Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving fun

Kyle's parents, two brothers, sister, my sister with her husband and four kids, Grandpa and his wife Ann came over for Thanksgiving. We spent the morning finishing up preparation and cooking and ate around 4 pm. It was fun to have everyone here. Brenda, my sister, and family came in from St George, where they had been visiting her in-laws for a week. Kyle's family drove in from San Jose CA that morning and stayed till Sunday morning. I love having people here!!! Why I love the chaos for a period of time, I'm not sure, but I enjoy it.
The day after Thanksgiving we headed out to do some exploring and shopping mid morning (I don't like the chaos of the shopping rush). The girls headed one way and the boys another. We met up later and ended up finding light fixtures for the house (the ones that were here were UGLY!!!) In the process we also found two chairs for the living room. We ended up spending more money than we planned, because we had just planned on buying light fixtures, but it was all things we needed.
I worked Saturday at the hospital 7am to 7pm, so Kyle took the family and showed them sights around town. They aren't gamblers, so they explored some of the shows in the Casinos and explored the cactus garden decorated for Christmas. They also helped start decorating our house for Christmas and did a great job!!
All in all it was a great Holiday. I'm just kicking myself for not breaking out the camera.

Monday, November 17, 2008

It's been too long!!!

So I posted last almost a month and a half ago. . . we had just found out we got the house that we fell in love with and had put an offer on. So every spare moment from then till now has been spent packing, moving, unpacking, shopping for furniture, getting settled, working and sleeping. Grandpa Hansen has been a tremendous help in doing little this and thats to help us get to where we are. We moved in October 18th, and I can't believe it's been a month!!!
People have been asking what the house looks like. . .well here are some pictures. . .but please remember we are still unpacking and finding places for everything. We still have a few more pieces of furniture to buy, and pictures that we haven't put up on the walls yet. Our house has lots of funky angles that make it hard to get good pictures of the rooms, so I did the best I could!!

Our house from the street.
The back yard.
(This photo was taken when the previous owners were still here.)

Another view of the back yard.

This is the stairway leading upstairs,
just after you enter the front door.

The living room, across from the stairs shown above.

The kitchen

The Family room, just off the kitchen.

The dining room as seen from a glimpse
from the kitchen photo and across from the Living room.


The office at the end of the hall (still in progress)

The other end of the office/library
(was two bedrooms that the previous tenants had
knocked down the wall between. Thank you
for saving us some work!)

The hall bathroom. . . yes the outhouse theme survives :)

The other bedroom/guest room/someday to be a nursery/
put stuff in it for now/next to the master bedroom room.
The master bed room
(it is bigger than this picture makes it look.)
The master bath with a walk in closet, a wall closet
and separate "toilet room" that you can't seen.
Koko and Casey patiently waiting in the hall
for me to finish this post :)
They are not allowed in any of the rooms upstairs except
our bedroom at night, so they have adopted
the blanket in preference to the hard wood floor.

It has been a grand adventure that we hope not to repeat in the next couple of years. I'm glad it's done. I'm glad we are getting settled.
Kyle is LOVING!!!! his job.
I love what I do for my job, but I'm not sure I see a long future in the hospital I am at. They are letting the economy influence how they take care of their employees, so we are being very understaffed even thought there are people wanting to work. I am a nurse to take care of patients and keep them safe while they get better, so I have put some feelers out to see if the staffing ratios are Las Vegas wide, or just something this hospital is doing to save a penny.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A bath. . .no . . . a pool party in the tub!!!!

So, I just had an amusing adventure that I thought I should share :)
Casey and Koko are doing well together. It's been a lot of work training Casey, but Koko is a great help!!
Today is my day off from the hospital, filled with the typical laundry, cleaning, errands, and today's adventure. . . washing the dogs.
I started out with Koko, outside with the hose. I have been bathing her once a week since we came to Las Vegas this way, and she has handled it pretty well (she doesn't like to be wet, especially doesn't like to have her feet wet!!) So Koko, the hose, the soap, and Casey watching was the plan. The second Koko started getting wet, Casey thought he needed to be wet also, so he started jumping over Koko through the water from the hose. Well with a little tactic and body blocking (I knew my big butt would come in handy for somthing!!), Koko was bathed and clean. I thought Casey would be a "cake walk" since he loves water so much. HA! He likes water, but he doesn't like to be clean!!! I got him wet and he was fine, but the second the soap touched him he headed for the mud we had made in the grass with the hose water. So instead of being yellow he was quite brown and yellow streaked. After a couple more attempts, without much luck (Casey is as strong as I am and a spazz which adds to the challenge!), I decided to put his leash on and try the bath tub technique. Well Casey LOVES!!!! the bath tub!!! I was standing outside the tub trying to calm him down so I could get him clean. He wiggles way tooooooo much, so I stepped into the tub to try to hold him still between my knees. All I did was step in the tub and he calmed down. With both of us sopping wet and soapy, Koko (remember she doesn't like to be wet), became jealous and decided to come join us in the tub. A POOL PARTY IN THE BATH TUB!!!! I wish someone was here to have taken pictures!! At first I was getting frustrated with the whole situatioin, but then I just started playing with them. Yes I had a huge mess to clean up when we were done, but it was well worth it!! Maybe next time we just need to get a kiddie pool out in the back yard for the three of us. Then I won't have to mop up all the water and wash twice as many towels!!
Here's the clean product:

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A lot going on. . . ALL GOOD!!!!

