made my house smell so good and occupied Julia as she ate 5 cookies. Sorry Mom- no pictures of the kids today- just a pure survival day!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Monkeys & Bananas

I remember when Julia was finally delivered the very first thing I wanted to know was her Apgar score (the measure of how healthy your baby is at the time of delivery). It had been a horrific 24 hour labor that ended with a C-section and I was so relieved that my little baby was healthy.



Today I am still truly amazed at how healthy and vibrant my children are. This is a blessing as a mother that I feel I take advantage on a daily basis. However, I try to remind myself of this fact when I find my little 2 year old monkey in the craziest places. Here are some pictures that testify to this fact. Julia was able to accomplish all of these feats in just our short walk to the park and back home.








Saturday, October 25, 2008

Counseling Buddies

Seven years ago Mr. Q and I moved to Boise, ID as a newly married couple. I was young, naive, and homesick as I entered the School Counseling Masters program at Boise State. There were 15 people in the program all from very different walks of life. Over the next 3 years these 15 individuals became some of my closet friends. This weekend 2 of my favorite people in that program visited me here in Utah. We had a great day of shopping at IKEA, eating lunch at Thanksgiving Point, and gabbing non-stop. I am truly grateful for their friendship and a Heavenly Father who placed these ladies in my life.


Here is what I love about each one of them:


Shauna- She is one of the most sincere individuals I know. She understands what it means to be a true friend and is so good at keeping in contact. Just being with her makes you feel special. Also... she drinks Diet Pepsi with her cereal in the morning!





Lynn-Is constantly caring for others. She is one of the most generous and loyal people I know. Her ability to listen and empathasize makes her one of the most amazing counselors I know. Also...she can entertain a 2 year old like no one else! Especially my little Julia!

Shauna & Lynn-Thanks for helping me be a better person-miss you lots-LesliAnn

Friday, October 24, 2008

On the most hectic of days, the most practical things in life draw my greatest appreciation. Today was one of those days as we headed to dreaded (only to mothers whose children will not stay in the carts) grocery store. I have 2 amazing friends coming into town this weekend and I wanted to have more than 2 day old rice, 1/2 a gallon of milk, and moldy green onions in the frig- so I made the venture.

So... today I make a shoutout to the individual who invented the "car" cart at grocery stores. I am eternally grateful to him/her. I can fit 2 children and groceries in 1 cart!!! Now granted Julia ended up in the grocery portion of the cart by the end of the trip, but the "car" cart seat became a great place for milk and the 24 boxes of Go-Gurt I got for $12 (50cents a piece)!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Screwdrivers & Cords



Here is one piece of advice I wish someone had told me before I had children: Kids don't need toys, everything you don't want them to play with is a toy to them.


i.e.= the cord of the carpet cleaner was Luke's favorite today. Now granted the carpet cleaner has been sitting in the kitchen for 3 days now, ever since Julia spilled her fruit shake on the carpet. But come on, 3 days is nothing compared to the screw driver that has been on my nightstand for a month- in case of burglars- right?!




Today though I am most grateful for the beauty of this earth the Savior created. The changing colors of the leaves reminds me of growing up in New York and the longing I have to move back east someday. However, for right now I am grateful for these 2 bright red bushes the closest I can come to the colors of fall.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The start of all of this....


This morning Julia woke up at 6am and Mike went in to her room to find her with half of her pjs on. Needless to say she was freezing! Mike quickly helped her put her pjs back on and she nestled back into her blankets. As he left the room she whispered to her Dad, "Dad I am going to miss you today." Even in the darkness of an October morning Julia's little rays of sunshine penetrate her parents' sleepy souls.

So...........as the normal craziness of dumped Rice Crispies, stickers on the walls, and Luke's magazine ripping parties filled the morning routine I found myself thinking back to a talk given by President Henry B. Erying in the October 2007 General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When his children were young, President Erying began to write down a few things about what had happened every day. President Erying writes, "Before I would write, I would ponder this question: “Have I seen the hand of God reaching out to touch us or our children or our family today?” As I kept at it, something began to happen. As I would cast my mind over the day, I would see evidence of what God had done for one of us that I had not recognized in the busy moments of the day......More than gratitude began to grow in my heart. Testimony grew. I became ever more certain that our Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers. I felt more gratitude for the softening and refining that come because of the Atonement of the Savior Jesus Christ. And I grew more confident that the Holy Ghost can bring all things to our remembrance—even things we did not notice or pay attention to when they happened."

As a mother of 2 busy little ones, I strive for little teaching moments where the Holy Ghost can fill our home. I want my children to know of my gratitude for them and for my Savior. Personally I want my testimony to continue to grow through the promptings of the spirit.


So join me for a daily testament of the craziness of my 2 little people and the things I am grateful for!