June 28, 2011

Garrett's Brother

What?  You were expecting an announcement?  Sorry.

The 'brother' I'm referring to is none other than our beloved Border Terrier, Solo.

Layin' in the sun...

Solo became a member of the Hanna family in March, 2008.  We knew we wanted to try to have a baby some day, so we researched several different breeds and learned that Border Terriers have a reputation for being good around kids.  Solo has not let us down.  He and Garrett are best buddies!

Solo's favorite things, in no particular order, are sleeping between Nathan and me in our bed, laying on the back of the couch like a cat, sitting in the window seat in our dining room, playing fetch with his assortment of toys, all of which are made of durable plastic since he'll rip any stuffed toy to shreds in a matter of seconds, going to Donna's every 2 or 3 months to get his hair cut, greeting Nathan when he comes in the door like he's been gone for years, visits from Kara, and going for walks.  (His least favorite thing is thunderstorms.  He will not rest until the thunder can no longer be heard.  It's heartbreaking, really.)

We can't imagine life without our Solo!

June 23, 2011

Fruit Dip VI

I am lucky enough to have two mothers-in-law.  (Yes, that says "lucky".)  One of them, Sandy, called me today to ask how much brown sugar to use in "that fruit dip" I make.  Thinking about that this evening has prompted me to share this, one of my absolute favorite recipes, with you: Fruit Dip VI, or FRUIT DIPPER SIXERRR, as we Hannas like to call it.  It is especially good with strawberries and apples that are a little on the tart side, like my favorite, the Gala variety.

Who am I kidding?  It's good without fruit.  Not that I would know.  Not that I've purposefully put way more dip than fruit on my plate before.  I know you'll enjoy FRUIT DIPPER SIXERR just as much as we do, perhaps even more if you say it that way.

Oh, and since I've promised a little bit o' Garrett in every post, here ya go.

I LOVE that little pacifier face!

June 22, 2011

Too Good To Be True?

Last night, just a few minutes after I got into bed, I got up, walked into Garrett's room, and stood by his crib just to watch him sleep.  After climbing back into my own bed, I stared at the piece of my great grandma's "Crazy Quilt" that was framed and given to Nathan and me as a wedding gift from her daughter, my Grandma Horton, and Grandpa Horton.  Then, I prayed.

God, I can't ignore the thought I've had lately that my life is too good to be true.
That the shoe will drop any minute now.
I know it's not good to worry, but is there any wisdom in bracing myself for such things?
As I stare at the random pieces of fabric that form Grandma Handell's quilt, I think about the components of my life that have made me who I am today - the experiences, both good and bad, the unconditional love of my family and friends, and the miracle that is asleep down the hall - and I am grateful.
Please bless us with Your peace that surpasses our understanding.
Watch over us.

June 21, 2011

Father's Day

"Fatherhood isn't for weaklings, but it's not for macho nuts either." -Geoff, age 10, from Fathers Are Like Elephants Because They're the Biggest Ones Around (But They Still Are Pretty Gentle Underneath) by David Heller

What a great Father's Day weekend we had!  Garrett and I spent most of our Saturday in Bismarck while Nathan stayed home to strip paint off the bricks that form our fireplace.  That's right, Nathan spent half of the weekend working, but getting to do so without having to divide his attention was probably his best Father's Day gift.  Just ask him!  My dad lives in Bismarck, so I got to spend some time with him, and Bismarck's community-wide rummage sales were that day.  We came home with a detail sander for Nathan, an outfit, a pair of shoes, and a toy for Garrett, a DVD version of the game, Family Feud, a pretty basket, and a few other things.  A $20 bill goes a long way when you spend ten cents here, seventy-five cents there, etc.!

On Sunday, the three of us met Nathan's parents at Cracker Barrel for a wonderful Father's Day brunch.  Sandy had decided to keep it a secret, so Nathan's dad, Howard, was surprised to see us there.  We had a great time!  The proof is in the pictures.

Nonnie & Garrett on Cracker Barrel's porch

Nathan, Garrett & Papa

Two of my best reasons for living...

Garrett "made" Nathan a gift at Ducky Day Care...
That's a shark made of Garrett's footprint.  Can't you tell?

...and I got him and Garrett new Cardinals hats.

I am so very thankful to have Nathan as my husband and Garrett's daddy.  I am also grateful to our dads, Rick and Howard, for their examples of what great fathers are.

Thanks for visiting!

June 17, 2011

8.5 Months Later...

***SPOILER ALERT***We had a baby!

I've wanted to write about Garrett's birth for quite some time - as much (probably more) for myself, in case I forget parts of it years from now, as for you, my friends and family.  It'll be a long story, so make yourself comfortable.

