Friday, December 31, 2010

Look what SANTA brought us!

After a lot of pleading to the big man in red, our biggest Christmas wish came true! We were blessed with FAMILY for the holidays!

Grandma and Grandpa Hanks showed up on Wednesday, the 22nd of December, and then the fun began!

Lily was SUPER happy to have her best buddy back. I hardly remember a time when she was not attached to her Grandpa's side.

Grandpa and Grandma both were responsible for teaching Lily how to stick out her tongue, clap her hands, climb up and down the stairs, stand up, and walk...with some assistance during their visit. Lily had Grandpa walking her back and forth for ever, and she would cry every time he tried to end their little game. Let's just say, she had him wrapped VERY tightly around her little finger!

Brooklyn wasn't exactly wanting for attention either. She WORSHIPS her grandma and followed her everywhere she went. She enjoyed art projects, dress up, morning snuggles, games, outings, and cookie making with grandma and loved every minute!

One of the fun things Brooklyn did with grandma Hanks took place after our FABULOUS Christmas Eve dinner with out friends, the Cottons. Grandma and Brooklyn decorated some of the cookies they had made earlier and laid them out for Santa. They also colored a picture for him so he would know how thankful we were for his visit.

Well, Santa DID come and boy did he deliver! The stockings were full, there were fun little toys and books in place of the cookies we had left out, and the presents were out and wrapped with care!

Because we had two extra people in our house for Santa to visit, we experienced the biggest pile of presents we had ever seen before! It was pretty crazy!

Lily actually loved the whole Christmas scene. She sat happily next to grandpa, opening presents, bouncing on the couch, and eating extra wrapping paper. She loved her new toothbrush that Santa brought for her one, giant, front tooth. She also loved her Lady Bug Pillow Pet from Grandma Uda and her adorable penguin hat that Aunt Janna made. (Which she has had SEVERAL complements on so far.) She also enjoyed many other fun presents from her aunts and uncles, grandmas and grandpas, and some of our good friends.

Brooklyn, of course, thought she had died and gone to heaven! Santa brought her almost EVERYTHING she ever wanted, and mom and dad and her extended family took care of the rest. Her favorites included ALL dress-up items: cat and rabbit outfits, a tutu, and a mermaid outfit; as well as her new barbie mermaid, unicorn pillow pet, Tinkerbell bath kit from her cousin Teya and Ponyo DVD.

And to top things off, Grandma and Grandpa Hanks brought this princess castle/tent that the girls LOVE! They have been watching movies, playing tag and hide and seek, and taking naps in it ever since Christmas day!

Grandma and Grandpa even got brave enough to go inside and play for awhile!

Kevin and I also got spoiled, but for some reason, we forgot to take pictures. We did get a shot of Kevin putting on his bike helmet ear warmers that Janna made though. Kevin also got some Martial Arts lessons, a new family blog book, some tools, a remote controlled helicopter, and many fun books and games.

I scored big time with a Cuttlebug (a toy for card makers and scrapbookers), some GREAT books, girly lotions, and a shopping spree to KOHLS!

After all was said and done, we had a VERY big mess to clean up, but it was totally fun because we knew when there was space on our floor again, we would be able to play with our new toys! WOOHOO!

Anyway, we had an INCREDIBLE Christmas and were SO thankful that Grandma and Grandpa made it out to visit! We are also VERY grateful to all our family that remembered us with fun gifts, cards, and phone calls. We love and miss all of you and look forward to the time when we can come out and spend a great big Christmas with everyone! Until then, we wish you all an exciting and prosperous new year!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Fun with Christmas Giving!

As wonderfully fun as it is to get new things for Christmas, I still think I have a little more fun when I get to give a great gift. This year Kevin and I took that a step further and decided to give more home-made gifts! Here are a few of the fun things we were able to make and share with our friends and family:

This snowman was crafted out of 2X4 scraps, an old shirt and some wrapping paper! My friend Liberty Cameron taught me how to make him. We gave it to our good friends the Cotton's to thank them for the FANTASTIC Christmas Eve dinner that they shared with us!

