Friday, December 23, 2011

The Birthday Boy.

Buster Boy is FINALLY 5 years old. We have been waiting on this milestone since the womb. 5 years old means he can officially play baseball on a real team. 5 years old means he gets to go to kindergarten. 2 things he's been not-so-patiently waiting for.

So, we asked him what he wanted to do on his big baseball! The g-parents and Aunt Laura arrived for the day to make the teams a little more even and the Hansons took the field as well.
If he's got nothing else, he's got the look...
The players in the field seem a bit distracted and without proper equipment like gloves...
Grape juice breaks are a necessity in this south Georgia December heat...
After the Braves won, we hit Chick-Fil-A for lunch and then went home for tractor cake and ice cream.
It seems as though we may have gotten a little more than ice cream with our tractor cake since the candles were blown out with a marshmallow shooter full of spit. Yummy.
The rest of the day was spent flying up and down the street on his brand new bicycle. With the occassional grape juice break of course.

Happy Birthday Buster Boy! This 5th year is going to be HUGE for you and I can't wait to be with you every step of the way. I love you, handsome. :)

*Thanks to Big Sis for providing all of the pictures for today's blog from her own camera.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Bokeh is the blur, or the aesthetic quality of the blur, in out-of-focus areas of an image, or "the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light." {wikipedia} 

I'm obsessed with it.

I got my fancy shmancy camera a year ago and still don't know the half of what it's capable of. I do know it's better than a point-and-shoot but beyond that, I haven't captured all the goodness. Mainly because I don't know or understand ANY of the terminology despite reading countless "helps" and "how to's".

But bokeh?

Ah, you are my love and I WILL own you soon - just give me some more time and practice.

Here's my first subject. Sit. Don't move. Let me take 750 pictures in a row until I see some light pops behind your head.  Who cares if your face is dark. I got my light pops.
Subject number two is falling asleep after only 400 shots. No fun blurry lights but I got more light on the face!
Tried to focus on my lens cap held out in front. Something wacky happened and I'd like to say I know exactly what, but I dont. I'll take it though. Got my blurry light pops!!
Oh look, she woke up. But I still haven't figured out how to get a person AND a tree to look the way I want at the same time.
And Subject #2 is officially bored and giving me the peace out sign. Thanks yo, cuz it got me some popping lights.
Triumphant at last!!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Innermost thoughts.

Just a boy and his cows.

"I see purple! Do you see purple? Why is your shirt pink? It doesn't match your jeans. Do you love purple? I love purple. I love pink too. I have pink jeans. They match my toenails."

Just a boy and his daddy. His favorite worship song is "Oh no you never let go..."

These boots were made for walking, and that's just what they'll do...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Holler Ween

We outdid ourselves this year with costumes. Probably because I'm super mom. Take Wild Man for example.
Not just any mom will send her child out trick or treating like this. We call him "Backwards Man who uses his shirt as a napkin". Points for creativity. He's also called "Man who pitched a fit and threw his Buzz Lightyear costume down and stomped on it repeatedly"...hey, whatever works. When Dude is happy, WE'RE ALL HAPPY!

"Woody" here had a last minute change of attire too and became "Farmer Rancher Man" because Farmer Rancher Men wear baseball hats, not cowboy hats (like, per se, the one that was bought for him FOR THIS SPECIAL OCCASION...but whatevs).
He has waited 365 days to ride this car again. And his backside is about all we saw as he screamed down the road whipping into driveways like he owned the joint.
 Secret Agent {Wo}Man and Ballerina were also last minute additions to the costume wars discussions that ensued for weeks prior to Halloween. Ballerina was originally going to be Minnie Mouse, then a Princess, then Tinkerbell until finally landing with this minutes before take-off. Secret Agent {Wo}Man was originally going to be the Pixar Lamp but unfortunately I showed WAY TOO MUCH excitement over the possibilities of the COOLEST COSTUME IDEA EVER and she then opted for all black. Avoiding attention. She is not my daughter.
And this last gem of a pic was sent to me by Brooke who's gorgy boy is front and center. I thought nothing of it until I looked at the back right side and noticed why she sent it to me asking for a caption.
Perfect summary of the night.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fancy Feet

It has been so fun {and gut wrenching!} to watch Big Sis on the soccer field this season. Her confidence has grown as the season has progressed and we've finally started to see her get a little aggressive on the field which is a HUGE change from past seasons.
We haven't been able to count many wins but she's got a great group of girls who have shown some fantastic attitudes despite some harrowing defeats! :)
One change we've done this season has been attending a weekly foot skills clinic. Who knew there was such a thing as foot "skills"?? I just thought you kicked a ball!
Fearless Joe going head to head with a player that's a solid foot taller than she is! Fearless Joe also got a ball to the face right after this. A few tears later...
She's off and dribbling despite the pack of wolves coming her way...
Go Cheetahs!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Hakuna Matata, part 2.

