Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!!!

Today was a pretty great Christmas day for our family. I mean ANY Christmas morning where the kids don't wake up until 8:30am makes it an instant success in our book. We have been going, going, ever since that time though and are ready to crash now. I'll post details in the next day but wanted to wish you all a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

20 Miles Baby!!!!

I am already sore and tired (kind of makes me wonder how I am going to walk around Disney World for 3 days after a marathon) but I ran the whole 20 miles today. It wasn't an "easy" running day for me either but my teammates and I were on a mission - plodding along until the end.

When Barb, our team coach, hugged me at the finish line tears sprang to my eyes (again, makes me wonder what kind of state I'll be in when Kate hugs me at the finish line at Disney). Anyway, I feel many emotions right now - fatigue, weakness, happiness, gratitude and a little bit of anxiety about adding 6 more miles on to this - to make it a marathon!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Happy Birthday Kyle!!!

I have to give a shout out to my younger brother Kyle who turns 30 years old today! Kyle is the second in line of the 4 boys and is an amazing man. In honor of his birthday, here are just a few reasons that make Kyle amazing.

1. He is amazingly bright and loves to learn. No not like I often did -to pass a test- but to really learn! Weird...:)
2. He loves to play Guillotine and other games for hours on end with me. Love it!
3. He is fluent in at least 4 languages.
4. He is an amazing athlete and excels in most sports. (He was the hot soccer player in HS). True story.
5. He is my only sibling who is as excited as I am to go for a run together when we are on vacation.
6. He served a mission in Italy and has taught his daughter Italian. At 3 she is bilingual and working on trilingual.
7. He is hilarious. It is rare to see him without a smile on his face when we get together.
8. He chose one awesome woman to marry.
9. If I want to learn something from the scriptures, he's my man. Quite an impressive scriptorian.
10. The man has amazing hair and the longest eye lashes you've ever seen. My favorite cut is still the hot soccer do, with bob length hair tucked behind his ears. As Will Smith says in Men in Black " I make this look good"!
Happy Birthday Kyle. Love your guts!!!!

11 Years!

Today Jason and I celebrated our 11 year anniversary. I use the word "celebrate" loosely since the day consisted of work followed by a team in training pasta dinner in preparation for our 20 miler tomorrow and a last minute trip to Target. All of the day's activities revolved around and included the kids too so we didn't officially celebrate our anniversary yet. We hope to do that in 2 weeks after the holiday rush has ended. We did acknoweldge our day though by giving each other cards and small gifts. Jason (whose not the most romantic guy around and usually doesn't see the value of flowers) surprised me with a dozen red roses and a sweet note recounting the first time he gave me flowers while dating. It was a very sweet gesture and didn't go unappreciated.
So, 11 years ago today we were married and on the "longest night of the year" (Winter Solstice) too, as we've heard MANY times. :) I am one lucky woman and I can honestly say that I feel the happiest I ever have and am so grateful to be going through this crazy life with Jason.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Christmas Outfits

I have a hard time picking out "the" Christmas outfit for my girls and I did no better this year. So instead of choosing, I just get a few. These are one of 3 for this year! :) In response to a kind primary teacher's comment on how nice Kate looked she replied, "My Mom said that I can't roll around on the ground or anything though". Yes Kate, that's right.

I mean, how can you have 2 girls and not get caught up in the cutest matching dresses, especially for the holidays? Ava put hers on in the store and said, "I'm pretty princess". That is what prompted the 2nd matching dress purchase of the day.

I'm totally biased I know, but I just wanted to eat them up today! Of course, the cute dresses came off immediately after church - can't push my luck.

A Christmas Carol

Luck was smiling upon us this weekend... At the last minute, a friend offered our family 2 tickets to see A Christmas Carol at the Alliance Theater in Atlanta - (front row even). We had to rearrange our schedules a little but it was worth it and Jackson and I had a fantastic time - just the 2 of us.

Jackson commented as we were leaving for the show, "Dad and I get to do things a lot, just the two of us, but you and I don't". It's true. As life has become more complicated, Jason and I divide and conquer. That usually means that I take the girls and he does most of the activities with Jackson. A special day out with just Mom and Jackson made this neat opportunity that much cooler in both of our eyes I think.

