Wednesday, May 27, 2015

"Are they ALL YOURS?!!!!"

I've seen it all. 

The wide eyes. The whispers. The stares. 
I've even TWO MEN (different men on different occasions in different states) ask me "so, have you figured out how birth control works now?" 

I've also been approached by strangers to offer help, to tell me how blessed and lucky I am to have four kids or ask me how I do it because they want more kids.  Strangers have also carried out my groceries, loaded them in the car, opened doors, stopped me to tell me how I am supermom. Well, I can't argue with that last one. So I just tell them I left my cape at home today. 

I know there are a million "must-haves" out there. I wanted to create my own. Sometimes I think, "if my children had to grow up without me, what kind of memories or advice would they have from me." Chalk it up to the crazy flash floods we have been having paired with the tornado warning for the recent speculation on my mortality. 

Now when people ask me "how do you do it all?!" I can just direct them here. 

1. A diaper bag you love and never want to replace: I have a petunia pickle bottom boxy backpack. I have had it for 4 years. Before that, I had A LOT of diaper bags. Some were purses. Some were backpacks. Some were diaper bags. But the boxy backpack has stolen my heart. I love that it has a fold out diaper pad, i can wear on my shoulder, back or clip on my stroller. I have taken it all over the world as a carry on and the only problem I have is that finally, the zipper broke. But its so easy to fix. And lets be real... 4 kids, 1 diaper bag for all of them? Worth every penny. 

2. A functional stroller: I have had umbrella strollers, jogging strollers, clip in strollers, sit n stand etc. I have to say with two, I LOVED my Joovy sit n stand. It was so great because my daughter coudl sit or stand (obviously) and the baby could stay in his carseat until he needed more room. But even then, my daughter could still sit or stand. Truth be told, I would have three or fours kids on it many times and it worked like a dream. I sold it and got my Valco baby Spark Duo. And I love it. Like, A lot. Another purchase that was worth every penny. Both the diaper bag and stroller I got on sale. Knowing what I know now, I would have bought it without it being on sale. That's how much I love it. The Valco works for us now because i can attach a stroller board to the back. My son can sit or stand on it. The babies are able to fully recline to the bassinet or sit up all the way and watch the world go by. The shades are awesome big and it takes up LESS room in my van than the double stroller I had before. 

3. A few "go to" shirts that are easy to wear: My favs are "Happy Mom" by The Happy Mom club. "Best Job Ever" By Ezra and Eli and these easy wear and versatile blouses that are at Costco right now. 

4. Multiple bags. I know I said a diaper bag. But I also had a bag for church and a bag for the gym that I keep loaded up with everything I need. I used to just take my diaper bag. But, if the girls needed to be changed then I found that I was out of diapers or clothes while doing my errands. So now I have a separate bag for that. Its little and its perfect. For church, well, it started out as me takign just my diaper bag. But then I would have people help me so I started to bring two diaper bags. That got a little hectic. So now I bring a separate tote. Its one I won at an auction. Its classy and spacious. So I just load it up on Saturday night (or just add fruit snacks to it) and we are good to go. 

5. Electronics: I know this has been controversial in the last bit about kids on iPads etc. Guess what. I don't really care. My daughter is 6 and could really take or leave the iPad. My son who is 3 loves video games and apps. There are enough educational apps out there that its not a big deal. And, for my son who NEVER slows down, its nice to be able to play the Shark game or Star Wars or Toy Story with him and bond that way. For me, I love having Kindle Fire's for each of my kids. Its awesome when we travel and also awesome when I want some quiet time and the babies are napping and I don't want my house destroyed. At least for an hour. 

