Tuesday, December 31, 2013

I Hereby Resolve...

It's New Year's Eve!  Where did this year go?  I've got these three great girls that make life go by super fast...And the thing is, well, we're going to have FOUR great girls.  That's going to be our family forever. Four. Great. Girls. And just one boy (Dad).

We had our ultrasound today, and Ty is a little sad.  I feel bad for him, but I also love the idea of four sisters who will be BFF's forever.  For a girl like me who never even had a sister, it seems like pure heaven.  Sure, they fight... a lot, but in the end they will love each other straight through the ups and downs of life.  I can't think of leaving a more wonderful legacy.

This has been a year full of funny little girls doing their girly thing.  Last week we had this conversation in the car after listening to the fox song:

Dad:           Mom is smart like a fox.
Maddie:     Foxes aren't smart, worms are.
Dad:          What? Worms aren't smart.
Maddie:    Well, besides owls, worms are what I always see graduation hats on.  And what about book                 worms?

Maddie says the most hilarious things with a straight face.  Like: "A boy tried to kiss me at recess, but I put my water bottle in my mouth and walked right past him."

Annie turned four this month.  She likes to say, "Mom, I'm shy,"  but I'm not buying it. Anytime an adult gives her a second of attention, she starts talking and won't stop.  The other day we were at a friend's house with a dog.  It was a cute little dog, but she was scared of it, so we told her we would hold the dog.  Every time she realized it wasn't in someone's lap, she came marching over saying, "why did she put the DOG down!" like she owned the place.  Someone should teach her some manners, geez.  Then there's the fact that she dropped out of preschool, so I don't know, maybe she is shy. 

Alli piped up the other day in the car while we were all driving somewhere together. She'd been reading the latest and greatest from the Percy Jackson series.  She put the book down and said, "This part is kinda gay."

I started to explain that you shouldn't say that, and Ty suggested she say it was "lame" or "dumb."  Then I asked her why she thought it was "lame."

"Well, there's these two guys who like each other..."  Oh.  I guess she used the correct terminology after all.  When did I start having a daughter old enough for these kinds of conversations?  

With a New Year and a new girl coming into our family this May, I have a few resolutions to make about paying attention to the small things that make life so great.  I hereby resolve to:

Hug More
Yell Less
Have fun
and Find Joy in the Journey

Happy New Year!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Hero of the Summer

Tomorrow is the very last day of Summer break, so I'm feeling sentimental.  I have a tan for the first time in years because of all the time I've been spending at the pool.  Kids are doing chores around my house. Everyone is getting gold stars at piano for actually practicing.  It's my best dream come true, and of course I'd  like to take all the credit.  After all, I work pretty hard, right?  

Well, actually, I can't claim Hero of the Summer status because there is another, much more deserving person who has made all the fun possible:  It's Alli!  She is like 9 going on 18 this year.  While I was putting my feet up to catch some sun, she was playing "sharkey in a basket" and letting her sisters play lifeguard while she pretended to be hurt.  She was the one who constructed complicated Polly Pocket games to entertain her sisters all afternoon and walked Annie down to the culdesac to ride her bike.  After, let's say, 100 hours of kid play this summer, Alli deserves a certificate in conflict resolution and recreation management.

I love hearing her say things like, "Oh, look!  You want this toy, not that one," while deftly intervening in a fight.  It makes my day. What would I do without someone to turn on the TV show, help Maddie practice piano, help cook a meal, or even put Annie to bed?  She's amazing! 

Even more amazing is what a lovely young lady she's turning into.  It seems like just yesterday she was a baby.  I used to think it was so annoying when adults said that.  I was in a hurry to grow up while they seemed to want me to stay small forever.  It probably dates me, but I've joined the slow camp.  I wish I could pause time for a bit and keep her forever!  I know I can't though, and I'm excited for all that lies ahead.  

Yesterday we talked about some big ideas about the world, and it was cute to see her give her opinion. I felt lucky to hear her thoughts.  She has a lot to give this world, and I'm humbled to spend these precious years with her before she takes it by storm.

