Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Long Layover... that we LOVED!

On Saturday, February 18th, my Dad stopped in Chicago on an extended layover so he could visit us over the holiday weekend!

He came bearing MANY gifts to spoil us with, including hotel shampoos and lotions, balloons, beads, puzzles, hatching dinosaur eggs, glowing masks, buckets of candy, and multiple coloring books! Lily especially liked the beads and balloons and kept herself busy for hours stringing the beads on pipe cleaners and chasing the balloons around our living room.

Brooklyn, on the other hand, had been waiting for a month for Grandpa Uda to come and teach her how to use the rock painting kit that Grandma Hanks gave her for her birthday. She stuffed her cheeks with the candy grandpa brought, and then wasted no time in persuading him to sit and paint with her.

On Sunday, we went to church and then came home to some good naps and a dinner with our friends the McConkies. After the McConkies headed for home, Brooklyn convinced Grandpa to sit and color with her again.

She drew him a picture of a mermaid, while he drew a picture of her favorite Pegasus/Unicorn. As you can tell, she was tickled pink over the amazing resemblance. (Which she should have been since she sat and nagged grandpa about every detail while he was drawing it!)

Monday morning soon rolled around and we woke up to a dance party! Despite his bad back, grandpa couldn't resist Brooklyn's invitation to dance with her when she said, "Do you want to come play with me Grandpa? We can dance your wrinkles out!"

And by the time they were finished dancing, I think he may have actually lost a few wrinkles... as well as his breath!

After dancing , we got dressed and drove over to Ty Warner Park. It was deceptively cold with the humidity and wind chill, but that didn't stop the girls from enjoying all the playground toys with their grandpa.

Their favorite part was when grandpa pushed them on the swings. If you look close, you can see the pure joy on their faces!

Soon we were chilled to the bone, so we packed up the kids and drove over to Costco to pick up a few treats and enjoy a quick meal. Lily was being pretty ornery by then and didn't enjoy the pizza we gave her for lunch, or our very presence in her midst for that matter.


But Brooklyn was in HEAVEN and enjoyed every last bite of her cheesy treat!

When we were done eating, the girls went down for a nap and me and my dad watched the Hulk and enjoyed some one-on-one time. Then Kevin got home from work, we ate dinner, had FHE, put the girlies to bed, and watched the movie Abduction before heading to bed ourselves.

Anyway, my dad had to leave early this morning and get back to work. I was very sad to see him go but SO grateful that his boss allowed him to extend his layover to come see us. After he drove off for the airport, I wanted to sit around and mope for the rest of the day, but then I remembered... my mom will be here tomorrow to spend 10 days with us! WOOHOO! We are truly blessed to have so much family and so many friends who have been willing and able to come visit us out in Chicago land. Thanks to all of you who have made the effort. We enjoy every second we get to spend with you.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Lily is 2!

On February 12th, our sweet little Lily turned 2! Here is a little of what she has been up to lately:

She LOVES to color with her big sister... and unfortunately, she also loves to eat markers, crayons, chalk, and paint.

She is a very snugly little koala bear and would prefer to be in our laps if there is ever a reason to be sitting down.

The girl can EAT! She is not nearly as chunky as her big sister was, but she eats twice as much. Any time Kevin and I go into the kitchen she will start shouting, "I'm coming mommy!" and then she will pull herself up to the table and giggle happily until food is placed in front of her. She is currently eating 7 times a day!

Lily loves to read, and hide in random places. She can often be found in a box, laundry basket, or closet, reading books and singing the theme song for Dora the Explorer. Speaking of which, she also worships Dora, Diego, and Curious George.

She is a BIG tease. She loves to run away from us while laughing hysterically, tickle, tackle, and tumble, be thrown around by her daddy, play tag and hide and seek with Brooklyn, and run into the couch at full speed over and over again just to see my reaction.

(Oops, I spelled "horrid" wrong and can't fix it now...my bad!)
Lily also has a moody side. She makes some of the meanest crusties I've ever seen, picks on, harasses, and beats up on Brooklyn frequently, can plant herself solidly to the floor if she doesn't want to do something you told her to, and will revert to cat mode if she thinks she is in trouble...