6. A mini-van. Ours is a 2013 Chrysler Town and Country. I have had it for a year. We drove it all over to Disney to LA to Grand Canyon to Zions--- and I have ZERO complaints. We got an amazing deal and it had everything I ever wanted in it. Driving my van makes me really really happy

7. A support group. I recently co-founded the Houston Woman's Club. After coming from our MBA experience at BYU, it was so lonely moving. After I had the twins, my neighbors were so wonderful, Well, they were so wonderful before that. But they brought me dinners, took my other two kids ALL DAY and invited me to sit outside or come over real quick for ice cream. My husband was/is the biggest support I have. Our work load is equal and it helps a lot. But that doesn't mean we had to communicate to get to this point. So if you are feeling like you need more support, you have got to sit down and figure out exactly what and why and how you need help. 

8. God. I am LDS. I was born LDS and will die LDS. I have come to know my Father in Heaven and His Son so intimately, this past year especially. With moving twice, having twins, moving again in a month and being a SAHM and starting our journey into Homeschooling, I often find myself talking to Him adn seeking His comfort. This should be #1 actually. 

9. Gym Membership. Or a hobby. I love the YMCA child watch. I love my boot camp and spin class and body combat classes. I love that I have two hours to do something I really enjoy and it brings me a lot of happiness. A happy mom is a happy house! 

10. Things to look forward to: Each year we have been able to go on a couples trip. Sometimes its just for the weekend. Sometimes its for a whole week. We do have family that helps but even when we didn't, we paid our good friends to watch our kids or we could always fly in a grandparent. We are not rich at all. This is something we save all year for. We also go on family vacations and those are always pretty fun. Its something we look forward to and helps to really get past those days or weeks that seem to drag on. Every month I host a girls night dinner. That is something we all look forward to! It doesn't have to be a dream vacation. It could be book club or date night or running with friends or by yourself. After battling postpartum depression and body image issues, this one thing has been HUGE for me. 

*11: Organization. But this is a whole post on its own. 

Well there you have it. A photo free-boringish post but its chalk full of useful (or useless) info. And a funny video for your viewing pleasure. Click here if you want to read about some funny "I'll Never parenting quotes" 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Traditions are what make us

Families. Not much in this world evokes such response as asking people about their own families. I have been blessed to have opportunity to talk to lots of women about this very subject. As I began writing this post, I came across this quote.

The home I grew up in is surrounded by 3 rice fields and a canal in the back. My dad, uncles and grandpa built our home about 28 years ago. We spent a lot of time fishing and swimming in that canal
As summertime quickly approaches, for me that means family reunions. Whoop whoop! 

This year I have spent some time planning a reunion. Betcha didn't know I had 9 brothers and sisters. To say coordinating this has been a breeze would be a lie. With one sister over seas, two about to have their first baby, one brother going back to school and one a LDS mission--- we finally set up a place and time. Disneyland in two years. Hopefully that will be catalyst for a reunion every 2 years. I hope. 
this is minus my twins. a nephew, a niece and a BIL. We need a new photo

I am heartbroken to report that family I married into are going to be partying it up in St. George for the Hansen family reunion. Sound fun? Well it is going to be. And I made the tough choice to stay home with my 10 month old twins. 
this is minus the 6 babies we have added since last year

MY POINT I am getting totally sidetracked from is this. Families are important. And traditions are important. 

Listen to this podcast. It talks about why. 

Growing up in CA, every Fourth of July we would go camping. And by camping, please picture me as an 8 year old backpacking up near Yosemite. It was a 7 mile hike which felt like 7,000 miles. It took all day. But then, at the end, awaiting ALL my cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. We had church up there even. I learned to fish, listened to my great-uncles tell tall tales, and had my first taste of rattlesnake. My girl cousins and I would take turns having sleep overs at each others campsites and go cliff jumping together. In my mind, I lived for camping. And I miss my cousins. For me, that family tradition has shaped much of who I am. 

As in the podcast, traditions can change. Sadly, the one of everyone camping has changed. My kids won't get to have that same experience that my grandma and mom passed onto me. I have been struggling/thinking about how to instill family traditions into my little family of 6. 

I guess I'll share my magic traditions with you, but you need to share yours with me. I mean, its only fair. 