I was surprised how still Jackson sat throughout the show (he's 8 and a boy - need I say more) and when it was over he seemed genuinely bummed that time passed so quickly. It is so much fun to pass along fun childhood memories with your children isn't it? I have the best memories of watching Radio City Music Hall's Christmas Spectacular every other year with my cousins. Those were the best times.

I am going to try and see if I can buy tickets for The Nutcracker next week and take the whole family. I can't wait to share that experience with my children!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Ava's 1st Haircut...Finally!

At just over 2 and 1/2 years old, Miss Ava had her first haircut today. She actually didn't have very much to cut but the beginning stages of a mullet were forming and I just couldn't allow that to happen. If you look closely you can see the wings at the nape of her neck.

There were no tears, fights or antics for her first cut either. I was poised with camera to take it all in but she just hopped up onto the chair and did every thing that the hair dresser asked. She has been accompaning Jackson and Kate to the salon for long enough that she knew to ask for a lollipop at the end of it all and was pleased as punch that she finally had a turn in the big chair.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Run Forest Run...

So yesterday I ran 18 miles in preparation for the upcoming marathon (we kind of got lost and ended up having to make up our own route but it worked). In 2 weeks we'll be running 20 miles and then start tapering down in preparation for the race!
On Friday night a friend asked me, "are you excited for tomorrow's run?" In truth, no I wasn't. It isn't that I don't enjoy running because I do, but I am growing weary of the time commitment associated with training for a marathon. It is so much greater than the 1/2 marathon was let me tell you. This past week's schedule included running 6 miles on Tuesday, 10 miles on Wednesday and 6 miles on Thursday plus a 4 miler sometime in the week. I also weight trained 2 times and then on Saturday spent 3+ hours running the 18 miles.
Perhaps I am feeling the strain more because it is the Christmas season and there are so many other things that I rather be doing with my kids than running. I am very much looking forward to the marathon but I don't know if it is because I am looking forward to the culminating event of my efforts or because it will mean an end to this rigorous training schedule. :)

Monday, December 03, 2007


My friend Allison, tells me that I am sucker for all new products and I must admit that I am. I am intrigued by new ideas and have to see if they do in fact, make my life easier/better in some way.
Truth be told, I am a tissue and TP snob - they really must be Puffs and Charmin. It may seem ridiculous but I have grown accustomed to their super soft and non injurious ways.
So, this past weekend I once again found myself with a cold and had to go out for some back-up supplies. During this excursion I happened upon Puffs with Vicks. Interesting... I of course purchased them and so loved them! While I don't recommend them for everyday, they are perfect for that super stuffed-up yucky cold congestion.
I am glad that Jason didn't notice that I laid one on my face while going to sleep. Hey, whatever works right?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Turkey Shoot and Stuffing too...

I know that we are nearly into December now but I couldn't let the season go by without telling you how the annual "Turkey Shoot" at the Puzey's house went. For those of you that don't know, each year we go our to our friends home north of Atlanta for some wonderful food, games and of course the turkey shoot.

For this event, the Dads get to dress up like turkeys and the kids take turns shooting them with paintballs. Here are our 3 fearless Dads with Jason pictured in the middle.

Kate has been shy in years past but didn't mind taking a whack at it. She was so happy every time she hit a turkey.

It is one hilarious sight to behold let me tell you and one of the highlights of Jackson's year for sure. He was absolutely giddy while trying to nail his Dad.

We're not sure if Kate can take credit for this shot or not but she is sure that her shot got Dad.

Jason was such a good sport about the event. (Honestly, it is actually hard to tell if he or the kids more look forward to what has become an annual tradition). This Thanksgiving, Jason was especially grateful for more durable boxes that kept the paintballs off of him. We are so very grateful for our family and the blessing that each member is in our lives.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Atlanta Half Marathon

You all have probably heard on the news that there is a severe drought in Georgia - water restrictions everywhere. Well, God has a funny sense of humor because the day before the marathon and the day after the marathon were beautiful but it POURED during the race. In fact, as they counted down to the start of the race - 10, 9, 8... on 3, 2, 1 it began with a heavy downpour. The rain could not have been timed better and the runners all had to laugh outloud. (I really should have been more specific in my prayers when requesting an end to the drought). Jason and the kids were there to cheer me on, despite the conditions and it was so appreciated. There is nothing better than seeing your family at the end of the race.

