Thankful Thursday #92

* field at the ruins of Laodicea in Turkey

863. stormy sounds to fall asleep to
864. buttermilk pancakes before school
865. reading a new book before bed
866. flowers blooming in our pots
867. upcoming travels
868. summer planning
869. music
870.  5 of us on the sidelines cheering on the youngest
871. belly  laughs
872. finding animals in the clouds

Untitled...A Catch Up

Mainly untitled because this post is bound to be a mish mosh of words.  Unedited from my mind to the screen.  There is so much swirling around up there that it was time for a bit of declutter-ing.  Is that even a word? 

Life is moving right along here in the great white North.  Summer is quickly approaching and the days are long.  So long that the sun doesn't set until well after 9pm.  We all love that, except that there's still school and we can't quite enjoy the sun that late.  Dinners are being served later too.  A schedule that we all like.  Things linger in the front yard.  Flowers are blooming.  Tomato plants are flowering and the smell of cilantro and basil from the balcony garden makes it's way into the kitchen. 

We are all anticipating a full summer around these parts.  A June full of church camps and VBS and football of course.  Hopefully pool time and some downtime as well.  I am looking forward to creating our summer list next Friday when all the Things are officially done with the 2011-2012 school year.  I realized this morning at the kitchen island that we will have a sophomore, freshman, 7th grader and 5th grader.  Whoa!  I vividly remember thinking ahead to these days when the Things were all 5 years and younger.  Here they are.  There are days when they seem to have happened in the blink of an eye and others when the road seems long and windy and uphill.  Either way the time has arrived and parenting teenagers and tweenagers is an experience all it's own. 

Let's see what else is going on here.  Thing 1 is driving and learning that it's an acquired skill.  It takes time and patience and she is going to make mistakes.  Oh and her Mama can drive with her without losing her nerves.  Thing 2 is plowing through her eighth grade year.  Igniting some challenging discussions with her teachers and pushing the limits on every one's patience.  I mean that in the most complimentary way.  Really.  She is just as stubborn and relentless as her Daddy and those are both admirable traits that will serve her well.  I pray.  Thing 3 is walking in her boot and becoming more and more restless everyday.  Her ankle still hurts and this limited physical activity is beginning to take it's toll on not only her but the rest of us as well.  She is a girl that needs to run and play and go horse back riding.  Thing 4 is knee deep in football.  Matches twice a week, training 2-3 times a week.  He is loving every second of it.  He needs it.  When he is with his teammates they talk football, International and otherwise.  They challenge each other.  They simply have fun while playing the sport they love with all their soul.  Sounds silly to write that about 10 year olds but it is the truth.  It is his passion.  Husband Jared and I are training for the Minneapolis half marathon the first  Sunday in June.  That has been a grueling mental feat and a time commitment to say the least.  The rewards have been plenty, both physically and mentally though.  We enjoy being outside together and the runner's high that follows a tough run is always worth it. 

With all of this we are acclimating still to our new geographical location .  Alright, our home.  Sounds so permanent when I write it that way.  There is purpose for this season and all is well.  Stay tuned for a slightly deeper post coming soon.  Topic to be decided.  For now I will leave you all with this photo because a blog post is so much more interesting with photos.

Another Day, Another Couple Photos

 double rainbow, right outside our front door, spectacular!

 Polo-Lolo and Me on a walk in the bluffs,
does it look like he's trying to get away?
(photographer- Thing 1)

 Thing 4, Polo and Me having some
snuggle time, a few weekends ago

 Thing 3 and Me on Mother's Day, planting our salsa garden

 Thing 4, first match of the Spring Season

 Thing 2 on a great hair day, just look at those locks

Self portrait by Thing 1, love it!

Mama's Day

The Things and me before church, Sunday morning

Mother's day conjures up all sorts of memories for me.  Growing up it was a day where Mom was off duty.  Our large family gathered for brunch, typically, and we all spent the day together doing whatever it was Mom wanted to do.  Good times.  Now that I have been a mother for fifteen years the day has taken on new meaning. 

I will never forget a comic my own mother shared with me when the Things were littles.  It was Baby Blues and it was published on Mother's day.  The clips were of the children and the Dad all in the kitchen together, making breakfast, having fun and sharing time.  Mom is looking in on all this and says in a bubble above her head, "When is it going to be Father's day?"  Amen sister.   Don't get me wrong, I love to be doted on, showered with affection and served.  I am just more comfortable when I am the one serving.  Especially with my Things. 