{Part 1}

Fast forward a decade and a half later and I'm once again singing "Oh I just can't wait to be king..." with my 3 year old little girl. It was her favorite movie and since I was preggers with her little bro and slap outta energy and parenting prowess, she probably watched it a solid 4 times a day. All the way through.

Mom of the year right here.

The VHS started waning and other DVD's took it's place so Lion King got shelved for a few years.

Then I heard it was coming back out into the theaters for only a few weeks. I bought 6 tickets faster than you could say Hakuna Matata.

This family date proved to be far better than my first ill-attempt 17 years ago with a boy I robbed from the cradle. This time I didn't have a silly Simba singing me love songs during the credits.

No. No.

I had a real man. Whom you say?


{ooooooooh, do it again...}

And all the little hyenas we brought lived up to their name and cackled and screamed and whooped and hollered the whole time. 

Who would have ever known that I would see the same movie in the theater 17 years apart under very, very different circumstances.

Although I did throw a punch both times to the boys who tried to lay a smooch on me during the flick...maybe times haven't changed so much...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hakuna Matata, part 1.

I looked out of the window of my house and saw a shirtless boy doing yard work in the neighbor's yard. I was 16. He was gorgeous. I needed a plan.

So as all girls do, I got on the phone and asked 75 of my closest girlfriends what I should do.

"There is this guy, and he is, like, so hot, and he is, like, basically in my yard, but not really, and I totally need to go out there, but I'm, like, totally nervous. Like, what should I do?"

Please hear 1994 in that phone call.

So as all girls do, they formed me up a plan. I was to clothe myself in my cutest outfit (which was probably some umbros and an XL tshirt), grab a broom and start sweeping the driveway. Surely conversation would naturally ensue.

I did as told and headed out to sweep the driveway of its 4 pieces of pinestraw. Mission failed. No convo.

I go back in, get my girls on 3-way and get a new plan. I head back out to get the mail, as told, and walk ever so slowly back up the driveway, then planting myself in the swing to open up all the mail that wasn't mine. Mission failed.

One more attempt as I decide to take out each bag of trash, separately of course, while inspecting the trash cans by the garage, when....

"Oh hey, I didn't see you there." Lies.

We have introductions. I find out he's the nephew of my neighbor coming over to help him out with yard work since he'd thrown out his back. Major points. His parents call to him as they are leaving so he has to go. Dang.

I let the girls know it was just SO CLOSE. SO VERY VERY CLOSE. But it wasn't meant to be. I'm sure I made a mixed tape about the situation.

Later that evening, I ran down to get something out of my car, when LO AND BEHOLD there's a note on the door.

"I'd love to take you out, call me..."

Um, yes please.

I didn't tell him it was to be my first real date. I didn't want to be the amateur dater. We made plans to see The Lion King on opening night followed by dessert at Chile's. I was giddy.

But there was a hitch.

"Um, I actually don't have a car so do you think you might could drive?"

Stunned. Losing joy of first date expectations quickly. "Can you borrow your parents' car maybe?"

"Well, I'm sorta not old enough to drive yet."

Slam on brakes. DO WHAT?!?!

I couldn't back out. He was a hottie. So what if he had just turned 15. He was taller than me and I was comfortable keeping that info to myself.

Date ensued. I drove up, met his parents at the door, felt like a man, and drove the two of us to the movies.

We sat in the theater with the credits rolling while he sang "Can you feel the love tonight". I know the other girls in there were jealous.

They wanted a Simba to their Nala like I had.

Monday, September 19, 2011

It's gonna be a LONG night...

...but the baby squirrels will finally have some comfort thanks in part to the donation from this paci millionaire.
The bowl was loaded and ready. We found 5 as we combed every crevice of this house. Praying we didn't miss one.
We made the climb into the fort. We sat a bit. We contemplated.
We sprinkled acorns around and then we waved goodbye.
Upon returning home from errands, the bowl had been knocked over and the "pappies" were M.I.A. Papa Squirrel had been waiting for us to leave so he could snatch them up and take them "way way up high" to his nest of 5 newborn babies.

And then came the night.