We made this Grandchild Nativity for Kevin's mom for Christmas. Janna's daughter Audrey is the first sheep, Brian's kids Wes and Sydney star as Joseph and Mary, Lily is sheep number two, and Brooklyn tops the piece as the Angel. There is also room to grow on the sides in case Natalie, Sara, or Janna want to help make some wise men and shepherds. :)

Kevin and I crafted this medal hanging plaque (with some more help from Liberty Cameron) for my Marathon running sister and her speedy husband too! It was my first attempt using vinyl and I think it turned out pretty good!

Brooklyn got a mermaid outfit made out of a pajama leg, some extra hula costume material, and an old tank top. This isn't the best picture but she still looks cute in her mermaid clothes!

As a Christmas day project, Kevin's mom helped me to insulate our window seat by adding a padded window seat cover. She, of course, did all the hard stuff, but I actually did sew every stitch by myself. Its been a great addition to our home. We are much warmer in our living room now and we have more comfortable seating for our guests.

Last, but not least, the bunk beds! This was a project we wanted to finish for the girls for Christmas, but without a garage or yard, and with freezing temperatures, it took a little longer than we had hoped. Thanks to our friends the Cotton's, who let us borrow their garage the last few weeks, the beds are finally 100% built and back in my living room waiting to be painted and reassembled. I will post more pictures when it is done. Until then, happy crafting and happy giving!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The December SCOOP... so far!

So far December has been busy, but fun. We've had a lot of time to play indoors since its been FREEZING all month, but that's OK. The girls have enjoyed playing chicken fight with mommy and daddy, following each other around, jumping on our bed, snuggling under blankets and watching movies in the living room, and doing simple little things like helping daddy brush his teeth!

We've also enjoyed short trips out to the mailbox to see if there are any Christmas cards in there. Brooklyn's favorite card so far was a Princess Christmas card sent from Grandma Uda. As you can see from this picture, she was pretty excited to get it!

Earlier in the month Brooklyn and I went on a mommy daughter date to see the movie "Tangled". It was one of the funnest dates I've ever been on and Brooklyn REALLY appreciated the one-on-one time with mommy.

Kevin and I have also spent A LOT of time making Christmas presents and projects this month. Our living room officially looks like a lumber yard, but hopefully it will clear out by Christmas morning!

We got our first snow day earlier in the month as well. Brooklyn sat by the window all day squealing with excitement. She kept saying, "Mommy, its SNOWING! Now CHRISTMAS can come!"

On the Saturday after it snowed, Kevin got Brooklyn all bundled up and they went out to play in the snow together.

Brooklyn had so much fun with her dad that the cold didn't even phase her! She was running around and getting all excited about her footprints, and even managed to white wash her daddy a little!

The highlight of the snow day was the cute little snowman that we all made together. Unfortunately, I didn't make it into any of the pictures since I was working the camera!

We worked really hard on our little snowman, and as you can see, he turned out pretty cute! But not as cute as his little admirer. About a week after we made him, some mean little boy kicked him down. When Brooklyn discovered the crime, she was VERY upset. She started to cry and said, "Mommy! That mean boy melted my snowman!" Poor girl. But don't worry, daddy promised to make her another one when it snows again.

Now for the sad news...followed by some good news. We are all sick, AGAIN! We spent last night moping around the living room with fevers and body aches. The good news? I FINALLY quit my job. There were many things that motivated me to do so, but one of them was that we are ALWAYS getting sick! Hopefully now we won't be bringing home as many bugs. :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Simple Math and Random Phenomena

People are always asking me how I had two children that look nothing like me. At first I wondered the same thing, but as time has gone by, I've been able to slowly pick out similarities. I now see that my children actually DO look like me. In fact, they not only look like me, but they are JUST LIKE ME! You just have to take a minute to do the math and then you will see it too!

The other day I was feeding Lily when she suddenly pulled this pose with the accompanying face. I couldn't help but laugh!

Lately Brooklyn has been really in to butterflies, angels, fairies, mermaids, princesses, and unicorns! But she isn't all girl. She also LOVES dinosaurs, robots, and aliens! Here is a picture of an alien that she drew for her daddy.

Remember that time I told you about Kevin changing Lily's diaper and getting poo all over the place? Well...the other day, Lily had another explosive poo diaper and I thought I would show Kevin how a REAL pro changes a diaper WITHOUT getting poop all over the house.

