Year: 2014

Family Update – Christmas 2014

 - by Brittny

Merry Christmas from the Hansens!  We hope 2014 has treated you all well and that you’re gearing up for a wonderful 2015 ahead.  This year has been full to the brim with changes and excitement, we’re hoping for a much calmer year to come than the one we’re leaving behind!  Here’s how the family is growing as the year has gone on.

Maeli (11 months) continues to be a very easy going and happy baby.  True to form for our family she has decided that she does not like the idea of sleeping in her crib at night and would much prefer to be snuggled with her parents.  Luckily we’re pretty used to having a baby in our bed by now and she’s a good snuggler so we’re not fighting that battle yet.  Maeli has been army crawling for the last several months and only just recently has started to crawl up on her hands and knees.  She has made many dirty onesies as a result of her Swiffer-ing!  She’s not quite walking yet but is getting close!  She recently started standing on her own and it’s so cute to see her proud little face as she stands there.  It’s really strange though, now that she stands she looks so much smaller than she does crawling around.  She’s later at walking than either of our boys, but at least Brittny still doesn’t feel ready for our baby to be that grown up already!  Time goes by far too quickly.

We enjoy listening to her starting to talk.  Her favorite “word” to say is dada, but she does say mama on occasion.  What’s really funny though is that whenever Brittny catches her saying mama she’ll start fauning over her, “Oh you said mama!  Did you know that’s my name?  Can you say mama again?”  Every time this happens Maeli will smile really big, look very proud and say, “Dada”.  We’re pretty sure she doesn’t know what she’s doing, but it’s pretty funny that the word she chooses is the exact opposite from what we’re trying to teach her to say.  Maeli loves to bounce along to music and get in on her brothers’ play.


This is just a cute video of Maeli’s reaction to riding a carousel for the first time :)

Danny is 3 and thinks he’s going on 33.  Danny’s favorite thing is going to meetings.  On Sunday mornings when Eric is getting ready for church Danny will quickly race to get dressed so that he can go with his dad to PEC or Ward Council or Young Men’s Presidency Meeting or choir practice – or as he calls it “ABCs”.  Originally Eric brought him along thinking that after seeing how boring these meetings really were he wouldn’t want to come again, but going to meetings is Danny’s favorite thing.  He actually does a pretty good job of sitting there relatively quietly and drawing in his notebook while the meetings go on.  Someday he’ll be called as a bishop and we’ll know that he’s been preparing for it all along!

Danny is very physically adept and spent most of the summer riding his “dirtbike” around the neighborhood.  We took his training wheels off early in the summer and the kid can cruise so fast on that bike!  It’s extra fun because he makes dirtbike noises as he rides it around.  He’s friendly, talkative and hysterical.  Be careful about getting him started talking because he will talk your ear off and has a pretty impressive vocabulary for a three year old.  He is super independent but somehow still struggles with separation anxiety, we haven’t figured that out yet.  He will leave the house without a second thought to go wherever he fancies.  However if we try to leave him with a babysitter, or at nursery, or at preschool this is a capital offense!  The funny thing is his preschool takes place at our next door neighbor’s house – the same neighbor whose house he most frequently escapes to.  You would think that would make going to preschool a pretty easy sell, but if it’s not Danny’s idea it doesn’t matter how good the idea is, he doesn’t want to do it.  Luckily, he does seem to be getting better and is starting to go to preschool and nursery on his own in the past few weeks, but those big brown puppy dog eyes are really hard to resist if you’re trying to leave him somewhere he doesn’t want to be left!


Here’s a little sampling of unfiltered Danny’s personality. We had such a hard time not cracking up the whole time he was talking.

This fall Brittny was talked into coaching little league soccer for Danny’s age group (3-4 year olds).  It was an… adventure :P  We had a team of 7, but we were lucky each week if we got 4 to show up, and then luckier still if at least 2 of those who showed up wanted to play soccer.  The poor kids who did show up would have to play for the entire game with no breaks because we didn’t have anyone to sub in for them!  There was lots of tears shed because the ball got stolen from a player, or the other team made a goal, or we were playing with the wrong ball, but we survived the season.  It helped on the days when one of the kid’s parents would bring a box of nerds and we would bribe the kids with candy just to stay on the field! We’ll have the same team back together in the spring and hopefully the little bit of growing up that happens in the meantime will help us to have a slightly more cohesive team then!

Sam (5) also participated in soccer this year with a team of boys from our neighborhood.  We’d had him in soccer last fall as well and we were amazed at how much of a difference a year has made in his playing ability.  It’s a totally different sport from the 3 year olds to the 5 year olds!  Sam also started kindergarten this year.  We can’t believe he’s already old enough to be going to school, that went by WAY too quickly.  He is very precocious and friendly.  We gave him an online home schooling curriculum to work on over the summer and he completed all of the kindergarten work and made it a decent way through the 1st grade work as well!  He’s already reading well above his grade level and we are constantly looking for different ways to keep him challenged academically outside of his normal school work.  Lots of time has been spent debating how we’re going to help Sam have work that is up to his skill level without putting him in a situation that’s outside his social level.  We haven’t yet decided, but we’re considering a lot of different options.  We started reading chapter books with him at night and he’s been enjoying the Chronicles of Narnia and the Boxcar children series.

Sam is loving that we live in a neighborhood with a bumper crop of kids his age (literally there is a child his age in every house from our house until the house just before the end of the block, two more on the other side of the street, one up the street in the other direction, another kiddy corner from us and two more on the cross street).  He spends lots of time with his friends.  Their favorite activity of late has been Legos, and Danny has gotten very involved in that too.  There are so many lego creations throughout our house.  In fact, the boys recently had their legos confiscated for a week because they had been neglecting their chores.  After scouring the house for legos Brittny finally decided she had found pretty much all of them and sent them into exile.  Over the next week enough legos were found in nooks and crannies throughout the house to build a spaceship!  Sam is very particular about things being in order and suffers from a little bit of anxiety in that regard.  We’ve been working to find ways to help him manage that anxiety and to focus his energy in a positive way.  One thing we’ve found that’s been especially helpful is a set of meditation recordings provided by the BYU Counseling department on their website for free.  The boys both enjoy choosing a meditation each night and we feel like it has helped Sam to manage his anxiety to some degree.

Brittny is always busy but wouldn’t have it any other way.  Toward the end of this summer she participated in a local political campaign, which you can read about here. Brittny’s real passion (besides motherhood) is maintaining her blog.  She doesn’t post as often as she would like, but hopes that someday she’ll be able to post regularly enough and get enough of a following to turn it into some sort of revenue stream for our family.  In addition to soccer coach, blogger and local political activist, Brittny is currently serving as our ward’s cub scout committee chair and signed up to be the room mom for Sam’s class.  Life is certainly never dull around our house!