I didn't make my goal of 2 hours but was close and was happy to finish with my personal best of 2:03. This was the first race that I have run in the rain and I must say that I hope I don't have too many more. My soaking socks bunched up and I got a few blisters but on the plus side I wasn't too hot. :)

Nate, one of our closest friends in Atlanta and pictured here with his son Owen, ran the race with me and it was great to have him there for moral support. I'm going to try to convince him to run another one with me but first - the Disney marathon in 47 days!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Early onset of Alzheimers?

CJ's birthday reminded me that I never posted a funny story about Jackson's birthday party a few weeks ago. As many of you know, I went all out for the big Pokemon bash. I made "Trainer Badges" and came up with 8 different Pokemon activities where the kids could earn a badge in each of the areas to become an official Pokemon Trainer.

They seemed to have a really great time and by the end of the two hours we were hustling to finish up and eat our Pokemon Pizza. I don't know if it was trying to keep up with Jackson and the other 9 eight year olds in my home, the fatigue from running and staying up until 2am or what happened but several hours after the party ended I had the sudden horrible realization that we never had the birthday cake! The kids were all having so much fun that we completely forgot the cake. Um, how does that happen? I am seriously concerned about myself.

I was especially bummed because this wasn't just any cake. This was special order Carvel Pokemon Ball ice cream cake. I am so happy that Jackson thought it was a funny mistake and wasn't sad about the oversight. Alas, we ended up finally singing to him as a family a week later and cutting into that cake. (We are still enjoying the left overs too.)

Happy Birthday CJ!

This shout out goes to my little bro CJ who turns the big 26 today! CJ is the 5th in line of the 6 of us and somehow managed to grow up to be one pretty cool guy despite years of torture from his older 4 siblings. These are just a few of the things that I love about him.

1) He was the first of my siblings to leave skiing and join me on the "dark side" of snowboarding. He now completely destroys me and I don't even mind. (It might be because he has almost spent nearly a third of his college career on the slopes but I digress...)

2) He can quote the entire script from Monty Python's The Holy Grail. How cool is that!

3) He liked to cook growing up and can make some seriously yummy pies.

4) He is a great uncle and loves to play with his nieces and nephews. They love him!

5) He has a great sense of humor and it is non-stop laughing when we get together.

6) We share a rather twisted love of Yahtzee and Sequence and can play for HOURS.

7) The man can dance and I have footage from Dance Dance Revolution to prove it. :)

8) He has fabulous hair :) We all wish for that natural blond.

9) He is SO very humble (hee-hee).

10) He and our youngest brother, Kurt, are best friends. I have always thought that was so special to have a best friend as your sibling.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Ego Boost

As I openend the door to Ava's room this morning she took one look at me at said "You pretty princess". I don't know if it was the shirt I was wearing or her general amazing insight :) but it sure was a nice way to start the day!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Soccer Season Ends

Well the Pirate Dragons' season has come to an end. The boys had a great time and Jackson learned a lot at the Academy Jr. practices. It is the step before signing on to "Academy" and basically devoting the rest of your life to soccer. (lol) We aren't ready to make that commitment, so I think we'll keep on with Academy Jr. for another season or two and see how things go. Jackson really took off this season but he is also interested in tennis, swimming, golf and is going to try basketball this winter. I think that 8 year old kids are too young to choose a sport for life, don't you?

Jackson is pretty fearless. Going after the ball, challenging people and not being afraid to fall down and get dirty. It sure makes the game more fun to watch when he isn't crying. I remember the first season or two in U-6 when he would cry because some "took" the ball from him. :)

He also learned a lot about sportmanship this season -giving high 5's and being a team player. We were so happy to see being excited for his friends goals and good plays. He had a great coach who encouraged that behavior.

Until next season....

Catching you up Part 2 - Jackson's Baptism

Jackson was baptized on November 3rd in the Brockett Ward in Atlanta. It was a very small event but that was what Jackson said he wanted (until the morning of the event anyway but I'll get to that). There was more stress than I had anticpated with having a computer that was on the fritz. Jason also had 3 grants due during that week so we were completely handicapped planning the event. I stayed up very late the night before, working on the program at Nate's house and then got up to run 10 miles with TNT. I rushed home got a few last minute things done and we headed off to the church. Nevertheless, it was a wonderful day for Jackson.

