sweet sweet sweet sixteen

As a warm-up to writing a persuasive essay, Hansie’s English teacher asked the class, “Tell me how you talk your parents into buying something you want?”

All kinds of answers flew around the classroom, but I think Hansie surprised his teacher more than anyone answering, “I never try to talk them into buying anything. And when I do ask for something, it’s so rare, they usually just get it for me.”

“Well,” his teacher pursued, “has there ever been a time when you wanted something and your parents said ‘no.’?”

“Probably,” Hans answered, “but they usually have good reasons for the things they won’t buy. So I don’t bug them about it. When I asked for a Frisbee this summer my mom bought me two.”

the last time Hans wore this, he weighed 6 lbs 4 oz

I’m not sure buying two Frisbees was so smart, because I had no ideas for birthday presents yesterday.

Hans honestly, wants nothing, envies no one and hesitates to even ask for new shoes when his are riddled with holes or a second pair of jeans when he has trouble keeping his one pair washed for every day.

With endless curiosity and dozens of interests, as Hans says, “I don’t like things, I like doing things.” He plays both French Horn and piano– not because I insist, but because he loves them both. Practicing for and playing in the orchestra pit for our high school’s West Side Story has filled his afternoons for the past month and Hans’ enthusiasm for the music and story meant everyone in our family had the music memorized by opening night.


Hans says he feels bad for the girls who sit in front of him in AP European History and AP Art History because he constantly enthuses–“I’ve read a book about that!” or “I’ve seen that painting in person!” As he sits at the kitchen counter doing homework he often retells interesting facts from biology and math to his younger siblings. When he finds free time, he pulls up ted.com or khanacademy.org and, as you might guess by now, enthusiastically draws everyone into his orbit.

Compact and muscular, Hans loves wrestling, loves track and LOVES Ultimate Frisbee. Everywhere he needs to go, he rides his bike. And well, he loves riding his bike too.

If Hans just read a book, you’d better believe he’ll talk you into reading it next. His interests are wide: fantasy fiction to science, Pride and Prejudice to The Way of Kings.

More than any other quality, Hans is kind. With a joke and a smile for everyone, he’s just as sweet to toddlers and his grandma as to the cute girl down the street.


With his birthday on a Sunday, Hans received what he wanted most– ordination as a Priest. He can now bless the sacrament and visit the homebound to administer the sacrament. Oh yes, he can date and drive now too. 😉 Hans pointed out how fitting it is to become a Priest at the same time a boy begins dating– his hands and heart need to be clean and pure to break and bless the bread and water and girls need to be treated with the same reverence. I love this boy.

Stefan and his roommates joined Grandpa, Erik and our bishop in the ordination. Then the party began!


Gabe and Mary were more than happy at the little kid table.

Waiting for the annual pumpkin toss. Every photo with Olivia and Henry looks something like this.
Henry thinks we are all crazy; he’s probably right.
the birthday duo (go check out Lisa’s blog for her amazing plan this year). Yes, she still looks 29.
lots of competition for those birthday candles.

And today, the braces came off. Just when I thought Hans couldn’t get any cuter, he does. Happy birthday Hans! We love and adore you.

November 17, 2012
November 26, 2012



  1. jen

    November 20, 2012

    you seriously need to write a book on parenting. i so want to be adopted into your family… and i have a pretty good one of my own.

  2. Mormon Women: Who We Are

    November 20, 2012

    This made me smile for more reasons than one. 😉

    God bless you for raising such good, good boys. Someday there will be generations of people rising up and calling you blessed.

    Happy birthday, Hans!

  3. Kerri

    November 20, 2012

    This post just filled me with happiness. I am grateful for you and your dear family and what joy it brings me to see your moments of happiness. Thanks for allowing the world to have a glimpse into this goodness.

  4. Tracy

    November 20, 2012

    Aw, Happy 16 Hans. He truly is amazing. I love your family, my friend. xo

  5. katieo

    November 20, 2012

    crying. AGAIN.

    What a beautiful post. I love the way you write about your children. It makes me want to focus more on the wonderful things about mine.

  6. Rachel

    November 20, 2012

    I love all your posts, I love the way you raise your family. Out of curiosity, was it Ben whose picture was in the Ensign – along with missionaries from Milan? It was in the talk about ‘ask the missionaries’ this month.

  7. Linn

    November 20, 2012

    Wow, now that is one wonderful boy! What a sweet tribute to him. Happy Birthday from Boston!

  8. Michelle

    November 20, 2012

    Rachel– YES! Ben was in that photo. I love opening the Ensign and seeing his crinkly smile. Thanks!

  9. ashli

    November 20, 2012

    a sweet boy indeed.

  10. ashli

    November 20, 2012

    a sweet boy indeed.

  11. Rachelle

    November 20, 2012

    Happy birthday, Hans! I can’t believe they stand on top of your house to throw the pumpkins. I would be a nervous wreck. Plus… who cleans up the mess?? :o)

  12. Anne Marie

    November 21, 2012

    Just catching up on blogging…you seriously have the loveliest, sweetest family. Your blog makes me happy. Your blog seriously gives hope to the world that boys can turn out smart and sweet and gentle. I just read your Segullah post. I will never forget it. My oldest is 3 years away from a mission, and I know that my heart will ache for him…to its very core. You have such a tender heart. Thank you for sharing it. Sorry if any of the comments gave you pain…I am so glad you shared it. Your tenderness needs to be shared with the world. Blessings to you this holiday season.

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  14. Cath

    November 25, 2012

    Handsome Hansie, Happy Birthday! What a sweet tribute from your mother. And Michelle, that was indeed a busy afternoon for you. Love the pumpkin toss. I want to watch next year. xo Love you.

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