I had an appointment with Dr. Nelson the morning of my due date, Tuesday, September 28th.  Evidently, Garrett hadn't finished packing yet for his big move, so we scheduled an appointment for the following Thursday so Dr. Nelson could check Garrett's weight and make sure there was still enough amniotic fluid water in my uterus his pool.  I left Christie Clinic somewhat disappointed and drove a few blocks to where Nathan was working that day.  We went to Le Peep for lunch, Nathan went back to work, and I met my friend, Jen, for a pedicure at Regency Beauty Institute.  (The gal who transformed my toenails said something about pedicures stimulating the onset of labor.  She also guessed right the first time what name we had picked for our baby boy!  I told her it started with a G, but I was still impressed.)

I can't remember anything about the rest of that Tuesday except for the last hour.  Nathan had gone to bed before me.  (By then, he had started sleeping on the futon.  I had apparently become a loud and restless sleeper in my 39th week of pregnancy.)  I got in bed around 11:00 but had trouble getting to sleep.  At 11:30, I experienced my first contraction.  There was no mistaking what it was, but I wanted to make sure I was really in labor.  I got up, went downstairs, watched TV for a while, drank some water, walked around, went to the bathroom - all the things the experts recommend doing in an effort to determine whether or not you're experiencing true labor.  The contractions kept coming consistently, but I waited until nearly 3:00 to wake Nathan up.  We got in bed together, and he started timing my contractions.  After a few more, we decided to call the hospital.  The nurse, whose name I wish I could remember, said it sounded like this was probably the real thing and recommended that I take a shower to try and relax a little bit.  Nathan took a shower after I did, and then we called the hospital again to let the nurse know we were on our way.  After we loaded up the car and said our goodbyes to Solo, we laid some plastic and a towel on the passenger seat...just in case my...well, you know, and off we went.  "This is the best day of my life", I told Nathan.

We checked in at Provena Covenant Medical Center in Urbana around 5:00 a.m. on Wednesday, September 29th.  (I was so relieved when I learned we'd get to stay; I had heard too many stories about women in labor being sent home.  I couldn't imagine anything more disappointing at that point and didn't want that to happen to us.)  Mom and Mark, who live in Lima, OH, were prepared to get in the car and make the 5-hour journey to Urbana as soon as we let them know it was time for Garrett's arrival.  I had called them on our way, and Nathan called my dad and his own parents after we got settled into our room.  At some point, I texted my friend, Kara, to let her know I was in labor.  She Solo-sat while we were in the hospital.

Nathan and I had taken a childbirth preparation class in July.  I felt much more confident about my own labor and delivery afterwards.  I even thought I was capable of doin' it without drugs.  Well, I caved and got the epidural, and from about 9:00 a.m. on, I could hardly feel a thing!  I sometimes had to look at the monitor to determine when I was having a contraction!  Oh, the wonders of modern medicine.  And don't think for a minute that I feel bad about getting that epidural.  Our experience was no less miraculous.  But kudos to all the millions of women who've gone through labor and delivery without it!


By the time Mom and Mark arrived at the hospital, I believe the rest of our parents had already shown up.  I'll never forget the moment my mom walked into the room.  We both cried.  Tears of joy, tears of excitement, and perhaps tears of uncertainty, but oh, the comfort she brought.  Comfort only a mother can bestow.

I remember everyone encouraging me to try to get some sleep, but I was too excited.  Plus, "Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?" was on TV!  Nathan was by my side, the nurses were coming in periodically to check on me, and we would soon be holding Garrett in our arms.

Dr. Nelson came in shortly before 2:00 that afternoon, did her thing, and said it was about time to start pushing!  A couple of students from Lakeview College of Nursing had come in, along with I don't know how many other medical personnel, but I didn't care.  The students, who had never attended a delivery, held my legs while Nathan stayed right next to me and gently cheered me on.  "Come on, Erin!  Push, push, push, push, push!  You're doin' great.  Again.  1...2...3...4...5...6...7...8...9...10...breathe."  It didn't seem like I was pushing hard enough.  It seemed like all I was doing was making funny faces.  But a mere 20 minutes later, Garrett had arrived!

There are no words to describe what seeing Garrett for the first time was like.  I actually don't remember seeing him before Nathan cut his umbilical cord or immediately thereafter.  I vaguely remember when Garrett was placed in my arms.  All I could do was cry.  And cry.  And cry some more.  And some more.

"Hi, Son."