Eric’s life has gone through some pretty major changes recently. While at the beginning of the year he thought he would stay at Adobe until retirement, since then he has gone through two job changes and left Adobe to go work for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the Sr. Product Manager for their Analytics; basically he keeps track of how many people visited Church sites, watched their videos, and used their apps.  Yes, he’s very aware that you’re all waiting until the last minute on Saturday night to prepare your lessons! It’s definitely a culture shift (white shirts and ties are the norm) and longer commute (hour by train) for him, but he really enjoys the work he gets to be a part of and finds a lot of fulfillment in his role and responsibilities. Outside of work, Eric is usually working in his calling as Young Men’s President or participating in the Ward Choir. It doesn’t leave a lot of time for his mountain or dirt-biking pursuits, but he’s making time for skiing this season. He’d love to go with you, if you come out to Utah!

We wish you all a most Merry Christmas and a Happy 2015!  We hope you will all take a moment to stop and reflect on the true meaning of the season – the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.  He lives, He loves us and we are eternally grateful for his sacrifice for us, and the gift of his life.

With Love,
The Hansens

2013 in Review

 - by Brittny

We decided that no one cared too much about what we did in 2013 until we could produce pictures of the most exciting part of 2014 – our new baby! February March April May is totally an acceptable time to do your end of the year update, right?  Forgive our tardiness, it’s been a little crazy around here.

So of course the biggest news is that baby –

Maeli

Maeli

Our little Maeli Esther Hansen was born on 09 January 2014 at 6:15am.  She was 7lbs 9oz and 19.5 inches long.  Surprisingly those stats matched Daniel’s stats precisely and I kept thinking I hadn’t remembered what they’d told me her length and weight were, that I was just mixing it up with Danny’s stats instead!  You can read her whole birth story here, although I’ll warn you – it’s super long (would you expect anything less?)  She’s been gaining weight well, at her 2 week check up she’d gained a full pound!  This has caused some problems though.  She’s gotten such awesome fat rolls around her neck that she has gotten milk stuck in the creases and gotten mild skin infections.  We’ve had to be more conscientious about really cleaning inside all of her fat rolls.  We’ve been surprised to see just how different it is having a girl from having a boy, even in just these first few months that we’ve had her.  One thing we’ve noticed is that she has ZERO tolerance for having a wet or dirty diaper in any degree.  This has been a surprising switch since Danny still has to be basically wrestled into having his diaper changed.  Maeli is a very pleasant baby and is happy to be on her own for stretches of time (so long as she is truly on her own and not being attacked by her brothers).  The very best bit of praise we can give her though is that she is an excellent sleeper!  Since we’re still working on sleep training Daniel, this is a VERY welcome change!  Maeli will go to bed in her own crib (just having her in her crib rather than our bed is a complete luxury for us) around midnight and sleep until 7:30am!  Then usually she’ll wake up, I’ll feed her in our bed, and she’ll go back to sleep and let me do the same.  Seriously, heaven is having a baby who will sleep through the night!  Another interesting switch for us is having a baby who likes having a pacifier, even when she’s not hungry.  Our boys both would take a pacifier for their first few months to delay a feeding, but once they were fed they had no desire for a pacifier.  On the other hand Maeli only wants a pacifier when she’s not hungry and just enjoys sucking on it.  It is sweet to see how much our boys love her.  Danny at first had a hard time with losing his spot as the baby.  The first couple weeks that Maeli was home he kept telling me that Maeli should go back into my tummy.  Unfortunately for him, even if it was possible, I was extremely disinclined to do so.  But he’s warmed up to her since then and now will frequently tell me “That’s my girl, don’t hurt my girl, I love my girl.”  It’s pretty sweet to see that transformation.  Sam loves her too but he didn’t have a difficult adjustment since he’d already been ousted as the baby when Daniel arrived.  We’re still working on him giving her some personal space though.  His favorite place is to have his face within inches of Maeli’s.  Overall though we’re just loving having her with us.

Danny

I guess we’ll work our way up through the family and tell you next about Daniel.  He is such an expressive boy! He is either on or off, and there does not seem to be much in between. It’s hard to explain just how much personality is wrapped up into that tiny little body.  And he really does have a tiny little body.  Although he just turned three a couple weeks ago he’s only just barely big enough to start wearing 2T clothes.  I think it’s part of what makes him so hysterical is how well he speaks and how big of a personality he has contrasted with this tiny person.  I recently wrote a post on my personal website about a day in my life as the mom of three kids.  More than one person noted that the only thing about that day that made it crazy, wasn’t the three kids – it was the one kid, two-year old Daniel.  I probably could have recognized that from a post I wrote earlier in the year about all the trouble he got into in a single day.  While he’s certainly a handful, for the most part he is incredibly hilarious and adorable to watch.  He loves to dance and is quite a natural when it comes to most physical tasks. If you ever see him riding his balance bike, you’ll see what we mean. He has no fear and complete confidence in his own sense of balance.  He loves riding his bike and does it complete with dirtbike sounds and a pantomime of putting on all of his dirt biking gear, just like his dad does.  He’s such a crack up.

We only made the mistake of leaving Eric’s dirt bike out in the driveway when Danny was out once, and after finding him having climbed up like this himself… we haven’t made that mistake again!

He is fiercely independent and thinks he can do anything that Sam can do.  We frequently find him at our next door neighbor’s house, having let himself in the backdoor and has found something to do over there.  However, he is also just as strongly attached to his parents.  We can’t leave him in nursery on his own without him dissolving into hysterics.  Although, if he doesn’t throw a fit he’s just as likely to just casually leave as if he was old enough to be trusted on his own.  Which is a pretty good summation of him, he thinks he’s an adult just in a little 3 year old body.  He will tell me  several times a day, with the utmost confidence and casualness, “Bye mom, I have to go to work.”  If I try to convince him that no, really, he needs to stay in the house, he will stick out his arm and cock his little head and say, “Well, I have to, I have meetings.”  He is impossible to argue with because he doesn’t really listen and he doesn’t care one bit what I’m telling him, he’s got meetings!  He’s got to go!

