Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Holidays 2011 - Hanson Style

Happy Holidays from all of us to all of you!

For those of you that know us well, this means that it is time for our annual holiday slideshow.

Arik and I started this tradition three years ago, so the ability to look back at the kids is getting pretty funny. We sat down as a family tonight and watched all of the old ones before turning our attention to 2011. We laughed so hard! It is amazing to watch how much they change year over year.

Of course, 2011 was no different. Matthew graduated from kindergarten in June, and started 1st grade this fall. His teacher is wonderful and he is having a fantastic year. He likes to play t-ball and soccer, and has really turned into a fish in the pool. We just celebrated his 7th birthday in December. As you will soon see, Matthew's biggest change this year had to do with his mouth. He lost a lot of teeth! The poor tooth fairy almost went broke keeping up with him!

Like her big brother, Amy has also turned into quite the swimmer. Apparently our membership at the pool last summer was worth every penny! She also tried out gymnastics and can't wait to get into dance. She turned four in August, and is well into her pre-K year at her daycare. If you can believe it, she will be going to school next fall!

Arik's business is still going strong. He puts in a lot of hours, but it has certainly paid off!

Some of our other annual highlights include my trip to Puerto Rico in March, a family vacation to San Diego in August, and another little family getaway to Lutsen in October.

We want to sincerely wish you all a safe and happy holiday season.

Now go and enjoy our 2 minutes and 39 seconds of fun!

Matthew turns 7!!

I can't believe it - Matthew is seven! Wow! As we looked back at pictures of this year, he has grown and changed so much. He continues to be an incredibly smart and creative little boy. He is doing so well in first grade, and we are so proud of him.

We had two birthday parties in one day for him this year! We had our family over in the morning for a birthday brunch, and then hosted six little boys at Grand Slam for an afternoon of mini golf, laser tag, arcade games, and birthday treats.

It was such a fun day. Happy 7th Birthday Matthew! We love you!

Thanksgiving 2011

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to once again reflect back on the many many things we are thankful for in our lives. Obviously, we are thankful for our two beautiful children and our good health. We are also forever thankful for having almost all of our family living within 20 miles of our home. Our children get to spend so much time with their grandparents, aunts and uncles. Plus, this year we have another family member to be thankful for - a new cousin!

We are thankful for the newest addition to our family - baby Bruno! Rocco and Meg welcomed a beautiful baby boy at the end of August. He is such a pumpkin, and the kids just adore him.

We are thankful in a rather tough economy to still be gainfully employed and living in a home that we own.

We are thankful for food on our table, and opportunities to get out and do the things we love to do.

Sometimes it is the basics that we forget to be thankful for - not this year. We are thankful for everything.

Happy Thanksgiving!

First Snow!

It hasn't been a very snowy winter this year. The kids have been dying for some snow so they could head out to do some sledding. Because it is coming so late this year, I have a feeling it will still be here May!

Check out some pictures of the kids in our first snowfall!


Check out my little Vikings cheering squad. It is a tough team to support this year, but we have lots of purple pride! Go Vikes!

Halloween 2011

It's Halloween time again! This year we had a Super Girl and a Transformer to take trick-or-treating. Uncle Aaron decided to join us this year, so it was extra fun! After a few blocks, we had all the candy we could carry (or so we insisted), so we headed home to enjoy it.

Check out our tiny carved pumpkins in the second picture.

Happy Halloween!


This year, our annual trek up north took us further than we usually go. We always try to get the whole family together for a long weekend in Two Harbors, MN at our favorite resort - Larsmont. This year, not everyone could make it, so we gathered up those that could and headed to Lutsen!

It was awesome!

The weather was perfect. We got to spend lots of time hanging out together, eating, swimming and playing games. We also got to spend an entire day in Grand Marais. What a great little town! We spent most of our time hiking around the rocks on Lake Superior. The kids had a blast!

It is always fun to just get away and relax for a few days. We got to spend lots of time with Grandma Jane, Rocco, Meg and baby Bruno. We also got to see Tom and Mindy and their boys, Lisa and Bill, Fred, and Teri.

Overall, a fantastic weekend.

Grandma Jane's Retirement

I never thought this day would come, but my Mom is officially retired! She didn't want a party, but she did allow Rocco and I to host a nice dinner in her honor. We held it at W.A. Frost, and included our immediate family and all of her siblings and their spouses.

It was such a fun night! Even thought we didn't officially have one of their party rooms, we did have a separate little room to ourselves. The restaurant owner was kind enough to let us do a custom menu and make the evening extra special. My Mom was a wonderful nurse for many years, and she deserved it! Congratulations Mom! We love you!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


In our world, BLB stands for Bryant Lake Bowl - also known as the best breakfast place in Minneapolis. We love it. It's small, it's simple, and the food is fantastic! We certainly don't head down there every weekend, but we go there a lot. The kids have even started calling it "BLB". It cracks my Mom up every time they say it.

