Friday, January 28, 2011

Brooklyn's Birthday Celebrations!

On January 26th, Brooklyn turned 3 years old and had her first birthday party! I'm not much of a party planner and didn't really want to do it, but because Brooklyn is SUPER cute and SUPER convincing, I put together a pink princess party for her special day. It was nothing big, but it really made her happy!

We started the morning off with some last minute cleaning and reorganizing. (I had to remove all the lumber, toolboxes, and saws from our living room in order to keep our 3 year old guests safe.) After our canvas was empty, we started setting up mini tables, games, and a few small decorations. Then we dressed Brooklyn up like a mermaid and waited for our guests to arrive.

Lucky for me, Kevin was one of those guests. He came home for his lunch break to help me rein in the chaos and take pictures when my hands were busy.

When the children arrived I let them loose on Brooklyn's toys until I finished baking their pizza. They had tons of fun playing Legos and Mr. Potato head, tackling poor Lily, and chasing each other with their new magic wands and swords.

After the pizza had cooled off a little, we sat all the kids down to watch princess movies while they ate. It was so funny to watch them snarf their food like it was the best thing that ever happened to them. One of the little girls even kept shouting, "BEST DAY EVER!" in between giant bites of pizza. I was laughing pretty hard.

After lunch came the games. We started with Pin the Tail on the Unicorn. Instead of blindfolds, Kevin spun each kid in our office chair 10 times before aiming them at the unicorn. It was SO hilarious watching the kids stagger toward the door and try not to fall!

Next we played Toxic Bubbles. Basically, I just blew bubbles while all the kids tried to keep them from hitting the floor by stabbing them with their swords and magic wands. This game was very fun but eventually started to get a little scary so we decided to stop before someone lost an eye!

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The last game we played was called Gem-Sifting. Apparently this game was based on a real game from Newport, Rhode Island. In the late 19th century women invited to balls in Newport sifted through sand for actual gemstones. We just sifted through shredded magazines for candy and little toys. It was insane but the kids loved it!

When the games were finished we all sat down to watch Brooklyn open presents. She was so appreciative and excited about EVERYTHING that she got, and even managed to smother every kid at the party with thank you hugs and kisses.

Her loot from the day included everything you see here, plus cards from many of her aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and great grandparents, as well as bows, books, and stickers from her aunt Janna and a super cool electric toothbrush from her aunt Sarah.

Some of her big ticket gifts included Ariel PJ's (that she wore for two days straight) and a talking Unicorn from her grandparents, and the Princess Barbie set that Kevin and I got her. She hasn't gone ANYWHERE without these items since her birthday and I love to see her so happy with her gifts.

Something random and funny about the Barbies and Unicorn: Lily sat in front of the unopened boxes for a half hour cooing, singing, and talking to them! She loved them as much as Brooklyn, however, as soon as the boxes were opened, Brooklyn wouldn't let Lily within 10 feet of any of them!

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When we were all finished opening gifts, the kids helped Kevin and I sing Happy Birthday to Brooklyn and then we served cake. Most of the kids had 2 pieces before I handed them off to their parents all hopped up on sugar! Boy was that fun!


When all was said and done, I vowed to wait till Brooklyn is at least 8 before I throw her another party...but that being said, I had a wonderful time watching Brooklyn play with her friends and have such a special day! Happy Birthday Brookie Bear! We love you!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Happy 3rd Birthday Brooklyn!

Today, Brooklyn turned 3! She has been so much fun and such a handful since the first day we held her in our arms and every second has been worth it! We love her so much and are glad she is a part of our family. In honor or her birthday, we would just like to share some of our favorite Brooklynisms from the past year. Enjoy!