Along with his independence has come a very particular sense of style. Danny’s favorite thing to wear is boots.  Luckily we have a ton of different boots that came in the hand-me-downs I got from my uncle.  The best part is, they’re not Danny’s size, they’re Sam’s size.  So Danny clonks around in these HUGE boots all the time.  Mostly it’s the cowboy boots, but he also has a couple pairs of construction boots and some more stylish Ugg type boots that he will throw into the mix.  The only time I can convince him to wear something else is when he gets to wear his Sunday shoes with his suit to church.  I think he’s the only 2 year old boy that I’ve seen get excited about Sunday clothes :P

One of our biggest struggles with Danny is getting him to eat.  He’s not a picky eater, he will actually eat just about anything, in the right circumstances.  When I was growing up my family had what we called “Anderson Rules”, which meant that if you were going to make something to eat, you should definitely plan for at least half of what you were eating to be stolen by other family members in the vicinity. Eric and I have started also calling this “Social Eating Disorder”. Danny has a more extreme version of this Social Eating Disorder. Not only does he want whatever anyone else has… he *only* wants whatever someone else has. I can make him a taco and Sam a taco, and Danny won’t touch his taco, but will eat half of Sam’s. At times I’ve resorted to only fixing food for Sam, but in double quantities, and then splitting it in half. Fortunately, Sam is good at sharing or I think Danny might starve to death.

One last funny story about Danny.  Recently my parents were here and Danny was carrying around a little stuffed dog that he was calling Fluffy.  He’d taken Fluffy into my parents’ car as they were getting ready to leave and my dad told Danny to take Fluffy back so that it didn’t accidentally end up back in California.  Danny thought about this for a second and said “Grandpa, you take Fluffy so I have to come get it.”  Guess that’s one way to convince his parents to take him on a trip!

Sam

We cannot believe how fast our Sam is growing up.  He turned 5 in March and we’re still so amazed with how bright he is.  He’s started reading recently and has gotten really good at it.  The strange thing is that we really haven’t done much to “teach” him how to read, he’s just sort of picked it up.  People have asked me what I’ve been doing with him to get him reading so well so early and I really can’t give them a good answer.  We read bedtime stories every night, and he’s watched a lot of Super Why?  The truth is there isn’t much I could have done to stop him in his reading, he loves it and wants to be able to do it.  I want to share one of the funny stories from when he was starting to learn to read.  One day just before Thanksgiving I was driving around town with him and he was in the backseat and I could hear him (as is pretty typical) sounding out something that he’d seen on a sign.  I heard him saying “ffff…k, fffff….k”.  Slightly mortified at what he might have seen I asked him what he was reading.  He said “I saw a sign that had a 5 and a k, ffff…k”  Relieved, I laughed and explained to him that numbers don’t make sounds, that the sign just said 5k :P  I did not teach him what I *thought* he was trying to sound out!

Sam finished a year of preschool with our next door neighbor last spring and loved every minute of it.  It was a great stepping stone for him between joy school and Pre-K.  We enrolled him in the preschool offered by our elementary school this year.  It was a great option for us since it’s relatively inexpensive and he goes 4 days a week for 3 hours and he gets to ride the bus!  It seemed like a great program for him and another excellent stepping stone to starting kindergarten.

We struggled for the first couple weeks getting him to ride the bus in the mornings, which was kind of funny.  On the first day of school I drove him because he hadn’t yet been given a bus tag for his backpack.  I came back at noon to pick him up but he’d been given his bus tag by then and was all geared up to ride the bus, so I just watched him hop on and then drove home to the bus stop to wait for him to get there too.  A little bit silly, but it did give me some peace of mind that he’d gotten on the bus just fine.  The next morning we went to the bus stop and waited in line with all the kids to get on.  He got on without any problems, which wasn’t what I’d really expected but I was glad to see that he was fine.  As I started to walk away Sam comes tearing off the bus in hysterics.  As I hugged him he cried “This is the wrong bus!  This isn’t the bus I was on yesterday!”  I’m sure none of the other preschoolers would have even noticed but, the bus that they ride in the morning isn’t the same bus that they ride home.  They’re both standard issue yellow school buses, but they are two different buses.  I tried to explain this to him but he was too worked up to give my explanation any heed.  It wasn’t worth it to me to make the situation worse by forcing him to hop on the bus when he was so upset, so we walked home and I drove him to school, (which was no big deal since the school is only about 3 minutes away).  I went back to the school at noon to see if he needed a ride home, but he hopped on the bus again without any problem.  The rest of the week followed the same pattern – he wouldn’t ride in the mornings, but would ride just fine in the afternoons.  For Family Home Evening the next week he asked his dad for a father’s blessing and he was given some guidance and reassurance that he would be able to ride the bus without any problems.  The next day I also asked one of my friends if her daughter Cambria – a kindergartner who had ridden the bus the year before – would mind helping Sam get on the bus.  That did the trick.  Sam found that little girl and clung to her hand tightly while they got on the bus.  He still looked totally terrified, and I think she wasn’t totally thrilled about this little boy holding her hand, but it worked.  I followed the bus to the school so I could make sure that he was ok on the other end, which he was.  For the next month or so he would have to find Cambria and stay close to her while he got on the bus, but eventually he got the confidence to get on all by himself and we haven’t had any problems since.

Sam’s first day of school photo

The content of Sam’s preschool class is a little below his level.  He came home from school recently and Eric asked him what he’d learned that day and he said, “We learned that W says wuh wuh wuh, but I already knew that!”  Eric pressed him for something that he’d learned that was new, but every new piece of material that Sam presented was followed up by the same declaration of, “But I already knew that!”  Finally he came up with that he’d learned about ovals, which he’s been able to identify since before the school year began as well :P  Luckily, the academic side of preschool wasn’t what we enrolled him for.  We were mostly hoping that he would get a good chance to get social experience with other kids, so since he seems to be doing that we’re satisfied.  He had one kid that he would come home and tell me that the other kids weren’t very nice to.  I know the kid  and understand why he might be tough to get along with, but I told Sam that the only thing I cared about was that he could come home each day and tell me he’d been nice to this boy.  It took a few weeks of reminding him that we are nice to everyone, even if the other kids aren’t, but he did eventually start coming home and telling me he’d been nice to that boy during the day.

Sam is living in a five year old’s paradise.  Our neighborhood is teeming with kids his age.  On our side of the street from our house to the cul-de-sac (6 houses in total) there is a child his age in every house.  Plus another little boy his age 1 house over on the opposite side of the street, and another 5 kids whose houses we can see from our front porch!  This has of course meant that we have to deal with the problems of learning things we’d prefer he didn’t learn – normal kid things like fighting, not wanting to share, keeping secrets etc – but we’d prefer having to teach him how to deal with those things appropriately rather than him not having the opportunity to interact with other kids.

He’s a great big brother and very thoughtful towards those around him. We love having him as a good example to his siblings.  He is very loving towards Maeli, although not always the most gentle.  One of his favorite things is just to hold his little sister and it’s very sweet to see the two of them together.  He and Danny play together very well.  Sam likes to make up games and Danny is pretty good natured about going along with whatever Sam comes up with.  We’ve said very frequently that the best thing we ever did for Sam was creating his little brother.  They are such good friends which is very gratifying as parents.  We’re sure they’ll go through times of being less than the very best of friends, but we’re glad to see them getting along so well right now.

