Tuesday, January 16, 2018

19 Month Update for Maylee Ruth

I can't believe my little baby Maylee is 19 months old! I still call her my baby, even though she is a toddler. She will probably continue to be my baby until the next child comes along. (No, I am not pregnant).

She is always happy with keys in tote!

It has been fun to see how raising a little girl differs from raising a little boy. She is very social with those that she knows, and likes to give people things to share. She likes looking at our reactions to the things that she is excited about. She is good at remembering and learning names and will give possession to things. For example, she will point to a bowl and say "Marshall's" and then she will point to another bowl and say, "Maylee's". She loves her stuffed animals and her baby dolls and usually carries one of them in tote at all times. We don't really have jewelry for her, but she has managed to find necklaces (mine and a girl I babysit's) and bracelets (hair elastics) to put on whenever she sees them. She will always say, "cute", when she puts those accessories on. At times I will find her with the comb trying to do her own hair, also saying, "cute!".  She loves trying on shoes. She mostly puts on Marshall's shoes and Jake's shoes. She is pretty good at walking around the house with shoes that are way too big for her. She is also starting to get a little picky about the things she likes to wear and would much rather wear her pajamas all day long.

Her language has exploded the past several months. She is pretty good at imitating the things that I say, and she understands directions really well. She loves helping me throw things away, and I love it too. Haha! She is starting to say two-word sentences and I cannot keep track of the words she knows. It seems like she says a few new words every day. She is very polite and will say, "Thank you, Mommy", or "please". She got a little table for Christmas and she likes to climb on top of it and say, "Help Me!". We think she mainly does that just to get our attention. Haha! If we are at the grocery store, she will say "hi, grandpa!" to all of the older men that she sees.

She is constantly asking for "na-nas" or "cheese". Mainly though, she is a meat eater. That is always the first thing she picks off of her plate, and then the other things may end up in her mouth. Most of the time though, they end up on the floor. She is the most messy toddler! Maybe Marshall was this messy when he was her age, but it seriously blows my mind to the amount of mess she can make. While I am in the kitchen, she always pushes a chair over to help me. Most of the time it's not very helpful though and she ends up getting strapped in her chair and cries while I cook.

She has fully transitioned to one two-hour nap a day, and it's heaven! She still sleeps with a binki, but that's about all we use the binki for. Sleep and church! She has been in nursery for almost two months now, but it has been a hard transition. She cries, and then will calm down. Then she will cry again, and then calm down again. She definitely has inherited some of my anxiety about new things and situations. I know that she will get used to it though, just like Marshall.

She has 12 teeth. We have been waiting for her k-9's for several months now. I don't think they will ever come out. Haha!

She likes to throw and kick balls. I get impressed by the arm that she has and I like to imagine her as a sporty girl in the future, but we'll see! She immediately dances when she hears music, and her moves are the cutest! She has been trying to jump like Marshall for a while now, but has not figured it out quite yet. She just stomps one of her feet up and down with great force.

Speaking of Marshall though, their relationship is a typical sibling relationship. A lot of love and a lot of annoyance go into the mix. Maylee follows Marshall a lot. She likes to copy what he does and says. She likes to play with what he plays with. Sometimes Marshall is oblivious and other times he is annoyed. However, there are plenty of times where he loves playing with Maylee too!

Maylee will ask to sit on the potty. She has never really been successful. I think mainly she asks so that she can get some of Marshall's cheerios that he uses to aim with. She likes to push things around with wheels, play with blocks, and carry play food around with a plate. Her favorite movie right now is, "Big Hero 6", though she gets bored of the television rather quickly.

It's been so fun having a little sweet girl in our home. Though she can be an absolute terror at times, she gives the best smiles and is the best play buddy. She gives the absolute best kisses and loves our kisses in return. She giggles so much about life. Life is exciting for her! She wants to grow up faster than she is capable and I have to keep reminding her to stay little. Thanks for brightening our lives, baby girl!

