Sunday, December 27, 2009

Saturday Foto: Electronic Generations Collide!


What you are looking at, my friends, is the ultimate marriage between the new and the old-school electronics.  This is a brand-new Nintendo Wii system that we got for Christmas, sitting next to a SONY KV-2075R Television set.  The TV was a gift to Naomi and I from my mom, and has worked great for us… even though it’s well over 20 years old.  The two work great together, despite their age difference!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Happy Holiday Weekend with the Riggs!

As an early Christmas gift to ourselves, Kevin and I decided to drive up to Minnesota to spend the weekend with Becca and Taber and their girls! We left straight from Kevin's work on Thursday and drove until 11:30pm when we finally reached the Rigg residence. Then we stayed up until 2am eating junk and chatting with Becca!

The next morning (after sleeping in as long as the girls would let us) we packed up and went to The General Mills Headquarters to see where Taber works. The tour was amazing and we even got to sample a new product that hasn't come out yet!

When we got home, we put Brooklyn and Brinley down for naps. Kevin also put himself down for a nap and his new best buddy, Teya, decided to make herself comfortable on his legs while she was having quiet time! It was SO cute. They sat like that for 2 hours!

That night we all got dressed up and headed to the Rigg's Ward Christmas Party! We ate lots of junk and got to visit with some people that Kevin ran the Ragnar race with, and then we got to see SANTA! Surprisingly, Brooklyn wasn't afraid of him at all and every chance she got, she would cut in line and sit herself on his lap! It was awesome!

After the party, we put the girls to bed and had a little gift exchange/game night! This picture is of the gift Kevin made for Taber. He made a frame to show off Taber's first marathon accomplishment and we took the picture with our new camera from the Riggs!!! After exchanging gifts, we played some pounce and a fun new game that Becca taught us. It was great fun!

The next morning, I got up with the girls and Taber, Becca, and Kevin headed to a near by lake where they started the morning off with a 20 degree, 4 mile run! These guys are die hard runners!
It was so cold that Becca's sweat froze to her face! Brrrrrr! No thanks! I choose life!

Of course, a little cold never stopped these guys from having a good time! I think Kevin liked it the most...can you tell by the face he is making?

After they got back from their run and got showered, we dressed the girls and drove over to a free petting zoo/playground. It was a little cold for the playground but that didn't stop Taber and Kevin from taking a few rides down the zip line. I'm pretty sure they were having a lot more fun than the girls!
Here are the boys showing off their gymnastic skills. Wow! Look at all those rippling muscles! I can't do that.
The girls loved the animals and even got to pet a really weird looking chicken and some grumpy old goats. It was so fun to see them mimicking animal noises and chasing the goats!

While the boys were playing with the zip line, Teya and Brooklyn enjoyed romping through the snow. Becca caught these great pictures of them by the animal barn!

Here is Brooklyn showing off her tongue for Becca! Not very ladylike but she still looks cute to me!
This is my favorite picture from the whole trip! The girls are on a teeter totter and Taber is on the other end moving them up and down. So cute! So happy! LOVE IT!

When we got home from our outside adventure, we put the girls down for a nap and got ready to go to the MALL OF AMERICA! Becca was able to convince one of the young women in her ward to babysit the girls, so we actually got to see a movie while we were there! It was SO much fun to be on a double date...its been a really long time since we did something like that!

Sunday was our last day of fun with the Riggs and was too short for me. We got up early and dressed the girls in matching dresses that Becca bought them. After trying desperately to get a picture of all of them smiling at the camera at the same time, we gave up and packed them up for church. Kevin, Brooklyn and I stayed for Sacrament meeting and then said our good byes. It was very sad to leave but we had a fun filled weekend and didn't waste a second of time!

Thanks Becca and Taber for a wonderful weekend! We love you guys SO much and miss you already!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Saturday Foto: All in a Day's Work.