In the fall we enrolled Sam in some rec league soccer.  It was hysterical to watch!  The games were played down in Draper so they were close enough for Eric’s parents to come and watch as well.  For the first couple games there were a couple of little girls on his team that would hold hands while they walked around the field, and Sam was very rarely paying close attention to the ball.  We would watch him get right up to the ball… and get distracted by something else, or let the other team have it.  He doesn’t exactly have the killer instinct in him!  But it was a good experience for him and we enjoyed laughing our evenings away watching him.

Also this winter he got to try out skiing with his dad one day. Between this video and the soccer video you might gather that Sam isn’t exactly the most physically dextrous kid. That’s ok though, we enjoy watching him, and he has plenty of other talents to make up for it!


One of the funniest things lately is that he’s gotten very fixated on the BYU vs UofU rivalry.  Those who know us well know that we’re not very avid sports fans.  We enjoy watching some football sometimes, but we don’t really get into it too much.  Maybe we brought this upon ourselves by teaching him the Cougar fight song when he was just 2 years old.

Somehow though, Sam has really built up in his head that we are rabid BYU fans and that we HATE the UofU.  He refuses to wear red, and is biased against people with red cars.  Everything he wears has to be blue and he is very caught up in it.  A couple months ago my parents were in town for Maeli’s baby blessing and Sam ended up at my sister’s house with them.  My parents are Ute alumni and my dad was watching the UofU vs UCLA game.  Sam went up to him and said “Grandpa, you can’t watch this.  My mom and dad told me that BYU is the best team, and the Utes are the bad guys.”  My dad teasingly told him that while his parents were usually right, that in this instance they were wrong, that really the Utes were the better team.  Sam huffed off to a corner for a little while.  A few minutes later my sister heard him trying to leave their apartment.  She went over and asked him what was up and he said, “I counted to five and grandpa wouldn’t turn off the game, so I’m leaving!”  My sister told him that he was not old enough to leave on his own, and since it was her apartment and she’d ok-ed the game  it was fine if grandpa watched the game.  For the rest of the game Sam sat in the corner and sang under his breath,”BYU is the best, and Utah is not very good.  BYU are the good guys, and the Utes are the bad guys.   I like BYU, I don’t like the U.”  etc.  We’re not quite sure where this obsession came from but we’ve been spending a lot of hours trying to talk him into that good people can like different teams and still be good people…. I’m not sure how well that’s been going though :P

Brittny

The biggest thing for Brittny this past year was of course being pregnant.  This pregnancy was MUCH harder than her previous two with “morning” sickness, back problems and early contractions – but you can read all about that in Maeli’s birth story if you feel so inclined.

This past year was interesting with the contract Brittny took on at Adobe.  The contract started in October of 2012 and was supposed to be a two month contract.  However as time went on the scope of the project increased and evolved.  That two month contract was extended to the end of January, then through April, then August, then October and finally all the way through December!  At the end of the contract she was offered a full-time position should she be inclined to take such work after Maeli was born.  She did consider trying to make things work out so she could maybe do the work from home, or have it be more part time, but in the end she decided that it was best for her to just be home full time with the kids and go back to taking on sporadic freelance projects.  She’s been very happy with that decision and frequently wonders why she even considered doing anything else!

Brittny served for most of the year as our ward’s Primary Secretary (where we had well over 160 kids, most under the age of 8).  It was a really fun calling for her and she enjoyed getting to be with the kids and use her technical capacities to benefit the ward.  She was a little bit dissapointed when she was released as she’d finally put together a lot of great resources to make her job easier, but she knew it was the right time for her to be doing something else.  Brittny’s new calling as Cub Scout Committee Chair has thrown her into a whole world with scouting.  We obviously haven’t had any sons go through scouting yet so it’s been a bit of baptism by fire while she learns the ropes.

With so much going on housekeeping certainly took the back burner over the past year.  However we’re starting to implement some new methodologies to help get everything done.  One thing we’ve been trying recently is putting everything that really needs to get done onto the calendar so that if it doesn’t get completed it has to be placed into a specific time frame on another day.  It makes Brittny feel more accountable for all of her tasks.  However, it also makes it so that her calendar looks like this –

Seeing that often makes her want to cry – especially knowing that nowhere on that calendar are the very real tasks of feeding Maeli, breaking up fights with the boys, or finding out whose house Danny has wandered off to.  But it’s gotten better, and she feels more accomplished and organized so in the end it’s more helpful to have it than to try to get things done without it :)

 

Eric

Eric’s spare time has become very precious lately.  Last March our ward was split which meant a lot of reshuffling for callings.  Eric was taken out as one our ward’s nursery leaders and called in as our ward’s Young Men’s President (although in our ward conference the high councilor accidentally said he was the Young Women’s president, which gave us a good giggle). We’ve discovered that the Young Men’s President is nearly as busy as the bishopric with all the meetings he has to attend!  But the experience has been good for Eric and he enjoys getting to associate with the Young Men.  He loves working with the youth and trying to help them through this important time of their lives. They went on a high adventure to Moab, UT this year, complete with mountain biking and a rafting trip down the Colorado river.

Rafting down the Colorado

His calling has given him a good excuse to get himself some new toys, like a new mountain bike for that high adventure.  He also has used his new calling as an excuse to trade-up his scooter for a new street-legal dirt bike.  It was much needed anyways as his scooter struggled getting up the mountain to our house.  One of the other men in our ward was excited to have a riding buddy and they took their bikes out on some trails just outside of our neighborhood on Eric’s second week having the bike.  His mom was none too pleased to watch the video from  his helmet-cam of him crashing on the very first downhill of the day.  His bike was broken (not badly, but it needed some fixing before it was rideable again) and Eric was pretty banged up.  We’re very grateful that he had some good protective gear – he escaped with some good scrapes and bruises, but nothing more severe than that.

In addition to the outdoor activities with his Young Men Eric took advantage of Adobe’s wellness credit this past year to get himself a ski pass at Snowbird, and a friend’s connections to get himself some new skis.  He’s been able to take advantage of both of those things and had some fun days skiing this past winter.  You can read more about his skiing adventures on his blog.

Skiing

At the top of Brighton on a beautiful day, Mt. Timpanogos in the background.

On the other end of the activities spectrum, Eric organized and captained an eSports team at Adobe last Spring to play League of Legends.  It might seem like a strange thing to some people, but think of it like your company’s recreational softball team, but for computer games.  They played against teams from other companies like Microsoft, Amazon and Rockstar Games.  The league plays for a prize of $5,000 that goes to the winning team’s charity of choice.  Adobe’s team played for the Huntsman Cancer Institute.  They had a difficult start to the season, but were doing fairly well towards the end and even made it into the playoffs, but were bumped out before making it to the final game.  It was a fun experience and a good excuse for Eric to justify his gaming to Brittny (“But honey, it’s for charity!”).  This year they weren’t able to renew their team as the league decided to be more strict about the games being played on Sunday afternoons rather than being flexible to allow for other times.  For a team based out of Utah and predominantly LDS the Sunday afternoon time frame wasn’t something they could work with, but it was a fun experience!

