Saturday, December 21, 2013

Dear Finn,

Dear Finn,

Good gracious, how did another year already pass us by?  I was thinking all day today about the day you were born.  Seeing your sweet round cheeks.  Your smooth, tiny baby head.  The way you smelled, the sound of your cry (it was much softer those first few days).  Snuggling you and looking at you in the hospital bed even though I knew I should probably put you down and get some sleep.  It feels impossible that two years have passed since that day.  They were absolutely two of the fastest years I've experienced and I'm afraid that will be the trend from here on out.  The years we have with your and your brother are going to speed by and all your Daddy and I can do is try to enjoy and soak up every minute we have with you as they go speeding by.

Finny you are a darling little boy.  You look just like your dad.  Everyone says so.  Just like your handsome Daddy but with very light blond hair.  It's surprisingly blond in the summertime when your little body and face get tan and your hair stays blond as can be.  I love that I can see your Daddy when I look in your eyes.  And I love that your eyes light up when you smile, just like his do.  You have a very handsome little face with round cheeks and a thick little body.  You're not chubby, just solid and strong.  You love to wrestle with Tate and I don't think it will be long before you'll pin him down and he won't be able to push you off.   You are a tough, strong, athletic little boy.

You love all things sports.  Tate played a couple of little soccer seasons this year and it was torture for you to go to his games and not be able to play with him.  We would get you up on Saturday mornings, tell you we were going to Tate's soccer game and all morning and all the way to the game you would say, "I ready a kick a goal, Mom!  I ready!"  Your turn will come little kiddo.  You love playing with a lacrosse stick and it doesn't seem to frustrate you at all that it's so hard for you to maneuver.  You put the stick on the ground, walk over to the net, put the ball in, then walk back to the stick end and pick it up and swing it around until the ball comes out.  Then you get the ball and do it again.  Your patience has no end where sports are concerned.  You'll even sit and watch games on TV with Daddy and get frustrated when the commercials come on and interrupt the game.

You do seem to have a favorite sport.  Basketball.  It was one of your first words and definitely one of your favorite things to do.  We finally brought the little tike's basketball hoop down to the family room so you could play with it more often.  You have the most darling little jump shot.  It's more of a hop than a jump.  But you hop up in the air (sometimes with a grunt) and throw the ball at the hoop.  Most of the time you make it in too.  You practice a lot.  More than once we've seen you shoot the ball for 20 minutes at a time with a focus and patience way beyond your years.  You notice basketball hoops everywhere we go.  If we pass one as we're driving you shout, "A Badiball Hoop!" from the back seat, just to let us know that you saw one!  In Sacrament meeting at church you are hard to contain as you spend most of the meeting pointing out the basketball hoops in the cultural hall and asking to go see them.

It's funny how different you and Tate are.  A confirmation to me that you little guys were your own spirit people before you came to us and you have your own interests and needs.  And yet, it's amazing and wonderful how much you and Tate adore each other.  Tate is so proud of you Finn.  He tells everyone wherever we go, the park, the zoo, the museum, preschool, the grocery store, that YOU are his baby brother named Finn.  He loves you so much.  One of the most wonderful things I have seen thus far as a mother, is the tender way that you two play together.  You love to wrestle and play pillow fights.  Right now Tate wallops you pretty good and you take the hits and laugh until you can hardly breathe.  You can be a tease sometimes and push your brother's buttons too.  But most of the time you two are best buddies.  You are into whatever Tate is into.  Right now that means Star Wars.  Your favorite character by far is Darth Vader who you call, "Dun Dah Dun", and you sing his theme song and ask to listen to Star Wars music while we're driving in the car.  You also love Wild Kratts, Word World, and Lightning McQueen.    I'm aching for you not to grow up too fast, but I guess that's just what little brothers do.  They're dying to keep up with their big brothers so they seem to grow up much faster than I approve of.

I love the way you love your big brother.  The way you look at him and admire him so much.  He's a great big brother to you and you are lucky to have each other.  You guys adore your Daddy and rightly so, he's a magnificent Daddy.  He plays with you and plans fun outings with you.  He can't wait to get home from work every day so he can play with you guys and you two give him a hero's welcome.  Usually you and Tate hide when you hear the garage door and Dad has to find you.  I hope you always admire your Daddy the way you do now.  I couldn't ask for a better Daddy for you two crazy boys.