Brooklyn saw a girl in a mini skirt and suddenly shouted, "Oh NOOOO Mommy! That girl forgot her pants and now she's gonna get FROSTBITE!" Ha Ha! I was totally thinking the same thing!
Brooklyn: Look Mommy, I made a MESS!
Mommy: I can see that.
Brooklyn: You need to clean it up.
Mommy: No. You need to clean it up. I'm not your slave.
Brooklyn: That's right! I'm the slave!
Mommy: Brooklyn, come over here and put your pajamas on.
Brooklyn: MOM! I want to wear my dress!
Mommy: You can't wear your dress to bed, it will get all messed up.
Brooklyn: Eeerrr! FINE!... You're RUINING my life!
Wow! I expected to hear that when she was almost 13...not when she was almost 3!
"Mommy, I like butterflies & fairies & princesses & unicorns & MERMAIDS!"
"That's interesting. Is there anything you don't like?"
"Yeah. I DON'T like poop and dragons!"
Brooklyn walked up to me and said, "Mom, kids should have cracks on their bums, NOT their heads." I'm glad she clarified that. :)
Brooklyn: When ALL the kids grow up, will they get married?
Mommy: Some will, some won't.
Brooklyn: Why won't they?
Mommy: Some people just have a hard time finding a husband or a wife.
Brooklyn: I can get them one, and I don't even need a cape!
We were driving to pick Kevin up from work when Brooklyn asked, "Mommy, does Santa Clause wear undies?" I told her he did and then she said, "Are they PRINCESS undies!?!" Ha Ha! Never a dull moment!
Brooklyn was jumping on her bed the other day and chanted the words, "I LOVE MY BUM! and MY BUM LOVES ME!" What a fun discovery to make right before bedtime! :)
After going pee pee in the potty, we heard Brooklyn calling from the bathroom, "Daddy, come here. I have some zingy lemonade for you!" So gross, so random, and so funny!
THUMP THUMP!
Brooklyn: Mommy, what was that? A squirrel?
Mommy: Uh...yeah, actually it was.
Brooklyn: Is it squished?
Mommy: Yeah, I guess it forgot to hold hands when it crossed the street so no one could see it...so now it's squished.
Brooklyn: His mommy is gonna be mad at us.
Driving in the car the other day I told Kevin he was driving me crazy, to which he replied, "Of course! That's my job!" Suddenly Brooklyn chimed in from the back seat and pointing at Lily she said, "No dad! That's OUR job!"
Brooklyn was watching Go Diego Go when Diego asked the viewers to help him pull the mermaids back into the ocean. With a very concerned look on her face Brooklyn yelled back to him, "I CAN'T! I'm too BIG to fit in the TV!"
Brooklyn came running out of the bathroom waiving her undies and shouting, "Mom! I made MAN POOPS! I made MAN POOPS!" and just as she approached me a tiny turd fell out of the cracks and hit the floor! So gross and funny at the same time!
I told Kevin that I won't throw Brooklyn a party when she turns three. When giving reasons I said, "Besides, Brooklyn doesn't have any friends to invite anyway." Suddenly Brooklyn piped in with hurt feelings, "I DO have friends!!! Mom! I have friends! Lily's my friend, Riley (the babysitter) is my friend, and Daddy is my friend! They can come!" I guess she will be having a party after all. :)
The other night Brooklyn had to go "number 2" so we helped her get on the potty and then left her to her business. A few seconds later we could hear her grunting through the door and saying, "Come on poops...ahhhhh...you gotta...get...OUT!" (More grunting ensues) "You're...(grunt)...so...(more grunts)...BIG!" I guess that was our hint that we should be feeding her more fiber!

Friday, January 21, 2011

“This cold [day] will turn us all to fools and madmen…”

So I know I’ve been a bit lazy as of late about getting some blog posts done… but Naomi made me promise that I’d do it a tad more frequently… and I thought I’d start with New Year’s day!

A buddy of mine from Church invited me to do something that these Northerners call a “polar plunge”. Upon learning that this consists of diving into lake Michigan on New Years Day, I of course laughed my head off and thought there was no way I would do that.

My mind was changed, however, and I decided to try it out when a couple of kids that I teach in my Sunday School class told me that they were doing it, and I was a wimp if I didn’t. That’s right… I was peer pressured into jumping into a frozen lake by a couple of 14 year old girls!

I showed up at the shores of Lake Michigan and the dozen or so of us that showed up from my ward were all smiles and jittery with nervous excitement.

It was a tad cold that morning: 8 degrees F with a 25 mph wind that put the wind chill well below zero. The wind was so strong and crazy that someone had to be standing inside of our changing tent at all times or it would blow away.

We all got changed and ready to go in, and at this point we were still smiling!

We had to hike across the ice before we got to the edge where the liquid water started. I put on a pair of sandals for this hike, but my feet and toes were so frozen at that point that after a few steps, my toes couldn’t flex well enough to keep the sandals on my feet and they fell off after just a few steps! Funny thing is, since I couldn’t feel anything on my feet or toes, I didn’t even know they fell off until I got out of the water and went looking for those same sandals.

The deal was, we had to dive in, get our head under water, and swim out to the wooden pillar and then (hopefully) swim back.

