Thursday, July 31, 2008

Laundry in the "Old Days"

As utterly unexciting as laundry is anyway...I would have to say that Mine and Kevin's laundry situation since we got to Chicago has been WAY less than ideal!

The day Brian and Natalie left, the dryer broke down. They informed the landlord that it was no longer blowing heat and he said he would have it fixed before we arrived (in a month...plenty of time). When Jennie and I got here it was still broken. We called the landlord on day one and he said he would come the next day to fix it. He didn' and I banged it around a bit until it worked enough to get Jennie some clean clothes to go home with.

After that it was kind of in and out of service until eventually the landlord showed up, "fixed" it and gave me a ten minute lecture about how if I would just clean the vents it would work fine! (Jennie and I definitely already did that when we were banging it around!)

Anyway...a couple of weeks ago it finally gave up going in and out of service and stopped working all together...AGAIN! We called the landlord to get it fixed but finally couldn't wait any longer. Between Kevin having to wear two outfits a day because of work and Brooklyn and I always being covered in baby barf, we HAD to wash our laundry! Thus, we HAD to dry it! And since it decided to rain today, this is our current laundry situation:

Sorry if you stumbled upon any underwear shots! I guess that's just the nature of laundry! :)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Reign of the Kiddopotamus is OVER!

Many of you may know that Kevin and I use a Kiddopotamus to put Brooklyn to bed at night. The Kiddopotamus is basically a glorified swaddling blanket that we have used since day one to help her fall asleep better.Its really quite a wonderful invention because it keeps your baby still, safe and warm! We never had to worry about Brooklyn kicking off her blanket and getting cold or getting startled in the night and hitting or scratching herself! UNTIL NOW! Last night when I put Brooklyn to bed she looked like this:
When I got up in the morning to start our day, she looked like this:
You may have noticed the blanket in the crib that wasn't there in the first picture...she pulled that off the side of the crib and also managed to move her Bumbo pillow over her back and toward her feet! And if you are wondering where the Kiddopotamus is tightly wrapped around her waste and feet! She didn't even undo the Velcro, she simply squeezed her arms out the top and flipped herself over into crawling position! UGH! Now we will actually have to be responsible parents and take all the extra blankets off and out of her crib so she doesn't strangle herself! What a little Houdini she turned out to be. :)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Recent "Kevin sighting" in Hammond Indiana

Many of you who may know me, perhaps know that it can be a difficult thing for me to do to sit completely still for too long at a time. Indeed, unless Zelda or a really good book is involved, I've got about a 2 hour time limit before I develop a twitch and have to get up and move around.

So, of course, I've taken an internship this summer that sits me in a cubicle to 8 straight hours a day! I've developed several ideas to combat having my rear (and my brain) fall asleep, so I can still be productive - my most successful being my watch. I set it the timer to repeat every hour, and when it goes off, I go out to the stairs and walk down to the parking garage then back up to my floor. Walking down then up 7 flights of stairs helps get some blood moving and I find I can focus better and do more than if I were to sit still and wait for my cerebrum to slowly find its off-switch!

Well yesterday, I finally had a chance to get out of the office and into "the field". I was glad to the chance to get outside, move around, and of course not wear a button-down shirt! Another intern and I drove out to Hammond Indiana (about 1 hour without traffic, 2 1/2 with), to the Unilever production plant. This is where the majority of their bar soaps are produced (Lever 2000, Dove, Caress etc.) and shipped out.

My job was to spend all day on the production floor with a tape measure, to verify and update the existing CAD drawings that are on file for the plant. It was fun walking around, dodging the other workers and the machinery forming and packaging all the soap. It was fascinating. I imagine I was like a little kid window shopping: most of the machinery with moving parts capable of separating stray fingers from bodies, are protected with Plexiglas boxes, and many times I could be found with my face pressed up against the glass watching each sequence in a line that spit out 5-6 bars of soap a second. It was so cool. I thought it was like watching a life-sized Rube Goldberg machine; all that was missing was the mouse running the wheel! My favorite was this wheel with four arms poking out, and each those arms had a little suction cup that would spin around the arm. the suction cup watch attached to a little air hose, and as it spun, it would pick up a box off of a pile, spin it around to a line where a machine would simultaneously unfold the box then push the waiting bar of soap into it. This little arm would spin at some 350 RPM plopping the boxes into place, and believe me, it was so entertaining that I caught myself watching it for some 6-7 minutes (before moving on to the next, equally cool piece of machinery!)