-family prayer and hug followed by our family cheer*
-Scriptures with kids during lunch

-Sunday scripture lesson and a walk to the park or the pond or a bike ride
-Nacho Sunday
-Family Night on Monday
-Thursday night is mom's night off
-Friday family movie night*

-parent/kid date
-daddy/kid "interviews"
-send birthday cards to family
-date nights OUT with no phones allowed (well, not preoccupying us)

Birthdays/Mother's day/Father's Day:
-7 days of celebration

Couples only trip
Feb:-Jaedyn's coronation party
March: Easter- kids have to find their hidden Easter baskets
April:- kids lemonade stand*
June-blueberry picking*
Nov: Makana's favorite things party*
Dec: Secret Santa 12 days countdown, family 12 days of Christmas, Gingerbread houses, + more stuff

this year we went to Brazil. Next year is Cambodia

* these are traditions that just happened. It wasn't pre-conceived. It just was something that emerged and that has worked for our family

In the next few weeks I will be posting more about traditions and keeping kids occupied and engaged in general. But this will do. Now for your turn. What are your thoughts on traditions? Have you carried anything over from your family into your new family? 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

If I was homeless---

Kids really say funny things. The other day, Jaedyn saw a pretty bridge-type thing at to zoo. It went like this

Jaedyn: Hey Mom! If I was homeless, I would want to live under this bridge!!! Can you take my picture?

I mean, uhm... I had no idea 1) how she knew those that were homeless found shelter under bridges and 2) I am still stuck on 1. ^^^

Keo gives everyone a run for his money.But he comes up with the funniest things. Our living arrangements most of  his whole life has been... tight. For instance---

We went to look at homes to buy. We tour this one home in particular that I still dream about. Jaedyn runs up the stairs and immediately claims her room. Then Keo runs into the room next to it and goes straight to the--- closet.
Keo: MOM!!!! MOM!!!! Wook!!! Here is my woom!!!!
Me: Oh buddy. Need to get this kid into a house!

the other night I am putting him to bed. Lately he has only been wanting mom and there is a strict order of things. I constantly tell myself and anyone else for that matter--- that between his need for exact order and his limitless supply of energy, that kid is going to change the world. But I digress.

So I was getting ready to do the bedtime routine and just as I was about to start, he begins to do crunches. And then he startes counting...21, 22,23,24,26,2010!

Me: Yeah buddy, that's how I like to start counting my crunches too.

Ruby and Goldyn just say momma and dada a lot. I won't deny it, my heart melts every time. 

 Finally, tonight at dinner Jaedyn starts to tell us about her favorite hobbies. So she asks McKay and he says "spending time with my family" and I add "working out". She replies "Hey! That's the same thing as mom!" I didn't even tell her what it was. I did add after that I like to read and plan fun things to to.
Keo chimes in next "eating spaghetti!" What???!!! Ok, awesome hobby buddy. And so true.
jaedyn: Well Keo, what is your favorite thing to have for dinner? His reply: IKE CWEAM! And macrawroni and chweese.

This bunch if mine sure keeps it fun and full of laughter around here. Which is good because I'll be honest, 4 kids in 5 years is way hard. Like all of the time.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Tea Parties start young

A childhood without Tea Parties is like the Ocean without the water. And maybe its becuase the oldest is a very imaginative, dramatic girl.... but tea parties have been pretty much a constant companion around here since day one. 

 The other day I peeked on these four. The twins were in dress-ups and there was a bowl of Avenger Cheez-itz and even a tablecloth... BYU blue of course. Keo was sitting on a wipes case (because girls get chairs) and Jaedyn was providing that afternoon's entertainment.
It was a moment I knew deep inside me I had to document. So I frantically raced for my camera and took a few photos with the stealth of a ninja.  

