Friday, August 14, 2009

Cats, in the trees and on the ground

We love our kitty red and he makes us laugh all the time. He is always shooting across the grass or the house.
Well one day we came outside and couldn't find Red but we could here him. Dane happened to look up and that's where we found Red.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lionel Kenneth Harris Jr. (My Dad)

We all say that time flies and I have a lot moments where that has happened in my life, but today one has stuck out in my mind. Today marks 18 years since my dad passed away from an inoperable brain tumor. I was 13 when he passed away and so I was very young but I have great memories to last a lifetime. A lot of the next part might be a random mesh of things thrown together but it's how it came out of my head today. I hope that you will take the time to read my thoughts.
Grandpa Lionel, Ken (my dad) and Lorna
My dad was born and raised in Sacramento, California and although he moved quite a bit he never went too far from where he was raised. I remember him teaching me how to play tennis, I still love to play just don't get out there as much as I should. We were always at the park, he would even go down the big twisty slide with me sometimes. He was definitely a people person, a salesman at heart and what he also did for a living. I remember fighting with my brother Robert who would get to ride on the armrest in the front seat on the way to dad's house, (it was easier then and legal) and a game of Herbie aka slug bug (although we didn't hit each other we just counted to see who get get the most) on the ride there as well.

My dad as a teenager. My bro. Ken totally looks like dad here.
My dad was great. He always made it a point to be at as many events that his kids participated in as possible. Soccer, baseball, football, basketball, award banquets, church functions, even coming to the hospital in the middle of the night to be with Robert, you name it he was there. You always knew when my dad was at a game cause he was usually yelling at a referee, taking pictures or video taping. Even when he was very sick he would have my brother John come to the house and get him in the car just so he could go the game. He wouldn't be able to even get out of the car, we got special permission to park on the side of the track by the ambulance just so he could be there. I think of special moments of sitting with my dad and cheering from the car even when John was only in for brief moments and even getting to drive on the track one time, that was fun.

Me and my dad 1977
Of course the memories that I remember the most are from when he was sick. They are the most recent and when I was older. I am so grateful that I never saw my parents fight. They were divorced when I was very young and I'm sure they had disagreements and arguments but how grateful I am for them keeping us out of them, especially since my dad was not with us for much of my life. I am so glad that my mom made it a priority for us to see my dad every chance we had when he got sick. If she was going to Sacramento she made sure we were going too. We would often spend Friday night come home on Saturday and head back down on Sunday after church. I really appreciate the extra time my mom gave to us to strength that bond. My dad had lots of friends and his family was close by in Sacramento so he had quite a few visitors that would come and go.
My dad so handsome even with wild hair.
I remember the times that we would have to visit him in the hospital and how hard that was for me. I was young and I didn't really understand a lot of what was going on around me. Sometimes I would take the chance to just lay down next to my dad and just be there, sometimes that is all I could do. For me the hardest part was seeing my dad go from strong to slowly getting weaker and weaker. He lived in a townhouse the last couple of years of his life and so it went from being able to go up and down the stairs easily to having a hospital room in the living room downstairs. I think now that was the hardest part was seeing someone I used to run and play with not being able to use the right side of his body. I remember Christmas of 1990 my dad gave me a dual cassette stereo that had plugs to hook up a cd player and a 35mm Vivitar camera, I thought I was so cool. I still have those things just as simply a reminder, but of course it is not the things that I cherish but moments, the time, the love that everyone felt from him.
My dad working at Value Giant.
Near the end of his life in January 1991 someone had come for a visit and the Christmas tree was still up and decorated they told my dad's girlfriend that she should take it down cause Christmas was over. She told them no that Ken's favorite holiday was Christmas and so she was leaving it up as long as she could. When the same person came for a visit on February 23rd they told her that the tree was now dying and it was time to take it down. My dad was in a coma by this time and they said, Ken won't notice if the tree is there or not. So she took down the tree on a Saturday and on Monday my dad passed away. We tease now that in his mind he said, "if the tree goes I go." I like that because that is exactly the way he would have said it too. I remember that Monday I stayed home from school cause I wasn't feeling good that morning, that afternoon Robert and I were playing the Nintendo secretly in the back bedroom. My mom came into talk to us and told us that dad had passed, I don't remember how I felt at the moment but I know I ran out of the house and went to my friend Ali's. Maybe I thought if I left then what she was saying wouldn't be true. We had been prepared for the moment for a long time we had more time than we had hoped for with my dad but nothing prepares you for death. Even with the anticipation there was still the stinging hurt that he was now gone. I remember that night getting a few moments in the living room by myself and just touching his head and how cold it was. I was grateful for it though it gave me the closure that I needed. It has definitely been the gospel that has strenghtned me when times have been tough. It's hard when a parent isn't there for key moments and life changing experiences.