The house that I posted about last week. . . WE GOT IT!!!! We will close October 10, 2008. Can I tell you how excited I am to have free time to do something other than look for houses??!!

Yesterday we adopted a dog, Casey. He is a two year old Yellow Labrador Retriever. Lots of energy. He and Koko get along GREAT!!! He learns quickly but has no discipline. Koko is doing a great job of sharing the rules of the house and teaching him some of the ropes. She is being VERY patient. We make her sit and wait before she comes into or go out of the house. She has been waiting 3-5 minutes at times for Casey to get it right. As far as the rest of the training, it will take much patience from Kyle and I.

Check out his blog. (His name before adoption was Richie.)

Isn't he handsome??

ASL Chef

I'm out wandering the internet looking for a recipe for sour dough bread and I came across this website. Amateur chefs demonstrating how to make a variety of tasty things using ASL (American Sign Language) as a means of explaining. Most of them do a pretty good job. Check it out for yourself here.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Another house. . . another offer. . .

So yesterday we spent about 4 hours looking at houses. I think we've seen every house in the area we want to live in, that is for sale!! A week and a half ago we put an offer on a house and were out bid. Yesterday we found another house that we feel we could make our home!! We put an offer on it and should know back by tomorrow (Monday) at 5 pm. It is on a circle so it is a "corner lot" but a reverse corner. . .tiny front yard HUGE back!!! Check out the pictures below (yes there is still someone living in it! The only house we have looked at that still has someone living in it. ALL the rest were bank owned!!) We are really excited and yet at the same time dread that we will be out bid again. Kyle and I are ready to be in our own place and unpack. We really don't want to look at any more houses!! Many of the bank owned have been empty for anywhere from 2 months to 3 years and need anywhere from carpet and paint to major repairs, which the banks sell them "as is". Repairs, painting, and carpet could be fun, but we are not sure we have the time, energy and finances to put into a major job. Many homes we have liked the floor plan, but they need more work than we are willing to do. This one is ready to move in, and in our price range!!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Work and other ramblings. . .

I've been back in patient care for three weeks. Can I tell you how much I LOVE twelve hour shifts in comparison to eight?? Three days a week and I'm done!!
Las Vegas is about 5 years behind what we were doing in hospitals in California, so I feel like I've gone through a time warp!!

Last week we put an offer on a house and were out bid. We've looked at a lot of houses, it's hard to find something that gets both Kyle and I excited. I'll really like one and he says, "it's okay". He likes one and I imagine trying to clean it or take care of household chores and keep up with kids in it and say, "I could make it work". So all the time I am not at work is spent house hunting and trying to find something that we both will love. After getting so excited about the last one, it's hard to find anything that compares. Most of the houses are bank owned, so we are also weighing the pros and cons of fixing and replacing vs cost of house.

On Thursday nights we have a group of people come over from the ward for a one hour sign language class. It's really fun to have people sooooo excited!! This week I worked a 12 hour day and then came home and taught the class. I'm glad the students excitement rubbed off on me, because I was exhausted!!

Well my ramblings for now are done. . . until next time :)

Friday, August 29, 2008

A CROOK?!?! A middle name???

So I had another interesting episode in life today!!

Did you know in the state of Nevada you can't use your maiden name as your middle name. . . even if you didn't have a middle name EVER??? Or if the name change happened in another state??
And by the way, why would you ever want the middle name Crook!?!?!