A part of me wants to think they are spoiled rotten because it is such a familiar place, but another part of me just loves the tradition we have started. Arik and I like to eat good food. We don't like to eat at chain restaurants, and we hope this early exposure leads them down the same path. Support the local people. Pay good money for great food, and enjoy every bite!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Soccer 9.9.11

Check out this little soccer cutie! I love it! This is, by far, my favorite sports uniform.

Tonight was Matthew's first night of soccer at Pearl Park. He played with the YMCA a couple of years ago, so it wasn't his first time on the field, but he sure seemed to enjoy it more tonight. He was great! He even scored two goals!

We couldn't be more proud of him. Our trip to DQ after practice was well deserved.

Good job Matthew! We are looking forward to lots of fun (and lots of goals) in the weeks to come!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Sentences ...

Soooo ... first grade is off to a good start ...

I am kidding. First grade is actually off to an awesome start for Matthew. I think he is really loving his new teacher and the calmer environment of his classroom. There are less kids in his class this year, and the experienced teacher is making a world of difference.

However, the fact remains that Matthew has a pretty long day. By the end of it, those little ears just have a tough time following along. This afternoon he had some difficulty listening to his teachers in his after school program. I didn't get a lot of details, but it had something to do with a broom. Knowing how much this kid likes to sweep, my guess is that they asked him to put it away and he would not.

Therefore, he got to write some sentences.

Arik and I LOVE that these guys take an old school approach to discipline. They are totally on top of any incident that takes place. They always make the kids say they are sorry to whoever was involved, and then they need to write an apology note (or some sentences) about their behavior. It works really well, and the kids really respond. Plus, the added bonus is that they get some writing practice!

I saw this sheet of paper sitting on the couch after the kids went to bed tonight, and I totally cracked up. I just had to share it. Bring back any memories?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Matthew Starts 1st Grade

Can you believe the summer is already over? Check out our little first grader! Matthew was a little nervous, but mostly excited to head back to school today. His teacher, Mrs. Walter, seems really nice. We are hopeful for a great year with her! Welcome back to school buddy! We are so proud of you!

Baby Bruno

Check out the newest addition to our family! Bruno Warren Bonello is here to stay! He is so adorable. We went to visit them at the hospital on Sunday. Amy is just like I was at her age - she LOVES babies! She may have held him as much as I did while we were there. She couldn't get enough. She is going to be a great cousin to him!

We gave him the little panda we bought at the San Diego Zoo. Amy couldn't understand why he wasn't playing with it :)

We love you little Bruno! Welcome to the family!

San Diego 8.27.11

Today is the last day of our vacation. We are so bummed that we have to head home, but it has been such a great trip. We have seen so much of this area, spent time with family and really enjoyed our time together. For the most part, the kids have been really well behaved.

We stayed at the Hyatt in Mission Bay while we were here. It was a really nice hotel. It had a few water slides in the pool area, and we had an incredible view from our room on the 16th floor.

We spent our last morning back in Coronado. It was just too beautiful not to go back. The kids had a ball playing in the water again. Their blonde hair and blue eyes made them fit right in out here. They looked like miniature surfers!

After we packed up our stuff, we headed downtown San Diego to the Gaslamp area for some lunch and then over to Seaport Village for some ice cream. While we were walking around we got a text from Rocco and Meg that the baby was finally here! Bruno Warren Bonello arrived around 3 pm. He weighed 8 lbs 11 oz and was 22 inches long. We can't wait to get home and meet him!

Our flight home was uneventful. We thought the kids would sleep the whole way ... we weren't so lucky ... but they were really good.

Overall, excellent trip! We will miss you San Diego. Until next time ...

San Diego 8.26.11

Day 5 - Coronado!

This town may rival Del Mar as our favorite part of San Diego. We had such a perfect day to spend there, and they have the most amazing beach. It is huge! The kids ran in and out of the waves and played in the sand for hours. I have a feeling we may be coming back here again tomorrow before we leave.

Just a beautiful place.

We met up with one of Arik's friends and her little boy for lunch at this awesome place. I think we may come home hooked on avocado because it comes on top of EVERYTHING out here, and it is so good. When we are on vacation, we always go with the food rule that we follow the crowd. We don't go anywhere we can eat at home, and we generally pick the place that is most crowded. It must be that way for a reason, right? This theory rarely lets us down, and today was no exception. Incredible food and great company.

We met up with Jeanna and the Ferrante's for one last mexican feast for dinner. It was great to see all of them again, and we are forever grateful for the "Paul Show" that kept the kids entertained. I have yet to master the paper roses, but I am working on it ...

We have had the best time in San Diego, and we are sad that our vacation is coming to an end tomorrow. We are anxious to hear about Rocco and Meg and the baby, but we could stay here for a long time!

San Diego 8.25.11

Day 4 - Legoland!

I am so glad that several people told us to go here before we left. Wow! It is like Valleyfair for little kids. Such a fun place! A huge thank you to the Bushaw's for hooking us up with some coupons to get in for significantly less than the asking price.