3 1/2 year update for Marshall Howard

Marshall Howard Hansen is now 3 years and 8 months old. The more I watch Marshall grow, the more I understand about myself. He is still very slow to warm up to new things or situations. He also likes taking things at a slow pace. It's hard sometimes because Marshall and Maylee can go at completely different paces and Marshall a lot of times gets the raw end of the deal and has to end something he did not want to end. He is starting to become more stubborn as to what he wants, and if I cannot accommodate him, it usually ends in a tantrum.

Different Paces!
When Marshall is having a hard time with something or gets hurt, he does not like me to talk to him about the situation. He just wants me to hug him. A lot of times I find when I try to talk to him about something he gets even more upset. Physical touch just may be his love language!

Marshall is very sensitive to other people peoples feelings. If someone is crying at the park, he will look at them and then tell me that they are sad. We are still working on the whole, 'go comfort them' process, but I am sure as he gets older this sensitivity will help him 'comfort those who stand in need of comfort'. He is always labeling feelings in books whether they are happy, sad, or angry. Marshall will pretend to be angry at times and then he will say he needs to go take a nap. Apparently that's what we all need to do when we become angry.

Speaking of naps, that has now become a rarity for Marshall. It has been a whole new learning curve for me to figure out what to do with him for a couple more hours every day, so that I can also get a few things done. We do quiet time for an hour on my bed. He will play PBS games on my phone, while I do what I need or want to do for an hour.  Because he gets to play games, he asks to do quiet time several times a day. Haha!

He loves technology, but I try to limit it as much as I can because he behaves so much better without it. So he usually gets an hour of play time for quiet time and an hour of tv time while I make dinner. Which may still seem like a lot to some people, but that's what works for us! He usually gets into phases of what he wants to watch. Every evening lately he asks to watch, "The Lego Movie". Batman gets introduced into the movie about 30 minutes in, and without fail he will run over to me and tell me that he found batman. Also, because Jake studies so much, whenever he sees someone on the computer he says that they are "studying".

Marshall has a hard time transitioning from one task to the next, and we finally found the fail proof solution. He loves timers! If we need to start cleaning up or leave somewhere, we start a timer for a few minutes. He gets so excited and watches the timer until the time runs out. Then he is good to do the next thing on the agenda.

We started potty training Marshall a little before his 3rd birthday. I would like to say we have it all figured out, but we don't. Haha! He does pretty good with going number 1 with minimal accidents, but going number 2 is a different story. He just always saves it until we put his diaper on at night. The funniest thing is that when we first started potty training him, he would do #2 on the potty. He was excited about it too. I think he realized that he still gets diapers at night and would much rather prefer to still go in them. We have tried not putting diapers on him at night, by accident, but he always wakes up wet. Oh the joys of being a parent!

Marshall has been doing speech therapy for about 7 months now. It's been amazing to see his progress. He did not have a lot of two word sentences when he started, and now he says quite a few two-four word sentences! He is still a bit behind where he should be at his age, but we are encouraged with his progress. It has been such a weight off of my shoulder ever since he started speech therapy.

Marshall has such a sweet and tender spirit. He loves reading the Book of Mormon. We have one with pictures that he looks at. His favorite things to look for are the gold plates, the liahona, baptism, and Jesus. Whenever he see's swords or other weapons in the book he will say, "No hitting!". The funniest thing he said recently was, "Jesus Christ, poopy!" I went on to explain that Jesus went on the potty and that we need to follow His example. Marshall was less than amused. He loves to pray, and tell Heavenly Father about the things that he did that day. He likes to watch 'conference' with us. He also gets so excited to partake of the the sacrament. This past Sunday after he had the water he exclaimed, "Yay!!". He reminds me of the excitement I should be feeling about the gospel of Jesus Christ. He recently moved from nursery to sunbeams, and he just cries and is very nervous about it. Again, he has a slow to warm up personality, but I know he will get there and be excited about it.

He hates getting his hair done and almost always protests, but he loves doing my hair. He imagines almost every thing as a birthday cake, though recently he imagined a birthday hot dog as we were playing with play dough. Lately he has been playing with his toys by spreading them all over the ground, which makes for 'fun' clean up. He likes to label things by their colors, for example if he asks to play on the 'red slide' and then it is my job to figure out what park he is talking about. Haha!