McKay and I give thanks every day for these four. Yes, it is so so hard that, I had really known how hard it would be, I wouldn't have done it. But, maybe, if I had also known how simply fulfilling it was I would have had more kids sooner. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

We love our Imaginext toys


When I was little, I remember playing for HOURS outside. We would find scrap wood and make forts and my siblings and I even spent a few weeks making a pretty awesome tree house in my Grandma's tree. We would wonder and go on adventures and play make believe. And I, well I had some dearly beloved imaginary friends. Obviously my imagination was very strong. I'm talking hulk-smash strong.

As I got older, that delightful imagination has never quite gotten under control.

I tell McKay often how I really wish Marvel and Justice League and DC Comic world was real. Well, just the heros. Bleh to the Villians.

For my little guy's birthday, I added an Imaginext Batcave to the list. My MIL got it for him and he played with it non-stop. For his family gift, we got him the Imaginext Rescue City. Between these two, he is one happy boy for a lot of the day.

He is still loud. He is still rough. And he can't get enough of playing with his baby sisters. We love that he is "All-boy" and I love that he has a abnormal fascination with Superheros.

I knew he was destined for great things right form the beginning. And at just three years of age, He is rescuing folks from burning building, saving Gotham from the Joker, and capturing bank thieves.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Happy Easter 2015 #Helives

Happy Blessed Easter my friends. 

I love Easter. I love anything that allows me to celebrate Christ really. 

It lets me focus on begin calm and happy and thankful. 

Like thankful for these HANDMADE matching dresses from my amazing, Christian friend, Terry Sowers. oh, and she monogrammed their initials on the dresses

And these sparkly bows and pretty pink necklace from Tiffany at Sheeposh. 

And focus on catching these kids and their love for each other. 

I mean, its pretty great. 
 and we are gonna have some extra walkers in no time

and some gems from behind the scenes.... 

Happy Easter my dears. And if you'd like, be sure to tune into General Conference. Its all about Christ. And between sessions, since Mckay is in charge of all our Easter celebration, we crack confetti eggs on each other. Its pretty much a kids dream come true. 

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Thursdays are my favorite

Thursdays I feel like I can breathe again.

On Thursdays, I take the night off. McKay comes home and takes over and I usually retreat to my room. Its really heavenly. I used to use it to read. But lately I have been using it to clean.

I'm always cleaning. And it never looks like it.

I picked up my little guy from preschool today. We have a great co-op and I feel lucky I get to mix with such talented ladies. Today, I noticed that my friends home was so open and so clean and so organized.  (Usually I am like 30 minutes late picking Keo up. I just grab him and go so I've never noticed). Her pantry was immaculate. Her floors were so clean. I actually felt really really really out of place. I came home and went straight to the computer and looked up The Container Store.

That's where she got herself the immaculate pantry.

 Oh my.

I started to put things in the checkout. Then I remembered. We are moving in a few months. Probably to another rental since we can't make our minds up (also because I want to have some sense of love for a house if we are going to buy it). Moving means boxes and sleepless nights and de-cluttering and then unpacking things all over again.

And what if the containers are too big? That's totally happened to me. What if they are too small? What if we have a barbie-sized pantry?

So I turned off the computer and focused on the chaos of my family. I grabbed myself that Dr. Pepper that magically appears in the Kitchen after McKay comes home and went outside to take photos of all my girls in matching clothes.

Because on Thursdays, I don't want to spend my whole day cleaning anymore. And maybe for Christmas Santa will give me my own immaculate pantry. But until then, let's toast our Dr. peppers and embrace our chaos and the happiness of Thursdays.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

My missionaries and other funny things

I love having missionaries to write. I love hearing from missionaries even more. Lucky for us, we have lots to keep our emails and hearts full. Do you have anyone serving a mission?
Zach: Sierra Leon and now Ghana
Kalli: Sweden
Lexi: Des Monies, IO
Jeffery: Chicago West, Il
Parker: Bulgaria (in July. Congrats buddy)

Funny things we remembered to write down:

J: mom, when you and dad are really old and dead, I want to play the violin in church
M: ok, well, how about before we are dead
J: yeah, like when I'm 8. You will be REALLY OLD then
Keo: Hey mom!
Me: Hey Buddy.
Keo: member that time I thew a diaper in your cheek?
Me: uhm.... nooo... I don't.
Keo: WHACK!!!! (the sound of a diaper being thrown in my face... )
J: Mom, I have an idea!
Me: Okay, tell me 
J: How about you be the servant and I can be teh princess
Me: Ok, what does a servant do?
J: they like, cook your food and take you places and clean up and ...
Me: Sounds like a mom....
J: Yeah, you are a servant mom!! 
Keo: Mom, you take a nap
Me: Uhm. Why?
Keo: take a nap mom! takeanaptakeanaptakeanap!!!
Me: Noooo! Why should mommy take a nap?!
Keo: I WANT TOOKIES!! (aka: cookies)
**if I take a nap then he thinks he can eat all the cookies. Well, he managed to do that with me wide awake. Next time, I am just going to take that nap. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Hello Love

This month I have been focusing a lot on love. Specifically, on CHOOSING LOVE and not shouting.(orange rhino project) I'm a bit of a yeller anyhow I think BUT, with a two story house and a very fun and LOUD toddler boy... someone seems to always be "yelling" about something.

Its been two weeks and things just feel so.... (sigh) .... nice. I am not sure how to put it really. But NICE seems to sum it up perfectly.

This month I have been also trying to capture more of our family through photos. Thank you Shelby for the reminder.

Oh and stay tuned for upcoming posts about homeschool, my spending fast, and life in an overpriced doll-sized house. I know, its some pretty good material coming up

We like to hang out after at the Zoo especially by these big guys. 

I'm happy they love each other so much. 

Some of our favorite people who homeschool too

do you know what that is? Its a meglodon. And one of our favorite extinct species. 
Megalodon is an extinct species of shark that lived approximately 15.9 to 2.6 million years ago, during the Cenozoic Era. (wiki)

These two are seven months old! 
They are mobile so we have got our hands... and our hearts... very full

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

to do list and Funny things

-write in my journal... haven't touched it in 8 months
-Break out my camera and take real photos
-Write my LDS Missionaries
-Find motivation to do a little more than I am right now

Funny things I have managed to actually remember to document:

Mom: Keo, are you a son or daughter? 
Keo: I am a son
Mom: Whats dad?
Keo: Dad is the moon
McKay: We haven't saved any money. You want to know why?
Jaedyn: Why dad?
McKay: (whispers) Because mom spends everything
Jaedyn: (whispers) tell me more
Jaedyn: Mom , who do you forget things?
Me: I don't know
Jaedyn: Well, when I am a mom, I am not going to forget anything ever.
Me: I bet you won't sweetie, I bet you won't...
Mom: Keo, where did daddy go?
Keo: He's a work making money, so we can have toooookies!!! (cookies)
Jaedyn: Moooommm!!! I really really want some soda!
Mom: No, you had some for dinner and its time for bed
Jaedyn: Ok. Well, Can I have a little bit of water?
Mom: Sure, but hurry because we are about to have family prayer..
Jaedyn: (goes down stairs adn comes back up w a grin) Mom... I accidentally poured soda in my cup and drank it.....

Awkward stuff:
-Showing up to an RS enrichment activity 30 minutes late. Then realizing that my slimming all black outfit is spotted with butternut squash baby food.... gross

-At the above mentioned activity for an hour and after talking with a lot of ladies, my SIL points out that I have something in my teeth. Thank you SIL. No thanks to you random strangers. 