Thanks, Alli, for making this summer so great.  You are my hero!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

To Camp or Not to Camp

True or False?  The Hansens went camping this weekend.  Well, I'll let you decide after you hear the evidence.

Friday Morning: 8 am
Ty packed our car with sleeping bags, a tent, and about a dozen other 'necessities' for camping (Yes, an air mattress counts as necessary.  He packed 2.  He knows how I roll.)  I began packing bags and food.

Friday 9 am - 11 am:
I convinced three girls to take off whatever they had on in exchange for pants, socks, sturdy shoes, and pony tails.  That nearly derailed the whole trip, but I carried on.

Friday Afternoon:
As I pulled in to pick up Ty from work, it started to storm.  Let me not mince words: I saw a huge tree fall over into the road.  It was like, a micro-burst or something.  There was enough lightning that not one of my girls asked "WHERE?  WHERE?  I missed it"... It was everywhere, and they all saw it.  They cried.

We drove down to Scofield hoping to outrun the storm, but the rain followed us.  By the time we failed at fishing and ate all the candy I had in the car, everyone was tired and wanting to go home.  When we got out of the car on the property, I immediately got stung four times on my hands while I tried to swat an angry wasp away from my baby girl.  #animalattack

Friday Night: 7 pm
With every means at it's disposal, the Universe said, "Go Home!"  So we did.

I'm stubborn though, and if I said I was going to camp, by Golly, I'm going to camp.  Watch me, Universe: I'll show you the best camping anyone's ever seen.  Oh, it's on.

Saturday Night: 4 pm, My Backyard

I cooked the tinfoil dinners that we were supposed to eat up in the mountains on the grill.  They were the best tin foil dinners I've ever made!  And half the food wasn't charred.  One point: Mom.  Then a bee started chasing us around the patio and we all ended up eating inside.  Universe: #toomanytocount

Still Scared from Yesterday's Attack

Saturday Night: 6 pm
We made s'mores and played around in the tent.  I was feeling pretty good at this point. We were having fun and no one was even getting dirty.  Win/Win. .
We tackled Dad

Making the Memories People
Saturday Night: 8 pm
We went to bed.

No one's buying this, I hope.  There was no sleeping.  Only pretend sleeping.  Then there was pretend waking up.

Seriously.  I thought there would be more real sleeping.

Saturday Night: 10 pm
Annie came inside to "go to bed" but ended up playing dolls in her room until 11.  Alli and Maddie, after coming inside a dozen times, finally fell asleep in the tent.  Yes!

Saturday Night: 10:30 pm
I went outside to sleep, as promised, with the girls.

Saturday Night: 11 pm
I came inside... Mom fail, I know.

Sunday Morning 7:30 am
I woke up to a bunch of really excited girls.  "Can we do it again tonight?!?" (No way)

The jury is still out on how legit this "campout" was, but we had fun pretending!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Annie's Gangham Style Dad

Some kids have imaginary friends who like tea parties in princess gowns.  Annie likes tea parties and dressing up like a princess, but her imaginary friend doesn't:  his name is Gangham Style Dad, and he is a pudgy Korean rock star.  He wears sunglasses and dances like he's riding a horse...

The thing about Gangham Style Dad is that he is sooooo much cooler than her real parents.  Whenever we tell her "No, you can't have candy for dinner" or "Sorry, sweety, but you don't need a new toy today," she pouts and says, "My Gangham Style Dad would let me."  I also hear that he lives in a huge house with a pool and it's made out of candy, and....and it's fun there.  Oh, and there's no bedtime either.  
Annie's imaginary friend Psy
It's really embarrassing when she starts singing, "Hey....sexy lay-day" at the top of her lungs and dancing gangham style in respectable places like the Dr's office or grocery store (read: not Wal-mart).  I just look people straight in the eye and say, "What?   Your kid doesn't have an imaginary Dad?"  

Ty was a little offended at first, since he's not imaginary and also super fun, but it's hard to have bad feelings toward Annie for long because she is so dang cute. She just smiles her little smile and says, "Daddy, I want you to put me to bed tonight,"  and it's all better.
Annie running around crazy at Target
Annie is our hipster child, I guess.  Even when she first learned to talk, she was quick to pick up on kid slang. Last year she went through a phase where no matter what you said to her, she would reply: "Not funny.  Not funny at all."  