One interesting thing that occurred while I was there was a rather tragic incident involving a bunch of construction workers working on a Casino right next door to the plant. Luckily no one was seriously injured, but I'm guessing it was scary nonetheless. I only even know about this incident because as I walking from building to building at this production plant, I noticed as many as 5 or 6 news helicopters circling over my head, not 500 ft off the ground. I amended my original thought that they were there trying to film me (what?! Is a picture of me in and of it self not newsworthy?!) and tried to find out what was going on. Here's a news report of the incident:,2933,388561,00.html

Anyway, it was a fun project, and according to Naomi I smelled very good when I eventually got to come home!

Friday, July 18, 2008

And ...SHE'S UP!

Just the other day, Kevin and I were talking about how weird it was that Brooklyn wouldn't sit up. We thought it was strange because she has the strongest midsection we've ever seen on a baby. But every time we sat her up she would just fall backward making no effort to stop herself.

Today, I decided the reason Brooklyn wouldn't sit up was because she didn't have proper motivation. I was right! I held a pen in front of her after sitting her on her bum and she was so fascinated by it that she stayed up! And to think...only 5 months ago she was just a floppy sack of baby who couldn't even hold up her own head!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

That's what I get for going to bed on time...


After watching 7 innings of the Major League Baseball All Star game the other night, I decided to go to bed. It was late, and I had a long run to do early the next day . . .

Boy was that a mistake.

I missed one of the most exciting All Star endings in history! Now, granted, I would have been up until 2:00 AM, glued to the tube for the 15 inning baseball marathon (this was the longest All Star game in history) . . . but surely weariness should have been a small price to pay. -sigh- Had I but known!

Many who know me don't realize that I'm an avid baseball fan. Alas, living in Utah for the past 9 of 11 years does not give a good fan adequate opportunity to feed this hunger and I'd almost forgotten how exciting of a game it is! It's a good thing for me that I lived in New York for two years, and now have a short stint in Chicago. It's like a baseball stimulus package!

Note: as a missionary living in New York (at one point, in the very shadow of Shea Stadium in Corona, Queens) not once did I read the paper, or watch the news, or any TV for that matter to get sports news. Just by speaking with people on a day-to-day basis, as missionaries do, I was unitentionally (I promise!) able to know how the Mets were doing at almost any time! Such is the atmosphere of a baseball city!

Yes, baseball is great! Next friday, I'll be down in Kansas City for work, and I get to go to Kauffman Stadium to watch the Royals game that night! I really hope to catch a Cubs game while I'm here in Chicago too. Why the Cubs, and not the White Sox? Well, mainly because my old friend Lou Piniella is coaching . . . and I want to see him throw his hat and kick some dirt on home plate.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Day at the Museum!

On Saturday, Kevin and I decided to venture back into downtown Chicago and take a peek at the Chicago Field Museum. So, we packed up our things and hopped on the train to save gas and parking money, and then walked down Lake Shore Drive until we arrived at our destination. It was pretty expensive to get in so it was a good thing we took the train and even better that Brooklyn is still FREE!

We got to see two of the traveling exhibits: Natural Disasters, and Mythic Creatures. Both were very neat (especially the natural disaster one) but they wouldn't let us take pictures. After that, we fed Brooklyn and then started to look at the regular exhibits. It was so fun! Especially when we stumbled upon a "Warriors of the Pacific" exhibit and found a whole room dedicated to Maori Warriors!!! (That's where me and Brooklyn are in the picture above.)