Gramma and Grampa Hansen and Grandma and Papa Anderson flew out for the occasion and we were so happy to have them here. Jackson asked Grampa Hansen and Grandma Anderson to speak and Jason prepared what else? - a DVD of his life set to church music, which we showed while the guys were changing. It took us from his birth to now and ended with him in his baptismal clothing. Jason did a great job with very limited time. When I figure out how to do this I will upload it so you can see it if you'd like.

The morning of the baptism Jackson asked me who would be there. I told him the 3 families that he had previously asked for would be there but that was it. Suddenly he became upset. I reminded him that we had gone through the list of his school friends that we could invite and church friends too but he said he didn't want many people to be there so I made the event what he wanted (or what I thought he wanted). Gratefully, I was able to explain that this day was really for him and it wasn't like a birthday party where more people means a better time. He understood and was calmed but I was nervous for a second that I had ruined his big day.

We are so proud of Jackson and his decision to be baptized. He is such a tender hearted little boy who wants to choose the right.

Catching you up Part 1 - Halloween

I know that it has been nearly 3 weeks since Halloween but since I am using my blog as journaling too, I have to put together my slide show and give details. My Mom and Dad flew into town for the occasion and we were so happy to have them here. They graciously offered to pass out the candy so that all of us could go trick-or-treating together. Our neighborhood puts on a little costume parade for the kids each year and feeds everyone for they fill up on junk. So we first hit that and then made our way around the neighborhood.

Both the Andersons and the Stowells joined us for trick-or-treating and we were so happy to have them join us. Jason ended up taking the older boys on as they wanted to run from house to house and we took the younger ones and the strollers and slowly made our way down one street. It was a great time as always. It is a pretty no stress holiday which I do love.

I am pretty bummed that Jason and I didn't dress up. We had a great costume idea that we are going to have to do next year. Nope, my lips are sealed. You'll just have to wait and see..

Hope you enjoy the pictures.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Did you miss me?

So, after nearly a month of being without a computer I am finally back in business! Blogging aside, I didn't realize how much I depended upon the computer until I was without one. Jason is heading out of town for the rest of the week so I'll have to catch you up on our lives in all of my free time. :) Until then...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

8 Year Old Fun

I can hardly believe that our little man turned 8 years old yesterdat. It really feels like we were just going to the hospital for induction and now look at how big he is!

This is a picture of him with his favorite birthday present - a submersible cruiser. He has had his eye on this since April and the infatuation never wavered. I was psyched to find it on clearance in September and quickly snagged it. I hope it lives up to his expectations when he can finally take it on it's maiden voyage in May!

For his day, we told him that he could go anywhere he wanted for his 8th birthday dinner and of all places he chose McDonalds! Our wallets were happy but Jason and I would have definitely preferred a different venue. Nevertheless, we had happy meals and opened up his family birthday presents. Here are a few pictures of the very low key event. The theme for nearly all of the gift definitely had a Pokemon common thread but he couldn't have been happier about it. It was so refreshing to see how easy it was to make it a special day for him. I think he could have had 2 gifts and been just as happy.

We have a Pokemon friend birthday party in the works for November 10th and that is when we'll pull out all of the stops! We're trying to make the birthday last a month I think.

That is one happy face opening up a new Pokemon DVD. His first, and I am quite sure that it won't be his last.

Jackson was further thrilled by Grandma Hansen's gifts of Pokemon cards and book. He has counted and organized all of his Pokemon cards already and can't wait to add more to his collection. I can't believe how much he know about this stuff.

While Ava may technically have been the one to give Jackson this Pokemon Piplup. She just as quickly took possession on the item calling it, "My Klip-Klop". Thank heavens Jackson is an easy going big brother when it comes to things like that.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

More Reviews

This book was a sequel to Goose Girl and it was wonderful! Both books have a strong moral undercurrent and very strong female characters. I will definitely encourage my girls to read them when they are teenagers! Shannon Hale may not have won me over with Austenland but she was right on the money with Enna Burning.

Speaking of strong female characters, this novel's lead character is positively heroic. You will totally fall is love with her! She comes from a difficult past to say the least but is able to triumph. Read this if you need a dose of hope.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Ava, Ava, Ava

This little girl is a total crack up! She is by far the most verbal one we've produced yet and is constantly making us laugh, even when we probably shouldn't. Here are a few of her latest funnies.

I bought this darling Flamingo costume from Babystyle for her to wear this year. She dons it once and then declares, "I no like birdie". She now refuses to put this costume on and instead requests to be a fairy for the upcoming holiday.