December 1990 right before he died.
Life today. As so many years have passed I truly am grateful I was able to build a relationship with my dad in the short time that we were on earth together. I know that he is needed on the other side and that one day I will see him again. What peace that brings to my heart and soul. It amazes me the connection that my son Dane has with my dad. Almost 2 years ago my mom brought me a box of things when she had come for a visit and inside was a bear that somehow I had ended up with, it was given to my dad when he was sick. Dane loves this bear in fact as I write this the bear is in need of repair and Dane is very sad that he can't have the bear with him at night. On my fridge I have a picture of my dad and one day when I was moving things around on the front of the fridge I realized I had never really talked to Dane about my dad. So I brought Dane over and I showed him the picture and said Dane this is my dad Ken and that his nickname was Butch. He promptly told me that he knew that and that it was his grandpa. I was a little shocked but thought maybe someone else had pointed it out to him. Soon after that he couldn't stop talking about his grandpa Butch. He would talk about how he used to play with grandpa and how he taught him golf and that his favorite color was blue and just plain weird things that he would just share randomly, but all things my dad loved. I don't remember the pre-existance but maybe they do golf there. I just know that Dane feels this incredible connection to him, it amazes me and brings me comfort as well. He even told us for awhile that his middle name was Butch. We would remind him that it is Michael but he woul tell us it was not. He wasn't giving it up so he said his name was Dane Michael Butch Hansen. Sometimes now he will just walk up to me and say mom I miss grandpa Butch. So we sit down and talk about it, what he misses the most and then I remind him that he will see him again but that grandpa Butch had to go live with Heavenly Father.
Cranium Crusade 2008
In the last couple of years I have felt the need to do something for brain cancer research and last year my friend Heather, who had a sister who passed away from a brain tumor as well found out they have a a brain cancer walk here in Seattle. Last year we walked but did not get to raise any money this year we want to walk and have others walk with us and raise money. It is the 2nd annual walk and we just found out that it will be on May 30th at Mercer Island HS again, so mark your calenders. We didn't get to raise money last year cause we found out about it too late but this year we want it to be different. This is new for us and so if you have any ideas on raising money or if you want to walk with us we would love it and could use the help, like I said we are new to this.

I am so glad that we have blogs now where we can just ramble on however we want cause it is our own little place in the world to do so. Thank you for all the family and friends who have been there for me now and through the last 18 years and have lended support in my time of need I truly know that you are angels sent my way.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Oh those crazy 5 year olds

It's interesting the things kids think of. So Dane likes to go in and weigh himself every now and then. He knows it doesn't get very high and tries to think of things that could weigh large amounts to make the bigger numbers show in the window. He collects things from around the house in an attempt to make it go all the way around. So tonight after I had put Dane to bed I went into my bathroom and this is what I found (sorry for the tampons but hey we all have them). Little did he know that he had grabbed probably the lightest things we have in the house, but hey at least he reached 7lbs. Good job Dane. He makes me laugh.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Dane turns 5

Dane turned 5 on Tuesday the 13th. I can't believe I have a 5 year old. Time goes so fast. It was like Christmas all over again. It took him forever to go to sleep the night before and he woke up early the next morning. He was so excited to turn 5 because now he is "a big boy" and can do so much more (so he thinks). So we had fun opening some of his presents in the morning and then when Michael came home for dinner in the evening we opened the rest of his presents and had cake.
Camille came over to join in the party and Dane got to invite one friend over so he invited Maggie Noble over. He loves her so much (even if he tries to beat her up too often). After he opened his presents Morgan took a picture of them and Dane put his arm around Maggie and said, "oh Maggie my own little present."
Maggie also decorated her present all by herself (ok well mostly).
I also made a Lego cake as well for the occasion. It was a lot of fun. We even made one (the yellow brick) to take to preschool. All in all it was a great birthday and Dane really enjoyed his day.