Today Kyle and I went to get our Nevada drivers licenses and cars registered and license plates. Kyle went in and there was quite a few people who arrived between the two of us, so Kyle was done before I even got called up. Kyle left to run errands, and I waited what seemed like forever. Luckily the woman in front of me had two boys 7 & 10 years old that I harassed to pass the time. Finally about 30 minutes later I was called up. I handed the woman my papers, and she started doing her thing with the computer, then suddenly she stood up, took my papers (California drivers license, social security card, marriage license, and birth certificate) and disappeared down a hallway, without even saying a word to me. About a minute later she came back having a discussion with another woman, and they came up and told me that I can't use my maiden name as my middle name.
I asked, "Even if I didn't have a middle name before I was married, and that is now my middle name legally. Look at my social security card."
"Mam, we don't take names from social security cards here."
"What about my California drivers license, my bank statement (which I brought in case they needed proof of address), and my marriage license?"
"MAM!! You can't use your maiden name as your middle name in Nevada!!!"
After more discussion and confusion, along with them trying to convince me to hyphenate my name to Crook-Hansen on my drivers license (which I was told was illegal to do with out a name change with a hyphen with the government when I got my social security card) I said, "Ok so put my name as Suzanne Hansen on my drivers license."
So they started filling out more information in the computer. A couple of minutes later the woman said, "Ms. Hansen, I can't register your car. Your California registration lists you as Suzanne Crook. You have no proof that you are Suzanne Crook." (California had my name changed in the system, but had never issued a new registration after my name change.)
My jaw dropped!!! What more did she want?? She had my birth certificate, my social security card, my marriage license, and picture ID (I had given her my ID from when I was teaching at the deaf school as a second form of picture ID during the previous discussion which had my name listed as Suzanne Crook).
The discussion ensued for about another 15-20 minutes. I was taken back to the supervisors office, a police officer and immigration officer were brought back, and I heard a very interesting discussion going on with the staff about why in the world anyone would want to have Crook as a middle name. Very irritated at this point, I stood up, walked to the doorway, interrupted their conversation and said, something to the effect of I can't see why anyone would want a name like Smith, Gomez, or Fox (Looking at their last names on the badges). It's what was given to me, and I've made something of it!! I like having a middle name for the first time in my life. I was then eyed by the police officer and sat back down. (We had already had a discussion with the police officer, because he thought it was some kind of a joke that they were having a problem with someone's name being Crook. I quickly clarified that it wasn't a joke.)
After a period of time and A LOT more detail to the story, along with phone calls from the supervisor of the supervisor to me after I had left the DMV . . . I now have a Nevada drivers license that states I am Suzanne Hansen, a Social Security Card and marriage license that say I am Suzanne Crook Hansen, and my car is still registered in California not Nevada. I have to contact California, pay to have my registration changed in California, and bring the paperwork back within the next 30 days or go to Reno and see a specific judge and get a letter stating that my name change is an exception in the state of Nevada and all my records can be listed as Suzanne Crook Hansen. If my plates on my car are not Nevada plates within 30 days of change of residence to Nevada, I can be fined $500. I've already been here 22 days!!
I DON'T GET IT!!! but no matter what Nevada says. . . I'll always be a Crook!!! (and as of March 30, 2007 a Hansen!!)
Why can you get married so easily in Nevada, but you can't have your maiden name as your middle name?? Am I the first person to have this problem??
And to think. . . the Journalist I am married to left right before all the action started!!! Once again action happening when I'm around and he misses it!! :)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Exciting News!! A new teacher!!

So I just got a "News Flash" from several of my former students at California School for the Deaf Fremont, that there has been a new teacher hired to continue the Health Careers program!! I am excited for the students and yet at the same time wish it were me there teaching the program. I loved teaching. I didn't like the politics. I miss teaching. I miss the inquisitive minds. But I know where I am right now is best for my family and the future I have always dreamed of having!
When I left the school to go to Washington DC with Kyle for his job, I felt really bad that I had spent so much money for supplies that would just get put in a storage shed. I felt bad that I had built these kids up with hopes that I was now dashing because I was leaving. Setting up the program had been a lot of hard work, but the "ah ha" looks on the students faces when they learned something new was well worth it!! Students, after I left, had sent me emails telling me that they had covered the manikins in the beds with sheets, but they knew what was there and they knew what to do with it. I'm glad that the sheets can now come off, to teach these kids a better way of life, and even if they don't become health care professionals, at least they will be able to apply the information in becoming more educated and self sufficient people!! I hope my time there made an impact, and has made starting off easier for the new teacher to keep things rolling!!

Pictures of my time @ CSDF

Sunday, August 24, 2008

New Ward

Today was our first Sunday in our new ward.
Last week we went to church and arrived an hour early for Stake Conference, which we didn't know was happening, because we are new to the area. There was a family sitting behind us at Stake Conference with four or five children under the age of ten. I was sitting on the end of the row, so their kids kept coming around the end of the row and looking at me. Of coarse I started playing back with the kids and folding origami animals out of paper to give to them. As we were leaving the building after conference, I made a comment to Kyle that I hoped that family was in our new ward.
Sure enough when we went to church today, there they were!! The wife is an awesome woman that I chatted with for a few minutes, and hope to get to know better.
During Sunday school today, I made a comment about a translation of a phrase from Sign Language to English. As Relief Society started, I have several women all excited to meet me. As a few minutes went by, I realized the reason they were so excited to meet me or talk to me, is because there is a ten year old boy in primary who is deaf. His parents don't sign very well, so he doesn't really know what is going on. There has not been anyone to sign or interpret for him. There are a couple of people in the ward who have taken a class or two of sign language, but not enough to explain what the gospel subjects mean.
Kyle and I had/have been praying that Kyle would get a job and that we will find a home that would put us where the Lord needs us to build His kingdom. Is this an answer to part of that prayer? Where we are looking at houses wouldn't keep us in this ward very long. Something to ponder. . . .