She has also decided that she chooses which spoon color, cartoon character bowl, type of cup, style of shoes, etc. If we decide for her, she cries and chants, "I like dis' one. I no want it". Kill me...

At the risk of painting this cutie pie as a demon child, she also has recently decided to start saying "Bad Mommy" and "Bad Daddy" when we give her directions that she doesn't care for. I have a really hard time keeping a straight face for this one! The gumption of a 2 year old I tell you!

Despite her burgeoning independence we are as always, completely smitten with this sweet girl. Kind of makes me wish I had another one. Almost...

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Fall Festival Success

You all haven't heard much from me lately because of a little thing called The Fall Festival. For the last 12 years our elementary school has put on a really fun festival and yours truly was the co-chair of the event for the second year running. Despite the craziness that is our lives, I really did want to co-chair the event again and yet am SO happy that it is over. After putting in the first year learning the ropes, this year went much more smoothly and we had a great time "upgrading" the event. We added many new games, had inflatables, a rock wall, zip line, terrifically spooky haunted house, and yummy food!

I couldn't have done it without my better half (better fall festival half that is). I had an AMAZING co-chair, Angela, who is a "get-it-done" person and really made things happen so I didn't stress. Note - Don't you love our "Fall Fesival Boss" T's? Those were inspired by Jackson, who last year told everyone that his Mom was, "the boss of the Fall Festival". Angela thought that was really cute and our idea was born.

The kids really look forward to this event and I love being able to have a part in making it a very special day for them. Down side to today was that Kate was feeling really bad and had to leave the festival just a short while after arriving (for more details see her blog). Jackson spent the entire day there with me from 10am-5pm and loved every minute of it.

The wheels are already turning for next year's event. Stay tuned for a bigger and better Fall Festival!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Happy Birthday Anne!

This shout out goes to my very cool sister-in-law, Anne McNally Anderson! She is one of the most creative, talented and funny women that I know. It truly makes me sad that she lives in Austin and that we don't get to hang out on a daily basis.

(This is us singing you Happy Birthday now)! Hope your birthday is a great one, Anne!

Project Organize - Part 1

This post is basically just for my Mom so feel free to disregard if you find this too mundane. (I am celebrating a small victory here though.) Since we moved into our home in March there have been several unfinished projects that stare me down each day. They haven't broken me down to complete them mind you, but they linger and cause me a kind of guilty stress on a daily basis. Well, last week I completed one of those projects and it felt so good! I know that many people would have ensured that their closet was the first thing organized in their home but I managed to get by without having it done. (Of course, I have rotated the same 7 outfits for the last 5 months but it worked - sort of).

I really should have taken a "before" shot too, so that you could experience the true transformation but I will try to describe the chaos that was my closet. In the center of the closet was a pack-n-play that was actually set up. There were 3 laundry baskets divided into tennis clothes, running clothes, and "I have no idea what to do with these clothes". The shelves were a mish-mash of heaps of clothes which desperately needed some sorting and thinning out. After a mere 3 hours - VOILA! (Kind of makes me wonder why I didn't tackle this sooner).

I guess that all I have left to do is to go shopping. :)

Side note - Jason pointed out that this entire rack is workout clothes! I think that I need to spend some time diversifying my wardrobe and less time in workout clothes.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Pirate Dragons

Jackson has really gotten into soccer in the last 2 seasons. Jason and I were laughing at how he used to get upset when someone wouldn't "share the ball" and we'd have to spend half of the game consoling him. If Jackson doesn't consciously think about it, now he is the one that wants to be the power forward and score all of the goals. This season, he and his teammates are working really hard on passing and staying in position.
It has been so much fun to see Jackson's footwork skills developing over the course of the last 2 seasons as well. His coach is very big on good ball handling skills and we can see how much more confident of a player that has made him. Soccer games are not a bad way to spend a Fall Saturday morning if you ask me.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Latest Review

If you liked the Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, you'll love The Mermaid Chair. It is essentially a book about a middle-age woman's path toward self-discovery and the redeeming power of love. If it sounds like a "chick read" it is and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute. Those kind of books are very therapeutic for me.

I loved Goose Girl by Shannon Hale and found Austenland to be not quitet as enjoyable of a read. It was still a page turner and cute but I just didn't LOVE it like I did Goose Girl. I am still going to read another one of her books, Enna Burning and will let you know what I think of it. Anyone else read any good books lately?