I could already tell by the coloring of Lily's shirt that the poo had escaped via bum crack onto her back, so I began by quickly and expertly whipping her pants off to avoid smearing. I then proceeded to wipe her back, belly, bum, and thighs clean from poo smears whilst simultaneously holding her legs and keeping her from crocodile rolling through her diaper.

I finished in no time and she was squeaky clean, as was my carpet and all surrounding areas. I was feeling pretty proud of myself until Brooklyn said, "Hey mom! What is that yucky thing over there?" I looked across the room at the fireplace to discover a stray poo that must have been hiding in Lily's pants when I flung them off of her. Incidentally, I managed to fling the poo as well. MODED! This picture shows where it all began...and where it ended! (If you look closely, you will actually see the poo! I took a picture before bleaching it away!)

Last but not least, Kevin received this email the other day, and I thought it was random enough to make the blog:


I was surfing the Internet at work today and found your blog and found we have something in common. My name is Kevin Hanks and I am a mechanical project engineer and I also have a daughter named Brooklyn. My wife and I have 4 children and live in Piedmont, SD.

I just thought it was a little weird to find someone else with my name who is also an engineer and our daughters have the same name.

Have a good day.


Anyway, that about sums up our random happenings as of late. Hope at least one of them made you smile!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Once again, we were not able to travel for Thanksgiving this year, so we hosted the holiday by ourselves, for ourselves. We started out the day at 5 am. Kevin and I got out of bed, put the Kalua pig in the crock pot, bundled the girls in 3 layers of clothing, packed our bags, and headed to Naperville to run the Thanksgiving Turkey Trot!

Because we are trying to make the Turkey Trot a family tradition, we went the extra mile to make ourselves look festive. Both the girls wore home-made turkey hats, I borrowed an Indian dress from Becca, and Kevin is really white, so...everyone figured out that he was suppose to be the Pilgrim!

The girls thought their hats were hilarious! They laughed every time they saw each other or their reflections. They weren't the only ones who liked them either, several people ooooooed and awwwwed at them and stopped to make comments or take pictures.

I myself was called Sacajawea several times as well as Pocahontas. One lady even came up to me and said, "Either you're wearing a great Halloween costume or you're a real Indian!" I told her she was right on both, she gave herself a cheer, and then we went on our separate ways.

The race itself went smoothly. It was the first time I'd ever run with a stroller and my arms were sore, but it only slowed me down 2 minutes total. We started dead last (because we were 2 out of 15 strollers in a crowd of 6,100 runners) but managed to pass over 2,000 runners before finishing in 38 minutes and 8 seconds!

When we got home, we watched the movie "The Last Air bender" while the girls napped and Kevin and I started the cooking. Dinner was done and the feast began at 4 pm. We had Kalua pig, wild rice, home-made rolls, devilled eggs, asparagus fried with SPAM, and fresh apple cider!

When we were sufficiently digested, Kevin and I started on desserts. He made a Texas sheet cake, and I made apple crisp. Then we had our neighbors over for desserts and games. It was so much fun but it totally wiped us out. We were more than happy to crash in our beds that night!

The next day, the girls and I went to Kevin's work to decorate his desk for Christmas. After that, we came home and started our own decorations. The girls had a blast setting up the tree, although I think Lily is a little peeved that she can't fully reach it, and Kevin and I had fun finding places for everything else.

The spot in the house that I am the most proud of is our fireplace. I made the wall hanging and the two big stockings a few years ago, and this year I crocheted the other 2 stockings for the girls. Its pretty cool to look at it and know that I made the whole thing!

Anyway, we had a fantastic Thanksgiving even though we desperately missed our families and we are excited to start even more traditions for our upcoming Christmas! Happy holidays everyone!!!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

28 years older...and maybe a little wiser too!

I know this is a little late, but on November 13th I celebrated my 28th birthday! I woke up early and went on a short run with the new running watch that Kevin got me. When I got home I was treated to berry cobbler for breakfast. I spent the next few hours enjoying some home spa treatments before Kevin took me out to eat sushi and then we rented "How to Train your Dragon" and "Toy Story 3". Then we came home and watched movies while eating the cake that Brooklyn and Kevin made. Before bed I got to open another stack of presents...the WHOLE set of books for "The Great and Terrible" series!