I'm spending the rest of a beautiful Sunday afternoon harassing Kyle, writing letters, catching up in my journal, and very possibly taking a Sunday afternoon nap. Maybe I'll convince Kyle to go with me down the street to say hello to his Grandfather. Happy Sunday.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Orientation FINISHED!!!

It's been a long but good week. Four eight hour days sitting in a chair for orientation and tests. . . not my cup of tea. I'm glad that part is done!! I start back into patient care on Monday!!!

So today during lunch I went to a local Cafe' to eat with some of the other new nurses and noticed a friend of mine from Utah who is Deaf. I ended up having lunch with him instead of the nurses. It was great to catch up! He told me about some new technology that is hopefully going to be available ASAP. . . I'm excited for it!!! Check out the website I found about it. . .

Monday, August 18, 2008

Opportunities to share my beliefs. . .

Today during orientation at work I was chatting with another nurse who just moved here from New York. We were talking about where we were born and where we have traveled. . . I ran into the typical conversation of. . .
"So where were you born?"
"Salt Lake City"
"Really?!? So are you one of them?"
"One of what?"
"You know, one of them. . . one of the Mormons?"
"Yes I am!! Why do you ask?? Do you know other Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints??"
The conversation ensued with lots of questions. . . .
Through the course of the conversation I shared quite a few of the basics of our beliefs. During our lunch break I took her to the computer lab and showed her the website. As she was looking through it and asking questions, I ran into another awesome website about Jesus Christ ( not necessarily sanctioned by the church, but has some really amazing videos and photography! Go check it out!!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Our Latest Adventures!!!

So a little update on our lives. . .
We arrived in Las Vegas with all of our stuff late Thursday August 7th. We unloaded the truck, and packed ourselves back in the car and headed to a Tilton (Kyle's mom's family) get together in St David AZ. As we entered AZ it started pouring rain, but we decided to stop by the south rim of the Grand Canyon anyway. As we arrived it stopped raining long enough for us to do some walking (on what they call "hiking trails" that are graded and paved) get some of the attached pictures and be on our way.
As we were leaving it started pouring again. We arrived around 1 am in St David, slept for a couple of hours and then headed off to the family festivities. We played with family for 2 days and headed back to Vegas early Monday morning.
We made it back to Las Vegas in one piece. Tired but ready for our new adventure!!!
I finally have enough of the essentials unpacked from the kitchen to be able to cook a meal. I have enough clothes unpacked that I can go to work or go out in the town wearing more than what everyone thinks people in Las Vegas wear all the time.
Kyle started work last Wednesday, at the and is loving it!!!! He comes home with exciting things to tell me every day!!
I start orientation tomorrow and will been doing the typical 2 days of hospital orientation and 2 days of tests and paperwork prior to getting back into patient care. My job is basically the same thing I was doing before. I am a float nurse. I tell them when I am available and they tell me which of three hospitals they need me at and which floor. I will be staffed in the ER and ICUs first and then wherever they need me after that. They said I might even get the opportunity to get some time in the Life Flight choppers because they just had one person quit and one out on maternity. My job gave me a sign on bonus (A little more towards a down payment on a house!!!!) and is reimbursing us for our relocation fees!!!
Koko (our dog) is not sure what to think. It takes her 5-10 minutes in the evening to go out and do her business because she is so busy chasing cockroaches through the grass. (Las Vegas has HUGE cockroaches that come out of the ground and the cinder block walls at dusk. Everyone sprays the perimeter of the houses to keep the roaches outside.) The nice thing about the roaches is that Koko tends to poop in the evenings. By the time I get out to clean it up in the morning the roaches have already taken care of it for me!! Koko knows we have moved, but she is not sure what to think of everything. When she goes out in the back yard she keeps looking up in the tree for squirrels (I assume) She won't find any of those here it's too hot!!! When we get up it's around 80 degrees and gets hotter from there through the day. It usually is back down to about 80 when we go to bed around 10 pm. Koko and I plan on my first day off to head up toward Blue Diamond to see what hiking trails we can find where people tell me there are more trees and it's cooler :).
We have contacted a friend of a friend of mine who is a real estate agent to start looking at houses. We are excited to get into a place and settled permanently. We are looking down in the Henderson (south of Las Vegas, closer to Kyle's job).
Our current address is
1898 Balboa Ave
Las Vegas NV 89169

We are just using our cell phones for now. . . so no new phone # yet.

And that is our story for now :)