One day I said, "What do you want for breakfast, Annie?"

She glanced casually in my direction and replied, "Cool.  That sounds fun."

Less cool is how she's really taken to the "Bloody Mary" story.  Some lame kid showed her a Google video of Bloody Mary and she's never stopped talking about it since.  It's totes presh when Moms call to tell me that their little girl came home asking who Bloody Mary is after playing with Annie for an hour.  Yes!  Mom of the Year right here.  I can't wait till I get "the call" in a few years from her school- the one after she beats up a kid for messing with her big sister.
Annie with food on her face...
She's not all macabre and Korean rock loving, though.  She's got the whole sugar and spice package:  she brings us all joy every day with her cute little personality.  One time I found her trying to pick up three pairs of my shoes at once.

"MOM!..." -labored breathing- "I need help!"

I don't know what I was thinking, but I just said, "why?"

"Because I'm trying to be like Jesus."  
After I carried them to her room for her, she sat down on her little step stool and tried on all three pairs of shoes.

She's just a funny kid.  I love her so much.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Memory Lane

When Alli was born I started not one, but two baby books.  They had places for me to record the dates of all her "firsts" and fill in the blanks of sentences like, "Baby's favorite books are______ and Baby loves to________," alongside glued in pictures.  I had a really hard time filling out those generic sentences, but I kept my shoulder to the wheel because I loved my new daughter and wanted to do the Mother-thing right.  Alas, once Maddie and Annie came along I had already thrown out the rule book, and no baby books will be forthcoming...  Instead, I've tried to write little snapshots of their life.  It isn't as thorough as I'd like, but I hope they know I love them all the same.  Here is an apology for time lost and an anthology of conversation snippets I recorded last year:

Since my girls love to pretend, I'll start with a couple in that vein.  Over the past few months, even Annie's learned the lingo, which happens to all my girls at about t-minus 3 1/2 years old.  I've observed that to initiate a pretend game, you have to first set the stage for the players, assign parts, and use a lot of past perfect conjugations like, "So pretend I was the monster and you were scared..." In fact, at breakfast this morning Annie said, "pretend you were my mom, and I was your baby?" said in the characteristic valley girl uptalk used to initiate a game.  I replied, "Um, I don't have to pretend.  I already am?"  I recorded the following two conversations from car rides during the beginning of 2012.

      "Pretend we were teenagers...?" Alli began.
      "Ok, pretend I was getting married to Batman," Maddie replied.
      "We're teenagers, Maddie.  We're too young to get married."
      After thinking for a minute, Maddie finally said, "Fine.  Pretend I was getting married... tomorrow."
      This was enough to totally derail the game.  Alli was ticked.  "MADDIE! You can't just get married.  You have to date and date each other first."
      I have a feeling I'll hear this exact conversation again in 20 years.

      Another day, Maddie started the game with: "Let's pretend you're the Mom, and I live in an orphanage with Anne."
      This time I couldn't help interjecting, "why are you in an orphanage if you have a Mom?"
      "You aren't our Mom yet.  You have to come buy us." (What a lovely commentary on adoption.)
      Alli got involved at this point, and there was some disagreement about who was going to play what, so Maddie had to amend her original plan. She tried again with, "Pretend I'm 16, and I have a purse...because I'm big enough."
My girls are really intrigued by orphanages for some reason.  I tried to tell them that kids in orphanages have to scrub floors all day and don't get toys, but that only lead to them scrubbing our floor while singing "it's a hard knock life..."  Just call me Miss Hannigan.

      On another day in October, Maddie was again pondering marriage.
      "I can see my future, Mom," she said, seriously.
      "Oh, really?" I laughed.  "What do you see?"
      "I'm going to get married and go on a mission.  I'm going to live in the best house... and I'm going to live in Florida."
      "Oh, great.  I'll visit you there," I told her with a big smile.  Wouldn't that be the best?  Grand kids to visit in Florida?  I was liking this conversation.      
      "Wait!" She said suddenly, interrupting my idyllic twilight years fantasy.  "Does Santa come to Florida?"
      "Yep.  Yep, he does," I said.
      "Ok, then, yeah.  I'm going to live in Florida."

