Lots of growing and fun in the Eric and Brittny Hansen household over the past year. We are still living in Utah on top of the point of the mountain, loving life and being close to family and friends.
Maeli (2 in January) has been developing quite the vocabulary over the year, but most of it has been complete gibberish. It’s hilarious to hear her say so many different things yet still not be able to understand most of it. She loves to pray for her family by name, especially her “boys”, Danny and Sam. Maeli loves her brothers and always expresses distress when being put down for her nap or to bed without them by calling out “But, the my boys! The my boys!” With good reason too! Her brothers take good care of her and include her often in their playing. Maeli loves everything girly. One of her first words was “shoes” and she still gets very excited to wear different shoes or when we put a “pretty” (hair clip) in her hair. She is very aware that she is the only girl and baby in our family and takes full advantage of it! She is the princess and if you do not bow to her ways – look out! We try our best to keep her in check, but she’s unconvinced. Probably the only thing that will cure her is to be ousted from her throne by a new sibling. No plans yet for that younger sibling, but someday her rule of adorable tyranny will have to be put to an end!
Daniel (4) is as spunky and funny as ever. He was signed up to go to preschool at the local elementary school this year, however at the last minute we ended up pulling him out. They changed the laws in Utah to state that all children under the age of 5 who ride the bus must have seatbelts, and our district’s school busses don’t have seat belts. The only thing that Danny was looking forward to about going to school was riding the bus, so with that off the table, and Sam being homeschooled (more on that later) we decided it wasn’t worth the fight and money to try to make him go to preschool. Especially when he kept telling his mom, “I just want to stay home with my brother.” So, instead we got him in with a joy school group in our neighborhood and are homeschooling him for preschool. We haven’t yet decided what we’re going to do next year when he’s old enough for kindergarten. Danny played soccer this fall – although this time without his mother as the coach (hooray!) It was so funny to watch the kids at his age play because they were very good about being polite and taking turns… which isn’t really the point of soccer. We’d watch the kids play and instead of taking the ball they’d wait patiently for the other kid to lose control of the ball and then jump into get it. We’d try to tell Danny to get the ball when someone else had it and he’d just look at us incredulously like, “do you not see, someone else has it. Patience guys!” It was hysterical! Danny’s favorite thing to do is to find an electronic device and then go hide out behind a couch, in a closet or in a cupboard (which he calls “his office”) and watch Octonauts or play Minecraft. He’s also very creative with Legos and spends lots of time making different Lego creations.
This year we decided to pull Sam (6) out of the public school and start homeschooling him. It was a really tough decision for us – we live in the boundaries for an amazing school with wonderful teachers and kids. Last year we noticed that Sam was coming home from school every day with blank worksheets – we realized that what was happening is that he would spend a lot of the day at school daydreaming quietly. Since he was still way ahead of his class, and he wasn’t noisy or disruptive he wasn’t getting anything accomplished but no one was doing anything about it. We decided it made the most sense to bring him home where his teacher’s number one priority was keeping *him* on task. Homeschooling is definitely a challenge but it’s also been the right decision. It’s still hard to keep Sam on task, but it helps to have content that is on his level and a mom that’s dedicated to him. Mom has to keep reminding herself that even when we fall a little behind in our lessons – the lessons we’re doing are a year ahead of his age, so we’re still coming out ahead. Sam played soccer in the fall and has made some real improvement from previous seasons. Unfortunately the league he was in had 2nd graders as well as first graders so he was a little intimidated by the bigger boys. But he really seems to be getting the hang of the game. In Sam’s free time he loves to play video games, read books (particularly the MegaMan comic books) and play “the everything game” with his friends. The Everything Game is basically an imaginative game that includes any character from the various shows, games, books etc that Sam and his friends are aware of.
Brittny really scaled up the amount of work she’s doing lately with homeschooling Sam. On top of that, she still manages to support her list of freelance web clients at night after putting the kids to bed. And on top of all that, she serves both as a Primary teacher for Danny’s class and Chair of the Cub Scout Committee. In her spare time she keeps trying to take charge of organizing more things – Danny’s joy school, the neighborhood babysitting co-op, moderating the community Facebook page, getting involved in the pro-life movement, and lobbying for new legislation for homeschoolers in Utah. She would like to spend more time exercising and writing in her blog, but for some strange reason she never seems to find the time.
Eric recently passed his one-year anniversary working for the Church in October, and it has been a bit of a roller coaster in recent months. He reports to his old Mission President, Elder Perkins, who is now in the First Quorum of the Seventy, and he gets to work on a lot of cool projects like the Gospel Library App, Mormon.org website, and the new Family History Discovery Center. The ebb and flow of work combined with some unfortunate bureaucratic policies make for a somewhat frustrating and stressful experience, but it looks like he’s sorted out a lot of the challenges and is starting to make some real progress. He also enjoys being Cubmaster (getting to work alongside Brittny) and playing games with his kids. He hopes this year’s El Niño weather pattern will make for a good ski season and would love to take any of you out on the slopes if you ever have a chance to visit.