Monday, May 31, 2010

A Week in Pictures:

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Jennie and I watched "Letters to Julia" at Hollywood Boulevard Cinema.

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Kevin, Jennie, and I took a trip to the Chicago, Illinois LDS Temple!

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

I dropped Jennie off at the Midway Airport.

When I got home from the airport, Brian, Natalie, Wes and Sydney dropped in for a visit on their way to Utah.

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Kevin ran the corporate challenge 5K in downtown Chicago. He even got a new PR!

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Kevin finally had his nasty tonsils removed after 4.5 long years of waiting!

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

I made Brooklyn a nightgown out of a pillowcase...which she quickly turned into a princess dress. (After discovering mommy's makeup while I was taking care of Kevin upstairs!)

Lily discovered that she can use her hands and her tongue at the same time!

Brooklyn and Lily vegged out together while mommy was taking care of daddy upstairs.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Partying Like a Stay-at-Home Mom!

As many of you know, Kevin’s cousin Jennie (my best friend) came and visited us for the last 2 weeks. Nothing terribly exciting really happened…in fact, Jennie basically spent her whole vacation learning how to be a stay-at-home mom! However, we did get the chance to do a few random things during her visit. Here are some pictures of our time together.


Kevin, Jennie and I got to run a 4 mile race together in Oswego, Illinois. We all finished and we are all still alive!

We spent some time painting rooms and tearing down walls at our home teacher’s house. It wasn’t really a kid friendly environment so we just strapped Brooklyn and Lily in their car seats in front of the TV and gave them food! It turned out to be fun for everyone!

We spent a few hours at the Dupage Children’s Museum. Brooklyn loved having an extra set of hands there to lug her around while mommy took care of Lily.


We started and almost finished constructing a new headboard for my bedroom.


We took the girls to the park down the street and each took turns getting our wiggles out.


We witnessed Brooklyn growing more and more independent as each day passed.


We took a trip to Hollywood Boulevard Cinema WITHOUT any children in tow.


The movie theatre serves you food while you watch the movie. It was a new experience for Jennie and a special treat for me!


We left the kids with a babysitter and traveled to the Chicago temple!


It was the first temple visit Kevin and I got to take since Lily was born, thus, MUCH appreciated!


We spent our time doing initiatories and were treated like celebrities since we were the only people there… and possibly some of the only people who showed up the whole night!

On a more random note, Jennie also managed to dye her hair, get puked all over, run on a sprained ankle, and convince Lily that she is her "other" mommy, all in the space of 2 weeks!


And just so you believe that we didn’t kick him out (and because Lily is really cute in this picture) Here is proof that Kevin was still living in the house while Jennie was here. He took a short absence to run a ridiculous race with his brothers and cousin (which I’m sure he will blog about soon), but other than that, he was around to share in the great food and fun for the whole visit.

Well, that was the happy stuff. The sad stuff is that Jennie left yesterday. We have no pictures, but did manage to earn an interesting farewell story. It was a very hot day and we can’t drive with our AC on or the car will shut off, so Kevin was praying that it would rain while we were traveling so the girls wouldn’t get overheated in the backseat. Unfortunately, his prayer was answered and about 5 minutes into the drive to the airport it started to rain, then pour, then hail, and eventually we were stuck on a bridge in a microburst with no possibility to move unless the wind made it so!

I happened to be the one driving because I was trying to overcome my fear of driving to the airport…ironic…and was totally freaked out by the swaying bridge and complete inability to see out my windows! At that moment we decided it would be a good time to say our own prayer and after Jennie finished asking for the rain to stop, it let up enough to get off the bridge where we were stopped again to wait for all the cars who were hiding under it to clear out. Eventually the rain stopped and we got to the airport safe and sound to drop Jennie off.

The way home consisted of driving in 2nd gear for 40 minutes while listening to Brooklyn sing, “I need to feel me better! I need my Jennie to come back. No more going to the airport! I love my mommy and my daddy and my Jennie and my Lily! Blow me kisses to feel me better and get my Jennie back!” Thanks for visiting us Jennie and thank you for the fun times and great memories. We all miss you already!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Almond Joy Cake!

Last week I made this cake for the missionaries in our area. It was so delicious that I decided to share the idea with all of you!

You will need:

-Your favorite chocolate cake mix (and accompanying ingredients)
-A can of Coco Lopez or Coco Goya (coconut cream)
-Hershey's chocolate syrup
-Heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, coconut extract (or your favorite whipped topping)
-Sliced almonds
-Coconut flakes

To make this wonderful creation...simply:

-Bake the cake as instructed and let cool
-Poke holes with the back of a pen or a chopstick all over the cake
-Poor the can of coconut cream into the holes and on the top of the cake
-Make whipped cream out of the whipping cream, powdered sugar and coconut extract and frost the top of the cake with it
-Drizzle the Hershey's syrup over the whipped cream
-toast the coconut flakes and almonds then sprinkle over the top of the cake

That's it! now you have the Best version of an Almond Joy candy bar that cake can make! Hope you all enjoy this little creation!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Joy of Random Moments!