I had a wonderful birthday and feel very blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life. As a way of reflecting on the last few years I decided to share with you 28 things I have learned throughout my life. Enjoy:

1. Even though it looks like potato chips and tastes really good, you should NOT eat rat poisoning as a club snack, your mom will freak out.
2. There is NO amount of time that your brother is not willing to wait in order to scare the crap out of you.
3. If you want to raise rabbits for meat, don't let your children name them. You will end up wasting a LOT of meat.
4. If your mom says it can be CAN. Even if that means setting up tents in the back yard to house the 17 people, 3 dogs, and 9 cats she has taken in.
5. Pouring cold water on your cousin while she is tanning in the front yard can lead to an epic water fight that involves pulling the hose through the living room window to spray your siblings. Don't do it...your mom will be mad.
6. The black dot in my eye is not actually a fruit fly that got stuck and had skin grow over it. Despite what Josh may have told me, it is actually a burst blood vessel.
7. You should take advantage of sibling worship as long as you can! (i.e. Tell your younger sibling that she is the cleanest pig in the world and you are an incredible talking dog. Then proceed to ride her back while directing her to clean your room.)
8. Do NOT sneak into the attic and eat all the MRE's out of your family's 72 hour kits. You WILL get diarrhea.
9. Backyard campouts are the BEST form of entertainment...for children AND adults!
10. Don't feed dog food to your cousins when you are supposed to be in bed. They will tell on you, and you WILL get in trouble.
11. Domestic chickens can NOT fly and they will face plant EVERY time you throw them out of your tree.
12. If you can't do a push-up on your hand while holding it in the position you would punch someone, don't punch someone that way. Your hand will probably break.
13. Picking up dog poop can be a VERY lucrative business. "If something your neighborhood...who you gonna call? DOO DOO BUSTERS!"
14. Hair-spraying your sister's hair to her pillow while she is sleeping is a GREAT April fools joke! Unless you are the sister who got her hair plastered to her pillow.
15. Don't grab scissors from a feisty 3 year old. It will leave a mark.
16. If you pick up a frog, it will pee on you.
17. Don't Vaseline the toilet seat as a joke. Your mom might sit on it and slip off into the bathtub.
18. Being skinny doesn't mean you are healthy. I once saw a 300 pound man beat Kevin at a marathon!
19. Stacking up your food storage is a fantastic way to create a second bedroom.
20. There is no friend greater than a sister friend
21. Marriage is hard, but totally worth it!
22. When experts say that newborns sleep an average of 18 hours per day, they don't actually mean your newborn.
23. The human body is capable of doing REMARKABLE things, as long as you can convince your brain that it is possible.
24. No matter how old you get, you will always need your mom.
25. When a child says they have to pee, they have to pee NOW!
26. If you need more sleep, have a baby. No...wait... I mean, if you want to be more tired than you've ever been in your life, and NOT sleep, have a baby.
27. There is no lesson in life that is more impactful than motherhood.
28. Most importantly, over the last 28 years I've learned that I am loved. By my family, my friends, my husband, my children, and my Heavenly Father. And THAT is what makes everything worth it!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A GREAT Ending for October!

Just a quick recap of the end of October:

We celebrated Kevin's 28th Birthday by sending him to work with a new desk calendar filled with pictures of all his favorite people, picking him up from work with a giant candy letter, taking him to the Olive Garden for dinner, and eating apple cinnamon cheesecake while watching Iron Man 2 and Robin Hood.

Kevin also got some new tools for his birthday which he quickly put to use making a bunk bed for the girls for Christmas.

On Thursday the 28th, me and the girls dressed up as kitties and rabbits to go to work at Xsport Gym. (This picture was taken at 6am...thus the grumpy face from Lily!)

Friday morning me and the girls dressed up as the three little pigs and went to trick-or-treat at Kevin's office. Kevin dressed up as a biker but later that night when we went to our ward's trunk-or-treat, he dressed as the Big Bad Wolf!

The girls loved popping balloons with their bums and getting their faces painted by the young women at the trunk-or-treat.

Sunday after church we cooked a Kalua Pig and went to the Noorda's house dressed as cats. We ate a FANTASTIC meal, saw the neighbor's spooky garage, and played some fun games before heading home and ending the month of October. Good times!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Happy 28th Birthday Kevin!