January Flooding

So after all of the snow that we got in December we got a bunch of rain in January. We had a lot of flooding in the area roads were closed and parking lots were flooded even here in Issaquah. We are lucky to live so close to Snoqualmie Falls so it was fun to be able to go out the week after the flooding to see all the water coming over the falls. Whenever I would get close to the edge to take a picture the spray from the falls would blind you. It was crazy I've never seen it that full before.

Dane found a stick on our way up to the falls and he said mom look at my umbrella. So funny!

Ford Explorer owners

So this December we finally did it we paid off the Explorer. Yeah!

Monday, December 29, 2008

2008 Post Christmas Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Vacation. Maybe just complicated.

So by the title I think you can guess the direction this is going. Don't get me wrong it was great to get away for a couple of days but I was glad to be home today. So we had plans long before the huge snow storm came through. We had decided that we were going to drive to Forks, Washington and stay there for one night. We were going to check out Twilight stuff of course. So fun and Michael wanted to go to go see some trees as well. We had gone to the southern end of the Olympic National Forest earlier this year and so we wanted to go see the Hall of Moss this time at the north end of the Olympic National Park. So the plans were made and we were ready for a good time.

We were waiting for a part of the morning to see if the toner I had been waiting for would arrive since it hadn't made it overnight like it was supposed to. It didn't make it and we didn't end up leaving until 1pm. We already new that it would be dark by the time we got to the hotel. We had to stop in Everett and so we went to see my friend Shelly for a little bit since we were taking the ferry anyway. It was still snowing on Friday so things were moving slowly but the snow and shoppers were worse in Everett so it was a slow drive. It was snowing so hard in Everett that we finally literally slid into Shelly's all the way from the road to her house there was no control. We had fun seeing her and we always love visiting with her and her family. We didn't leave there until 3pm and we still had over 3hrs to drive. So we headed out and Michael needed some Advil so we stopped at the drugstore and picked up more things things than we needed. Then we thought what if the gas trucks have not been able to get out to the coast and the gas stations are few and somewhat far between. So we picked up a gas can and some gas. Let me tell you not our brightest idea. So we started off towards the ferry, still a little hard to see and I didn't turn in place for the ferry line so I turned around and we pulled up to buy our ticket. I thought wow we made it just in time for the 4:30 ferry. Then the guy informed us that we were too late and that we would have to wait for the 5:15 ferry. Yes you guessed it now even further behind. But we were the first car on the ferry. As we sat there with windows down and wrapped in blankets, gas fumes not so good I'm sure the car next to us thought we were crazzzzyyy. So time seemed to go quickly when we got off the boat and we were on the road again. We had to make a couple of bathroom stops and there were lots of black ice warnings so of course we took it slow. Luckily the roads were mostly clear just some wet spots along the way. The worst part was the drive between Port Angeles and Forks. The road is more narrow and lots of curves along the way, this is why Bella would be so scared of Edward's driving so fast on that road. LOL. We had gotten Becky a navigation for Christmas the day before and then Michael asked if we could borrow the new toy of course. So we typed in the address and it guided us the entire way and led us right into Forks to what looked like a warehouse. Not quite what we were expecting. So we got back on Hwy 101 and it was just down the road. The lady at the hotel said that most of the GPS systems take people to the Police station so we got lucky that we had landed a little closer. So we got in about 9pm. We stayed up watched a little TV and Dane had to jump on the beds. It's a tradition. That one is for you Shelly, we were on the bottom floor this time so no complaints.

Cute picture of Michael and Dane.
We got to sleep in a little thanks to the dark curtain in the hotel room. We got up around 9am and were out around 10pm. We went to a local place for breakfast it was super good food cause it wasn't out of a box. So then we had to go to the Twilight store(Dazzled by Twilight). Wow now there was someone obsessed. She had way too much and new way too much about the books and movie. We got to talking to her and she told us that she was from Vancouver Washington and that she had 6 kids. She opened her store at the beginning of November and brought up 2 of her kids with her and left the rest of her kids there cause she didn't want to pull them out of school and her husband back in Vancouver and that they meet in the middle when they can. Wow now there was someone obsessed. Not sure if she is just dazzled or dazed and confused.

