Saturday, November 12, 2011


Friday, November 11, 2011

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Our holiday cups runneth over.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Planes, Airport Trains and Tiny Automobiles

Travel: Both painful and beautiful. Like a tattoo. A decision to torment ones self for the purpose of engraving memories for eternity.

One redeye, one airport train, two continents, two toddlers, two tiny backpacks, three airplanes, four suitcases, four airports, six time zones, 18 hours, 20,000 matchbox cars.

When you think about spending 18 hours in incredibly close proximity, sharing air, snacks and leg room with your family, you don't always think, "bring it!" It isn't all romance, but it is a great exercise in family bonding. Sure, Peter's bouts of screaming, "All Done!" during each take-off or Sam fighting Pete for the iPod weren't my faves, but I certainly don't remember Sam cuddling up next to me and getting to lay my hand on his curly locks for eight hours straight recently or watch the rise and fall of his superman clad chest and I don't usually have the opportunity to let Pete nap in my arms anymore.

In the event of a napping emergency, you will find 'Goodnight Moon' in the seat-back pocket in front of you.

We resorted to "forced napping" on the third and final leg to freshen the boys spirits (we needed another type of spirit by this time). And kicked back to enjoy our shortest leg, just an hour and a half from Salt Lake to Spokane, quite zippy after a nearly nine hour flight from Brasilia to Atlanta. The shortest, but unarguably the hardest.

Clouds of my neighborhood:

We were greeted by the open arms of my family, Grandad, Ma, Uncle Dan and Aunt J and crisp fresh fall tones and air. Upon arriving home we welcomed Aunt Joyce and Uncle Robert to town for a good, old fashioned family holiday.

Jet lag is a kick in the rear and even more painful with a roll back of time, adding yet another hour to our great battle. However, after celebrating an early Thanksgiving on Sunday, let's call it "First Thanksgiving," sleep seems to be just a condiment on the Thanksgiving table of life. Take it or leave it, I'll have more turkey!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Gift of Children

Psalms 127:3 reads, “Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him.” No day is all good or all bad. Each day is a mixture of reward and punishment. The punishment part coming, undoubtedly, from how beastly Elise and I must have been to our parents. But it’s funny, sometimes, to think—especially in the midst of one or both of them having a complete meltdown as happened yesterday during baths when they were fighting over a water bottle—that most people think of children as a gift. But there are also definitely moments when this is easy to remember.

For instance, Pete’s goodnight kisses. They are soft and wet like a puppy dog’s nose and could not be more sincere. We got four the other night. Two for me and two for Elise. We had been encouraging Pete to give goodbye kisses when Elise leaves the house for a photo shoot or to run errands and or I go to work. But on his own, he asked one day, “Hug?” And followed the kiss with a big, two-armed embrace. These sappy moments are the ones in which one truly feels as though they are receiving a gift.

As part of prayers, I ask the boys what they want to dream about, so that we can ask God to help us dream about those things. I read once that if you want to dream about flying—because, of course, that’s what I want to dream about—you tell yourself over and over throughout the day that you want to fly tonight. The theory goes that if you say it enough, the thought of flying becomes imbedded into your subconscious and manifests itself in your dreams. Maybe if I ask the boys what they want to dream about, they will dream about Dinosaur Train Land and choo-choos instead of the mask from the movie ‘Scream’ with fake blood pouring out of it that Sam saw trick-or-treating and pretty much put an end to that.

Last night, when I asked the boys what they wanted to dream about, Pete replied, “Mama,” and Sam replied, “Tiny little poo-poo head” or something equally inappropriate. Then, Sam asked Elise and I what we wanted to dream about. I said I wanted to dream about super-heroes and Elise (mom) wanted to dream about a back massage. See? Little gifts.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween Weekend

I admit, I spun the DPO Russian Roulette wheel of "OMG Amazon Prime, I need this now, but live in South America" fun. Having had good DPO luck recently, I felt confident, I closed my eyes, pressed "Purchase Now," and failed. Pete's costume never arrived.

I waited, like a good DPO mail box owner until the last possible minute, but on Thursday, Paul showed up at home once again, packageless. Friday morning, just before the embassy trick or treat, Peter and I set out on a mission: To create a costume in the likes of Pete's second favorite recent thing (ok one day he saw one and smiled) a hot air balloon. It seemed easy enough and had I explored the Portuguese for "helium," "there is no party," "I need it today dammit," I would have been totally set. I stuttered my way through and came home with all the necessary objects. I settled in with my hot glue gun, 50 yards of kitchen twine and during naps I whipped up this:

It was adorable....for one minute. Then is was still I carried it around the embassy behind him, awkwardly explaining myself to each passer-by.

Sam rocked himself as "T-Rex of the Ocean," like we've never seen (nor heard of) and roared in the face of anyone that asked him what he was. We tricked and treated to all the less horrifying sections of the embassy avoiding any Halloween inspired nightmares, and munched hot dogs before retiring home for Halloween story time, courtesy of Nanny. Thanks Nanny!

...But not before I forced Peter back into his costume for a photo which ended after 3...



With what can only be described as: "Classic Pete. The story of a tiny, cute boy who you should never cross."

Saturday we gathered in true Hanna family, post-nap-style, without pants for a little pumpkin carving session. Peter, always the extremist, opted to carve completely in the nude. Work it Pete. Paul may or may not have been sipping wine at 3pm, whilst wielding a knife, and Sam may or may not have been also carving pumpkin shards with a tiny butter knife. (We ask that you not look too closely for these parenting bloopers.)

We ended the evening with a "Spooky Bath" lit only by glow-sticks.

Resulting in the following series of Sam which can only be described as, "The Faces of Sam." We are beginning to think the best career option for him will be actor....

On Monday, Sam's Brazilian preschool, treated the few American students (and all of the Brazilian students) to Halloween celebration in their honor. The kids were asked to come in costume and each received a bag of treats to take home. We said thank you, by making and decorating a gaggle of owl cupcakes to share with his class.

On Monday night we joined about 20 other embassy families for a Halloween potluck, cupcake walk, bobbing for apples and Trunk-or-Treating. We decorated the back of the Subaru and assigned Paul the title of, "Official Candy Hander-Outer," and Trunked or Treated our way around to our friends cars, bribing them out of our favorite non-Brazilian candies.

The boys later zonked out while reading books beneath the glowing pumpkin garland I'd installed in their room for the holiday. A wonderful weekend was had by all.

"In Lane Number 4..."