-Neighbor comes knocking on my door: Mrs. Hansen!!! Your son is running in the street!!! 
Me: You sure? Im pretty sure he is napping... 
So I run out to check because, no matter whos kid it is, its a bad idea... and sure enough, there is Keo playing chicken with cars. He got through TWO child locked doors. Heaven help us and we need to move to a 100 acre ranch. Fast

-After my 5:45a class at the YMCA, coming home only to realize that everything I had on to workout in was on inside out... way to go getting dressed in the dark

-Serving dinner to my kids and my daughters little friend. I overhear from the kitchen "Uhm. these biscuits are kinda gross..." I think to myself   "ok, not having you over for dinner, and take a bite of the Paula Deen Biscuits that have a million stars... "Oh, yeah, those are gross....." Bless you child. Curse you Mrs. Deen. 

-Waking up and feeding a bottle in the middle of the night to the wrong baby! No wonder she kept acting like she wasn't hungry since i fed her 30min before. Welcome full on mommy brain mush

-giving a talk in Church and basically crying the whole time because of nerves. I used to be awesome at public speaking. "Used" to be 

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

My totally cliche new year resolutions

Funny thing about cliche's right. They become cliches in the first place because they are so common.

Not very long ago I had such specific goals. They incorporated ass facets of living. Emotional, spiritual, physical, mental and something else I can't remember. But you know what, I simply don't have the motivation for all that. I could say I don't have the time but I probably do. I mean, If I REALLY REALLY wanted it, I could. Instead, I will shout from the rooftops that I just don't want to do it.

I have been reading this book by Sheryl Sandburg called Lean in. It really isn't anything new. I enjoyed the stories and some advice she gave. Other things I really disagree with. However, I do recommend every woman and man to read it. McKay actually recommended that I read it. Early on she attacks the idea of "having it all". She says simply that if someone claims to be able to do it all or have it all, they are lying. I am lucky enough to NOT get weighed down by comparisons in that respect. By vice is comparing my body... not to others per say, but to the time in my life when I was in my best shape ever. Such a dumb thing for anyone to ever do. But I do it. I'm working on NOT doing it.

That's not my point. My point is, er, was--- that goals need to be realistic. And I am totally okay with simple and realistic. Will I get up at 5am and go run then come home and make breakfast and then drop off my perfectly coiffed children to school? Nope. That will probably never happen and for a lot of people, that is not even a big goal. Its probably something people do every day in fact. But for this mama who HATES mornings, it really is all I can do to get up 30 minutes early to read the Book of Mormon.

What I am trying to say (and failing miserably) is that goals should not be something that gets you down. They SHOULD be challenging and they should stretch you, but lets be easy on ourselves.

A while ago I wrote a post about our family rules. It was discussed, pondered, prayed, discussed again, analyzed and even agonized over. FINALLY, we got our 6 family rules. Simple. Do-able. In like fashion, here are my six goals for 2015

1. Run a 10k in under 60min. Thats about 9.4mile. schedule here
-sub goal is a Triathalon w McKay
2. Study the Book of Mormon for 30min each morning
-sub goal: read with kids and McKay each day
3. Stay in budget actually, i am pretty good about this anyhow but its a good goal to keep
-sub-goal: travel to a foreign country sans kids (probably Europe)
4. Read a non-fiction once a quarter I LOVE fiction. I really do need to branch out though
5. Be a better friend Sounds very general. But, I do have a plan that involves sending birthday cards, calling up friends and family monthly, having people over for dinner etc
6. Say YES a whole lot more I just really want to recapture that girl I was before marriage and kids. I want to be up for adventures instead of worrying so much.

Well, what do you think? What are your goals, as cliche as they may be? Goals can become a lot like family photos... there is A LOT of work that goes into getting one that works.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Senior photos

Over Thanksgiving I was able to take a few senior photos. This was my first time and I LOVED it.

And then it was Eli's turn:

Who knew a parking garage would hold such promise?!?! I loved taking these photos because we were able to be pretty creative and to also work together and create some memories. 

Thank you Alex and Eli! Congrats class of 2014

While I get paid for photos, this blog is where I focus on journaling. Please don't judge my work from my posts.

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