Monday, June 30, 2008

Uh....?? Yeah.

There will be awards for the best guess about the backstory to this wonderful picture.
Go ahead, fill the comment box up.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Father's Day 2008

By happenstance, Father's Day ended with the most cliche of all father son events, fishing.
Judah caught his first fish in Grandpa's pond Sunday night.
He reeked of stink bait and loved every minute of it.

He was slightly apprehensive to touch the fish and his nervousness got the best of him as he released the fish.

Happy Dad's Day to all the wonderful fathers in our lives!

"It is a wise father who knows his child."
William Shakepeare

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Run for your Life...or Pancakes

As my ramas and I are trying to live peacefully with one another, I've been doing my best to be a sidelined runner. (Can you still be a runner, if you can't run?...Please say yes, so I can put my identity crisis to rest.)
A couple weekends ago, we endured an early morning hail storm to support my family as they all participated in the East Meets West Runs and Walks.

The whole event was postponed as a thunderstorm passed over the city. Once the all clear was given, the 5K runners lined up and awaited the gun. As Kenton, Judah, and I walked over to watch my Dad race, small chunks of ice started plunking the river. We headed for the trees as all the runners ducked under the bridge. Judah found the whole storm exciting and was rushing to pick up all the hail stones he could, despite his parent's warnings.

By and by the storm passed, officially, and the days events were off and running.

My Dad was nursing a soreness and only managed a third place finish.

My Mom walked with her friends as we shouted and assured them that, "You're ALL winners!"

Finally it was time for the big show. My Judah has a strange relationship with running. He loves the idea of being entered into races. However, once the gun fires his attitude is unpredictable. After Kenton escorted a screaming 4 year old through the one mile race course in March, (under the principle that, "you finish what you start") he politely let me know that I would be taking over Judah's running expeditions from now on. I understood his position and gladly accepted the challenge.

After a successful race at the River Run, I felt we had a good chance of Judah performing well for the East Meets West Kids 1K.

His previous performance was one indicator, but the fact that pancakes were to be served to all runners was a deal sealer in my mind. The days leading up to the race Judah referred to the "pancake run" fondly. I think I know what motivates a Hansen man. Pride? Accomplishment? Victory? Nah!!!! PANCAKES!!!!!

Judah peeled off his "warm-ups" and revealed his beloved sponsor on his shirt. Mr. Randy had a lot riding on this race!

The time had arrived and the lead bike was in position. Judah was in a really good mood and I was glad to see him excited. With the sound of the air-horn he was off. I was surprised that he had such speed and I started to worry that I might get hurt trying to keep up with him. He asked me to hold his hand, because he thinks that helps him. He rounded the first corner and saw my Mom. He thought he was done and ran into her arms. Once he realized he had more to go he smooched her and kept going. We passed the brigade of kids who ran out of breath, ones who were crying because it was too hard, and others exclaiming "I've gotta walk." Judah just looked at them and kept going. At one point he huffed, "Mom-mee, I want to walk." I said, "Okay, but we're almost there." He looked over and saw a kid probably three years older than him stopping to walk and Judah produced a look that made me know he was my son. He bared down on his little lips and pulled his bony elbows back up and picked it up. He rounded his last corner to the voice of another parent saying, "Look at that little guy, he's much younger than you."

Once he saw the finish line he was ready to bring it in. A few duckies in the river distracted him for a second, but when he heard the cheers of his Daddy, Mr. Randy, and Nee Nee, he headed for home.

While the satisfaction of a hard job well done would be enough for me, my son is part his Daddy too. He slapped hands and smiled, but the first comment out of his mouth was, "Where are my pancakes?" Hey, I can't protest. We said if you run, you get pancakes. He kept up his end of the deal.

So We all enjoyed a nice morning over pancakes and "cereal-up."

Knowing that finishing was all we could want from Judah we weren't too surprised when his name wasn't called during the awards ceremony. We all were just so proud that he did his very best and gave his all.

About a week later the results were posted online and I noticed Judah's entry was labeled "F" for female. I thought that was weird, but realized it didn't matter. I looked to see how he fared with the other boys his age and noticed his time of 6:28 was 20 seconds faster than the 5 year old who received third place. Judah had finished third and the registration screwed up by marking him female. After a quick email, the organizers we very eager to correct their mistake.