All of these pictures were taken on Saturday, the 20th of Dec, a day that will go down in the Hanks' history as the coldest, craziest, most random and coolest Saturday I've EVER spent in Minneapolis.In the morning, Becca, Taber and I went on a nice easy jog around a lake close to their house. It was 20 degrees outside. As Becca put it, we had to get outside and enjoy the warm weather while we had it! I saw this dried-out blowfish just hanging in a tree. You're guess as to an explanation to where it came from is as good as mine!

This is a female Flamingo at a petting zoo we visited with the kidlets in the morning. My only thought was if I had to live in a barn open to the freezing Minneapolis winters, I'd spend a lot of my time with my head in a heat lamp too.

This was during our evening activity at the Mall of America. Does this need an explanation?! I think not.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Saturday Foto: What’s your vote!?

Reading on the Throne

Okay, so what do you think….

SOMEBODY taught Brooklyn that it was okay to enjoy a good read while taking care of business on the porcelain throne… either:

A: Kevin taught Brooklyn this,


B: Naomi taught Brooklyn this.

What do you think?!

Honestly, I think the answer is pretty obvious, but we’ll get a vote anyway!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Our LATE Thanksgiving Update...

For Thanksgiving we decided to start the celebrations a day early! So on Wednesday, after Kevin got home from work, we all sat down together and made some holiday sugar cookies! We made ourselves sick from all the sugar but it was fun to have something to do and to watch Brooklyn lick the frosting off all the cookies.

The next morning we all woke up early and went to a nearby park for our special HANKS TURKEY TROT! We didn't really want to pay 50 bucks to get into the one downtown, especially since they didn't even give everyone shirts, so Kevin mapped out a course for us and we did it all by ourselves! I was running a super-slow 12 minute mile, but I "ran" the whole way, which is not all that bad for someone who is 6 months pregnant! Kevin was a good sport and pushed the stroller while shuffling beside me. It was actually really fun!

After we got home and got cleaned up, the cooking began! We started our Kalua Turkey together and then Kevin began work on the deviled eggs while I started the stuffing, potatoes, rolls and salad. It was cool cause we only made things we like to eat since no one else was there to complain! While we cooked, Brooklyn happily destroyed the house until we tied her into her highchair for safe keeping... then she waited very patiently for the food to arrive!

Kevin finished up our buffet line with a gallon of Tang! He was very helpful in the kitchen and it was kind of fun making such a big feast together.

I even wore an apron all day to make things look more official. Kevin had one on too but then he exploded his homemade raspberry cordial all over it and had to take it off. But at least it did its job!

Here are the beautiful deviled eggs that Kevin made. I was so proud of him. They were delicious and I really couldn't have made them any better myself!

The stuffing and Kalua Turkey turned out PERFECT! The turkey just fell right off the bones into the juices, no carving necessary! The stuffing was modified for our individual taste buds so we eliminated the celery and carrots and put onions, mushrooms and garlic in instead! Mmmmm! It was SO good!

Brooklyn even ate everything, which actually surprised me. She can be pretty sensitive about the way her food looks and stuffing isn't all that pretty. She snarfed it down though and loved every last bite!

I don't have any more pictures, but after the big dinner we sat down together and watched Disney's UP! It was so funny and very relaxing after a long day of cooking. Then Kevin made a chocolate cream pie and I made an apple pie. We put Brooklyn to bed and then ate pie while we watched the G.I. Joe movie! Ha Ha! Good times. All-in-all it was a marvelous Thanksgiving and although we missed our friends and family terribly, we were still able to create some pretty fabulous memories!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

27 Years and 27 Weeks!

Well, due to the begging of my sisters and mother, I finally posted a picture of me turning 27 years old and one that shows me at 27 weeks pregnant, which just happened to be around the same time! And yes, I know I'm huge for being 6 months pregnant, but I'm pretty huge any way so I'm ok with that... and you should be too! :)

Anyway, I had the best birthday EVER this year thanks to my wonderful family! I got to open presents all day and I ate sushi at an awesome restaurant. Then Kevin's fantastic friend Lucy watched Brooklyn so we could go see the movie 2012! It was weird and wonderful at the same time to be a couple without kids again! Thanks everyone for the birthday wishes and gifts! We miss you all terribly, especially during this holiday season! Take care and enjoy the preggo may be the only one I let you see!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

D&C 104:14; Gen 1:1; Moses 3:4-5

The first design project that I’ve gotten to be involved in from the start at my work is a tiny 25 MW power plant in Greenville, TX.  These little natural-gas powered reciprocating are meant to be turned on and off depending on the need, and are mostly there to keep blackouts from happening during the hot summer months (think Air Conditioning in Texas in August!)