Marshall, thank you for being my 'guinea pig' child. You are so forgiving when mommy gets frustrated or makes mistakes. I learn a lot from you about finding joy in our lives right now and in the little things. You have also taught me a tremendous deal about patience. It's been so fun to watch you grow into such a fun little boy. Your laugh seriously melts my heart! Thank you for keeping those cheeks big, because mommy loves kissing them too much!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Year THREE!!

I can't believe that we are starting our 3rd year of optometry school! It seems like it was just yesterday that we were starting our 1st year and felt so naive and overwhelmed. Some of the fun new changes are that Jake is less busy. He has less classes and spends some of that time time in the clinic instead. We get to see him more, and it has been amazing having some time back with him - especially Saturdays and nights!

Jake's white coat ceremony in May - (when he technically started 3rd year).

Before his new semester began this past week, he had a week-long break and we loved having more time with him where he did not feel the pressure to study.

Trip to the temple!

Mommy would never do something this cool!

Floating the Comal River - the kids were a little crazy at first!

Then they settled down. Maylee fell asleep for the last half of the ride. 

Marshall had a blast. There were three 'chutes' in the river at the beginning, and he kept asking to go down more 'slides' when we were done with them. We will definitely be doing this again!
Malaquite Becah on Padre Island National Seashore. So quiet and peaceful. Definitely worth the extra $10 to come here and avoid the partying and drinking. 

So much sand. So much fun!

This little girl loved the water. When she see's water, she says 'bubbles'! She kept running into the water. We had to chase her over and over.

I don't know if Marshall liked building sand castles, or destroying them more, but he had a blast!

A few days ago. Jake had to turn in his worksheet for externships. During his forth year he will have three externships - one per semester. One of them will be in-house at the school clinics, but the other two have the potential to be anywhere. On his worksheet, he was able to pick his top 10, and he picked all 9 that were in San Antoino, and so he had to pick one just outside San Antonio. They assign externships in order of class rank. We knew that Jake was not up there in the ranking, so we were already a bit stressed and hoped that he would be able to get some of his choices so he could stay inside the city for at least two semesters. The student affairs counselor sent Jake an email that evening that told Jake what his class rank was. It was lower than what we were guessing, and I admit I began to panic. I began wondering what the chances were he would get any externships inside San Antonio. It's hard to move our whole family temporarily from place to place, and so we know that there is a real possibility that if he were to get an externship outside of San Antonio that we would be separated for a time.

I was letting the fear and worry bite at me all night. I could not get over the real stress that we may be separated for two semesters, and not just one. I prepared myself for one, but not for two. I prayed to my Heavenly Father, asking him to give me peace, and He did. The power of prayer is amazing. It was comforting to know that my worries and concerns were important to Him. I also know that he will be able to help us in the transition to externships, whatever ends up happening. I keep getting this overwhelming feeling that everything will work out. While I wish I knew, 'right now' what our situation is going to be like next year, the Lord is helping me to ease that concern, and I know he will continue to do so.    

Here's to more fun, more stress, more faith, more growth, and BOARDS. 😳

Friday, May 26, 2017

Miss Maylee is One!

I cannot believe that I am already celebrating this one year old! I am not sure how our family survived without this beautiful girl. Her six tooth smile is infectious, and her cheeks are devoured constantly. She is such a content and happy baby. She goes with the flow most of the time, and just enjoys whatever situation she is in.

I love watching her grow in her communication skills. She loves to say 'uh-oh' and uses it in the right context. She also waves and says 'hi' constantly. It's the best and never gets old. She also will point to things and say 'dis'. Sometimes she tries to copy words that we say, but a lot of the sounds just sound the same. She also tries to communicate by giving me things. For example, she will give me her shoes if she wants to go outside. Or she will give me a book if she wants me to read to her. She also
loves to give me things just to look at, and then she wants me to give them back to her.

She is a natural born girl. She will hug and smile at dolls or stuffed animals or give them a pat on the back. She likes to cuddle when she is tired or upset. She loves to dance. She will bounce, shake her head back and forth, and also shakes her arms whenever she hears music.