 So there were no grand plans or spa trips planned for my day, just family time.  A healthy breakfast of maple bacon donuts, lunch out at our favorite little cafe and planting our salsa garden together.  The Things all made cards, and Thing 3 surprised me with a store bought gift of her own, choosing to spend her money on her Mama.  What a sweet sentiment and what a sweet girl.  The Things played with friends, had a water fight, took photographs and I sat and took it all in.  My heart exploding with gratitude.   

Thankful Thursday #91

Bird's nest found underneath a pine tree in our yard

853. sunshine, lots of it
854. Thing 4's football matches
855. Turkish nights
856. new headbands
857. flowers planted
858. maple bacon donuts, there I said it, I love them!
859. salsa garden growing
860. just sitting and watching
861. summer fast approaching 
862. a trip on the horizon

And We're Off!

Really we are!  Actually Thing 1 is.  A few weeks ago she passed her permit test and received this little piece of paper that qualifies her to get behind the wheel.

 Ahem, but I do not remember being asked permission for this milestone.  How did we arrive here so quickly?  How is it that my eldest daughter is sitting in the driver's seat and I have been relegated to the back of the family vehicle? 

Thing 3's Birthday Recap

In typical Hanson family style Thing 3 reveled in her birthday celebrations for a good week.  We kicked off the big twelfth birthday with a date at the dinner theatre for a performance of Hairspray.  You must understand here, Thing 3 dances around the house regularly singing the entire soundtrack, especially "Good Morning Baltimore".  One of her favorites.  So Husband Jared and I gifted her with a trip to the dinner theatre here, one of very few dinner theatres that employs professional actors.  It was fantastic.  We dressed up and just the three of us were out for a night on the town.

 On our way out

 At the theatre

Dinner time

The entire experience was amazing.  Thing 3 was completely captivated with the sets, the actors, the singing, dancing all of the above.  A memorable night for us all.  The MC even wished her a happy birthday on stage, wow! 

Celebrations continued into the next week, her actual birth day.  One of her close friends was invited to sleep over and attend a fundraiser for a missions outreach at Sky zone.  Now commonly referred to in this house as "danger zone".  The reason being that Thing 3 came home injured, on her birthday no less.  Although the prognosis came the next morning, due to the late night return Thing 3 had.  She thought it might be rude and spoil the fun if she shared her injury with her friend, so they continued jumping!  The following day was set to be a girls day with lunch out and a trip to Sweet Retreat, a local cupcake shop that had been featured on Food Network.  We were all too excited!  That might not even accurately describe the anticipation I had.  And all for cupcakes. Our day held a minor detour to the orthopedic clinic for x-rays and treatment for the girls' ankle which was now swollen and discolored and hurting.  The x-ray showed a slight fracture on her growth plate and a boot was given for the next month.  No horse back riding, no running, no fun. 

Moments after the appointment

Thing 3 is such a trooper and determined to make the most of her day she requested a rather large cupcake to help with the pain.  Being the Mama that I am I obliged.  Anything for my baby girl.  OK, anything to satisfy my sweet tooth and curiosity. 

 Birthday girl with a s'mores cupcake

My delectable treat, strawberry balsamic cupcake with white chocolate frosting,
as featured on Food Network

I must admit here that I was a skeptic before entering this fine bakery.  More often than not cupcake shop cupcakes are way too large with a mountain of frosting that hurts my fillings.  These were not.  As evidenced by the photos above.  Really.  I have to make yet another confession here.  I had initially planned on eating only half my cupcake.  You know since we're in training and all.  And then I looked up and it was gone.  ALL OF IT.  My word.  Enough about that.  The girls were happy, the birthday girl smiling and we laughed and enjoyed our girl time celebrating Thing 3. 
Oh happy day!

Of course that wasn't quite the end of our festivities.  Thing 3 had yet to have her family birthday dinner.  On the menu, grilled chicken, artichokes and homemade mac and cheese with bacon.  Oh and red velvet cake with white frosting and chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.  What the birthday girl wanted, she got, and then some!  So we returned from our field trip and I began preparing.  We had quite the feast and topped the night off with a family viewing of "Hugo".  Nice flick, sweet story. 

 The fam, even Polo, smiling at the table, really they were saying,
"hurry up Mama, we're hungry"

Making a wish

 And that my friends is the story of Thing 3's birthday week.

Mama Said There'd Be Days Like This

And today was definitely one of those days.  Some days are naturally a bit sunnier than others.  Other days not so much.  This morning was  not sunny.