Eric’s career has been an adventure recently. In July he was able to take a 1 month sabbatical in honor of his completion of 5 years with Adobe.  A pretty neat milestone to have reached for sure!  He spent a lot of the time very busy with the aforementioned youth activities – high adventure, scout camp, & even girl’s camp each claimed a portion of that time.  He also was able to come with us to California for a family reunion, and spent some time on a YouTube music project.  It was awesome to have that time to really recharge his batteries.  During that time Brittny asked him repeatedly if the time away had made him want to reconsider what he was doing or try something else, but his answer was that while he was really enjoying the break, he really loved being in product management and wouldn’t change his career path at the time.

Just after Maeli was born Eric went in for his end of the year check-in and found out that due to budget cuts his position with the company had been eliminated.  It wasn’t too surprising since he knew that the across the board budget cuts were going to be in place, and he knew that he’d had to beg, barter and steal for the resources he’d gotten for his products, but it was still very hard to have his job taken away.  He was given a very generous severance package and the search for a new job began.  At first we were almost excited to have Eric home and being paid without having to work.  But we quickly discovered that searching for a new job is at least as time consuming, and twice as stressful as having a busy job.  He pursued several different opportunities but in the end felt best about accepting a position as a Senior Technical Consultant right back at Adobe!  He started work in his new position before he had actually been terminated as an employee so he was able to retain all of his benefits, 401k vesting, progress towards earning his next sabbatical etc.  Of course, somehow things were overlooked so on the day he was supposed to have been terminated he woke up to find that he had no access, his cell phone had been turned off, and all of his benefits had been cancelled, but that was all quickly remedied.  His new position has him providing Adobe’s services for their clients and helping with implementation.  The work is less challenging for him than product management was, and while he misses being part of the big picture decision making and guidance of a product, we’re enjoying the pay raise, and that he’s home at a more consistent and earlier time each day.  In his first week on the job he gained the distinction of being the first technical consultant to bill hours to clients in that time.  Apparently the onboarding process is usually much longer and because of his previous experience with the company he’s been able to bill full weeks of his time to clients in about half the time that it’s taken other consultants.  With his work being less challenging he’s been seeking out other projects to occupy his time and his mind.  Right now he has a lot of different ideas of what he’s going to do, but hasn’t yet settled on any one in particular.  Hopefully by the next time we write our yearly update we’ll have some new fun project that he’s been working on to announce :)

Maeli’s birth also meant that we had to reshuffle rooms upstairs.  We had to reclaim our guest room as the nursery, and bumped Eric out of his office to put the guest bed in there.  So he was moved downstairs into our front room.  Since that room was open to our entryway it meant we needed to make more changes to close the room off to make it an office.  Brittny’s mom had given us the idea to use pocket doors on that room so the room could retain some multi-functional ability.  We found a contractor in July who was going to help us with the project.  We purchased all of the supplies, but the doors took longer than anticipated to arrive (they had broken on arrival the first time).  In the time that it took for us to receive the materials the contractor’s family had decided to move to Georgia and he was no longer able to help us.  He referred us to a friend who was willing to do the work for the same price… however just after putting us on his schedule he suffered a rotator cuff injury.  Rather than having the project completed in September we’d be looking at doing the work in December.  Since we wanted to get the work done before Maeli’s arrival that seemed like it was cutting it too close.  So we started looking for someone else.

In November my visiting teacher referred us to a recently immigrated contractor who gave us a quote for 1/6th the cost of the original contractor.  That seemed like a deal that was too good to pass up so we scheduled a time for him to come.  However, the day we had scheduled…. he didn’t show up.  In the end we decided that was probably best as the price that he’d given us wouldn’t even cover the materials needed so we’re not sure what he would have really been able to do.  December was so busy with Christmas and preparations for Maeli’s arrival so we pushed the project back until after she had come.  In the meantime we moved Eric’s office into the front room and he just worked in an open concept office for a little while.  Then of course, when Eric lost his job we decided to postpone the project yet again.

Finally right after Eric got his new position we were talking one night about looking for a contractor to do the work again when I received an email out of the blue from my other visiting teacher with a recommendation for a contractor.  We called him up the next day and were able to get on his schedule for the following week.  He was able to get the doors up in just over a week and Eric finally has a closed off office again!  We’re very pleased with how it all turned out, even if it was about 8 months later than planned!

The door project from start to finish

Given the nature of Eric’s work and hobbies, he realized he spends a lot of time sitting at a computer. So to counteract this, Eric has recently taken to a new lifestyle to help keep him active: walking while working. He’s set up a workstation at home and at the office so he can work on his laptop while walking on a treadmill. Where he used to get only 3,000 steps in a day, he now averages over 15,000 steps a day! He’s feeling much healthier and lost 10 lbs. just in his first month of trying it out.  You can read more about his experience with this on his blog.

Introducing Maeli Esther Hansen

 - by Brittny

Our beautiful baby girl :)

Well, since my last post was announcing the gender of our baby, and since she’s now two months old, I guess it’s fitting that this one is to announce the arrival of that baby (see also: I’ve been a terrible blogger and need to repent)!  Our daughter was born on 09 January 2014 at 6:15am.  She weighed in at 7lbs 9oz and measured 19.5 inches long.  We’ve named her Maeli Esther Hansen.  Maeli is Mandarin (pronounced May-lee) and it means beautiful.  We later found out it also means calm, or peaceful in Polynesian.  Esther is Eric’s paternal grandmother’s middle name, as well as obviously the name of the biblical heroine.