Maylee is a problem solver. It's so interesting looking at the differences between Marshall and Maylee. While Marshall was a lot more cautious and dependent, Maylee is fearless and independent. She likes to figure things out herself. For example, she can maneuver her walker anywhere she pleases. Marshall, on the other hand, would cry whenever he crashed into the wall and expect me to help him. When Maylee crashes, she pulls it backwards, turns, and starts walking again.

She is obsessed with food. This is one of the only times of day that we get an angry girl. We literally cannot feed her fast enough.She loves to manuouver herself around the legs of the table multiple times. She likes to throw balls and knock down the block towers that Marshall or I build for her. She like pulling things out of containers, and then putting them back in. She gets so excited whenever it is bath time. Splashing in the water is one of her favorite things. She enjoys trying to walk to me and can take up to nine or so steps at a time by herself.

She is interested in other babies and people, yet very cautious. She usually just needs a minute to warm up to them and likes her own little bubble at first. Oh and she likes mom around. If I leave her in the room with someone she is unfamiliar with, a tantrum will ensue.

Maylee, thank you so much for choosing me to be your mom! You have blessed our family in numerous ways. You are always turning my frowns and frustrations into smiles and relief. I can't wait to see how you develop this next year. But please don't grow up too fast!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Mister Marsh is THREE!

Three years ago I became a mom to one of the most wonderful boys. He had cheeks galore and I am blessed that I still get to love on them!

Marshall definitely has a slow to warm up personality, but if you have patience and don't give up on him, then he will love and adore you. He loves tickles, and loves to give hugs and kisses. If you have an 'owie', you can count on Marshall to kiss it better for you. While he is shy and may not show it, he truly cares about others. He loves to laugh and giggle with his friends, and will always watch out the window saying 'bye friends, see ya' when they leave. He is also starting to ask to play with friends, so that's been fun! Marshall especially loves his little sister, Maylee. He will ask for her if she is asleep, or if he wants her to do an activity with him. He likes to rub her head and say, 'soft, soft, soft'.

Marshall's language development has required a lot of patience, but I am happy to say that he is getting it! His language has exploded the past couple of months, and you can often see the wheels turning in his head. He loves to narrate any movie that he watches by telling me what he sees. He also loves to narrate his books. He still talks in his own made up language a lot, but uses it more as a filler. So you'll hear made up words and real words combined when he talks. He has been starting to sing a bit, and when he switches to a different song he will make the sound of a radio tuning. He is also learning how to problem solve. One of my favorites recently was when he saw a scratch mark on the wall. He pointed to the wall and said, 'oh no! . . . hammer!'. Then he went into the coat closet and got Jake's tool box so he could hammer the wall and fix it.

He is obsessed with trucks and cars. He also loves to paint and play with play dough. However, one of his most favorite things to do is play in the dirt outside. The pool is becoming a new favorite too! He knows how to watch movies or play games on our phones. Some of his favorites right now are Monsters Inc., Peanuts, and Daniel Tiger. A new favorite activity for him is dancing. He is always asking to dance, so it's been fun for us to get up and get moving a bit! He also loves to climb on the bed and pretend to sleep so he can say, 'wake up!'. We often get a big blanket out so we can build a fort, and he is obsessed with that.

I have changed in a lot of ways since I have become a mom. I look back on these crazy fast three years and realize that Marshall has helped me in tremendous ways. He has helped me to understand myself as we both have similar personalities. He has helped me to appreciate my own mother and for the patience it took her to raise me. He has helped me to adjust my priorities so I am more focused on loving others and not just getting things done. He has helped me to enjoy life and to laugh more. He has helped me to understand the love that my Heavenly parents have for me. He has been my buddy since day one, and continues to be. We definitely do have our trying moments, but the good always outweighs the bad with this kid. Thanks for blessing me three years ago, and for continuing to bless me! I love you!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Anniversary, Potty Training, Studying, and Trials

This past Thursday, I thought it would be a good idea to start potty training Marshall. He was showing a lot of the signs, and so I was encouraged to give a go at it. I decided to take the 'naked' approach, since I have heard a lot of success stories with that. That morning he did have a few accidents, but he also went on the potty several times. I was really encouraged and impressed. Then something happened. I made him lunch and he just started whining. He would not eat and would not tell me what was wrong. I checked his head and he felt warm. He had a fever! I did not think my efforts to start potty training would end in a sick boy. Needless to say, I stopped potty training to give him some comfort.

