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.