So far the screaming has only lasted 2 hours and the sheets have only been changed once due to vomitting.

If only I was a drinker...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Couch Concert.

One of the few ways we've learned how to calm this tyrant sweet buttercup down is to get him involved in a song. Diaper changes are accompanied by a song. Changing clothes is accompanied by a song. Putting on shoes is accompanied by a song. Placing food on the table in front of him is accompanied by a song.

Pretty much anything that can AND DOES cause a meltdown is accompanied by a song.

At some point he's going to figure us out and his little land of concert heaven is going to stop and the screaming and wailing and gnashing of teeth will yet prevail again.

Until then, enjoy this medley by the drooling buttercup. I am so glad he doesn't need any help with the words because they are spot-on.

Untitled from Suzanne Akins on Vimeo.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The dudes.

Dude #1 slid on up into first grade and is loving every second of it. She also grew 2 feet and 3 shoe sizes in the two weeks she's been there.
Dude #2 officially began Pre-K. And since Pre-K happens at Akins Academy {aka our kitchen table when the other dudes take a nap}, Dude didn't want to be left out of the front door pics. So he's representin' the indoors.

And these other dudes on the ends? Who knows what the heck they do. Walking around pantless with things hanging out of their mouths all the time.
Somebody should talk to their parents about that.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

We {still} won't be quiet.

Buster's on tour.

He does not simply do his songs and leave the stage anymore. Now, he wants a hype man (or woman - in most cases, me) to precede him. And he is specific on what his hype man does. He wants an intro, a PRAYER {love it} and an asking of the crowd to stand and join.

The crowd of babies never stands and joins, but I don't think he really wants them to anyway. It might take away from his performance. I do foresee a request for stage lights in the near future. Demanding little thing he is.

Today's song comes compliments of EcoCamp - as does EVERY OTHER SONG on the tour.

I'm so waiting for a new album release.

We {still} won't be quiet. from Suzanne Akins on Vimeo.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Two Babies.

Before I brought home our very first baby, I had never thought twice about lullabies. My mom had always sung "Thank heaven for little girls" as my lullaby of choice, and before I realized it, we were rocking, bouncing, holding, swaying, doing everything we could to shush the little screamer we'd brought home from the hospital.  I needed a lullaby STAT!

So I combed through our music collection and found an old Carpenters tape. I pulled the sleeve out, quickly memorized the words to "Close to You" and voila, we have a lullaby that actually worked small miracles on our tiny screamer monkey.

When Buster rolled into town, I thought he needed a different song so the only boyish one I could think of was "Take me out to the ballgame". It never really did the trick. So I pulled out old faithful and the Carpenters made it to the #1 slot again, working miracles every time it was sung.  Either that or it was my incredibly angelic voice. {Shut yer mouth ye scoffers - I can hear you.}

Round 3 with two babies and much chaos, the Carpenters win again. They've gotten bigger and it's definitely a little squished but each night before bed, they run to the rocking chair saying, "Two babies? Why birds?" So I scoop them up, crowded in my lap and sing, "Why do birds suddenly appear, every time you are near...just like me, they long to be....close to you."

Tiny Miss just sits all cozy with her thumb in her mouth while Wild Man watches me sing, lip synching the entire time. It is my favorite time of the day.

Everything they do together becomes, "Two babies?" When we're at the beach, their favorite thing is to "go way out dere" into the deep, one on each hip. "Two babies swim!" and the squirmy joes flap and paddle like the true Olympians they are, though they go nowhere. "Two babies jump!" and Mommy becomes the springboard. "Two babies go unda!" which is always a great idea until it actually happens. Then two babies come up for air spitting out salt water through their nose, blinking rapidly and searching for oxygen. Two babies are done with the ocean.

Even outside they plop down on the driveway together. "Two babies teekle!" and the tickle train is set in motion.
It's a give and take world in two-baby land.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

40 days without food.

And I've never felt better.

My weight is good. My energy's up. My senses are piqued.

Did I mention I didn't actually go 40 days without food? Yeah, I actually eat. Everyday. But I did read a book of the same title.  Counts, right?

One of my favorite friends from college, Russ Masterson, has written a book about his journey through a 40 day fast. He didn't ask me to write a review, but I just finished the book and sat down to email my thoughts to him. Instead of emailing him, I thought I'd review it on here for more people to read {you know, the tens of millions of you} and hopefully convince you to read it yourself.

The husb got a Kindle for Father's Day and as all good gifts I give go, I've maintained a secure hold on it, reading books as fast as I can before he notices it's gone. I'm sneaky like that.

