Monday, December 29, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Dear Kate and Riley,

Merry Christmas a little late. We just got back from Christmas in Houston with all the Hansens. It will be our last time all together for at least two years since Uncle Bret is leaving on his mission in just a few weeks. It was fun to be with everyone, Zach, Summer and Ali are just a handful all together but I think that a good time was had by all. We survived both 3 hour plane rides with only minor melt downs and one "poop incident" which left some of Zach's pants in the trash can of the Houston airport.

Zach was spoiled by grandparents and aunts and uncles, mom and dad had some wonderful nights out (and even an overnight away!), we got to take Uncle Bret to the temple for the first time, hear his very funny and touching farewell talk, take Zach to see his first real live alligator, dad got to "golf" with Zach for the first time, we all ate lots of fattening food and just appreciated being together.

Being in the temple with all of my siblings and my parents was a really special moment. I really felt your presence that night at the temple and felt that you got to be there with us. I knew that if it was a touching day for me it must have been 100 times more special for my parents. I would imagine that was a very proud moment for them to have all of their children together in the temple and I'm sure there were times when they wondered if it would ever happen. I was so glad we got to do that before Bret left.

Reading with Grandpa Ross

Christmas Eve "bells" our favorite tradition!

Christmas Eve pj's. They say "What Santa doesn't bring me, Grandma will!"
So true. And seriously, will I ever get these three to look at the camera!?

Christmas morning
I love this picture, the Christmas morning overload. Dad had a good fro going on.

Overwhelmed by presents galore!

Uncle Bret after his farewell talk

Dad finally got to take Zach golfing!

Brazos Bend, the alligator park. The kids loved the bridge, moms and grandma were a little nervous about it.
We actually saw a bunch of alligators. This was a little one but still pretty cool!


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Nightmare before Christmas!

Dear Kate and Riley,
Zach had a traumatic morning today at our ward breakfast with Santa. It really wasn't a bad morning, just a bad 30 seconds or so when Dad set Zach on Santa's lap. His friend Will quickly made up for it by letting Zach play with his car out in the parking lot, far away from Santa and that scary red suit!

Other that traumatizing Zach with Santa, we have been having fun getting into the season. We had to forgo our usual tree for a small one on the table that Zach couldn't destroy. But we made up for it by going to a tree lighting ceremony with some friends. We have hit up some ward holiday parties and have done a little shopping, we even caved and let Zach open one present early that was too big for us to bring to Houston. Hopefully the season hasn't been ruined for Zach by his little visit with Santa. Maybe when he realizes that Santa is the one to bring him all of his goodies on Christmas morning he'll have a change of heart.


Tree lighting ceremony in Laguna Niguel

Making up for traumatic Santa visit by playing with Will.
They're both SO happy!

Taking a turn in the car, Will was much more keen on being pushed than pushing

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Dear Kate and Riley,
Happy second birthday. I cannot believe two years have passed. The one year mark seems like yesterday. Last year it was cold and gloomy on your birthday, this year it was warm and sunny. I felt like it kind of reflected a change in me as well. I was happy last year too but time does wonderful things for healing hearts and this year celebrating your birthday did feel a little more like celebrating instead of grieving. I did have myself a good cry last night but I also actually enjoyed shopping for your gifts that we are going to donate and buying pretty things to bring to the cemetery today.

Dad, Zach and I headed to the cemetery this afternoon with balloons and flowers and got such a nice surprise when we got there to find that Grandma and Grandpa Hansen had already sent a big huge arrangement and balloon that was on your headstone already. It was much more beautiful than the flowers we brought and it was just a great surprise.

Zach is still a little too young to understand but we told him that his sisters are here and that the balloons and flowers were for your birthday. We had him wave goodbye as we left and that just really touched me. I know that someday he will understand and then going to the cemetery will have more meaning for him. Today he was just excited about balloons.

I hope you have a big celebration in heaven. We got to go to a musical at the church last night called Savior of the World. It was all about the life of Christ. I was glad that we got to go the night before your birthday so we could be reminded of the wonderful gifts of the atonement and resurrection and know that we will see you again some day. We love you so much. We remember you in our prayers always and you are such an important part of our family.


Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Dear Kate and Riley,
Happy late Thanksgiving! We spent the week in Utah with ALL the family. It was crazy to have every member of both my side and Dad's side of the family in town and it made for a fun and crazy week. Zach had SO much fun with all of his cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents, he was spoiled all week and by the end of the week he was a very tired baby.

I just love the holidays and with Zach getting older they are even more fun. We are blessed to be able to travel and see everyone. Aunt Stacy and I were talking one night about how lucky we are to have married into such a great family. The O'Farrells are a wonderful family and I am so happy to be a part of them, I love all of dad's family so much and have so much fun hanging out with them. Stacy and I also decided that we married well. Dad and his brothers are all great husbands who take great care of their families. I am so grateful for Dad!

I am also grateful for my family, it is so fun as we grow and add new people like Uncle Christian and it is SO much fun to watch Zach with Summer and Ali. Christmas is going to be chaotic but fun with those three all under the same roof, I can't wait! We are thinking of you as your 2nd birthday nears. Dad and I have found a great opportunity to donate your birthday presents to Concept 7 which is a local foster care agency. If any of our family or friends want to donate in your behalf they can bring toys to me or drop them off at a toys for tots or other donation place. We would love to get other people to do some donations in your honor and send in pictures that I could post on your birthday.


Zach and Grandma Janice, aka "Granice"

Ali, Zach, Summer. Ever tried to sit three one year olds on a wall and take their picture? It doesn't work. Swimming in Park City where Grandma and Grandpa stayed.

Cousin bath time! Summer, Ali, Zach

Zach and Granpa Ross, aka "Gross" at temple square. Mom and Dad got a night off!
Notice the socks on this poor child's hands. I really did have gloves for him but I didn't bring them for him that night because I didn't think they would dare to go out with all three babies.

Everyone kept telling us how warm it was in Utah. Zach and I disagreed.

This picture got distorted in the upload but I couldn't leave out your cute new cousin Jake! He's adorable!

Dad and Zach making a card for Great Grandma Gen at the O'Farrell family Christmas party. Zach LOVED doing the stamps with Dad.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Getting creative...

Dear Kate and Riley,
Your little brother is the busiest kid I have ever met. He is really NON stop. Plus he seems to get bored very easily these days. It makes my life challenging and keeps me on my toes. Whoever said that staying home all day doesn't work your brain certainly never had a kid like Zach. Today I was desperate to get him out of the house but knew there wasn't enough time to go anywhere before he needed to go down for his nap. Three tupperware containers, one wooden spoon and a faucet of water later we were having a blast. Why I didn't think of this three months ago is beyond me! I've been wishing a lot for a big Utah basement to play in but really on a beautiful November afternoon I wouldn't trade my 900 sq feet for a pile of snow even if it came with a basement!


How has that faucet just been sitting there all summer unused!?
Look at him, he's enthralled!

Even Bella got in on the fun

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Halloween 2008

Mmmm, candy corns!

Dear Kate and Riley,

What a fun Halloween! I remember that last year we couldn't even get Zachary to wake up and his costume was about 10 times too big for him. It was much more fun this year but still probably a little more for ME than it was for him.

We had some friends over on Thursday to carve pumpkins and I realized that our house just isn't really big enough for three very active one year olds! We still had a lot of fun though and it got us all in the mood for Friday. We headed to Disneyland for a few hours and then came home and met up with some of the neighbors for trick or treating. Zach didn't really get the concept and after dragging him away from two houses screaming (he didn't want to leave once he realized they were giving away free candy!) I decided it was a little pointless to do it this year so we went home and handed out candy. Zach would SQUEEL and RUN to the door every time it rang so that was a little bit more fun for him.


Pumpkin Carving day with friends (and I thought it was hard to get ONE baby to look at me!)

Disneyland with friend Addie


Isabelle had fun flashlights (which took Zach about 5 min to break)

Friday, October 31, 2008


More to follow...

Monday, October 20, 2008

29... Again

Dear Kate and Riley,
Well, it happened. Whether I wanted it to or not, I knew that all of this counting down to your brother's birthday was going to lead very quickly to another birthday. And I'd officially like to call it my second 29th birthday.

It wasn't as bad as I thought. The day of was pretty uneventful, our friends watched Zach while we went out to dinner which was fun, I really cherish being able to eat a meal in peace these days! Then the next day Dad took a half day off work and we headed out to Palm Springs for the weekend. It was fun even though we had a pretty NOT fun 4:30 am fire alarm at our hotel. We spent an hour outside and were let back into our rooms around 5:30. I thought that for sure after being awake for an hour in the middle of the night Zach would sleep in but no such luck, he was up at 7:30. We did luck out the next day though and he slept until almost 9!