Note: This post is extremely long (no surprise there), I wanted to document a lot of the pregnancy and some experiences that lead up to Maeli’s birth for my own sake as much as anything else. If you’d like to skip that and just read the actual birth story you can click here to skip to that part of the post. Or feel free to just scan through for pictures, I won’t be offended :)

We went through a lot of debate on what to name her.  Maeli has been on Eric’s list of girl’s names since we first got married since it’s a Chinese name, but one that doesn’t sound strange to an American ear.  I loved the idea when we first were pregnant with Sam but obviously, he wasn’t a girl so we didn’t use it then.  Since then, I’ve found that I loved having scriptural names for both of our boys so that as we’ve read our scriptures I could point out to them “Hey look, Samuel the Lamanite, just like our Samuel!” or “Hey, we’re talking about Daniel and the lion’s den, we have a Daniel in our family too!”  I really like having good role models for them to look up to in the scriptures.  So I wanted our daughter to have a scriptural name.  I’ve also liked that our boys have middle names that are family names (Samuel Eric obviously after his dad, and Daniel Curtis after my dad).  I wanted to do the same thing for our daughter, but we weren’t planning on giving her a middle name – which meant we had a pretty tall order to fill.  Maeli didn’t fit either of those criterion.  I also feel like physical appearance is too big of a focus for most women and I didn’t want a daughter being raised thinking that physical beauty was what we prized above all else in her.  So there was a lot of back and forth.  Maeli wasn’t sitting right, and neither was Esther or any of the other names on our list.  I just didn’t feel settled.  Finally one day I had the idea of breaking tradition and giving our daughter a middle name.  Suddenly the name just felt right – Maeli Esther.  I really like the way her name all goes together with the meanings too.  Beauty, both in appearance and spirit, was obviously a quality of Queen Esther that factored heavily into her story.  Esther in Persian means star, so Maeli is our beautiful, peaceful star.  I especially liked passing along Eric’s grandmother’s middle name after getting to know more about her during her funeral in December of 2012 – not long before we decided it was time to have another baby.  She was an incredible woman and someone that I’d love for my daughter to emulate.  I’d like to think that Maeli and her Great Grandma Leona spent some time together on the other side as they were coming and going.

Anyways, that’s how Maeli got her name, here’s the story of how she got here.  As those of you who follow me on Facebook probably already know, this was a rough pregnancy for me.  I can’t complain too much because I know there are many women who have much worse. Even still, this pregnancy was a lot tougher than my previous two and I felt pretty beat up overall.  First of all, my “morning” sickness was much worse this time around than with Sam or Danny.  I’ve heard some women say that they have easier pregnancies with girls, and some say they have easier pregnancies with boys.  Apparently I’m the type of woman that was made for bearing sons, not daughters.  With Maeli I was sicker and for longer.  I only actually threw up once (yes, I can hear those of you who’ve had real issues with morning sickness starting an orchestra with the world’s smallest violins) but I felt like garbage for about 4 months.  Food was very unappealing to me and I was near throwing up on a daily basis.  I was only able to keep it under control with a regimen of vitamins and forcing myself to eat the right things at the right times even when I didn’t want to.  My gag reflex was also so much more severe for the whole pregnancy than it usually is, and while it’s better now, I’m starting to think that my normally strong gag reflex might never return.

So, that part wasn’t very fun, but that wasn’t what really made this pregnancy difficult.  The real problem was my back.  I’d had some problems towards the latter end of my pregnancy with Danny, but this time around I started having problems at around 8 weeks.  By the time I was about 14 weeks I had frequent days where I would not be able to walk at the end of the day because my back was in such terrible shape.  I was really worried about what I was going to do.  Dealing with some issues for the last few weeks of a pregnancy is expected, but starting at 8 weeks?!  Not being able to walk for 7 months was not really an option as a mother of two boys.  So, I started to go to a chiropractor.  I’ve always been a little dubious of chiropractic care but, through regular visits she was able to get me back on my feet and I was able to walk again.  I still had to limit what I did so that I didn’t push myself too far.  However, by 25 weeks I stopped having episodes of not being able to walk.  Our house didn’t stay especially clean and I felt exceptionally lazy, but being able to walk up the stairs at the end of the day was worthwhile.

After I got my back under control then my blood pressure started getting low.  Luckily, this had also happened with my pregnancy with Daniel so I knew what to expect and how to keep that under control as well.  Lots of water, don’t freak out when it feels like your heart can’t keep up, lay in specific positions etc.  As scary as the feeling is, knowing what was going on made it much easier to work with.  Then at about 32 weeks I started having lots of contractions.  I’d had some Braxton Hicks with both of my boys so I wasn’t surprised to have the contractions, but I was surprised at the frequency and intensity so early on.  Every time I would get up and try to do just about anything – picking up toys, fixing meals, washing dishes – I would start to have regular contractions that would only be stopped when I sat down.  I was very concerned that I would end up having Maeli prematurely.  My sister had her baby at 35 weeks and so I’ve seen that those babies turn out just fine.  But I’ve also seen how miserable their first few weeks of life are, and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.  I mentioned these contractions to my midwife and she told me what I expected to hear – my cervix wasn’t changing yet (which is what they would worry about) but don’t push it.  If activity made them come on stronger, then I needed to limit my activity.  Simple instructions but I was again reduced to feeling terribly lazy.

Luckily I continued to not make progress for another 5 weeks.  Once I got to a point where we safely could have her (37 weeks) I started trying to do more of my regular activities, and pushing myself further but of course, if I induced lots of contractions at a time I just felt like garbage by the end of the day.  Over the next three weeks I tried lots of things to help convince Maeli to come a little bit early.  I was hoping that she would arrive before the new year so that we could have all of the medical bills in one year.  Plus, it would certainly have been nice to have gotten the tax break for another dependent for 2013.  Even more so, my parents were able to come to Utah for Christmas and the week or so following and were hoping for Maeli to arrive before they left.  Well, they all came for Christmas and I hadn’t had the baby yet.  The boys all went skiing on Christmas and my dad injured his knee requiring further surgery – no baby.  My brother Cody stayed up here to have sinus surgery and my mom stayed with him for an extra week while he recovered, still no baby.  My mom and Cody finally decided they would stay up until my due date, and then they would have to give up on me and go home.

The day before my due date (03 January) I had an appointment with my midwife.  All this time I’d been having so many contractions, I’d been drinking red raspberry tea, using sage oil, walking stairs, and trying all kinds of things to induce labor.  While all of those measures would get contractions going, even going at a relatively regular pace, none of them got actual labor started.  So when I went in to my midwife I was feeling pretty run down.  I had thought that she’d said that at this appointment they were going to perform a non-stress test on the baby and do an ultrasound to check if it was time to give the baby an eviction notice.  Apparently I’d misheard because that was actually what would happen at the next appointment if I made it that far.  But thinking it was this appointment I brought my mom, the boys and Eric to the appointment since I thought they would all enjoy seeing Maeli in the ultrasound.  I felt like a bit of an idiot when I discovered my error.  At the end of my appointment my midwife told me that whenever I wanted to have the baby she’d be happy to have me come to the hospital and she would break my water.  I’d made enough progress that she could induce me by breaking my water (which would be my preference) rather than using pitocin.  She had another mom laboring that night so she seemed to be hinting that as long as she was there she might as well have two patients.