This month Kevin and I are lucky enough to say that we will only be without family for 9 out of 31 days! First my dad and sister Sarah arrived with little Noa. Then Kevin's mom and dad, plus brother Brian, sister Janna, and cute Audrey showed up. Now we are being graced by the presence of cousin Jennie who will be leaving the same day that brother Brian comes back with his wife Natalie and munchkins, Wes and Sydney, in tow! It has been so wonderful to have visitors and a lot of fun too! Here are some random and fun pictures that we have taken since Jennie arrived. Enjoy!

Brooklyn and Lily BOTH adore their auntie Jennie! Unfortunately for her, that means her body has become a jungle gym and wherever she is, the monkeys are sure to follow. Brooklyn's favorite place to hang out these days...under the cool bridge that Jennie makes with her legs!

Its been cool to have another "mom" in the house. I've barely changed any diapers the last few days and tornado pickup is down to a minimum. Another bonus...Jennie usually feeds Lily and gets her wrapped up for bed. This picture was taken last night before bedtime. It was weird because Lily was being kind of wild until we kiddopotamized her. Then she just stopped wailing and wiggling and started staring at us like an over-medicated mental hospital patient. I thought it was funny because the only other time she acts that way is when she can sense Brooklyn approaching. She simply gives up and checks out of her head until the torture stops!

As mentioned before, Brooklyn is slightly obsessed with dresses these days. Its all she wants to wear and if we have to put a regular shirt on her (heaven forbid) we have to act all dramatic and pretend that it is a special shirt-dress and tell her how beautiful she is in it over and over again! Incidentally, she is also obsessed with Lily's dresses and wants to wear them as well. After nap time yesterday she came down the stairs wearing one like a cape...not on purpose, she just couldn't figure out how else to get it on her body. It was cute and annoying at the same time since I knew she had snuck into my room and pulled it out of the clean clothes piles that I had already folded.

Last but not least, PROOF that my daughters puke like Mount Vesuvius! Last night I was minding my own business when Lily decided to erupt all over me, the pillow, the couch and the floor! If we had been able to collect it all back into her bottle, I'm sure we would have filled the whole thing up again. Ahhhh, the joys of motherhood!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Terror Trail Run!

As many of you know, I set a goal for myself this year to complete a 5K, 10K, 1/2 Marathon and Marathon by January of 2011. The goal was set to help me lose my baby weight and teach me how to be consistent. Well, I'm happy to announce that on Saturday I checked off the first part of my goal. Kevin, Jennie and I ran the Terror Trail Run. It was a 4 mile race because I couldn't find a 5K and it was on some pretty Utahish trails which made it harder than I anticipated, but I did it an I had FUN!

Here we all are in the car on the way to the Oswego forest preserve. Jennie was nervous to run on her sprained ankle...I was nervous to run the longest distance I've ever done..Kevin was just pretending to be nervous because he is Kevin!

We had to park at a golf course and then they bused us to the forest preserve because there was no where to park there. Our first bus driver was NOT a warm fuzzy! ...but the next one was!

Here we are with the running Santa at the start of the race. I think he is only one of 3 people I passed along the way. Everyone was kind of scared of him, but I talked to him later and he was pretty nice.

When we got off the dirt road and on to the trails I was a little surprised! It looked a lot like the Stewart Falls hike in Utah and had a lot more hills than I'm used to seeing out here. They also had random "scary" spots set up along the way with bloody clothes and scary masks and axes...that sort of stuff. It was more cute than scary but I thought it was great still!

We had a pretty good system down. Jennie ran in front of me and kept me going at a good pace, and Kevin ran behind me and told stories to distract me from thinking I was CRAZY for doing this in the first place. Occasionally Kevin would run around taking pictures too!

Here Jennie is running backward to stretch out the muscles that were tightening from running on a sprained ankle. She was such a good sport, and besides an occasional gimpy wobble, you never would have known she was running with an injury!

Just as I was feeling like I didn't want to run anymore, we rounded a corner and BLAMMO! There was the finish! It really snuck up on me but I happily ran through and grabbed a drink of water to celebrate my first victory in running!

I finished in 46 minutes and I think 35 seconds. I know its slow but it was actually a record for me. When I did a test run at this distance on the treadmill I ran it in 50 minutes. So I think 46 minutes on rolling hills was pretty good. :)

Here I am enjoying my post race high. I was pretty proud of myself for finishing and very grateful that Kevin and Jennie were there to support me with my goal!