This same day was also our five year anniversary of marriage.  Jake had a test that day so he was busy studying. Then that night he had school dinner that I let him attend because my dinner tasted awful, and ended up in the trash! When he got home, all we had time for was to exchange gifts, and then he was off to study for his next test. Maybe I was cursed for starting potty training on this day, but in the famous words of Alexander, it was a 'terrible, horrible, no good, very bad, day'.

The next day, Jake and I were planning on going out to a nice restaurant to celebrate our anniversary.  However, Marshall still had a fever and was cranky. I knew that our date night was not going to happen. I told our babysitter that we were going to have to postpone for another night. Sadly, we did not get to hang out with each other at home because Jake had a big test he needed to study for. In fact, Jake's been studying all weekend, and it's been hard. It's always hard when he is studying, which is most every day of our lives, but this weekend has just felt harder.

I had to stay home from church today because Marshall was still not feeling well. It gave me plenty of time to watch church related videos. I watched an interview between a few ladies and they were talking about trials. One of them quoted something from Orson F. Whitney, that really hit home for me.
"No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude, and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God . . . and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire and which will make us more like our Father and Mother in Heaven."

When I heard this, I was reminded why I am meant to have trials and tribulations. This is what I signed up for! This is the Lord's plan and it is such a wonderful plan. We are meant to have trials so that we can grow and become our best possible selves. We would not feel a need for improvement and growth if we did not have trials. Sometimes in the midst of trials it is hard to remember this. I know my trials are for a wise purpose.

I am also so blessed! All I have to do is look at my family and our current situation, and I realize how lucky I am to have the opportunities that I do have. There is a lot of scary stuff going on in the world right now. So many people have it so much worse than I do. So with that in mind, I am going to continue on, strive to serve, and try to be my best self. I know that things will work out.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

My Social Media Cleanse

I'll admit that I am a pretty insecure person. Or at least I have insecure days. A week ago I had one of those days. There were many triggers that led to this, but overall it came from my tendency to compare myself to other people. I love my social media, but sometimes I look at it the wrong way. I tend to look at another person's life and think that they are perfect. This makes me feel inadequate, and diminishes my self-worth. I end up comparing my weaknesses to their strengths. What a horrible comparison that is! However, my mind and emotions get tricked into thinking their lives are better than mine.

I knew that social media was making me an emotional nut-case. Not only for the fact of how insecure it made me feel, but also because I had a constant need to 'check' my phone endlessly. I found I was not enjoying my life as much as I was enjoying other peoples lives. I was not being 'there' for my kids. I would snap at them more if they needed my attention. I did not like the person I was when I was constantly 'checking' my phone.

This self-diminishing day led me to make some changes. I made a goal to sign out of Instagram and Facebook and only check them morning and night. The rest of the day I could focus on my own life, and not the lives of those I follow. I have replaced my constant checking with being more present with my family, friends, and an inspirational eBook. What a difference this had made since I started this social media cleanse a week ago! I am hopeful, encouraged, and happy. I can honestly say that I love my life, despite the daily challenges that I face.

We all have our weaknesses and challenges! Social media only shows us little snippets of most people's lives. Often times, people only post the positive, because that's what they want to celebrate and remember. It does not mean that their lives are not filled with trials. I love social media for this reason. It gives us a chance to celebrate and mourn with those we love. We are so lucky that we have a support system of individuals who mostly strive to lift up and not put down. There are many times that I have been encouraged by something someone posts, which then helps me get through a challenge that I may be having. I will never delete my social media accounts for this reason.

We need to all be there to support each other and lift each other up. Our life here on earth is not a competition, unlike what Satan tells us. We need to be happy for others, and not jealous of them. We need to rejoice in each others victories. Life is hard, so let's help each other through it.