One of the best parts about the day was that we got to see Jeanna and Doria! We hadn't seen Doria since she got married 5 years ago! We got to catch up with her and Paul, and finally meet their kids, Rocco (4 1/2) and Mario (2 1/2). Such a fun day.

The kids got a chance to test their "driving" skills on a couple of the rides, see a 3-D movie, ride a roller coaster, go on a boat ride, and much more! If you can believe it, we were there for 7 HOURS!

Matthew got to pick out a little lego set before we left. He was super excited.

Since we weren't far from Carlsbad, we headed back there for some awesome mexican food and an evening trip to the beach. We got to witness the most perfect sunset over the water. It was an awesome day. I am sure it comes as no surprise that we topped it all off with a stop in Pacific Beach for some yogurt ...

San Diego 8.24.11

First of all, let us start this post by wishing Arik a very happy 39th birthday! Nothing like a beach crawl to celebrate the big day! Right after breakfast we hopped in the rental car and headed north to Carlsbad. They have a great beach up there. After playing in the surf for a while, we stopped at this great cafe for some brunch. The kids worked up quite an appetite running in and out of the waves over ... and over ... and over ... again. They were hilarious.

After brunch, we headed south to Solana Beach ... or as Amy calls it, "Salami Beach". That one wasn't as impressive for me, but was still fun. Again, the water was freezing, so everyone just played in the surf and dug in the sand.

The next stop on our southern journey was Del Mar. This is, by far, one of our favorite areas in San Diego county. They have this really cute downtown area, and this awesome park that overlooks the beach. We didn't go in the water here, but we had a great time watching the waves roll in from above.

As we continued south, we made our third stop in La Jolla - another great little town. They have a really nice park there too, and this one has a rocky area you can climb around on in the water. The kids got a kick out of this, and even spotted some crabs down in the cracks. While I relaxed and listened to the waves, Arik took the kids over to the sandy beach area for some more running fun.

Our last stop of the night was Pacific Beach - AGAIN. We ate dinner at a different place, but ended the night at our new favorite spot - Yogurtland! Pretty sure this will become a nightly ritual while we are here.

Stay tuned for Legoland on day #4!

San Diego 8.23.11

Day 2 in San Diego! Today ... we are heading to the Zoo! I can't think of a zoo I like better than this one. What an amazing place. We took the sky ride to the far side as soon as we got there, and then worked our way back to the main entrance. We saw polar bears, zebra, elephants, panda bears, tigers, giraffes, and a bunch of different monkeys. The kids got tired quickly, so we had to make an early pit stop for some lunch.

After a little water show and a trip to the kids area to pet and feed some goats ... we were good to go for a while.

To ease the burden on their little legs, we took a bus tour around the zoo for a while. You get to see about 70% of the zoo on this tour, so it was actually a really good use of time.

After about 5 hours at the Zoo, we were ready to call it quits. We picked up a little stuffed panda for Rocco and Meg's baby and headed out.

We went to Pacific Beach for some great pizza, and had our first taste of Yogurtland! Are you kidding? It was like kid (and maybe even adult) heaven. Picture a small shop with one whole wall lined with various flavors of frozen yogurt. The idea is that you pick up a bowl, fill it with the yogurt of your choice, stop at a toppings bar filled with fruit/candy/cereal/sprinkles/etc for added fun, weigh it and eat it! The kids still don't believe that it was yogurt. They both said several times, "This is NOT yogurt Mommy. This is ICE CREAM!"


Day 3 will be equally exciting. Read on!

San Diego 8.22.11

Today is the official start to our first "family" vacation! That's right, we are heading to San Diego WITH the kids. We might be crazy, but everyone is really excited. Our day started off very early. Our flight left at 7:15 am, so we were at the airport around 5:30. We were a little worried the kids would be in meltdown city, but they were so good! I sat in between them on the plane, and they just colored, looked at books, watched movies and ate little snacks all the way there.

Since I was on parent patrol for the entire flight, Arik was on potty patrol. Anytime the kids had to go- he took them. It was an extremely successful team effort!

At the end of the flight we saw the cockpit door open. We were one of the last people off the plane, so we stopped so the kids could look in there. The flight crew was awesome, and invited us in to take a seat. Check out the photo! And yes ... you will see this again in our annual Christmas slideshow ....

Due to the time change, when we got to San Diego, it was only 9 am. We had a whole day ahead of us! We checked into our hotel, took a nap, and headed off to Mission Beach to introduce the kids to the ocean. The water was really cold, but the kids loved it! They just ran into the surf, screamed, and ran back out. They could have done this all day, but we eventually walked away to get some ice cream. That night we had an awesome dinner at this hole-in-the-wall burger place in Ocean Beach called Hodads. It was recommended by one of the valets at the hotel. Great place! By the time we left, there was a line out the door to get in.

Stay tuned for more San Diego fun!