The only concrete element of our birth plan was to spend about an hour as a family of three before welcoming all 7 of Garrett's grandparents in to meet him.  In the mean time, Nathan ran out to the lobby with Garrett's image on our camera so they could see him right away.

Garrett Wesley Hanna
7 pounds, 2 ounces
20 3/4"

He was so alert from the very beginning.  I could tell right away that he looked like Nathan.  His ears were kind of pointy, and his 2nd toes on both feet curved toward the others...just like Nathan's.

The best day of my life!
A pleasant pregnancy, a safe delivery, a healthy baby.  A loving family, a warm home, a loyal dog.  How are we doing now?  Better than we deserve.  Garrett brings new joy to our lives every single day, and we look forward to the days, weeks, months, and years that I hope with all I have we get to spend being his parents.

Thanks for reading our story.

June 12, 2011

Things I'm Excited About

In no particular order...

1. Garrett is sleeping through the night!  (I'm whispering 'cause I don't want to jinx it.)  We're talkin' 7:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m., people!  I once thought this day would NEVER come.

2. I spent $23.76 yesterday at Goodwill and got 3 pairs of shorts, 2 shirts, and 2 items for Garrett.  I love that place!  It also felt good to donate what I cleaned out of my closet a few days before.

3. Our latest DIY goal is to have our sun room done by Garrett's 1st birthday, which, according to the caterpillar (Thanks, Jenn, for the idea!), is 3 months, 2 weeks, and 3 days away.  This goal was Nathan's idea, by the way.  Here's how the sun room looks now:

Stay tuned for the "after" picture!

4. I'm spending next Saturday in my home town, Bismarck, for its community-wide rummage sales.

5. Next Sunday will be Nathan's 1st Father's Day!  Can't wait to give him his gift.  (There'll be pictures of that, too.)  He's doin' a great job as Garrett's daddy.  When asked what fatherhood is like for him, he responds that it's better than he thought it would be.  :-)

6. LIFE!  That's right.  I'm excited about life.  I've been at the other end of that spectrum, and where I am now is a much better place to be.  My favorite response to the question, "How are you doing?" is "Better than I deserve."  There's humility in that.  I think I'll start using it.

7. Last, but certainly not least, Garrett can rock himself in his chair from Papa.  Check him out:

Thanks for stopping by!

June 8, 2011

Just In Case You're Wondering...

Yep.  I did it.  I said "Farewell!" to Facebook.

Why?  Well, a few reasons...

1. I was spending WAY too much time on Facebook when I could (and many times should) have been doing something else.  Something more productive.  Something more meaningful.
2. I was addicted, and addictions of any kind are unhealthy.  
3. I was ashamed of the amount of time I was spending on Facebook.
4. I often believed the lie that things posted on Facebook were accurate representations of others' lives.  I judged.  I assumed.  I jumped to conclusions.  Is that how I want to be treated?  No.
5. I often compared my life to the lives of some of my Facebook friends based solely on how those friends represented themselves, and that frequently left me feeling extremely insecure.  You might be thinking, "That's pathetic, Erin."  I don't disagree with you.

I had been thinking about leaving Facebook for a while, and it just became clear to me last weekend that it was something I had to do.  Oh, and there's a new filter in my life.  His name is Garrett.  What am I teaching him?

Facebook is an excellent way to get and stay in touch with old friends and family members that are scattered all over the world.  I won't deny that.  But for me, the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. 

The relationships I treasure will not suffer because I've decided to leave Facebook.  There was life before Facebook, and there is certainly life after it.

I hope you'll visit Happily Ever Hanna frequently!  My goal is to post at least once every week. 


June 7, 2011

Pirates & Pals

We Hannas spent our Sunday afternoon celebrating some great kids' birthdays with some wonderful friends at Pirates' Cove in Elk Grove Village, IL.  Caroline, affectionately referred to as "Little Person Girl" by her parents, is already 3 years old, and her brother, Sam, "Big Man", is 1!  (It had been entirely too long since we'd seen the Alips; we hadn't yet met Sam, and they hadn't yet met Garrett.)  It was a beautiful day, and I can't wait for us all to get together again.  Enjoy the pictures!

The Birthday Girl

The Birthday Boy (Oh, that face!)

"I'm pooped."
Claire, Caroline's & Sam's cousin, in an intense round
of Spot It
Claire's younger sister, Maggie, waiting to spot "It", a match

P.S. Spot It is a fun game that I intend to add to our collection in a few years.  It is recommended for kids who are at least 6 years old, but Claire and Maggie are 4 and 3, I believe, and they dominated!