I was really torn, I was very done being pregnant, my mom was going to leave the next day, it was a Friday afternoon so we’d have the whole weekend for rest and recovery… the timing was very appealing.  However, I have a strong personal belief that it’s best for babies to let them stay put until they’re done, not just when the mom is done.  I just think that Heavenly Father designed the whole process so that the baby can come when it is totally developed and really ready for the world.  I know that babies are just fine when they are induced, but it just seems like they’re better off if they can come on their own timing.  I’d also read a blog post that put forth the idea that maybe babies that are overdue are saying their last goodbyes and getting their last bits of instruction on the other side, and it’s a little rude to take that away from them just because we’re uncomfortable.   Obviously that’s not doctrine, but the idea sat well in my mind.  So, I had a hard time thinking of forcing Maeli out before her time.  Also, it’s rather difficult to think of making yourself go through labor right away.  Even though it would make me much more comfortable in the long run, and I was going to have to go through it eventually anyways, it was still hard to contemplate making myself do it.  I waffled for a lot of the evening, and finally my decision was made for me as much because it had gotten too late as anything else.  In the end I did feel better about that decision (or lack of decision), but I did feel like I was cheating everyone else out of an easy fix just to accommodate my birthing preferences.

A day or so after my mom left Eric made the comment to me that he didn’t really think that I’d ever go into labor on my own and that we’d probably end up inducing me anyways.  While that was sort of how I was feeling too, him saying it out loud sort of broke my spirit.  While I’ve always had these beliefs that the best thing to do is to let babies come when they’re ready, I’d never gone into labor on my own before.  I’d ended up being induced with both of my boys out of medical necessity.  I was desperately hoping to go into labor on my own, but I was starting to believe that despite all the contractions that I’d had, it was just never going to happen.  Maybe my body just didn’t know how to initiate labor.  I was crushed.  I spent the next couple days in a bit of a funk and just feeling depressed that it wasn’t ever going to happen.  I’d sent my mom back home (who I would have liked to have had there for the delivery) and I’d end up being induced anyways.  Eric didn’t know before reading this post that his comment had hurt me so much, and I don’t blame him for how I was feeling at all.  These feelings had been there before but him saying it made me face them.  It was just the thing that pushed me over the edge.  I was in a bit of a dark spot for a few days.

Then on Tuesday, 07 January one of my friends posted a link to this article – God will give you more than you can handle: I guarantee it.  Basically the post says that life is hard, it’s supposed to be hard, and it’s even supposed to be more than we think we can take, but if we turn ourselves over to Christ He can help us through it and we can handle our trials with Him.  (Obviously all that was expressed much better in the author’s blog post than I did in one sentence, but that was my basic takeaway)  I cried as I read through that post.  That was exactly how I’d been feeling.  While the trial I’d been given surely wasn’t to the magnitude of Job, I was about to the end of my rope and didn’t know how much longer I could hold on.  After being sick, having back problems, contractions without end for months, I just was worn out.  I knew I could turn to the Lord for help, but somehow this helped me realize that I needed to, and it was ok.  I wasn’t just being a baby.  This was why Christ suffered for us, so that He could help us in times of need and that I not only could but should turn to Him for help.  I prayed more diligently for help and I really felt a lot better and like I could handle what I was going through.  I was even able to accept that I probably would have to be induced, and that that would be ok.

The Birth

In the evening on Wednesday I was having regular contractions again, but that had happened towards the end of just about every day for the last month so I tried not to get my hopes up.  After the boys were in bed Eric and I spent a little bit of time together and watched a show.  I also drank some more red raspberry tea and used more of the sage oil.  The contractions weren’t really letting up, even when I laid down.  I was getting hungry so I got up and made myself a quesadilla, just in case I did go into labor I didn’t want to be hungry.  The contractions were getting pretty regular but I decided I’d try to get some sleep and figured that if I could sleep through them then they weren’t intense enough for me to go to the hospital.  So I went to bed around 11pm.

Sometime after that Danny climbed into bed with Eric and me.  I wasn’t sleeping really well, but I was at least resting and getting intermittent brief naps.  At about quarter to 2am I woke up with Danny’s head against my head, pushing me out of the bed.  Annoyed, I decided to get up and go to the bathroom rather than attempting to just reposition myself.  While I was going to the bathroom I realized that my contractions were really getting to be rather uncomfortable and that I’d had 3 of them within 10 minutes.  I imed Eric (who hadn’t been able to sleep either but was trying also to rest a little bit) and told him that we should probably get going to the hospital.  He quickly got out of bed, and started gathering the few things that we would need to go to the hospital.  He called his parents and asked them to come stay with the boys.  When we were pretty much all ready to go Eric called one of our neighbors to ask her to come wait with our kids until his parents came.  I felt really bad in retrospect about having her come because as we weren’t 5 minutes from our house when we saw his parents’ van driving down the mountain to our house.  We’d thought it would have taken them longer to get out the door and didn’t want to wait for too long before leaving, but we could have certainly waited 5 more minutes had we realized they were that close.  On the way to the hospital I texted this picture to my family:

Baby mario

Baby Time!

To most people it probably seems exceedingly stupid that I sent my family a picture of Baby Mario from Mario Kart Wii.  It probably is.  But it’s an inside family joke.  When I was pregnant with Sam my family was really into playing Mario Kart.  If you play Mario Kart as Baby Mario his little catchphrase is “Baby time”!  So towards the end of my pregnancy with Sam my family would text me, or call me, or message me and ask if it was “baby time” with Baby Mario’s silly voice.  This was my way of letting them know that it was in fact, baby time :)  Like I said, it really was stupid, but I’d thought of it a few days before and downloaded the picture of Baby Mario to my phone just for the occasion.  My family got a kick out of it and it told them everything they needed to know.  This picture was indeed worth a thousand words!

We arrived at the hospital and were into the room by about 3am.  The nurses called my midwife to see if she would admit me.   I was 3cm dilated and fully effaced (if my memory serves me correctly) and having contractions about every 3-5 minutes, so the nurses were reasonably certain I’d be admitted.  Eve approved my admission and things got started.  I’d thought that Eve and I had made a deal beforehand that I didn’t have to have an IV (if you haven’t been a previous reader of our blog I have a pretty severe phobia of needles).  Apparently the deal I’d actually made was that since they had to do blood work anyways they could set up an IV then.  Boo.  So the nurses tried to get an IV in me between contractions.  The first attempt failed as they hit a valve in my hand.  My hand was bruised for probably 3 weeks afterwards.  Luckily, the other part of my deal with Eve was that we would only make one attempt with the IV and if it failed we’d just do the blood work the easier way and forego the IV.  My contractions were strong enough at that point that I was having to really focus and breathe through them.  I was loath to lose my down time between contractions freaking out about having the blood work done.   Finally we decided to just do the blood work during a contraction and even though it made for a more miserable contraction, we were able to get the blood work done and I didn’t have to give up my brief resting period.  I don’t know exactly how long everything took, but Eric posted to Facebook at 4:30am that we’d successfully completed the blood draw and that contractions were coming 2 minutes apart at that point.  That’s probably about right with all the admissions questions that were asked, getting changed, calling the midwife, two attempts at the bloodwork etc, an hour and a half doesn’t seem unreasonable, but my sense of time is very skewed as you might imagine.

