Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Brooklyn's 1st Birthday!!!

Well we made it through a whole year and now Brooklyn is officially 1 year old! Unfortunately, she was a little sick for her birthday. She picked up a cold somewhere and now she is a fountain of snot and drool. So, for her birthday we took it easy and went for a little family outing at the local McDonald's!

She had chicken nuggets and french fries for dinner but mostly just enjoyed the ketchup. Then we let her crawl around in the play area for awhile with the other little kids and Daddy. When the front of her coat was sufficiently drenched with nose juice, we thought it was time to head home. So we swung by the Wal-mart and picked up some hostess cupcakes and a candle (because we don't have a kitchen to make cake in) and then went back to our nice, warm apartment where we sang "Happy Birthday" and let Brooklyn enjoy her cupcake.

We had to vacuum the floor afterward. I think she probably ate half of the cupcake. The other half ended up in her hair, on her face, the chair, the table, and the floor. But it was SO worth the mess to see her happy face when she stuffed that cupcake in her mouth!


Monday, January 26, 2009

Growing Up with Brooklyn (Her First Year)

Last night while I was thinking of something to do for Brooklyn's 1st birthday, I started reminiscing about the journey we made together over this last year and realized that she is not the only one who has been growing up.

Kevin and I both began parenthood with some realistic expectations, but far more unrealistic ones. I had to laugh when I thought of the way I perceived motherhood before I had Brooklyn and the way I see it now. Here is a short timeline of my thoughts about Brooklyn over the last year. Enjoy!

July 9th, 2007: Wow! I'm going to have a baby! Its going to be so wonderful and perfect and our lives will be so much more fun! I was born to be a mom. My baby will never have a snotty nose, be sassy, or misbehave in public. And I will never let her be noisy in church like those "other" moms! We'll snuggle all day while I make her laugh and smile. This'll be easy! I can't wait!

January 26, 2008: Ouchie! Ouchie! OUCH! Why is Kevin hovering over me! Can't he see that I am in pain and thus can't stand the sight of any other human being!
Epidural administered...
Man this is fun! Kevin is so wonderful! He's going to be the best dad. I love him SO much. Having a baby is going to be the BEST!
Time to push? OK...Whoa! That came out of ME!?...Weird...

February 1st, 2008: I seem to have been mislead somewhat about the sleeping habits of a newborn. Mine doesn't sleep 18 hours a day, she cries instead...the only time she's not crying is when she is eating...and then I am crying while she tries to bite off my "food makers" with her gums! Hmmm...

April 26th, 2008: Other mothers keep telling me that they have never heard anything scream quite like my baby. She is, apparently, unnaturally loud...especially in church. Oh well, at least we finally traded in the "Mommy Meal Makers" for a bottle and I don't have to cry every time she eats! I think we can be friends, especially now that she smiles at me!

July 26th, 2008: She has more personality than any other baby I know! Who cares if she is still the loudest thing in Chicago. I think she's funny! (Even when she sasses me off.) Not to mention incredibly awesome, and attractive!

October 26th, 2008: FINALLY! She thinks I'm funny! Not only that, but she snuggled me for the first time EVER! (Because she was sick, but that's beside the point.) I can't seem to keep her face clean, or her clothes, or my house, but life is pretty good.

January 26th, 2009: She loves me the MOST! Her mommy radar is functioning at 100% and she can find me anywhere! I'm bored and lonely when she takes a nap. I don't mind that she drools all day and uses me for a booger rag. She is still loud but she's my best friend in the whole world (besides Kevin) and I would brutally beat anyone to the ground who tried to hurt her! Being a mom is NOT easy...but it is the BEST!
Happy birthday Brooklyn! Mommy is SO glad you are here!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

5 years isn't too long... right?!

I remember the day well... I packed up everything I owned and stuck it neatly in the back of our family's pickup truck (with room to spare) and drove with my mom down to Provo, UT which would become my new home. And Provo did become my home until I could complete my undergraduate education. This process took me a total of 7 years, and I think they were the greatest 7 years I've ever had during the 21st century...
I've gone back through the archives, dusted off some journals, and compiled some pretty neat facts and statistics from my time as a BYU student. Enjoy!

-I graduated from Davis High School in Kaysville, UT in 2001. I have no idea what my rank in the class was or my final GPA. I also don't know of another High School in the country whose mascot was the "dart".

-I attended only one semester at BYU (Fall 2001) before being called as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I served in said calling for two years in New York City. It was an awesome experience and I loved it!

Me, my companion Elder Holmes, and the sister missionaries in my district visiting the Brooklyn Bridge.

-I originally started off as a student in the Mechanical Engineering Department, but had a sour experience with a professor who convinced me that Civil Engineering was the place for me! I switched to the CE Major after 4 full semesters of classes.

