Delayed Gratification

Alright, I just have to share this parenting moment so I never forget what it's like to be a 12 year old. Did I really say that out loud? Do I actually have a 12 year old daughter? Whoa.

Anyhow, Makenzie received an inexpensive digital camera for Christmas. Focus on the inexpensive. Said camera has ceased to operate in the proper mode. Thankfully said 12 year old's Dad works at BB and can help. He exchanged the camera and paid the $30 dollar difference since her inexpensive camera was no longer being made. Hmmm.

Upon arrival at our home with the new camera our beloved Thing 1 was ecstatic. Can I see it, can I have it, can I hold it, I want to take pictures, does it do video? And on and on and on. You get the picture. Ha, no pun intended there, really. After telling her in my calmest voice that she would not so much as hold the camera in her darling little hands until $30 was laid in my hands she threw a tantrum. I mean a tantrum. I love this child dearly let me tell you but this girl lives her feelings, BIG! I want it, it's mine, I will have the money Saturday. Well, (me speaking now), you will have to wait until Saturday, that is what we grown ups call delayed gratification. Learn that one early and we might save many a heart ache down the road.

Needless to say she stomped her feet and shed many tears all the way to her room. Thanks for reminding me Thing 1 what it is like to want something so badly and not be able to have it. I love you!


Dollywood, not to be confused with Hollywood or dolly world. For weeks leading up to our trip I was referring to the theme park as "dolly world" and of course being laughed at by my entire family. According to the park's website that is a common mistake. Ha!

Our day begin quite early with a drive from Gatlinburg into Pigeon Forge, home of Dollywood and the Dixie Stampede. Also a breathtaking road through the Smoky Mountains. There are no hilarious stories or family mishaps. Our day was non stop from 10am until the park closed at 8pm. We conquered roller coasters, one with an almost 90 degree drop. How you ask, by being certifiably insane and not wanting to disappoint our tween age daughters, or have them thinking that Dad and Mom are wimps! What a ride. We picnicked on the asphalt, that was a first, ate funnel cake drenched in powdered sugar, rode the log ride and rafting ride and got soaked. I looked as though my clothes just came out of the washing machine; Rode a wooden roller coaster and the Lemon Twist, much like the tea cups, until Gillian and William almost made this Mom vomit! So much fun!

Throughout the day Jared and I began to see a pattern. For the most part the ride operators were seniors. Not seniors in high school, seniors in age. They were polite, they would hold the line to take family pictures, they watched your younger children if they were too frightened to ride the roller coasters (Gilly and Will) and they were a delight. No one tried to run us over or shoved us in line. In fact, the people visiting the park this day were courteous and polite. What a joy!

All this being said we made some forever memories at Dollywood!

Frigid Water

Here we are in the Smoky Mountains in July. It should be terribly humid, hot and sticky, much like the rain forest. Well it wasn't. In fact it was so not like the rain forest. The air was crisp, the sun warming but not overpowering and for lack of a better adjective, just plain beautiful.

With all that being said my adventurous children were not up for a swim in a mountain stream. They didn't have their bathing suits, they didn't have their water socks, it was too cold, yada, yada, yada. Whose children are these? They did however have no fear about scaling bald, slippery rocks. Please see picture.

After debating and checking the depth of the water and the rapids we found a "swimming hole"; A pool of water waist deep where we could actually dunk ourselves under. Jeff and Natalie, the prepared outdoors people that they are, were completely ready to submerse themselves in the crystal clear water. They changed and the kids were warming to the idea. I wasn't so sure. After being heckled a bit we all decided to go under together. Delaney had already braved the coldness and William followed all of us. Look at his face as his body goes into shock from the coldness.

Wow! There are no words for this experience. I liken the sensation to what people must feel when they celebrate the New Year with a Polar Bear Plunge. It is invigorating! I am so thankful that we all did this together. There were however, two onlookers that did not participate, can you guess who they were? Maybe next time.

Vacation - Smoky Mountains

We have just returned from a short get away in the Smoky Mountains where we spent time hiking to the highest elevation in the National Forest, enjoyed lounging in the hot tub on the deck of our cabin, ate more than our bellies could hold at Pancake Pantry, tubed the river rapids in Townsend and spent the morning 'til night riding roller coasters at Dollywood! Oh, not to mention devouring funnel cake doused with powdered sugar in record time. We also celebrated Uncle Jeff's 33rd birthday, and went swimming in the frigid water of a mountain stream. How could I possible forget to note that? It was four days chock full of memories. And below are some of those memories captured in photos. Behold...

(more vacation tales to come and more photos)

The First Day of School
It came quite unexpectedly around 9:30am yesterday morning. We received a phone call from the Poplar Grove principal letting us know that all 4 kiddos had been accepted. Whoa, talk about a whirlwind. "Oh and by the way", she said, "we start school tomorrow morning".
So, here are the kiddos bright and early this Friday morning of July 17th, ready to start a new school year entering 7th grade, 4th grade, 6th grade and Little Man in the front starting 2nd grade.
Or maybe not so ready.
They were not too pleased with me to say the least when I asked them to pose for their first day of school photo today. This was the best I could get. I think it captured the sentiment perfectly.

Come In Closer

Today I embarked on a personal journey with Jillian Michaels. Yes, the famed "TV's toughest trainer" from The Biggest Loser. I needed to up the anti on my work out and her 30 Day Shred seemed to be the right fit.