The park was SO beautiful which made the run a lot more exciting. This is Jennie and me standing in front of some pretty flowers and trying to capture the beauty after the race.

Kevin, me, and Jennie right after we finished. Some nice girls that we kept leap frogging took the picture for us.

After all was said and done, they bused us back to the golf course where we got a new pair of pants and some good grub. They actually had quite a bit of food and they played scary movies while we were eating. Definitely a fun race and now I can't wait to run a 10K in 8 weeks! Wish me luck!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

More Fun Ideas for Cheap Clothing!

After I posted the pictures of Brooklyn in her new nightgowns, Kevin's sister Janna, and his cousin Jamie both hinted me off to this website: I knew just the shirt to use! Kevin got this aloha shirt for my sister Sarah's wedding but it was way to big. He wore it to the wedding and hasn't taken it off the hangar since!

I asked for his permission to cut it up and then quickly got to work on a new dress for Brooklyn. Here is the result!

And with a cute model...

It is certainly not perfect, but it works and Brooklyn loves it! Next up: Pillow case nightgown/dresses!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Necessity Often Sparks Creativity

Recently Kevin and I have noticed that Brooklyn is growing a little too fast to keep up with! We've been lucky to get all her clothes from cousins and friends so far, but she is quickly passing them up in size and is now in need of her own clothing collection. Her grandmas both bought her some cute stuff over the winter, however, Spring is here and Summer is on its way so I simply couldn't hold out any longer.

We are trying to save money for the day our car finally explodes...which should be any day now, so I had to think cheap. I hopped on the Internet for some good ideas and BLAMMO! I found one! An option to get her new clothes for FREE! (with a little elbow grease.) You simply take old things you already have (i.e. T-shirts, pillow cases, curtains, etc.) and sew them into new clothes! No purchase of fabric necessary!

I decided to start easy with new pajamas. That way if I messed up real bad it wouldn't matter because she would just be wearing them to bed anyway. I took 3 old shirts that I was both too fat and too old to wear, and turned them into nightgowns!

I was actually able to kill 2 birds with one stone with this project. Not only did I get Brooklyn pajamas that were 100% FREE, but I provided her with "dresses" to sleep in. Brooklyn has been obsessed with dresses lately and wants to wear them all the time. After church she goes into total panic mode at the thought of her dress being removed and at bedtime she is a nightmare when its time to get into her pajamas. Now she thinks she is wearing a dress to bed and we are ALL happier! Thank you Internet and thank you!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Baby Blessing Weekend: Part Four

Monday morning we ate breakfast with Kevin's family and had a little more fun before they took off to their different destinations. We had SO much fun with them and were VERY grateful that they made the sacrifices necessary to come out and support us.

The rest of that day, Sarah and I pretty much bummed around and let our kids run a muck before Kevin came home and got us all out on a walk to the park!

Kevin took this picture of Sarah and I with Noa and Lily. He was pushing Brooklyn in our other stroller.

Because Kevin had the camera, we don't have many pictures with him...but he always remembers to get in at least one shot like this!

Brooklyn and Noa loved the park. They were so brave climbing the ladders and sliding down the slides. It was fun to watch them.

At one park some dude blew bubbles for the kids. Coincidentally, we were able to get this funny looking picture of Noa...

...and one of Brooklyn as well!

We also got to enjoy the beautiful weather and nature! This little family of geese was just hanging around the pond so we took a picture before they started hissing at us.

Me and Sarah on the bench with Lily at the park.

Lily's new favorite puking position. I hold her like this after she eats, and in just a few seconds, she pukes in the grass! It saves on laundry!

On Wednesday, Sarah and I took the kids to the Morton Arboretum before she had to catch a plane back home. Here she is standing on a platform where you can see all the mazes throughout the park.

Me and the kids taking a break from walking, playing, fighting, timeout, walking again...etc.

Brooklyn and Noa going through the giant acorn.

This lady was trying to water the gardens and Brooklyn wanted to help SO bad! She kept trying to run off with the watering cans but they were too heavy for her.

Brooklyn kissing the metal frogs...she's really into princesses these days. I wonder if she thought it would turn into a prince?

Noa chillaxin in the giant rocking chair.

Brooklyn playing in the frog pond.

Noa rolling the giant ball.

Brooklyn enjoying the beautiful gardens.

After we got back from the Arboretum and got the kids fed and napped, Sarah and Noa packed their things and headed back to Utah. :(

We had so much fun with them and ALL our family! It was wonderful to be surrounded by so much love. We love you guys and thanks again for taking time out of your busy schedules to come and visit the Chicago Hanks family!