You are a pretty good eater.  You love fruit.  Grapes, bananas, apples, any kind of berry and sometimes oranges.  You've just started to get picky about some foods and I wonder if that's coming from watching your brother too.  You can pack it away when you're hungry, in a way that is absolutely mystifying.  But if you're not interested in the food we're having, there is no talking you into it.

You had tough phases this year but the last few months have been wonderful.  I think you just needed to figure out how to get around by yourself and express yourself better and once you had that new independence you suddenly became a much warmer, sweeter boy.  You still don't give snuggles or hugs away too freely.  Most of the time I end up just having to grab you and squeeze you when I need it, but you do give hugs and kisses sometimes and you like our songs and snuggles at the end of the day which is a HUGE change.  You are a great balance of toughness and sweetness.  You are strong, independent, and don't get hurt emotionally or physically very easily.  But you have a tender conscience and don't often knowingly disobey.  Your Dad and I were discussing today how you don't get into the Christmas presents, play with the Christmas train, or even get into the movie cupboards.  We told you not to, and so you don't.

Your speech came a little later than Tate's and we wondered when you would feel the need to chat with us.  All of a sudden about 4 months ago your vocabulary exploded.  You started using words and phrases that we hadn't "taught" you, you were just listening all along, storing it away until you decided to form the words yourself.  Now you quote movies with Tate, sing songs in your bed, and help your toys talk to each other.  Your little voice is so stinkin' cute.  You have a lisp like Tate and you say several other letters funny too.  Your "ch" and "j" sounds are pretty darling.  You have great manners and say "please" and "thank you" without being prompted.  It's so sweet to hear you and Tate in the back seat as we drive around.  "Please I have a cracker Tate?" "Sure, Finny, here you go." "Oh Thank you Tate!"  "You're welcome, Finny."  So darling.

Finn, honey, I love you.  I love your tough, independent side and I love your sweet, polite, tender side that needs short hugs and kisses from me to make it all better before you head right back out to play.  Being your momma is the very best job in the world.  I wouldn't trade my time with you two for anything.  It's incredible and it's heartbreaking watching you grow bigger, older, and more independent every day.  I'm immensely proud of you every time you learn something new, and at the same time I want to keep you just like you are just a little bit longer because I LOVE two year old you.  I want to scoop you up from your crib and hold you all night just so I don't miss a second of your cute little two year old bear cub body.  Your Dad and I will be your biggest fans all your life.  We are in awe of you and so grateful to be your parents.

Happy Birthday my sweet little boy.
The world is yours.
Love,
Mom

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

What a whirlwind couple of months it has been.  The first week of November I got a new, much more time-consuming calling, then we spent the next few weeks adjusting to that and getting ready for my family to come visit for Thanksgiving.  All the Hansen crew and Glenn's brother Ian spent just less than 4 days together here at my house, then we all spread out across the country again.  And now suddenly we have a week and a half left before Christmas.  I'm not sure where this Fall went.  I wish we could do it over just one more time.  I feel like I missed it.
Thanksgiving with my family and dear Uncle Ian was wonderful.  We looked forward to it for months and, as expected, it flew by much too quickly.  We had 17 people including all the kiddos staying in my house and it was a blast.  We are so spread out across the country now that we don't get together more than once a year.  The last time we were all together was for a few days last Christmas time.  We have a really good time when we get together and it's always a bummer when we separate not knowing when we'll all be together again.
The Thanksgiving meal was quite an event.  Glenn was determined to make a Turducken.  That would be a chicken, in a duck, in a turkey, with layers of Glenn's corn bread stuffing in between each one.  Cody and Glenn spent the evening before boning three birds and putting the masterpiece together.