We stayed at the Renaissance which we had never stayed at before but it was fun and nice. I loved that they had a kiddie pool just the right size for Zach and they had a "beach" at one end of the pool with sand and stuff (although I thought it was funny that we would drive out to Palm Springs to be at the "beach"!). We ate lots (too much) of yummy food, I went shopping all by myself (heaven) and we went to the Children's Museum which was also really fun. It was a great weekend and I didn't want it to end. Zach is so much fun to be out and about with, I love that he gets so excited over things. I felt like he knew he was on vacation and was just excited and fun the whole time.

Lovin' the kiddie pool and all the free plastic cups he could destroy

Checking out the water fall

We went out to dinner and there was live music outside. Zach danced and EVERYONE watched! He's such a ham. Another proof of Daddy's looks, mommy's personality!

Children's museum
I wanted proof I was there, even if I am making a funny face.

Zach's favorite thing at the museum, a big magnetic wall with tins on it that he could take off and put back on. Over, and over, and over. I think he might have stayed there all day!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Happy Birthday Zachary!

Dear Zachary,
I don't think your sisters will mind if this one goes out to you...

I can't believe that a year has passed. I don't know where the time has gone but I like to think that I have cherished every moment of it. Zachary, you brought light and hope back into our lives during our darkest hour. You gave us a reason to press forward. You helped to fill the hole in our hearts and the great void in our arms. You taught us that we would feel joy again, true, deep and sincere joy. You showed me a whole different side of your dad, you helped me to fulfill my greatest dream. From that first high pitched scream that will forever be burned into my memory as the sweetest sound that I've ever heard you had my heart. Through the ups and downs of that scary scary pregnancy you showed me to have faith again. Never a day goes by that I don't thank Heavenly Father for entrusting us with your precious spirit here on earth. You teach me something new every day and nothing makes me happy like your fully belly head thrown back laugh or your chubby little arms around me. You will always be our rainbow baby, the promise that we received through the clouds. You will always have your precious angel sisters watching over you and two parents who couldn't be more grateful to have you in our lives. We love you chubby bunny.


One year stats:
Walking, jabbering non stop, saying "uh-oh", making monkey sounds, loving books and cars and climbing on EVERYTHING and anything, asserting independence, picky eater, great sleeper and all around cutie.

Zach and Addie shared a party on Saturday with a few freinds

Mmmmm.... cake

Friday, October 10, 2008

San Diego Zoo AND Sea World!

Dear Kate and Riley,
What a week! Our friends who had the great Disneyland tickets had also scored free tickets to the zoo and Sea World! They all had to be used by today though so we had a busy week. The dads couldn't go so we got a few other moms together and headed down to San Diego TWICE for different adventures.

I love the San Diego Zoo. It is probably one of my favorite places. We grew up with passes so we got to go a lot. If we lived closer I think I would get passes and take Zach once a week, I really love it that much. My favorite things are the monkeys. I knew Zach would love them too since he is really in to monkeys right now. I was right. He liked the monkeys a lot. He also really liked the elephants. It was a HOT day (around 95!) so it was a little uncomfortable but I'm glad we got to go.

Sea World was more fun than I thought. I didn't know if Zach would like any of it because I knew he wouldn't like to sit through shows and I wasn't sure what else there was to do. I was surprised that this was probably the place that ended up being the most fun for him. He liked the tanks where he could see the dolphins swimming around. He LOVED the aquarium. He just grunted in excitement the WHOLE time we were inside, he loved being right up against the glass and watching the fish. He also loved the splash park playground thing. I made the mistake of thinking he wouldn't get too wet so I just left him in his onesie instead of putting on his swimming suit. Well, you'll see from the pictures that I was wrong, he totally got soaked! But he loved it so that was ok by me.

Zach has been totally spoiled on his birthday week, too bad he won't even remember. It could be a long time before we get to do all the fun things we did this week again. He still has his birthday party on Saturday to look forward to and his actual birthday on Sunday! Thanks again to the Bowens for hooking us up with all the free tickets! We owe you guys!



Sea World