I woke, same as I do most mornings, before the rest of the household.  That's how I like it.  A few minutes to start the kettle, read and prepare lunches.  All in the quiet.  Almost a reflective time and then sometimes not.  Today was not. I wasn't quite prepared for this little loop-de-loop on the rollercoaster ride though.  Today was field trip day for one child, I was chaperoning, on a bike no less, and can we just say  that the weather was not cooperating, another child was up with the sun working on homeowrk and I was ready for the day, or so I thought. I sat at the counter and before I could look up I heard those words, "I don't think I can make it at school today".  Only this time it wasn't because of an illness or a football match or even lack of sleep.  Today was exhaustion.  Emotions running rampant. 

Now I am inclined to write how I paused, took a moment and had the most brilliant words for this child of mine, but no, I wanted a quick fix and didn't so much as take a second then opened my mouth.  And what pretel were my grand words, "I need more than that".  Really?  Oh yes.  Cue the mother of the year award committee.  When she stared back at me with those big brown eyes I was crushed.  Mostly because I know.  I feel that way too.  No one tells me, "I need more than that".  This house has seen an abundance of those kinds of Mama days.  The ones where you need a  hug and your best yoga pants and maybe even your trusty companion of a blanket.  A pint of Ben and Jerrys wouldn't hurt either.  Yeah, I know those days.  So I took a deep breath and did the only thing I truly know  how to do and I prayed for some intervention, desperately.  I tried to be reassuring and loving and encouraging.  I hugged, made hot chocolate and then reminded her she needed to get ready for school.  Ugh.

We both made it through the day and by the time she was home there was at least half  smile on her face.  And of course a Mama a bit better equipped this time around with a full sympathy tank.  Because sometimes that's all we need when the days are hard. 

This is The Day!

Today is your birthday!  This is the day that the Lord has made!
What a gift you have been to our family.  The youngest girl and our third child, our Gillie Bean. 

You have always been a tender hearted girl, never met a stranger and quite the scrubber-shuff.  That's what Nana would call you because you wouldn't stop talking.  Still true.  These days we find it a challenge to peel you away from your books.  Classical music puts you to sleep and your passion for God's word is unbridled.  You like to test the water with your toes before you jump in.  Life is your stage and we so enjoy watching each act.  Horse back riding has moved up the ranks and is practically a full time passion.  Reading everything you can about them, taking care of them, grooming, mucking, etc.  You spend Saturdays at the stables helping with lessons after you have your own.  Apparently this has also been the year of baking and you have acquired a bit of a cupcake obsession.  The family has enjoyed the fruits of your labors on more than one occasion and who knows that may just be your calling.

This last year has been a true joy despite all the changes and newness in our lives.   You are a bright ray of sunshine for all of us.  May the year ahead hold wonderment and adventure and be filled with love. 

Mama loves you my twelve year old Gillie Bean.

Thankful Thursday #90

843. bike rides with Thing 3
844. journal pages filled
845. hot tea before bed
846. catching up with Husband Jared after Things are tucked in for the night
847. flowers, flowers and more flowers
848. trees blooming
849. butterflies, dragonflies and pretties on my runs
850. sunshine
851. walks after dinner
852. water gun fights in our yard


As I rounded the corner on my lengthy run one afternoon a ray of sunshine was waiting for me.  The tunes were loud and booming in my ear, and then there it was.  A meadow.  Filled with golden yellow dandelion flowers, long, wavy grass, probably crawling with ticks, but it was the way the sun shone through the tall trees and onto this green patch.  Stunning. 

Something about that sight struck me.  And in a way I can't quite explain.  I've ran on that same path many times since and I find myself rounding the corner and hoping it's waiting for me again.  It hasn't been.  At least not in the same way.  I actually had wished I ran with my iPhone, only so I could have captured the beauty that day, but then would a photo have done it justice?  I think not. 

Then during my quiet time that meadow came back to me.  You see, the meadow comes after a small-ish uphill stint, where the road is windy and usually shaded.  Even on the brightest days there isn't much sunlight.  Then, round the corner and there is an opening in the sky.  A display of splendor.  Unexpected.  And I thought to myself, isn't that the way life runs it course.  We're on the straight and narrow, a curve is thrown at us, a few challenging hills and then a glimpse of hope, when it all seems so desperate.  The question for me lies in whether or not that hope is there consistently or do I find it only when I'm in pursuit of it?

I'd like to think that I know the answer.  Just because I know it in my head doesn't mean I always live it with my heart.  Hope is there.  The Sonshine is there, waiting on me.  It is, however, only when my eyes are lifted that I will see it, find it.  If my eyes are focused on the windy path beneath my feet then I will never see it. 

What are you chasing after today and where are your eyes looking?