Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Zoo!

We finally bit the bullet and got a family zoo pass.

We hope that it will provide many fun memories for our family.

Smiles and laughter all around.

While we were there  I remembered why it is so imporant for our children to experience real live animals.

Books are great, but nothing beats touching the animals.

Feeling the animals on your hands. Smelling the smells.

Oh the softness. Olivia couldn't get enough. She kept chasing after him, poor thing!

Observing animals up close and from farther away. The zoo had six giraffes (I think). We were able to get particularly close to one. Words cannot describe Olivia's look of awe as she looked up and up and up at the tall giraffe. Frankly, I was in awe myself. Later she asked to go back and see them. She giggled in fascination.

Family times. God's creation. Warm sun. A lovely day.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Day In Our Life

I haven't completely forgotten this blog, and I actually have taken quite a few pictures, just seem to get slowed down in the process of getting them uploaded in on the blog. Here are a few shots from one day this week.  (I can't even remember which, isn't that horrible?)

I walked in our room to find Olivia 'talking' on the phone. Couldn't resist grabbing the camera.

Then she was texting.

We are outside a lot these days. It is hard to get the kids to slow down enough for a picture, but every now and then I try. :)

I'm in love with this shot. The perfect  combination of girgly-girl and tomboy, and so completely Olivia! (And yes, that is a 'boo-boo' under her nose...she did a face-plant.)

Sweet little Silas Ridley has been enjoying the grass these days.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Happy Birthday, Brian!

It would be impossible to put into words how grateful I am for this man. He is thoughtful, ambitious, hard-working, caring, and helpful. He pursues God, dreams big, works to be the best he can be, relies on God and not himself, and always puts God and his family above his dreams. He pushes me to dream big, pushes me to be the best I can be, and always encourages me to reach my potential. He lovingly trains and disciples his children, plays with them, provides for them, and encourages them.

He has allowed God to mold and shape him into who he is. God has been gracious to him. God has been gracious to our family

Happy Birthday, Brian!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Spring Break Fun

One of the joys of having my spring break from the Latin School this week is to spend additional time with Johanna and the kids. The warm weather coupled with excellent park choices in our area means great memories with family. 

Spring has sprung here.
Two cute front teeth on cute little bud. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Olivia's Birthday Celebration!

We had a nice celebration in honor of Olivia's 2nd birthday. She was quite thrilled with the attention, and we remembered God's goodness in giving her to us. 

My favorite was when we were saying what we were thankful about her and Stefan said: "I'm thankful because she's my favorite girl and I just love her." Sigh. A happy moment for Mommy.

Three sweet children. Olivia looks a little dazed, though!


Playing with Daddy!


100 % Olivia. Love this girl so much!


Opening presents!


Mommy's girl!


Some of these are fuzzy, but I had to include them! She was playing with Daddy and Stefan here!


Enjoying the party!


He was a great big brother for her party and was not jealous about the attention being on her. I was proud of him!


Just hanging out!


Presents were not really a big deal to her. Life is way more exciting!

All in all, a great celebration of our precious little girl!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy 2nd Birthday Olivia!

Our sweet Olivia is two today.  To write about her personality is almost impossible, so I'll share a few pictures to help you see it! 

Things I love:
I love how her little foot taps in steady rhythm as she falls asleep.
I love how she burries her face into my neck when she wants to snuggle.
I love that she loves to snuggle.
I love how she rubs the silk ribbon of her tag blanket between her thumb and index finger.
I love how she is full of life.
I love how she has so much joy.
I love that she is so fearless and wonder how that will look when she is an adult.
I love how she is concerned that everyone else has their 'stuff' (namely Silas his paci, and Stefan his doggy).
I love her giggle because it is usually reserved just for us.
I love my sweet Olivia Karis Hanson!

Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful gift of Olivia.  I had no idea how much could be added to our family when she was born.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Shots of our week!

Just a few sweet shots of my cuties.



They are starting to really enjoy each other. It has been fun to see Stefan playing with him a lot more lately!


He was menu planning here. He has really gotten to the imitation stage. He was talking through the menu, "on Monday we will have pizza, potato soup, carrots, and chicken." Wow...he had quite the selections going on!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Weekend Away

A couple of weeks ago, my sister came up and Brian and I were able to get away for a night.  We took Silas with us because of course he can't be away from Mama for more than a few hours:). We had such a refreshing time of relaxation, sleep, and lots and lots of uninterrupted talking.  

The kids at home seemed to have had a great time with Auntie Donna as well! Thank you, Donna!  We're extremely grateful. 

We actually ended up crossing the river to walk through the little river town of Madison, Indiana.  It was founded in 1809 and the buildings were old and quaint.  We enjoyed our brief visit of the town.  They had a GREAT bookstore.  No pictures, so I'll tell you about it:).  Wood shelves up to the ceiling, ladders, and a beautiful Steinway grand piano {drool}. Sigh. Someday.  Of course, I think we need a place big enough for it first. Ha!  It was an old fashioned bookstore, very clean and neat, and of course modern books:). We could have stayed there a long time, but Silas was getting fussy at that point!

The antique store was massive, too. That was fun to go through.

Snapshots of the town. So quaint and cute!

A stop for a coffee and a chai latte!

Check out this old, old movie theater showing Courageous!  And look at that box office! Too bad it was closed. I really, really wanted to go in!

We did a lot of driving around and looking at scenery. Because Silas was with us, it was a great way for him to nap and us to have lots of talking time!


And our adorable sidekick!