These little engines (I say little, but each out weighs around 1/3 million pounds) are great, and I’m really glad there’s a whole lot of power companies out there that want them… I’ve got a job because of it!

I’ve gotten to be involved with this project in Texas from the start and learned about a particularly unique problem that this plant had.  It turns out that there’s a small strip of land running North to South in Texas with a special kind of clay soil.  Apparently when this clay gets wet it swells up like a sponge and has been causing problems to foundations all up and down this strip.  Who knew that a little wet clay could literally crack concrete and raise entire buildings?!  And of course, our site lays right in the middle of that area.

The way that we solved it was to drive piles deep down into the ground underneath the foundations.  The piles are basically tubes of concrete 1 1/2 ft in diameter with steel reinforcing that extend 30 to 40 feet into the ground, past this troublesome layer of clay.  The building foundations then sit on these piles, with a gap in between the foundation and the soil, so that when the soil does get wet and expand, it won’t push against the bottom of the foundation.  Think of a building on stilts. 

I was put in charge of designing both the piles and the foundation slabs for this project, and I just got some pictures of the crews laying the concrete itself.  I quickly realized that one of the scarier things in the world is to see something that you designed getting built.  I had some nightmares, naturally, of President Obama visiting the project site and having the foundation collapse then me being taken to an underground bunker and getting interrogated by the CIA, then the KGB, then Al Qaeda.  I think there was a talking Kangaroo and one of the Transformers in there too… it was a weird nightmare.

Here are some pictures:

Progress Photos 1309

An overhead shot of the building foundation and concrete formwork being put in.  The large slab in the middle is a separate piece of reinforced concrete that the engine itself sits on.  That mat is close to 3 ft thick!


There’s only 6 inches of those piles showing here, but they extend into the ground almost 40 feet.  The concrete slab will be poured right over the tops of the piles after the rebar has been bent down.  Interesting to note that after the project is finished, no one will ever even see or know that those piles are there!


You can see the finished slab on the right next to the man to give you  a sense of scale as to how thick the foundation is!


The bottom layer of reinforcing steel is laid down.  A top layer will be put in close to the top of the concrete, and the concrete will be poured in around it.


Another thing that was neat for me to realize is how well I recognized everything in the picture.  I worked with this design for a very long time and became intricately involved with all the small details of the site.  I knew the design so well and had pictured it so many times in my head that I instantly recognized what I was looking at… because again I had seen it so many times in my mind.   When I first started working as an engineer, I thought it was odd when I heard more veteran structural engineers talk about their work and about their designs.  I paid particular attention to the verbs they used when conversing with other people.  “I built a structure over here to blah blah blah”.  Or, “Hey Kevin, I need you to put in a ladder over here to to the access platform.”  or “what grade steel are you going to use to build this pipe support?”

Well of course, we engineers don’t actually build these structures, we don’t go out with a hammer and a wrench and physically erect the steel and pour the concrete! But these guys are so good at what they do, they literally see every aspect and tiny detail in their mind long before it physically gets built.  I had an epiphany when I saw this foundation being built: seeing pictures of the physical concrete didn’t give me a better understanding of the structure, because I already knew where every edge, every pile, every piece of steel, and every construction joint was going to be.  I had drawn up the structure in my mind so many times while we designed it that I wasn’t surprised at all when I saw my design actually built.  I understand a little better why these elder engineers use the verbs they do: in their mind they really are building these structures.