So, yesterday afternoon Judah was presented with his very first medal. Not a participation medal but a bonafide, "you earned it," medal.

I was so proud of him. I even get teary eyed just knowing how hard his little feet worked. Knowing that he wanted to quit but he didn't. Knowing that he was a little scared to even start. Or knowing that his little body was done but he reached down inside himself and found a little more to give.

I couldn't have ever asked for anything more from him. I imagined into the future what this victory could unleash. What a gift a shared passion with my son could be.

But most of all what a blessing to be his support to pull him through when he thought he was unable to keep going. As he asked to hold my hand to help him, I realized how I hope he knows I'll be there to grab his hand as long as he'll let me.

When I told him he had placed I said, "Did you know this means you have something special that makes you run fast."
He replied, "Yeah, I know...pancakes."

Saturday, June 07, 2008

It's Not Easy Being Green

The challenge put forth was to go all weekend with out using gas. The key was last pulled from the Mazda around 11 Am on Thursday morning.

So the back story goes, I broke my pelvis and have more athletic gear and motivation than my body can use. Kenton has more gear than motivation. We both can afford to burn calories much easier than we can afford the gas, happy medium equals: "Let's ride our bikes everywhere and we're all happy."

After riding Judah to playgroup on Friday morning and hookin' up with our gang member, Duane, for a ride to church Friday night, this challenge seemed doable.

As the newly formed (impromptu) biker gang, I like to call "the wolverines" saddled up for their ride home, Kenton through one minor hiccup in the excursion. His riding shoes clipped in at the wrong moment and he plowed tiny little miss Norah to the ground...score one for carbon footprints.
After the dust had cleared and I stopped laughing at poor Kenton's triumph we rode on.
One day down and a few less co2 tracks made by the Hansen's.
Day two was screaming green.
It was our day to head to the recycling center and we did just that...on our bikes.
Kenton towed our recyclables and I towed Judah. Our convictions ran deep as we passed enough litter to fill another trailer for the recycling center. We had Judah hop off and collect what we could. After a miscalculation of the exact whereabouts of the center via the bike route, we pulled in with all the stares we deserved.

"Yes, we're bringing our recycling on our bikes." (A few years ago a certain member of this house was still littering....can you believe it?)
If you've never been to ProKansas Recycling, you should. They love to show the kids how they compact all the goods. Judah loved seeing all the stuff squished into big blocks. They take everything at ProKansas, it's really the only place in town that is a "one-stop" center. Look, according that box, you can recycle your kids now...who knew?
As we headed home we stopped at church to scoop up the left over recycled Christmas Tree mulch. The students cleaned up the church yard and as you can see there was plenty to spare. Kenton towed several pounds home, he was really loving the environment that day. (hee-ho, hee-ho)
While we try to be green in many things, our thumbs are the exception. Never the less we laid the mulch down over the freshly weeded garden and as you can see the before and after, I think it made a great improvement.

Our last trip of the day was to grab a few items from the store. We left the bikes parked and tugged the Radio Flyer. We bagged the items in our canvas "One Bag at a Time" sacks and rolled home.

Sunday didn't prove to be as emission free as we hoped. The car was used for the first time in over 60 hours. We weren't beating ourselves up though, we started a conscious habit to examine our trips and our mode of transportation.
I can honestly say, I've felt the conviction long before Al Gore presented all the inconvenient truths we're facing. Recently we've discussed how, strangely, Christians, of all people, should be the ones stepping up to protect the Earth, but they're not.
We as believers can stare upon God's glorious creations and give him all the credit, then walk away and toss our plastic, or run our cars all day long.
Don't get me wrong, I'm no better, I like my convenience and comfort probably more so than others, but how comfortable will my grand kids get the chance to be if I don't take two seconds and think of what kind of mark I'm leaving behind.
I climbed to the top of Pikes Peak with my Dad last year. It was an amazing (say it again) Amazing experience. To see such majesty first hand was breathtaking. I was shriveled in God's vastness. But as I stood at 14,115 feet above sea level I realized I didn't need the jacket I packed. I wasn't wearing the gloves I was expecting to pull on. I didn't need to put on the sweats I'd thrown in a pile and had someone truck up for me. I was wearing a tank and shorts at a level that is notorious for it's brisk cold, even in August.
"Don't tell me something isn't changing, this just wasn't right."

Isaiah 40
28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.