It was a very restful weekend. We didn't realize how poorly we have been sleeping due to loud neighbors until we were in a quiet cabin!  We had some great discussions. Set goals, dreamed dreams, made plans, had fun!  Love my hubs!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Intentionally Remembering

I mentioned in my last post that it is important to intentionally look back and remember.  Why is this so important? Simply put, it is very healthy to know where you are and where you want to go.

While in some cases it may be a bit uncomfortable or even somewhat discouraging to remember, it is the only way that you can make needed changes and move forward.

The flip side is that it is also encouraging.  There are blessings and changes that sometimes go unnoticed. This is just as dangerous.  God has blessed us above and beyond what we could ask or think.  The Bible is chalk full of instances where God reminds His children to remember. Remembering God's faithfulness in the past is the surest way of not falling into despondency over trials today.

We chose to remember by making an evening out of it.  I already told you that I put slips of paper with questions in a jar and we pulled them out and talked about that particular question and answer. This was both fun and serious and not only caused us to be once again reminded of God's faithfulness to us, but also helped us evaluate where we need to set goals to improve in this new year.

I will share with you some of the questions that we used to get our minds rolling.  This is most certainly not an exhaustive list and we had more than I am including, but it will hopefully get your minds turning so that you can come up with your own list.  So pull out a notebook jot down your thoughts as you intentionally look back on this past year.

1) What was one way I excelled as a spouse this year?

2) What was my biggest challenge in being a good spouse this year?

Use these questions to evaluate every relationship you have: Parent/Child/Employee/Employer/Neighbor/Church Member/Friend, etc.

(Special Note: The answer to the biggest challenge might be a good jumping off point for your goals for this new year!)

3) What is one thing I learned this year?

4) What one major goal did we accomplish this year?

5) What was my favorite book I read this year?

6) What are three direct answers to prayer this year?

(If you can't answer this question it might be that you have failed to ask God for answers. Or you might be so consumed with the answer coming in a specific way that you haven't even noticed the answer has been given just in a different way than you anticipated.  I highly encourage you to ask and let your faith be strengthened as you see God answer your prayers.)

7) What was my biggest time waster this year? (All I'll say is, ouch!)

8) What was our favorite family outing?

9) What is one funny moment that stands out?

10) What was Stefan/Olivia/Silas' biggest achievement this year? (Be sure and evaluate your children as individuals and not as a collective whole!)

11) What was one life changing event this year? (We had a lot! Baby, out-of-state move, seminary!)

12) What is one way I grew spiritually this year?

13) What is one way I grew intellectually this year?

14) What is one RAOK (Random Act Of Kindness) someone showed to you that you remember?

(Don't underestimate the value of a RAOK.  My answer to this was a kind man helping me out with my grocery cart when I was struggling with car seat, groceries, children, and cart. It was a simple act of kindness, but these things are vastly being lost in our society. We try to be intentional about looking outside of ourselves to the needs of others around us.  We want to do better about this and do better about teaching our kids to do this as well and these questions help!)

15) What is one RAOK I did for someone else? 

I could go on, but I'll stop here. Hopefully this is enough to get you all going. Throw in some fun, tailored-to-your family questions and you have a great jumping off point to spend an evening remembering.  It will strengthen your faith in God, it will help you evaluate where changes need to be made, and it will remind you of all the wonderful things God has given you.

For us, what always follows the night of remembering is a set aside time to set new goals.  We have already been talking a lot about it, but our official goal setting time is coming this weekend.  My sister is coming to babysit, and Brian and I are looking forward to some time alone to do just that!

This is certainly not a typical post for me, but I thought some of you might find it helpful so I thought I would share!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Bye Bye Christmas and other Random News

January is off and running and it seems like Christmas was ages ago.  We said goodbye to our tree and the only thing left of Christmas are the cards on our fridge, the new toys being played with, and the wonderful memories of a beautiful season spent together as a family. 

Sniff, sniff...

We enjoyed a simple New Years Eve. We first had dinner with friends, but since there were children involved it was an early affair and we were home with the kids in bed shortly past their normal bedtime. 

Brian and I then popped some popcorn and took some time to reflect on our year. While the beginning of a new year is certainly a good time for making new goals, we also like to take some time to look back and remember. I filled a jar with lots of questions that we randomly pulled out.  It made for a wonderful evening of fun, laughter, and serious reflection.   We remembered specific answers to prayer, funny moments, major accomplishments. We talked about how we had grown and changed. It was the perfect mix of serious and fun. If you haven't thought back on your year yet, I highly recommend it.  It is a good thing to remember.

I found Silas just chillin' on the couch.

We've been enjoying slowly working through Charlotte's Web.  Since Daddy has been home lately to listen in on the reading time he was able to capture the pictures.  As you can see, Olivia doesn't appear to be listening, but she is always sad when I put the book down.  Stefan loves it and has even read to me recounting stories about Wilbur, Charlotte, and Templeton.  It's been fun to see! We are nearing the end of our first chapter book read aloud. 

We had some snow the other day. It actually snowed most the day but no accumulation. I figured out that I needed to get excited over this, because we are not in the North and clearly this is probably all we're going to get so we had some Snowmen fun.

First we made puffy snowmen. (Equal parts shaving cream and glue)

We had snowmen pancakes. Stefan was thrilled about this, but I think he was feeling bad for the snowman because that night in Bible time he prayed for the snowman that he ate!  

We also read, among others, these 'snow' books:

When Winter Comes
The Snowy Day
The Biggest, Best Snowman
Juste un Petit Bout (in French, obviously)