By 5:09am I was dilated to 6cm, but my water still hadn’t broken (yes, I’m relying on the posts Eric did on Facebook to help me with my timeline, they’re the only real markers I have).  I think it was a little while before or just after that check I needed to go to the bathroom so they disconnected my monitors and Eric helped me to the restroom.  I was very uncomfortable at that point and hoped that emptying my bladder would help a little.  While we were in the bathroom I asked Eric to run back to the bed for one of the vomit bags, and then I rid myself of the quesadilla I’d had the night before.  Guess I would have been better off being hungry when I went into labor :P  As intense as labor was getting at that point, I did feel a little better after that.  At least all of the action was concentrated on the main event and not split with my digestive system.

When we went back to the bed I don’t think my monitors got hooked up correctly and they stopped registering my contractions, and we didn’t have those monitors working for the rest of the time.  I know a lot of women don’t like the monitors but they were really helpful for me because Eric could see when I was having  a contraction and would help talk me through them.  However, luckily Eric is awesome and quickly learned to take me squeezing his hand as a signal that a contraction was starting and would help count off the rise and fall of them without the assistance of the monitor from that point on.  One of the nurses even commented afterwards that she wanted to have Eric come in and train all the dads on how to support their wives during labor.  I don’t think she was just being nice either, Eric really has been an incredible support to me in all three of my labors.  I don’t know what I would have done without him.

A sneak peak to after the birth – Eric and Maeli’s first picture together :)

A little before 6am I asked Eric if he could give me a blessing between my contractions.  However, after the next contraction I told him that I was having a hard time not pushing against the contractions.  He called the nurse and asked her to check me.  They didn’t really think that there was going to be much progress made because I’d been laboring pretty quietly.  They thought they’d be coming in and telling me I’d made minimal progress if any.  However when the nurse checked me she was surprised to find that I was almost fully dilated.  They quickly called Eve and told her it was time to come in and deliver this baby (she was still at home in bed at this point)!  The next 10 minutes while we waited for Eve to get there were some of the longest of my life.  Any woman who has had the urge to push and tried to hold back against it knows that it is one of the hardest things you could ever have to do.  There really isn’t a comparison, but imagine the urgency of an EXTREMELY full bladder, like you’ve drunk 2 gallons of water all at once type full, and now you’re locked in a room watching videos of waterfalls and are not permitted to pee.  It’s not a perfect analogy, but that’s an idea of what the feeling is like.

After the nurse checked me and had left the room Eric gave me the requested blessing.  It wasn’t a long blessing (there was only about 60 seconds between my contractions at this point), but it gave me a lot of comfort.  Basically I was told that I was so close to the end and that I wasn’t alone and that everything would be ok.  I was once again so very grateful to have my wonderful Eric there with me.

Finally Eve came.  After a contraction she checked me and said there was just a tiny bit of cervix left before I should start to push.  After one more contraction that was gone.  She broke my water and then I was ready to push on the next contraction.  On the first contraction afterwards they could see Maeli’s head.  The nurses and Eve told me afterwards they were impressed with the control I had to push her out slowly which saved me from much tearing.  On the next contraction I was able to push her out completely.  They cut the cord and we had our sweet Maeli here.  I thought they’d already delivered the placenta but I still felt weird, like there was still something inside of me that wasn’t really part of me.  A few minutes later they delivered the placenta and I finally felt like I was normal again.  I don’t know how else to describe the feeling of relief and peace from being done with the whole ordeal.  I certainly wasn’t normal again, I’d just gone through childbirth, a process that certainly deserves some recovery.  But after the whole ordeal of pregnancy, with back pains, nausea, tons of contractions… it felt so good to be done.  I feel like I really understand why they call it being “delivered” of the baby.  I did feel like I’d been delivered from a very difficult ordeal and it was finally – after 9 long months – over.

Brittny and Maeli after the birth

One of the awesome things about the hospital we delivered at (Lone Peak Hospital) is that they have rooms that are LDRP – meaning that you stay in the same room for labor, delivery, recovery and post-partum.  With Sam and Danny I’d had to move rooms after a brief recovery period (like one hour) to another unit.  It was so wonderful to not have to move!  They had Eric help wash Maeli in the sink right there in the room and everything that was done was done right there in the room.  The only time they had to take Maeli out the entire time we were there was for a brief hearing test.  It was wonderful.

As soon as the nurses had pretty much cleared out (probably by 8am or so?) Eric called his parents to see when they could bring the boys to come meet their new sister.  They decided to come around 10am.  Eric changed into some pajamas and almost immediately passed out on the couch.  When the boys came in they tried snuggling with him and talking to him, but he was out cold.  He did sort of say hi to the boys and give them hugs, but he didn’t even remember doing that much later.  Luckily the boys were just happy to see Maeli and their mom and didn’t mind too much that their dad was unresponsive.

Our three beautiful children, aren’t they great?

Eric was rightfully extremely tired from the whole ordeal.  Although, he did say it was better that he hadn’t gotten to sleep the night before because if he’d only gotten a few hours of sleep and then been woken up he probably wouldn’t have been nearly as helpful as he was during the birth.  It wouldn’t have been so good to have mostly asleep, non-responsive bear Eric during labor :)  I on the other hand tried to sleep but I was too amped up from the whole experience and couldn’t really sleep.  I rested and tried to even do so with my eyes closed, but I finally accepted that it was just as good to rest with my phone in my hand and playing on Facebook as I was pretending that I was going to get any sleep.  When Eric woke up we watched some TV together and just enjoyed a day of resting, being together, and having our new baby there.

My sister Taylor came with her husband Ryan and son Skylar in the evening, along with our boys and Eric actually got to see them that time.  I hadn’t realized it because we’d had the blinds drawn in our room, but that day we’d had a pretty significant snow storm.  We were really lucky that Maeli came when she did because we were able to drive to the hospital in a lull between the storm.  It had been snowing really well in the morning on Wednesday and I’d expected terrible road conditions but we were pleasantly surprised.  When we drove down the mountain in the middle of the night the roads were actually totally clear and we’d had perfect visibility the whole way.  When my sister was driving back to my house on Thursday night the roads were pretty bad again.  I think angels were definitely watching over us and making sure we didn’t get stuck in that storm!

We sent Maeli to the nursery for the night so that I could actually get some sleep.  The next morning we were ready to go home.  We got the ok from all the doctors and by noon we were discharged and heading home to our sweet boys.  They’d had a pretty rough time with us gone and it was good to have us all home and get to start our new chapter of life together as a family of five :)