After awhile we made it downstairs to the Mummy Exhibit! (We had a hard time finding the elevator.) They had all sorts of things like pottery and papyrus scrolls, but the mummies were still the coolest. One sad thing was the mummy of a little infant. It was no bigger than my forearm! That's what Kevin is pointing to in the picture above. Being a mother now, I could imagine how horrible it must have been for the mother of that baby to have to see her child like that. :(

Last but not least, we headed out to see "Sue", the famous T-Rex! Not as big as I would have imagined but still...she definitely could have eaten me were she still alive. Supposedly, most of her bones are from the actual dinosaur! The head is a fake though. The real head was upstairs in a glass case and it was mostly smashed to pieces. That's OK though because some amazing artist did a really good job creating this one for all of us to stare at! Anyway, that was our trip! Brooklyn was great and Kevin and I had a blast! Thanks Mom Uda for suggesting we go visit the Museum. It was totally worth it!
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Monday, July 14, 2008

Man Made Beauty

As many of you may know, Kevin and I are both kind of nature lovers. Needless to say, I was a little worried about moving to a place like Chicago. However, as Kevin and I have had the opportunity to travel downtown and explore the streets and skyscrapers, I've found myself in awe at the beauty in the architecture that surrounds us. It may not be as glorious as mountains and waterfalls, but it certainly has a beauty all its own. Hope you enjoy our pictures!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Corriendo por todos lados en Chicago

So some of you may or may not know that kindof enjoy running! It's always been an enjoyable thing for me to do, wind down, and relax a little (I realize that relaxing may be a relative term). And especially right now, working a desk job for 9 straight hours a day, getting home and going running and moving my poor atrophied legs a little is literally a life-saver.

Well, just before leaving Utah for Chicago, I was sitting in my living room with my cousin Jennie, at which time we made a decision that can only be described thus...a momentary dance with insanity: we signed up to run the St. George Utah Marathon in October! This marathon is actually pretty tricky to get into, as they cap the amount of runners at something like 7,000 people. After giving reserved spots to people who've done the race 25 times, assorted dignitaries, and anyone bribing the race officials, they divy up the remaining spot to people via a lottery! Jennie and I actually thought ourselves safe, as the chances of getting picked to run is actually kinda slim . . . but as luck would have it, we made it! And so . . . Bring on the Insanity!

So with exactly 83 days left (exactly 12 weeks from yesterday), I've started up a pretty good training routine that keeps me pretty busy and makes it so I can eat more food than a shrew (who eat, by the way, more food for their body weight than any other mammal alive . . . except for me know of course). Anyway, I'm out running just about every night, or when I can drag myself out of bed early enough, in the morning!

One huge benefit of running so much, is that I get a good chance to explore Schaumburg. I know an area around our house with a radius of about 5 miles, pretty well. It's fun finding new lakes, trails, rivers and the occasional windy suburban neighborhood (well, actually Schaumburg is the definition of suburbia, so there are a few of those streets). Check this out, to see my run around the forest preserve that's pretty close to our house.

Here are some important things I've learned while jogging around and exploring Schaumburg (just in case you ever have the opportunity...):

#1 - If you're ever running near an open body of water near sunset, always keep your mouth as closed as you can, and tilt your head down. If you really want some extra protien, eat some eggs, they taste a wee bit better than gnats and mosquitos.

#2 - You can't look out the window and know what the weather will be like for the next hour. At the start of a 1 hour run last week, there wasn't a cloud in the sky and it was a very nice 80 degrees. Halfway through the run I was hugging a tree to escape the torrential downpore that a wild-crazy storm brought in, and by the time I got home again it was nice and sunny, back up to a nice 80 degrees (albiet about a bazillion times more humid)! Chicago's channel 4 weather girl has got to work hard to earn my trust back!

#3 - I mentioned the humidity, but after living in the desert for half a decade it's like trying to run at the bottom of a swimming pool! Result - you tire faster and need more water, and you sweat like crazy (Naomi's favorite part)!

Sorry there's no pictures with this one . . . I can't exactly run with a camera

Monday, July 7, 2008

4th of July Weekend . . . just the Hanks Family and about a million other Chicagonians!

Some of you may have noticed that Naomi and I have been strangely absent from the world of ones and zeros lately . . . and any awaiting email replies, facebook responses and/or any other news from the Hanks clan in Chicago have our apologies. We are on day 6 of being without a computer right now, as it is feeling a little under the weather. I'm awaiting a CD from Utah that will (hopefully) fix the problem, but if not I'll have to ship the whole thing into the store I purchased it from to get it fixed. It is under warranty, but it is a hassle as that would be another 2-3 weeks without or beloved portal to the world!