Day 1: Sweaty beyond belief, in shock over my lack of personal fitness and motivated to see what it will be like at Day 30! There is hope.

During the workout, level 1, Jillian said that in order to see results we need to put stress on our bodies. Throughout the entirety of the workout, all 20 minutes I might add, this idea resonated in my head.

I think this rings true not only for shaping our muscles and toning our bodies, but in defining who we are and solidifying our belief systems as well. Isn't it true that the lowest valleys of life, the trials we endure, the heartaches, the losses and yes even the failures grow us? This rather insignificant statement caused me to reflect on my current life circumstances.

It is without a doubt those times that I have been challenged that have grown me and shaped me, refined me. Sometimes it is only on the other side of the darkness that I am able to have that perspective. Too often it is only the dusty clouds of the unknown that I see. That is when I am called to my Savior's feet. To press into Him. We sang a song at church this past Sunday that repeated the phrase, "Come in closer". The worship leader asked us to sing this song out to Jesus so that He could whisper to us, "Come in closer".

I was in awe.

The challenges will never cease. This is life here on earth, in our flesh. We are only humans. Yet we are made in our Creators likeness. He desires for us to be close to Him. Through our trials, whatever they may be, He is there waiting to be called to "come in closer". He will define you, shape you and refine you.

Isaiah 48:10 "See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction"

Snake Slaying 101

Today was an exciting day in the neighborhood. The kiddos happened upon a slithering snake hiding in the bushes. Gillian the snake charmer decided this creature posed a threat, so she picked up a stick and flung it out of the bush.When it was out of the bush it made a dash for the house. It started to crawl through the vent when our neighbor Mr. Jed pulled it out by it's tail. It was really mad by then. So my dad and Mr. Jed decided to slay the snake. My dad ran to obtain the weapon. While Mr.Jed held the snake with a stick against the ground, my dad beheaded the creature. Unfortunately, the shovel did not behead the snake the first try. Needless to say the task was accomplished and the neighborhood is once again safe!!!
By:Makenzie& Leanna Hanson

Only in Nashville

Only in Nashville would there be a giant guitar for a scoreboard.
Only in Nashville would the baseball team's logo include a music note and hence be named "The Sounds". Only in Nashville, I love it!

Family Photos

Hello y'all! Here are some family photos that I have been meaning to post for a while and a few new ones that were recently taken. One of Ron, Jeanine and all the grandkiddos. One of the family. Some from Will's Lacrosse. A few from Jared's birthday dinner. No other thoughts just a photo montage from June!

Fabulous Fourth

Our 4th started with a bang, a barefoot camp pick up the big girls sort of bang! The eldest Hanson girls are home after a week of fun, sun, canoeing, camp fires, extreme sports, drama and some Jesus time!

The celebration started at Tom and Pam's house (Jeff's parents), or dog camp as it is often referred to. We enjoyed swimming, trying out the new "sea saw", volleyball, horseshoes and a spectacular fire works show despite the storm. We even picked our own corn out of the garden for dinner. Yummy!

Oh, what a day!


A boy and his dog, enough said.

Sweet, sweet summer!

Summer. Sweet. Smores. Slip n Slide. Sharing. Special.

Big Girls

Our house is quiet, strangely, eerily quiet. We are missing two children, four hands, four feet, four eyes, two noses and two young ladies.

Makenzie and Delaney are at Barefoot Republic camp this week and our house is just not the same. Our family is not the same. I miss them terribly. I have not heard their sweet voices since I dropped them off on Monday afternoon and I will not hear their voices for three more sleeps.

That's all I wanted to share.
Oh that and a few things about those sisters that are not here.
Makenzie is now 12 years old. She is officially in junior high school. Our eldest daughter is responsible. She can now watch her siblings and make dinner and pack her own lunch for school. Makenzie is now a striker on the top team for her age bracket. She enjoys listening to music and dancing when she thinks no one is watching. She dances well, really well. Makenzie is witty. Makenzie likes to snuggle. She will protect her sisters and brother no matter what. She dreams big dreams about playing soccer in college. Makenzie has great big emotions about life. Makenzie is social. She loves Jesus.
Delaney is now 10 years old, almost 11. She is officially a 6th grader. Our middle child is serious. She is intense and focused and self motivated. Delaney is now on the travel soccer team for her age bracket. She loves animals. Delaney wants to be a veterinarian and save animals. She likes to be barefoot. Delaney loves her family. She likes to solve problems. She is empathetic. Delaney wants people to be happy, sincerely. She likes to be outside and she is not afraid to try anything. Delaney loves Jesus.
I love you girls, truly.

Kids Cook Tonight

Tonight Jeff, Natalie and I visited the best restaurant in town, their deck. It was the kiddos turn to cook and they went to the extent of creating the atmosphere,right down to the home made menus and the jackets they tied on their waists for aprons. What a treat. Makenzie and Delaney are at camp for the week so tonight Gillian and William were allowed to each have a friend over for a sleep over. What a night! Gillian and Kendall created our menus, pigs in a blanket, green beans with bacon, apples with homemade caramel peanut butter dip and angel food cake with strawberries for dessert. Delicious. The grown ups were seated, waited on and served without having to lift a finger. Ok, that may not be the whole truth, I was in the kitchen supervising. Anyhow, we are already looking forward to the next Kids Cook night!