I love Maddie's sense of humor.  It's so funny because it usually involves her saying hilarious things in all seriousness.  It's really endearing.  My favorite Maddie one liner happened last summer when we were driving past a brick storage shed next to the Draper Temple.  The workers had the garage door up so we could see the lawn mowers and tools inside.  Maddie turns to me and asks, "Is that Jesus' garage?"  We laughed for days after deciding that, yes, it was his garage.

Having three girls has been quite an adventure.  I've laughed and cried lots with them, and I wouldn't miss it for the world.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Totes Girls Camp

Three months ago I was called to be the Young Women's secretary.  A week later my Dr. diagnosed me with a thyroid condition, and I realized why I have been tired, sore, and generally feeling like the molasses swamp monster for the last 15 years.  I started taking a TSH hormone pill and the "brain fog" went away.  It's a good thing too because my new calling, I quickly realized, is not for the lethargic.

Then two days before I left for my first ever Girls Camp Leader experience, my Dr. increased my medicine and I felt even better!  Let's just say you have to dig deep at Girls Camp, so it's a really good thing I had that boost...I don't think I can overstate how amazing this pill has been for me or how much I LOVED every minute of camp in Heber Valley, but let me explain:

Every morning our camp director, Stacey Goodman, woke us up with a cheerful greeting.  After a long chatter filled night, one of her, "WHAT A BEAUTIFUL MORNING, GIRLS!" jolted me ten feet off my bed.  And I had ear plugs in.  I just got up and thought, "thank you, thank you, for TSH."  I would have added a, "well, YOLO (you only live once)," but Kylie hadn't taught me that yet.

Taylor Burningham on the rope swing

I paddled around a beautiful lake, swung from a massive rope swing, ate way too many carbs, and learned that you can give CPR to a squirrel with your pinkie finger.  I saw deer up close every day and listened to my new friends' stories of mayhem and love.  I felt the spirit testify over and over again that I was in the right place.
Brinn Jensen, Haddie Todd, and Syd Gooch

There was a camp nurse who kindly advised us the first day to lay off candy because it can induce altitude sickness from dehydration,which made me laugh and start saying silly things like, our girls can "hold their candy."  Not True.  Oh, yes.  There was plenty of puking going around by day three.  I'm feeling a little queasy myself, thinking about it.  The sicker everyone got, the more I had to laugh.  Not at the girls, but just at camp life and all it's foibles: there was homesickness, best friend drama, fear in the dark, and bad attitudes (I love you girls)...  I got a touch of altitude hysteria or something because everything was suddenly hilarious, and one time Syd and Kami made me laugh so hard at it all that I peed my pants.  Just sayin.  It was funny stuff.
Wing Butler, story teller extraordinaire 

I got in touch with my inner teenager- I was light hearted.  I started to realize how my kids must see me, running around yelling at everyone.  From their carefree perspective I must look like some demon troll who needs to get a grip. You know, "you're like totes crazy, Mom." Then again, it's not hard to feel free when you don't have to grab keys, phone, diapers, snack, money, blanket, shoes....for a five minute drive to pick up at the school.  Really, it's no wonder I'm insane.

Carolyn, Samantha, Libby, Karlee, Grace, and Kami Tripp

You see, there's no place like girls camp.  These girls touched my heart with their joys and their fears.  It was a priceless experience to hear them bear testimony on the last night.  One girl found the spirit again.  Another found she had friends.  One girl who likes to keep to herself gave every single crier a hug and a tissue while she bore her testimony.  It all made my heart sing.  I will never forget the spirit they brought to camp, and I am undeniably blessed.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Maddie turns 6!

We celebrated Maddie's birthday on the last day of February by taking a trip Over the Rainbow.  Ever since Maddie first learned to hold a crayon, she's been a rainbow sketcher.  She never wants to hurt anyone's feelings, least of all a color, so I think it makes her feel good inside to include every color in her drawings.  In the spirit of color inclusiveness, we invited all the girls in her kindergarten class to come to her party and ended up with 12 little girls to entertain! 