Yes, "Cat Mode". Whenever Lily feels busted or unwilling to comply, she simply drops into cat position and meows. If you chew her out, she will meow. If you tell her not to meow, she will meow. And let me tell you, as a parent, you begin to feel very stupid arguing with a cat!

Lily is also very physical. She can climb over anything and loves to jump, slide, and run. But she likes to use her fine motor skills as well. She is very into puzzles, Lego's, and stacking ANYTHING!

On the brainier side of things, Lily has learned to sing the ABC's, say her prayers, and repeat scriptures. She also likes to count to 20 and tries to count to 100 by tens.

Her birthday was on Sunday, so it was pretty low key. We went to church and when we got home, we let her open presents before nap time. She got a laptop from her grandma (so she would stop stealing Brooklyn's) as well as the cute "princess" dress she is wearing in the picture.

And Kevin and I got her this letter magnet toy to play with while she waits for one of her many daily meals to cook! We let her play with her new things for a minute and then put her to bed. Later that evening we had a nice dinner with our friends from Green Trails Apartments, gave Lily a birthday doughnut, and then put her to bed.

We are so grateful to have Lily in our lives and look forward to watching her continual growth. She is a very special little person and we are lucky to have her!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

January: Pack, Party, & Paint!

Now that I finally finished updating my blog on 2011, it is time to catch up on 2012! 

January was a crazy month for us. As soon as we got back from vacationing with the Riggs we started to pack and look for a new house to rent... and by the end of the month we were living in a new home!

The whole process was really kind of nuts! We didn't know where we were going to live, just that we had to be out of our townhouse by the end of the month. During each day of the week I would pack up the non-essentials until the girls went down for a nap. Once they were down I would search the internet for listings of houses to rent. And as soon as Kevin came home at night we would head out to view different places.

We saw some REALLY ghetto homes but with the help of an AMAZING realtor, we found a place to rent with 2 weeks to spare! During those 2 weeks we were frantically packing everything else up and getting utilities and all that jazz switched over to the new place.

At first I felt bad that the girls got neglected of "mommy time" while I was packing... but then they started making forts and castles in the box maze that was our living room, and Brooklyn started making some pretty interesting art out of the boxes and other little things she found laying around!

Not only did the girls find ways to entertain themselves, but Grandma Hanks came out to help with the move and she threw Brooklyn an awesome little princess party amidst the chaos. Grandma managed to avoid our cameras (mostly with threats) but she is the one presenting Brooklyn with the cake in this picture.

Brooklyn didn't seem to mind that her birthday was right in the middle of our big move. She was convinced that we got her a new house for her present and that Grandma came out JUST for her birthday party. Plus, she got everything she asked for, including a "princess" dress, a rock painting kit, and a new umbrella!

But the partying couldn't last forever! Soon all the big kids had to get back to work. There were several things that we needed to fix at the new place and we also painted and cleaned it since the landlord and/or previous tenant neglected to do so. But it was fun painting in good company and great to have the extra help from Kevin's mom.

On a more random note, right before we moved in we did some last minute shopping to get an area rug, some curtain rods, and a new sofa for the living room. Kevin took this picture of Lily when we were picking out the sofa and I thought it was so cute I just had to post it!

Anyway, when moving day came everything went off without a hitch. We had the first batch of helpers from the Elder's Quorum show up at 9am to pack our things in the truck and drive to the new place, and had arranged to have the second batch show up at our new place 3 hours later to unpack. But by the time the second batch showed up we were already moved in! So instead, we enjoyed each other's company and a little pizza before sending them home with our thanks and appreciation.

It was a very busy month for the Hanks family but we are now happily unpacked and enjoying our new place. We are very grateful for ALL the help we received from family and friends and feel so blessed to have so many wonderful people in our lives. Also, a special shout out goes to Mom Hanks for flying out here JUST to help us move! It was so much easier with your help. We will post more pictures of the house as it comes together, as well as some pictures of the fun stuff we've been doing in February. Until then... PEACE!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Chuck E Cheese sends us on our way...