The first one I read was one he had downloaded, Donald Miller's A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. I couldn't put it down. It's one of those life-changer books for me.  Still resonating. Moving me to action. I love those kind of books.

Then the husb stole his Kindle back I took a break from technology and read a paperback book about heaven. Sometimes I just need to smell a real book.

Back to the Kindle and see that the husb has since downloaded Russ' book.  I dig in. I stay up until 2:30am reading 60% of the book {no page numbers, just percentages} and waller through the next day waiting and yearning for the coveted naptime. I lay down, grab the Kindle to make my eyes sleepy and finish the final 40%. My naptime got thwarted by good writing.

I felt like I was back in Donald Miller land again. The writing was familiar, comfortable. Maybe it's because I know Russ so I can hear his voice behind the written words. But maybe not. Having read books by other authors I know {dad, here's your plug.  brother, here's your plug. you're welcome. send a check.}, there are times when the "voice" is recognizable, but for the most part, the author usually becomes my voice and/or the voice of the characters therein.

Each of the 40 days is a chapter of its own with other chapters interspersed that are time-stamped from a day in the past or in the future, as pertaining to the "present" fast. At first it seems tangled. What is that day from your childhood revealing about your present struggle? How is this day, 4 years after the fast, an answer to your fervent prayer?

I was intrigued by each day of his fast. Having never done a full 40 day fast myself, the thoughts of Do you really hear God clearer when you're hungry? or What does starvation feel like? or How do you play it off to everyone around you - surely they know? or Is fasting a guarantee to spiritual significance, to truly hearing your life's solid purpose? and even How could this skinny dude afford to lose so much weight?

With as many questions as I posed throughout the book, Russ asked more. His search for purpose, for meaning, for his life's true path was questioned daily. He gains insights, not only through his personal study and quiet time, but through everyday conversations with everyday people. It is in those everyday moments that Russ' call becomes more clear. As hunger overwhelms him, his senses are heightened so that there is no "everyday". Each day is new. Each day holds gifts, blessings, wisdom to be gained, love to share, love to accept, wounds, forgiveness, hunger.

I learned a lot through his journey. I'm thankful he recorded it. I'm more thankful he listened to the voice of God before, during, and to this day.

It's still resonating. Moving me to action. I love those kind of books.


40 Days Without Food: Divine Goodness to a Starving Soul by Russ Masterson

Saturday, August 6, 2011

He's a Mister, now.

Twice this week he's been called a girl.

Both times he had a hat on. One of the times his shirt read "All American Boy".
I, for one, thought his long locks brought out his manliness and accentuated his muscles.
And maybe there was a smidglin of scissor-withholding because HE'S MY BABY and when we cut his curls I'LL NEVER HAVE A BABY BOY WITH CURLY HAIR AGAIN and then that means he's growing up and NOW I'M GONNA HAVE TO ADOPT MORE BABY BOYS WITH CURLY HAIR since MY BABY BOY DONE GROWED UP in a matter of minutes.
After a final fluffing and a few tears (on my part, not his), oh my sweet preciousness, his curls are gone.
I could eat him with a spoon.

After I blow my nose and wipe my tears.

Monday, August 1, 2011

We won't be quiet.

Buster and Big Sis just finished a week of EcoCamp at our church and they came home each night more excited than the last. Buster LOVED the music, yet was a little gun shy about doing all the moves as his rep was on the line. So he stuck with the Elvis leg and his teacher got a big kick out of watching that leg shake the whole time. By the last night, the boy couldn't be tamed and he danced to his heart's content.

Now that we've got the cd from the week, we hear the same songs on repeat ALL DAY LONG. And in his pure concert form, he performs each song with sincerity.

If only my memory card hadn't gotten too full at just the moment he let loose.

Ladies and gentlemen, on lead vocals and electric guitar, it's BUSTER!!!!!
{and the crowd of 2 pint sized people and his mom go crazy...}

We won't be quiet from Suzanne Akins on Vimeo.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The 21st Century Woman.

Somehow I have managed to live 34 years without EVER mowing the lawn.  I have never cranked a lawn mower nor pushed or driven one on any yard I've ever owned or lived on.

My life has since changed.

Remember The Big Injury of Vacay '11?
Well that Big Injury has not healed itself in time for the monthly trim and therefore it fell into my hands.

I'm not gonna lie.  I was a wee bit excited about this new opportunity.  Moreso than the husb.

