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.