 Thanksgiving morning some of us took off for a Gobble Wobble 5K run in Littleton.  It was a great little race around a pond and park.  I'm definitely in for next year.  Some wore funny hats, Adam wore his red long johns.  
It was a good time all around and a nice way to start off a day of marathon eating.
Cody and Tate got some snuggle time in as Cody explained hunting shows to him.  Tate was surprisingly intrigued.
 We had a very full house for the meal as Garvins were able to join us as well.  The food spread was incredible. I don't even know if I have a favorite dish.  There were too many delicious ones to choose from.
 Finn was very pleased as well.
 And the three little kiddos had fun eating at their little kiddo table.
After dinner we played some card games with the Garvins.  Always a delight.
 Finn went back and forth from watching "Planes" on Adam's ipad at the kids table
to begging for strawberry rhubarb pie from Grandpa.
 Friday was a pretty chill day.  In the morning we got a couple of babysitters to watch all the kids while we went to the new Hunger Games movie together.  It was great to get some adult time and we all really enjoyed the new movie.  Our kids played so well together all weekend.  It was just fun to be around them while they enjoyed each other.  Finn was especially enamored with his girly cousins and he loved our two babies as well.  He often got in the babies faces saying, "Hi baby Abby!"  "Hi baby Hayze."  The babies were so sweet all weekend as well.  Happy and so stinkin' cute.  I can hardly stand that I don't get to watch them get bigger!  The next time I see them they'll be completely different people.  It's a total bust.
We spent Friday afternoon chilling at the house while babies slept, then headed to a fun park for an hour or so before it got dark.  The kids had a great time at the park and we grown ups joined in a fair bit as well.  Mal, Kenz and I took turns in a spinning chair of doom.  I'm surprised none of us threw up.  Kenz and Cody had a competition of sorts on a tight rope.  It's difficult to say if either of them really "won".  We had a good laugh watching them either way.
Saturday morning we took some family pictures.  It was absolutely necessary considering how seldom we are all together and how many new family members we've added since our last ones.  A dear friend from our ward took them and did a fabulous job.
Right after pictures we decided to hit up our Science Museum for a few hours.  We were tired and it wasn't an ideal time of day for the kiddos but we managed to have a great time.  Dinosaurs, kids discovery zone, Sadie wanted to see the mummies, Tate wanted to see the African Animals, then we ended with the Health exhibit which was our favorite.  There were a lot of hands-on experiments and a little kids area too.  The kids stayed in there with Glenn and Uncle Ian who were just about done museuming while the rest of us had way too much fun being goofy together.  It's fun when you get all your siblings together and you are able to let loose and remember how much fun you have together.  We're not just moms and dads and employees and nurses, we're siblings.  We were kids together and sometimes when we're together we're kids again and that's kinda fun.
My favorite experiment is a brain wave game.  It's a competition where you and your opponent put sensors on your forehead and try to clear your mind.  There's a ball on the table that starts in the middle and moves toward the person with the most brain activity.  So the more you relax the faster you move the ball toward your opponent's side of the table.  When it enters your opponent's goal, you win.  On the wall there's a screen that shows the rise and fall of each person's brain waves.  It was a fun thing to do with siblings.  Kenzie took on Cody.  
 Aub took on Mom
 Ad and Cami
 And Mallory
 and I went at it.
It was a really good time.  We ended up in the kids area with our kids and made impressions of our faces.  What a good lookin' bunch we are.
 After the museum we headed to Cafe Rio for lunch, because it was down the street, and there are several of us who don't live near a Cafe Rio anymore so it was an obvious choice.
That night we had a belated first birthday party for Baby Abby.  What a sweet little girl she is.  I don't know if I ever heard her really cry.  She would kind of whimper when she was sad, but it more sounded like her heart was breaking than that she was really upset.  Such a dear little miracle baby.  It was fun to be able to celebrate her all together.
She wanted nothing to do with her cupcake.
 Adam forced some frosting into her mouth at one point and she gave a big shutter.  It was hilarious.
 We have a lot to be grateful this year, as always.  This year we put a little grateful tree on our wall and wrote things we were grateful for on leaves throughout the month.  I liked this little tradition and I think we'll keep it up for next year.  Here are a few of our favorite gratefuls:
 I love that little Miss Sadie is grateful for Chameleons.
 Dick Chopp, Glenn's surgeon from almost 4 and a half years ago now.  Grateful for him.
 Jobs, clothes, family, chocolate chip cookies, Tate wrote Star Ward Angry Bird Telepods a couple of times.  His new favorite thing.
 And of course, the Turducken made the list.
It was a spectacular Thanksgiving.  I hope we can get together like this at least every year.  It's only going to get harder now that our kids are starting school.  Little Mya is in Kindergarten already and Tate will start next year.  But it is worth every inconvenience and sacrifice it takes to get this crazy family of ours together.  We have a great time when we do and I am thankful to have a family that I absolutely adore.
Thanks for coming everyone.  Can't wait til next time!