"Hey, I'm gonna go mow the grass!!!" I say in all my giddiness.
"Please no, I'll do it.  I'll figure out how.  Seriously. You can't.  I'll be the loser man who makes his wife mow the lawn.  You CAN'T do this."
"Whatever. I'm a 21st century kinda gal.  I'll take care of it while you stay inside and do what I always do. Go bake a pie."
"When have you ever baked a pie?"
"Nonsense Man. Go do your job and I'll do mine."

And so, with my two little boys in tow, I got out all my supplies as well as their Fisher Price mowers and edgers.  And then I just stared at the lawn mower.

"Um, buddy, how do I do this?"

The 4 year old manned up, got his gloves on, showed me what button to press, what bar to hold and what string to pull.  VOILA!!  We have lift off.

The only issue was this:


Feels Like: 105°

I picked a swell time for my first mowing experience.  I began hallucinating about midway through the front yard and imagining myself passing out, dropping to the ground and wondering which neighbor would come to my rescue, if any.

Thankfully I made it through unhindered, save the 42 pounds I lost in sweat.

And I'd say it's a right nice job.
For a girl.

Now where's my pie?????

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I'm all for labeling.

I may or may not have this book on my nightstand.
I don't know how it got there. And based on the title, I'm not really sure what it's about.

And I surely wouldn't know who it could pertain to.
I mean, I'm not naming names or anything.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The G-4 Summit.

I just finished reading George Bush's Decision Points, his post-presidential 47 million page memoir. In his book, he designates each chapter to explain the reasoning behind some of the major decisions he made in office. It was very intriguing to read the behind the scenes details. And as if I didn't already know this, I am confident that you should NOT elect me to be the president. I know I was probably set to be a good option, but I just don't think I'm willing. Thank you for not voting.

As funny as it sounds, I may have learned a thing or two about decision making from his memoir.  I do try to glean SOMETHING from the books I read, even if I'm fighting through it tooth and nail. [sidenote: The hubs doesn't understand why I continue reading books I hate just to say I finished it. I do it. All the time. It's annoying, but I can't NOT finish a book I've started.]

So, in honor of my recent learnings, we held a G-4 Summit at the house today.

I cancelled our beach plans due to temper tantrum, lack of gratitude, squabbling, et al. I sent all kids back to bedrooms to put their street clothes back on.


I called the Big Kids in and said, "Listen. Here's why we're not going to the beach. {insert blah blah blah reasonings}. If you can have a meeting with the Babies and decide to change your ways, I'll reconsider."

Tears turned to smiles and off they went.

"BABIES, BABIES, COME HERE!!. We need to have a meeting," Buster says. Babies come a-runnin'.

"Um, I don't really know what a meeting is," he says looking at Big Sis.

From there, Big Sis steps up to the podium with confidence and control.

"Guys," she begins, "We need to change our attitudes. Mommy said we can go to the beach if we start acting thankful and quit screaming. So can we guys?  GUYS! STOP SCREAMING AND LISTEN TO ME! CAN WE BE THANKFUL OR NOT? Ugh. Fine."

Big Kids enter my room to give me the report, while Babies continue with their screaming, wailing and gnashing of teeth.

"Hey Mommy? We decided to be thankful. Sooooooo, can we go to the beach now?"

Decision Point: Summits are effective in bringing about peace.

In Switzerland.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Vacay, it does a body good. Or not.

Living in a coastal area where we go to the beach weekly, it may seem odd that when we vacation, we ALWAYS go to the beach. We have no desire to vacay in the mountains or Orlando (not yet at least), just straight sand and salt water.  

It does us well.

Even at naptime. No sound machine needed.

Beach and pool all morning. Lunch inside followed by a nap and then back out to the beach and pool. It is a rough rough life. And very predictable.
UNTIL....(drum roll please....)
The Big Injury of Vacay '11
Pulling a boogie board at warp speed in the shallow ocean can wreak havoc on a wrist and elbow.  Especially when you bust it and land your entire weight on the palm of your hand.  Oops.


But those are just silly little things. Other than that, his one-armed self has been really helpful.

We had front row seats to the Shuttle launch (as front row as St.Augustine can be from Cape Canaveral) but the cloud coverage was too thick. All we got was the sonic boom, but these guys didn't care. They just wanted to hang out with cousin Keenen (and his lil bro JP).
We had to document the yearly family photo with the Big Injury of Vacay '11 front and center.
Glad Wild Man took it upon himself to call in our reservations for next year.
Peace out, yo.