She gave us a map where other Twilight places were located but we hadn't planned on going to those places. Not this time. We did go to the visitors center though because we had to find out about the Ho Rainforest and there at the visitors center was a Bella looking truck so we had to take a picture with the truck.
When we went to the visitor center they told us that the rainforest was closed. Not good so Michael had thought ok we will see if there is less snow where we were earlier this year to see some trees. So before we left town we went to La Push to the beach. It was cold windy and wet. Blahh not so fun.

It was just us for awhile then we decided at that point we should put the gas in the gas tank and put it inside two plastic bags to get rid of some of the fumes. It worked for the most part. Then as we were doing that 3 cars pulled up and I'm sure were wondering what the heck we were doing. So we finally got back on the road. On the way there was a place to stop and look at a "Big Cedar" that is what they called it. So we U-turned and let Michael get out to check it out.
These are just the roots the tree was massive.
We continued on until we got to the Lake Quinalt are of the forest and Michael wanted to go to one particular area that wasn't too far in that we hadn't gotten to see much of last time. Once again as I pulled in the car started to slip and slide and I thought oh no watch were going to get stuck where no one else is and it's limited phone service. Luckily my driving days from driving the 70's van(thank you John) in Iceberg I mean Rexburg paid off and we got situated in a position where we could escape when Michael was done admiring. Once again Dane and I stayed in the car just not as adventurous this time and I like to be warm and be able to feel my toes. I had already slipped and had fallen once in the snow that day. Hello. So once again back on the road this time the destination was Onalaska. We were looking forward to a visit with Ron and Jill Lambert. As we were driving down the two lane highway Michael pointed out that he thought that one of the headlights was out. I said no way, I had taken the car in for an oil change the day before and they even checked the lights. So we had to stop in Chehalis which is close to Onalaska and Lambert's were in town so as we were pulling up to their car I said hey is that you in the Jeep and she said yeah is that you with one headlight? BLAST! I couldn't believe it. So of course the small town that it is Napa was already closed and so we couldn't fix it. As we drove to the Lambert's I couldn't believe how much snow they had gotten almost 2 feet. There were a lot of people that we talked to the next day at church that said they had been snowed in cause they just don't have the plows to get to people. Anyway, we made it finally and had a good evening and a surprise cause Veronica had come home. Dane was excited a little timid at first but then warmed up to her again and they had a good time playing. She is so good with kids. So once again we stayed up late I helped Jill shop online it was fun to see how excited she would get. Finally we called it a night and got a good nights sleep. At least I did cause I had my own bed.

We woke up ready and got ready to go to church. 9am you got to love it. So my stomach was not feeling so great and so I thought that I would eat something that would help. When we got to church I was still a little blah but thought I could make it. Well I made it almost to the end of Sunday school then ran to the bathroom and luckily I was by myself and you guessed it threw up. So then I went to get Michael and we headed home and Veronica brought Dane home. I got back to the house and took some Advil for my stomach cramps and then fell asleep for a few hours. When I woke up everyone was home and eating yummy bean dip (thanks Veronica). I also noticed when I had downloaded the pictures they Dane and Veronica were having a little too much fun. Lot's of fun Dane perspecitve pictures but these two were my favorite.

Veronica and Dane

Dane loves the camera. Till Dad takes it away.
So I had Michael and Ron give me a blessing. I didn't throw up any more and we decided to come home early and end the madness. So we took off around 4pm. We had made it almost to Olympia about 30 miles away Michael and I were talking and Dane was watching a movie then he said Mom when are you going to buckle me in? I looked back and oh my we hadn't buckled him in. Every mothers nightmare. So we pulled off at the next exit and buckled him in and off again. We hit traffic in Tacoma as usual but it wasn't too bad. It was raining pretty hard when we got back to Issaquah but were excited to see the snow had melted. It was ok for a couple of days but then it just got annoying. I'm just glad that we didn't loose power. I would would take more snow if I can just keep power. So we made it home and we had a good time we can look back already and laugh but at the time it was just one thing after another. I am glad to be home and back in my own bed though.