Today Kevin has officially survived for 28 years! As a tribute to him, Brooklyn, Lily and I sat down and made a list of 28 reasons that we are glad he was born! Here they are in no specific order:

From Lily-

1. Daddy changes my diapers even when I explode and smell like a dead animal
2. Daddy runs me around the living room like a lunatic and lets me chase Brooklyn
3. Daddy lets me ride his shoulders and suck on his hair
4. Daddy rescues me from Brooklyn when she clobbers me or steals my things
5. Daddy plays "Stand up, Sit down" with me

From Brooklyn-

6. Daddy lets me color with pens
7. Daddy makes me fly like a helicopter
8. Daddy reads me books every night
9. Daddy lets me pick up the mail while riding his shoulders
10. "I love his big face!" (Direct quote)

From Naomi-

11. I love the way you make me laugh, tell the same old jokes over and over, and have the sense of humor of an 80 year old man.
12. I love how you try to trick me into looking at you when you are randomly mooning me
13. I love how you come home from a busy day of work and immediately get busy making dinner, changing diapers, and cleaning house
14. I love that you are TRULY the best dad in the whole wide world
15. I love that you text me every random thing you do while you are at work
16. I love how you are willing to try new things and develop new talents even if it means painting your face and taking your shirt off in front of our bishop
17. I love that you can build anything I want you to, and that you actually get excited to do it when I ask you
18. I love that you are self motivated and ALWAYS stick to the goals you set for yourself
19. I love that you buy me fresh flowers every time the old ones die...just because you know I like it
20. I love "camping out" in the living room with you every weekend and watching NCIS
21. I love that you are so low maintenance and can balance out the craziness of a house full of girls
22. I love that you encourage me to be the very best I can every day, and that because of your example, I want to be the very best I can...every day
23. I love that you will go out in the middle of the night to get me candy corn, and then come back with 4 bags of candy...just in case
24. I love it that other girls flirt with you but you don't get it
25. I love how you giggle like a school girl when it is freezing outside and you get to go running in your shorts
26. I love how you totally NERD out every time you are with your siblings
27. I love all the random knowledge you collect and that you love to share it with me
28. I love that you love me, that I know you will always be there for me, that I never have to worry about what you are doing when I am away, and that you are my best friend in the whole entire world! I love YOU Kevin! Happy birthday Monkey!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Grandpas are EVERYWHERE!

Because we don't live close to grandparents, Brooklyn sometimes gets a little confused about what her Grandpas look like. She has the basics down and recognizes them immediately in pictures or in person. But occasionally she mistakes similar features in others as being exclusive to one of her grandpas and thus, we get funny stories like these:

The other day I left the TV on the HGTV network while I was cleaning. Suddenly Brooklyn started yelling from downstairs "Mommy! Mommy! Grandpa Uda is on the TV!!!" Vern Yip, who is a designer and judge on HGTV was on screen showing off a new room he had just finished. I had to laugh when I realized that Brooklyn mistook the Asian man as her grandpa.

When we got the September issue of the Ensign in the mail Brooklyn became very excited and started jumping up and down yelling, "Grandpa Uda! Grandpa Uda!" I took a look and sure enough, the man on the front looked a lot like my dad. Funnier yet, after a short pause Brooklyn asked where Grandma was and who the lady was that Grandpa was walking with.

This is the REAL Grandpa Uda with my mom at my sister's wedding. I think he is much more handsome than those other guys!

But it's not just Grandpa Uda that gets Brooklyn all confused. She often mistakes random men for Dell and just last Sunday when we got the programs in church she burst with excitement again when she saw this picture:

She was convinced it was her Grandpa Hanks and in my opinion it looks a lot like him. It might be the hair but whatever the reason, Brooklyn obviously has her grandpas on the mind.

Here is the REAL Grandpa Hanks holding Lily in August when we were blessed to have him and Grandma visit.

And one for the road:

Yesterday when we were going into the library, a random man was walking in wearing a dorky baseball know, the ones with mesh on the back that are really over sized. Any way, Brooklyn burst into laughter when she saw him and then she said, "Look mom! That silly man has a Grandpa Uda hat!" Ha Ha! I had to laugh at that one because she really nailed it!