I am able to access the internet from work (during my lunch break, of course), and this blog is one of the few internet locations my company doesn't block from employees (sorry facebook people!) so, rather than play backgammon with someone from Saudi Arabia, I suppose I can fill whoever reads this on our sweet weekend!

Naomi and I finally had the chance to make it into downtown Chicago on Thursday, the 3rd of July. We took the 45 minute train ride into downtown, not far from the Sears Tower. We were so close to the tower that we decided to go see it! (It'd been some 4 weeks since I was in China and toured a skyscraper, so I was feeling deprived!) The Sears tower was incredible, and it was nice to get a tour of a megastructure that was given in good ol' english!

Now, anytime you tour a major site like this, you have to pass through a security check. We found out very quickly what a devious little girl we have. Even though she passed right by all the big burly security guards with guns, the metal detectors and the like, she still managed to sneak a bomb onto the observation deck of the Sears tower. Dad was, however, able to save the day and disarm the WMD in the bathroom and Brooklyn received her first diaper change at 1,400 ft above the ground!

After leaving the Sears tower we wandered on down to Millennium park right next to lake Michigan. There was an event going on called the "Taste of Chicago" in which hundreds of restaurants set up booths in the park, and you, yes you, could enjoy a small sample of any restaurant's food the size of a sample at Sam's Club for a mere $10 a morsel! Luckily for us and our already strained pocketbook, we've got friends in high places! We met up with Karina and her Sister Jeannette right next to the big bean, and ate some excellent Giordano's Chicago style pizza. Karina and Jeannette are good friends of mine; Karina and I served as missionaries in the same area in New York City some 6 years ago now. Thanks to them, we got some sweet food, and had excellent seats for the fireworks show!

For some reason, Chicago does its main fireworks show on the 3rd, which I never could find a reason for. Regardless, the show was absolutely amazing, and easily the best I've ever seen! They launched the fireworks from a pier out into the lake, so the view was amazing! We even had our own personal soundtrack to the whole show, as our loving daughter decided she did NOT want to be there, and for the hour before the show and during the entire thing she screamed like a banshee, and was completely inconsolable. Naomi and took turns holding her and walking around the waterfront while she screamed in our ears, trying not to annoy the same people around us for more than a few seconds at a time! Karina, in her infinite charity took her for most of the actual fireworks show so that Naomi and I got an uninterrupted view of the awesome show. Thanks Karina!

After the show, we made the treck back to the train station where we battled thousands of people for elbow room on the streets, and later, the train! On the way back, we even had some excitement, as someone dropped a beer bottle on the road from their 4th or 5th story window that exploded some 10 feet in front of me. How it managed to not hit anyone I'll never know! At one point, Naomi saw a bunch of people running around a block away, and we found out from the news the next day that there was a gang fight and someone was shot and killed about a block away from where were at. Ahhh, another day in the big city!

We did finally get home around 12:40 or so, and Brooklyn slept a glorious 11 hours straight!

The actual 4th of July was a pretty lazy and relaxing day for Naomi and I. We put a bunch of blankets out on the deck and slept outside that night and looked at the star (correct: singular . . . we are in a major metropolitan area) and watched the few fireworks go off around the Schaumburg area. It was nice!

Oh, and just thought I'd mention the fact that for the whole weekend, the hottest it ever got was about 80 degrees! hehehe You'll notice in the pictures we're all wearing jackets! Ah yes, there's one thing I don't miss about Utah in the summertime (I heard it's broken 100 several times now!)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Hanks Look-alike Meter

Well, since Brooklyn was born I have only had one person tell me that she looks like me. Everyone else seems to think she looks exactly like Kevin. So, today when my sister Becca posted this look-alike meter on her blog I thought I'd give it a try! Turns out Brooklyn looks equally like both of us! Who would have ever guessed!

MyHeritage: Look-alike Meter - Free printable family tree chart - Free family history