-I made a goal when I first got to BYU that every semester I would take at least one class that was "right brained" so to say. This came about because I quickly realized that if I am doing nothing but math, science, engineering, nnumbers and equations all day I would quickly go insane. Having a different sort of class helped to exercise a different region of the brain, and thus keep me from going nuts. I managed to succeed in this goal every semester that I was in BYU. As a result, I took some pretty sweet and interesting classes, for example:

-Shakespeare (ended up being one of my most memorable and favorite classes)
-swimming (took that class 3 times!)
-Dance (I learned swing, salsa, waltz, and the Cha Cha. I ended up in the top 5 for the Dancesport competition in the Waltz!)
-Isaiah (as in Old Testement)
-World Religions
-Art History
-Weight training (you should see my biceps now! You'll need a magnifying glass though...)
-Human Biology
-beginning gymnastics - where I learned how to do this:

Yes, yes, I known my legs aren't straight and my toes aren't pointed, but this IS a beginners class.

- I ended up graduating school with 177.5 credit hours earned. My final GPA was somwhere around a 3.4. 26 of those credit hours where from AP classes that I took in highschool. Those mostly got me out of some tedious physics and math classes. Another reason for the high number of credits is 16 credits of spanish that recieved from taking a test (como se dice "bathroom" en espanol?). The spanish language was thanks to my time as a missionary in New York.

- Counting my time as a missionary in New York, I lived in 20 different locations. Solely as a student, I lived in 12 different location. The longest time that I was ever in one house was17 months. Needless to say, when I hear the words: "
move" and "pack" I shudder and get a nervous tick in my eye.

- I worked the entire time I was going to school, sometimes up to 3 jobs at a time. I also never worked less than 20 hours a week. Here are some of the things that I did to help pay for school:

-Domino's Pizza (I held a record with my buddy Jordan for making some 90 pizzas in an hour)
-Computer technician, building and repairing systems.
-Carpet repair and Installation (me with a bunch of razor sharp carpet knives... I went through a lot of band-aids)
-Lawn aeration (a business I started with my little brother. I made like $600 in two days, and realized I don't want to aerate lawns for the rest of my life!)
-Bicycle repair (was let go after 2 1/2 weeks because they didn't have enough work for me to do, and never should have hired another person! Either that or I smelled funny, but I'm going to stick with the first one)
-MyFamily.com (I reviewed and suggested personal stories to be filmed and shown on TV shows like Oprah, Dr. Phil, and others like it. We looked to reunite people who hadn't seen each other in a long time on television)
-Computer Forensics. I worked on troubleshooting and providing customer support for software that law enforcement could use to gather forensic evidence off cell phones. I worked for two companies (who shall remane nameless on this blog) I left the first company after about 2 months due to a pretty hostile work environment and went to company #2. #1 sued me thinking I was going to take company secrets and sell them to #2. We settled out of court, but I have since been soured to the idea of working in the field of computer forensics!
-Polynesian Dancing. (Aloha Catering and Pacific Sound Productions. We preformed at Luaus all over Utah and Salt Lake County, even as far as Idaho. Extremely fun)
-Utah Valley Tactical Action Games (this is the kind of job where I said to myself every night after getting home "If I could only figure out how to provide for a family with this job, I would never do anything else, and you would never find a happier man!" I worked with my brother-in-law Josh for 4 years as a referee and instructor for a mobile outdoor laser tag company. During the summer and fall times, we usually had at least one game per weekend with as many as 3-4 games per week.

This is with Craig, my little brother, who also joined on as a ref. Hooah!!

-Picture Framing. (An invaluable skill that I love doing, and will continue to do for the rest of my life!)
-Engineering Intern (both for the Utah Dept of Transportation and for a Private Company, Burns & McDonnell) The latter took me to Chicago during the summer of 2008.
-Teacher's Assistant. (If you want to know Engineering Statics like the back of your hand: be a TA and teach it to others.)

- I tavelled outside of the United States for the first time. I went with 17 other students in the Civil Engineering Dept to 4 cities in China (Beijing, Yichang, Shanghai, & Hong Kong) to study megastructures. Did you know that there are more 40+ story buildings under construction in Hong Kong than there are 40+ story building altogether in Manhattan?

On the 86th floor of the incomplete ICC Tower in Kowloon, Hong Kong. Across the bay, to the right of my head is the 2IFC Tower, which is the tower Batman jumped off in Dark Knight.

-I Ran my first Marathon ever in St. George, Utah, and learned two things: 1, I've never felt or known more pain than in the last 1.5 miles, and 2, I loved it and can't wait to do another!

-I participated in the Wasatch Back Relay for the fi
rst 4 years of its existence. You get a team of 12 people, and over the course of 24 hours or more, you run a relay from Logan to Park City, Utah, a distance of about 176 miles.

-I managed to run, and sometimes bike, up the road to the squaw peak lookout up Provo Canyon every winter that I was there. It's one of my favorite runs ever!

-I participated in BYU Luau every winter I was at school as well (that would make 5 times!) I danced in the Hawaiian, New Zealand, and Tahitian sections.
From left to right: Me, Naomi and my Bro-in-law brother Jacob, after dancing in the New Zealand Section.

-I met and fell in love with Naomi Uda. Boo-ya! I even convinced her to marry me! We got married in August of 2005. We Rock! (see top of blog for a good picture of us!)