I went from that mode of thinking straight into thinking about the earth and its creation, how it was spiritually created long before it was physically created.  And I thought that the spiritual creation would have been worthless without the physical creation, and vice-versa.  I think the creation of the earth is one of the more significant miracles of Christ… but that’s another long discussion, and Naomi complains that my posts are too long as it is…

Besides, I need to get some sleep so I can wake up, go to work tomorrow, and build some more steel structures in my mind!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

October Brings Baby News, Marathons, Grandparents, Birthdays, and Halloween!

Well, this is going to be long so I apologize in advance! October was simply a CRAZY month for us! So, I’ll start with the most important info:Image08We found out that we will be having another little girl on February 22, 2010. Already, I can tell differences with this baby and Brooklyn. The most obvious to me is that Brooklyn rarely moved and when she did it was always a slimy, snake-like motion across my belly. This baby kicks the crud out of me all day like she’s trying to run a marathon in there…maybe she’ll take after her dad!

No names picked out yet but in the running so far we’ve thought of Bristol, Danielle, Ella, Ava, Lilly, and Olivia. We want the middle name to be Kealohi. Any thoughts or suggestions would be much appreciated! :)100_4682 As previously mentioned…Kevin ran the Chicago Marathon this month and finished like a major stud! WAY sooner than his predicted time! (I almost didn’t make it to see him cause he ran SO fast!)

deleteable file 103Grandma and Grandpa Hanks came out for a visit too! It was definitely a highlight for us…especially for Brooklyn!deleteable file 109We took them to our cherished Waterfall Glen to experience nature Chicago Style.deleteable file 124It was a little cold and wet, but a VERY beautiful day!deleteable file 129Kevin made me pose for this…you can already tell by my chipmunk cheeks that I am happily gaining weight for this baby!

Gma and Gpa Hanks also took Brooklyn to the Children’s Museum, which was her favorite event of the week…unfortunately, all the pictures are on their camera!deleteable file 016A few days into our visit with Grandparents, Brian and Natalie drove out from Ann Arbor and we all went to the Museum of Science and Industry on a FREE day! (Kevin had to work though…very sad!)deleteable file 010The kids were way more into it than I thought they would be. Especially Brooklyn! She wanted to touch everything!deleteable file 040That night we celebrated Brian’s 29th birthday! Mom threw a great party with children’s games before bed and grown up games afterward! It was tons of fun!deleteable file 039Pin the tail on the donkey was the most successful game…because we apparently come from a family of cheaters and peekers!deleteable file 042The next day we took the kids to Johansen’s Farm! It was a highlight for me. The kids got to go on a hayride, slide down a giant bouncy slide (thanks mom) and pet and feed every farm animal under the sun! (Gma and Gpa Hanks and Brian have all the pictures but this one…sorry.) Brooklyn loved every second of it and would have brought a goat home if she could have! It was AWESOME!deleteable file 048That night we celebrated Kevin’s 27th Birthday! We ate at Olive garden, then came home for presents and some more games! deleteable file 056Kevin got lots of cool stuff! Highlights being a special sports duffle bag and a new mat cutter from his mom! LUCKY!deleteable file 064Randomly, Kevin wanted to make his own B-day cake…or cheesecake in this instance. It was delicious though so I have no complaints!IMG_3156During the week we also took a second trip to Waterfall Glen to get some family pictures and let the kids get out some wiggles!IMG_3195Brian and Kevin looking much older and wiser after their birthdays!IMG_3197You can totally tell me and Natalie are sisters in this picture…right? :)IMG_3200Everybody got here at the peek of fall for Chicago! Lucky thing cause a few days after they left a big storm came in and took all the leaves off the trees!deleteable file 079On their last day here, Mom helped me to sew this Maori costume for Brooklyn for Halloween! It turned out perfect and Brooklyn loved prancing around in it!deleteable file 082The day before Halloween, Brooklyn got to Trick-or-treat at Kevin’s work. She had great manners and impressed enough people to leave the office with 2 new stuffed animals!

The next day we all dressed up like Maoris and went trick-or-treating with our friends the Noordas! It was so much fun and we stuffed ourselves sick with yummo food! But…once again…all the pictures are on someone else's camera! I’ll post them later if I get any! Until then…hope you all had a great October and wishing you an even better November!