On December 28th, after a long morning of packing bags, we dropped Kevin off at Taber's work for a factory tour, and then headed out to Chuck E Cheese's for one last party before we had to leave the wonderful Rigg residence and return to the Hanks home in Chicago.

The kids all enjoyed a delightful pizza dinner before gathering their coins and hitting the rides and games.

Teya thoroughly enjoyed the games, but the younger kids mostly just wanted to go on the rides.

One of their favorite rides was actually a flight simulation. They took turns riding it together and had a blast!

Brooklyn and Lily also took the opportunity to pretend they were racing each other. Brook was pretty proud of herself for beating her sister (because her car was screwed into the ground a little further ahead than Lily's) and boasted about it for half the night!

The kids could have stayed there all night, but alas, all good things must come to an end, and we had to peel them off the rides and head to the airport.

The good thing about going to Chuck E Cheeses before flying with our kids... THEY WERE WASTED! Brooklyn passed out so hard that Kevin had to carry her across the whole airport, to the taxi, out of the taxi, and into her bed... and she never budged!

Anyway, the flight was a breeze and the girls adjusted to being back home in no time. It helped that they got to veg out by spending endless hours watching their dad play Zelda... I would have protested but it was just so very "Hanks" of them that I couldn't put an end to it :)

The Day of Dates

The 27th of December was a Day of Dates! We started off the day by sending Kevin and Taber out for a "Man-cation" (aka Man Date, or Guys Day Out). They partied hard by watching Mission Impossible at the theater, eating burgers at a manly restaurant, and hitting the bowling alley for some Candlestick Bowling!

In the meantime, Becca and I took the kids to Imajine That for a Mommy and Me date. They enjoyed crawling through logs...




 Dinosaur Wrestling...


And Problem Solving!

It was a great little place for the kids to play and an excellent way to let them run out all their extra Christmas energy! :)


Anyway, we got back from Imajine That at the same time Kevin and Taber got home from bowling. Then Kevin and I quickly handed our kids off to Taber and Becca and headed out for our own date!!! 

We went to Giacomo's in Boston and had an incredible time! Our waiter looked like a mob boss and actually informed Kevin that he couldn't order what he wanted! Then he told Kevin what he was going to get and promptly brought it out :) It actually ended up being the best food EVER so we didn't mind. Plus it really made the experience that much better. 

Once we were done eating, the waiter told us we were to go down the street to a gelato shop for dessert. We obeyed and were NOT disappointed! Then when we were stuffed to the brink, we turned on the GPS and did a little geocaching before heading home for bed!

The Boston Children's Museum and the Freedom Trail

The day after Christmas we were able to spend the morning playing with our new toys (including Auntie Becca's new digital SLR that took most of these pictures) and having a fashion show in all our new clothes! Then, after many great poses for the camera, we packed up our kids and headed to Boston for some more fun!

Once we got into town, we dropped Kevin off on the Freedom Trail to do a little sight seeing on his own whilst Becca and I dragged all the kiddos off to the Boston Children's Museum. It was a very cold and windy day so we were all happy to play inside while Kevin ran around town exploring History!

When we arrived at the museum the girls didn't waste any time checking out all the exhibits that were on display...

And soon they found all the fun play rooms. The sand room was Lily's favorite. She started out playing with the shovels and rakes and eventually ended up swimming on the floor through a giant pile of spilled sand and licking the sand off the floor! She caused quite a commotion with the other parents :)

The girls also enjoyed playing peek-a-boo through little holes in the wall, building sand castles, and splashing around in the water room.

There was just so much to do at the museum and the girls had a blast getting all their crazies out.

It wasn't long before Kevin made it back from the Freedom Trail and joined in on all the fun. He danced with the girls in front of a green screen that made them the stars of an Arthur episode...

And taught them all how to hula hoop like a pro!

But soon the kiddos were all worn out, so we packed them back up and headed home for some good grubbin' and a wonderful night of sleep!