-We had our first kid in January of 2008 (she actually turns 1 tomorrow)! Her name is Brooklyn, and as the Chinese proverb goes, there's only one cutest baby in all the
world, and every parent has it! Yup, she is THE cutest little girl in all the world.
-Well, there is more, but since this is long enough, I think that's enough for now! Now that I graduated from college, I packed up and left Provo, but this time it took me a tad more than a pickup truck to load everything out!
This picture does not include the Airbus 380 that was used to transport Naomi and Brooklyn to Chicago!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Moving On Up!

Well... It is DONE! Kevin, Brooklyn and I have officially moved to Downers Grove, Illinois. It took a lot of work but we certainly were not without help! The adventures began when Mom Hanks came down from Kaysville and we started to pack all of our things into boxes.

The company gave us $200 dollars to spend on packing supplies and somehow Kevin and Mom managed to spend $199.92 and we had the EXACT amount of boxes we needed for all our things!
Mom wasn't the only helper we got though. Jennie also came over and helped pack and so did Sarah and her son Noa. On moving day we were graced by the additional presences of Munro, Rachel, Mason, Maile, and Eric. Something amazing about the help was that we were finished and done in 1 and 1/2 hours! Also, Sarah managed to fit every single hangar we owned into ONE small box!!!
The next day (Thursday) Kevin and Dad Hanks packed up the remainder of our things that were stored in Kaysville and began the long drive to Illinois! It wasn't all bad though, They got to stop at the temple at Winter Quarters and even ran into an old friend of ours who was serving her mission there!
Jennie and I flew out with Brooklyn on Saturday and met the boys that night. We got in late so we basically ate and went straight to bed!

The apartment was nice and clean for us when we arrived and the mangers even left a rubber ducky in the tub for Brooklyn, some snacks in the kitchen, a welcoming gift, and a gift certificate to eat pizza while unpacking! Man! It sure is different renting outside of a college town. I like it!

After Church on Sunday, we shipped Dad off on the train to go see Brian and Natalie and then began to unpack. It was a little hard with Brooklyn around. She got in to EVERYTHING! Including the bathroom cabinet. But Jennie, Kevin and I work well as a team so it didn't take us long to get into a sharing routine of unpacking, cleaning, chasing Brooklyn, feeding Brooklyn, changing Brooklyn, putting Brooklyn to bed, getting Brooklyn up, chasing her again...etc.

Once things were mostly done, we made the long, sad journey to the airport to drop Jennie off...sniff...That's all I have to say about that...sniff...

So here is the finished product. This is our kitchen, which incidentally, will be torn out completely on Monday and remodeled! Yay for new wood floors and cabinets!Here is our living room/office that connects to our dining room. Brooklyn loves to terrorize the blinds...I don't know if they will survive us living here!
This is our dining room. There is SO much wall space here that it is a wonderful blessing that Tyler got me the awesome big mirror for Christmas to fill it up.Here is Brooklyn's room. It seems she has accumulated enough stuff in the last year to justify her getting her own room! :)

These are our bathrooms. Its crazy how they wrap around and connect. My entrance is in the hall, then from in the bathroom you open a door to the shower, there is another door in that room that opens to Kevin's bathroom and a door in there that opens to our master bedroom! Pretty cool!
This is the master bedroom. It is still a little lonely but we are working on it. The beautiful bed ensemble was a gift to Kevin and I from Mom Hanks for Christmas. That and our awesome, newly refinished, hope chest are the only pretty things in our room so far!
Underneath the bedroom picture is a picture of our closet...interesting I know. Just thought I'd put it in cause it took a long time to organize! :)

Well, that's it! We have plenty of room for visitors so if you ever feel inspired to travel our way, give us a call. Love you all and miss you!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Beat the New Year 2009!

In order to help myself start the new year out right, I decided to sign up for a 5k that would start at 11:30pm on December 31st. The purpose of the race was to finish before it became 2009. Jennie signed up with me and eventually we got Kevin and Jake to sign up too. Liz and her boyfriend David also came along for the ride even though they didn't get the chance to actually sign up.After checking in at the Garden Center in Sugar House Park, we walked down a long hill and up a smaller one to the start point. After walking down the big hill I thought for sure I could do it if it was all down hill like that. Then, they had us turn around and informed us we would be running UP the big hill 3 times before the race was over! Aaaaahh! Not exactly what I had in mind when I signed up to do 2 laps around a "park". Here we are at the start line.
Liz and David didn't sign up but they were still good sports and ran one lap around the park before stopping and waiting for the rest of us to finish.Kevin came in first at 20:30, Jake came in next at 25:30 and Jennie followed shortly after at 29:30! Then the fireworks went off and I was on the exact opposite of the park from the finish line! I was pretty discouraged but decided to at least run down the next hill before stopping to walk up the last big one. Just as I got to the bottom of the hill, Kevin came from the other direction and ran next to me so I wouldn't stop and walk. I made it through the finish line at 35:55! Just in time to get one of the last 3 plaques they had for people who actually beat the new year. I was pretty pleased with myself and can't wait for my next race where I hope to greatly improve my time!