I made a rainbow layer cake, which, considering how gut-wrenchingly tedious I find baking, was a big bonus for my mom portfolio, if you know what I mean.  Don't worry, I'm not oblivious to how lopsided/uneven the cake layers are, but it's a miracle this cake even made it to the cake plate, so for that I'm very proud.  When I sliced the cake, the girls were so shocked it made it all worth it.  They kept wondering how the cake got so many colors, and I told them it was magic of course. #mommoment
Another fun thing I came up with was a scavenger hunt that took us over the rainbow and ended in chocolate coin treasure.  The kids made some rainbows that helped them decode the clues and find the gold.
Rainbow decoders

the rainbow dash
Rub a dub, dub there's a ducky in the tub

The end of the rainbow
The kids were so great.  One of the little girls was so excited she said, "This is the best day ever!"  When it was time to go home, that same little girl picked a yellow balloon to take home, and she giggled, and said, "It's so floaty!"  in a dreamy kind of way that made me laugh out loud.  You just can't manufacture that kind of entertainment.  I love how innocent they are at this age.  The world is still full of wonder, and I think a little even rubbed off on me.  When I cut into the cake and saw all the layers for the first time, I got a little starry eyed myself and wondered when I might find time to layer up some more rainbow joy.  Happy Birthday to my tiny friend Maddie: I love you so much!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Day in the Life of Annie: Age 3

If you wake up early to a quiet house, you'll find Annie waiting in her crib with her brown and green blanket she named 'bobby': she'll have 'bobby' draped over her head, waiting for me to come laugh at her joke. She's pretending to be a bobby ghost, a gag she invented.  No one has ever seen her setting up this joke- she's always ready ahead of time, so it's anybody's guess how long she waits patiently underneath her disguise for someone to come see her. 

After feigning terror and tickling her with my nose, I'll whisk her off to the kitchen for some breakfast, following the trail of discarded pajamas her two bleary eyed sisters have left behind as they dressed en route to the table.

As I set her down in her chair (it has to be the same one every time), Annie will gasp.  "Oh, no!  My t-t-r ring, Moth-ow. I lost it!"  As an aside, she always calls me Mother, like we're having tea with the Queen, but more to the point, on her first glorious day of primary, her teacher gave her a CTR ring, which she has barely taken off since, except for every other minute when she loses it.

"It's right here, sweety," I'll tell her, having put it by the phone the night before.
She'll swoon and say, "Oh, isn't it a-MAZ-ing?"  We'll all agree that it certainly is, and no one will tell her it's not a t-t-r ring because it just sounds so cute when she says it.

After her sisters leave for school with Dad, Annie and I will settle down for a nice quiet morning together.  I'll put on a cartoon for her while I give her the sleuth getting dressed treatment.  While she's not paying attention or moving around, I'll change her diaper, brush her teeth, put on some clean clothes that match since I picked them out, and put up her hair: all in under five minutes, and Annie's none the wiser because she's busy singing "bubble bubble bubble, guppy guppy guppies!" with the TV.

Later Annie will hand me pillows while I make my bed, make some play dough cupcakes, and maybe play with her dollhouse family for a bit.

At mid-mornning she'll stop to look at her potty training sticker chart.  She'll turn to me wistfully and say, "It's so wonderful."  It won't be the last time she'll describe something as 'wonderful' today, but since she's talking about the potty, I'll pay extra attention.

After I extend an enthusiastic invitation to sit on the potty itself, Annie will politely decline.  "No, I don't do that.  I wear diapers," she'll explain.  Oh, right, I'll think.  That's why my Costco bill is still  so high!

Then Maddie will come home from school at 11, and we'll eat lunch.  Annie will dance ghangham style and tell us more about all the wonderful and a-MAZ-ing things that come to mind.  She might even go pick out some clothes to change into that are more Annie-style and put them on all by herself.  They'll involve some combo of polka dots and pink, and she'll end up looking just like Little Miss Matched.   

She'll do so much laughing and playing that by the end of the day she'll be pretty tuckered out.  She'll lay down in her crib with Bobby and rub the brown side with her finger tips while her eyelids slowly close and she drifts off to sleep.