I have to admit… after hiking out across the ice in naught but my skinnies with the freezing wind making me all but completely numb… jumping into the water didn’t seem too bad! It did take my breathe away though. The worst of course was getting out of the water, and subjecting yourself to the single-digit air and the 25 mph gusting wind.

We all managed to do it and dive completely in. The really funny part was watching us all afterward trying to do things like put belts through belt loops, dry off our toes, tie our shoes, and take down the tent. It’s very enlightening to see just how many everyday tasks take warm, nimble fingers!

You’ll also notice that we don’t have any “after” pictures. Apparently, pushing down the little button on a camera is a task that also requires nimble fingers, and none of us had the gumption to try. We all mostly just hustled it to our cars and tried to get our heart rates up about 20 bmp!

To congratulate us on our significant accomplishment, our Church Bishop even had an email waiting in our inboxes when we got home that included his congratulations along with this picture:

He thought he was REALLY funny.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Out with the OLD...In with the NEW!

While many families were ringing in the new year with good food and great company, We were sadly saying goodbye to our company and hello to a new ticket! That's right! Many of you will remember our white Mazda. Well, a few months ago it developed a "hiccup" so to speak, and decided that it would turn completely off any time we pushed on the clutch (unless we kept the A/C and Heater in the permanent OFF position). With two young children in the car, that got to be a problem because the girls were either hypothermic or dehydrated whenever we were driving somewhere. So, we decided to put the old guy to rest and get a new car. We ended up purchasing a Toyota Camry from Kevin's parents back in August and since then the Mazda has been peacefully resting in our parking lot waiting to be sold to a poor, single college student who wouldn't mind a little extra heat and cold.

For reasons unknown to us, the police men around here decided that January 1st would be a great time to punish us for parking our car and they ticketed us. We were confused because we thought as long as it was parked off the street, they couldn't give us a ticket. ALL LIES! Upon calling the police department to contest the ticket, I was told that unless I owned a garage and parked the car in there, they would keep ticketing me until the car was gone. And they did. On January 2nd we got another ticket! Thus, on January 3rd, we spent the whole day trying to get someone to come and tow the car for us. I finally got a hold of the Purple Heart Foundation and they agreed to come and get the car the next day. A promise that they kept, which incidentally kept us from another ticket. THANK GOODNESS!


The tow truck driver was courteous and professional and it only took him about 4 minutes to load the car and take off into the sunset!


As he started pulling away from our home I felt immediate relief that we would no longer have to worry about getting ticketed. But then...


...as our little Mazda turned the corner and started to fade out of my view, I felt a sudden sadness. So many memories are tied to that little white car and the 230,998 miles on its odometer!


The Dell Hanks family will have more memories than me because the car belonged to them long before it belonged to Kevin and I. But in the 5 years that we owned it, we built up quite a collection of our own memories. For starters, it was really the first car I ever drove. I was terrified of driving from day one and my sister Sarah chauffeured me for most of my teenage (and young adult) life. After I got married I HAD to drive and since this was the car we had, I HAD to drive stick! I spent many hours stalling, jack rabbiting, and peeling out at stop lights in this car and I also had multiple mini-heart-attacks, adrenaline rushes, and close calls while I was learning to drive it... and drive in general for that matter!


This car followed us to 9 different homes in two different states, lasted through several long and scary winters, and drove me to and from the hospital twice on my way to have a baby.


It has carried us to many campsites, up several canyons, and through many adventures, including a micro-burst on the freeway, and a very fierce hail storm on our honeymoon!


In the combined hands of Kevin, myself, Jennie, and Dell, our car has traveled across the United states and has rubbed its tires on the roads of Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, North and South Dakota, Colorado, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Vermont. In fact, we've logged enough miles now to get us all the way to the moon! We have seen hundreds of incredible and amazing things from its windows including a herd of bison, fighting mountain goats, Mount Rushmore, and nearly ALL the historic church sites!


Indeed, we have also spent many hours fixing little things like a trunk that wouldn't close or doors that wouldn't open.


We've also had to kick the doors open from the inside when they froze shut because the seals leaked, or sit on towels after it rained because the windshield leaked...


But all-in-all, it was a GREAT car that took us to many places, supported our family needs, and blessed us tremendously over the years. It will be missed but as Brooklyn keeps telling me, "Don't worry mommy! Those guys are gonna give our car to someone who doesn't have nothin! Just like grandma shared her car with us!" And when that happens, I'm sure it will take the next guy through just as many adventures as it did for us.